What to eat in the heat

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  • What to eat in the heat

    Hot. Hot hot hot. Never thought I’d say that, but the last couple of weeks have been baking in Britain; only now are we seeing the break in the weather, though summer looks all set to resume soon. Like many people, I find fasting on these warmer days so much easier – not only are the fresh summer ingredients perfect for Fast Day dishes, the heat also takes the edge of an appetite. I never really hunger for carbs and cake when the temperature rises – just ice lollies (homemade, so you can gauge the sugar content) and salads and barbecued fish, shrimp, chicken, veggies…

    As you might expect, the Recipe book has tons of inspiration for low-cal summer suppers. My favourite at the moment is the Ceviche with tomato and coriander – a real zinger of a dish, super fresh, lime-kissed and pretty as a picture (and here’s the picture!). Just add a fork.

    ceviche DSC_8321

    Another firm favourite in our house is the Szechuan chicken salad – a cool citrusy combo of cucumber, herbs, and iceberg that I find myself craving day in day out, Fast Day or not. No need for carbs, I promise you.

    And I made the (super-simple) Bagna Cauda again for friends the other day – a glorious heap of griddled vegetables (aubergine, peppers, courgettes, broccoli, fennel, the lot) served with an Italian dipping sauce made from anchovies and garlic.

    bagna caudaDSC_7985

     An acquired taste, perhaps – but once acquired, hard to shake off!

    I’m off to Provence next month, where I expect I’ll gather inspiration for more summertime recipes – preferably ones that don’t involve bread or cheese or charcuterie or any of the usual French basics… I’ll be steering clear. Well, for two days of the a week, at least.

    This brings up a question I had last week during a really nasty heatwave here in Chicago in the US– I did my regular Monday/Thursday fasts but felt extremely drained. I usually do about an hour of training every day (either biking, swimming or both, plus weights) but skipped a few for feeling faint, having GI issues (constipation) and headaches, despite keeping well hydrated. I wound up searching the internet about health effects of fasting in heat and got a lot of hits because we’re in the midst of Ramadan (and all pointed out that the effects my body was feeling can be quite common in the heat+fast equation). Now clearly, I’m not doing Ramadan-style fasts eschewing even water, but is there a formula for approaching heat waves, given the cumulative effect of high temperatures on the body? Should one cut back on physical exertion to stick with the fasts or perhaps skip the fasts if the weather is brutally hot and humid for more than 48 hours? Would love to hear others’ experiences with this. Cheers!

    Dear Friends,

    I think that Adelaide wins the hot, hot, hot competition. In this City we have had at least 10 consecutive days of over 40 (centigrade) – well over the old 100F! It was just awful and extremely draining. In other parts of South Australia, some towns had temps between 45 and 50 C!

    In this heat, I just hibernate, drink lots of water and find activities that can be done in front of the air conditioner! I do not have to “go to work” as most of my work is done at home but, I do re arrange my diary to accommodate the hot weather – postponing things to later in the day or even the next week if I can. I actively manage my activity in this hot weather. I also have MS which is a heat sensitive condition. I also use a cooling vest to keep my core temperature down when I have to be more active. That might help you. Cooling vests, neck wraps and collars are available over the internet from Arcticcooling (or something similar).

    I mostly prefer watery fruits like watermelon,pineapple etc.. 🙂

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