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Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society, Inc.
38 East Market Street, Rhinebeck, New York 12572 USA -  845-876-2626
Vegetarian - Vegan - Animal Rights - Health - Nutrition - Environment

The mission of the Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society, Inc. is to promote the vegetarian ethic in the Mid-Hudson (New York) region, educate the community and aid anyone in the pursuit of a totally vegetarian (vegan) cruelty-free and healthful lifestyle.

Newsletters
2003 SPECIAL SUMMER HEALING ISSUE

In The Good Ol' Summertime...
by Santha Cooke, MS, LMT

Feeling well comes more easily in summer, and that makes this an ideal time for building habits and understandings, which will create vigor and vitality all year long.  Here in the Hudson Valley we live in a land of astonishing seasonal changes.  Even people sitting behind desks in air conditioned offices can't help but notice, while those who spend time outdoors have a chance to more closely observe the endless stream of small and large miracles through which one season transforms into another.

The ancient sages spent their lives immersed in the cycles of nature.  They developed highly refined wisdom traditions for living in harmony with the changing seasons, and these have been passed down to us in their agricultural methods, in Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, and herbal medicine, and in other time-honored practices such as yoga and meditation.  Sadly, many of these teachings fall by the wayside in our profit-driven, high-speed, high-tech culture.  We all experience the resulting environmental degradation and skyrocketing costs of living and medical care.  Learning to live in harmony with the seasons can reduce this waste and destruction, and create a more beautiful and abundant future for all.

A key to this way of living is our way of eating.  Each of us eats about 75,000 meals in our lifetime.  Our food becomes our blood.  Our blood becomes our body, our health, our thoughts and actions in the world.  Just as important, our food production and distribution practices affect the life blood of the ecosystems that sustain us: air, water, and soil.  Isn't it imperative to learn to do this really well, to make better food choices both for ourselves and for the larger world?  Summer in the Hudson Valley presents many pleasurable opportunities to learn more about those choices.

Make the most of fresh, locally grown organic produce.  Visit local farmer's markets, join a CSA (Community Sponsored and Agriculture), plant your own back yard vegetable garden, or grow some herbs or vegetables in tubs or window boxes on your deck.  Learn the healing properties of particular foods or cooking methods - get to know them like the old friends they are!  On a very hot day, you may enjoy a cucumber salad flavored with fresh mint - both cucumbers and mint cool the body, and raw foods cool, cleanse and refresh. (See pg. 8).

Perhaps not surprisingly, the foods nature provides locally and in season are those needed to balance the energy of that season.  Raw or lightly cooked early and mid-summer vegetables such as green beans and zucchini provide light fresh energy, in contrast to the well-cooked deep yellow vegetables like pumpkin and squash that will provide sustaining warmth come autumn.  Corn and quinoa are nourishing grains that are particularly well suited to summer.  Take advantage of the opportunity to rebuild and revitalize your organs in these warm days, so that when the cold returns, they will be ready for another fall and winter.  That means eating fresh, locally grown, seasonally appropriate whole foods.

Warm weather also offers our muscles and joints an opportunity for healing, as muscles relax and connective tissue softens.  Long summer days allow for more physical activity, which, together with a light, fresh, diet, often results in weight loss and an experience of greater freedom of movement.  This is an excellent time to begin an appropriate exercise program and regular bodywork to reach a new level of wellness.  With guidance and support, old injuries can heal and postural misalignments that strain muscles and joints can be corrected.  For some people, this may mean regular stretching, for some it may mean aerobic exercise or strength building, for some it may mean movement re-education or rest.  It is important to exercise with awareness, to avoid injury and reinforcing patterns of mis-use.

According to traditional Chinese medicine, summer is the season in which the Heart blossoms.  Indeed, the long days of summer give us time to do the things we love and be with the people we love.  This can be the deepest source of health and healing as we build relationships and enjoy experiences that nourish our soul.  Take time this summer to try something new and do something you have always wanted to do.  Take time this summer to do nothing, to be with the ones you love. Take time this summer to heal, which means - to become whole.

Santha Cooke, MS, LMT is a New York State licensed massage therapist and certified holistic health counselor. She serves as an ally to individuals seeking to build health from the inside out. To find out more about the Whole Food - Whole People health counseling program, call 845-266-4282 to schedule a FREE initial consultation.

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