It was that perfect summer day: sunny, clear and hot enough to urge you to the beach, windy enough to get you offshore fast on a Hobie Cat soaring across breezy waters toward the promise of endless horizon.
The sailboat had been waiting on the beach along with a large, extended family who had come from everywhere it seemed to celebrate on this gorgeous summer Saturday. We were celebrating not just the birth of the nation collectively, but privately and more importantly, the birth of our tribe’s matriarch, known affectionately as Mom, or Nana ~ or, frankly, Wonder Woman.
After sailing, there’s a winding shoreline to wander, a rustic harbor to explore by kayak, sandcastles to build, swimming with a sister or brother, splashing with a niece, even visits with friends who stop by to say hello. With all this joy and play and beauty and delight and after all what is summer for if not this, it is mid-afternoon before you suddenly realize it would have been a good idea to wear a hat, or sunscreen, or, at least, to have paused a little longer in the shade.
The only solution for cooling off at this point is to jump back in the water, which is chilly, or go out again for a sail. But both options hold you under the broil of the sun, and you’re beginning to wonder if that rising smell of roasting flesh is coming from a nearby barbecue or your own burning shoulders!
So you head home early and prepare for the Great Family Homecoming by mixing up an icy pitcher of Cucumber Cooler. A tonic to refresh and relieve, this drink props you back up after too much play, or heat, or effort has you buckled at the knees, and reassuringly reminds you that Mother Nature, with her cool, sweet summer bounty, has already anticipated all your needs.
1/2 medium Cucumber, seeded and peeled
1 Lime, juiced
5 Mint leaves
1 pinch Himalayan salt
1 cup water
2-3 ice cubes
Put all the ingredients into a blender and mix on high until it is completely puréed. Pour into glasses, garnish with a mint leaf and serve.
The Benefits ~
Electrolyte drinks containing sodium and potassium salts replenish the body’s water and electrolyte levels after dehydration. With an impressive amount of water (about 96%) that is naturally distilled, making it superior to ordinary water, and loaded with potassium, cucumbers are an important ingredient for summer rehydration.
Himalayan Crystal Salt delivers a healthy form of pure, unadulterated sodium with an amazing array of important trace minerals and elements including calcium, magnesium and potassium that regulate body fluids and replenish your supply of electrolytes whenever you sweat heavily.
Have you ever rested with slices of cucumber over your eyes? It has been found that the caffeic acid in this vegetable helps to prevent water retention, making cucumbers a great snack for weight loss, diabetes management, or to be applied topically to reduce puffy and swollen eyes.
In fact, cucumbers contain a number of important temperature-regulating minerals, including sulfur, silicone and silica which strengthen the body’s connective tissues, muscles, tendons, hair, ligaments, nails, cartilage, and bone – vital for healthy skin.
Speaking of skin, in Ayurveda there is a saying that if you want healthy skin, eat the skin of your fruits and vegetables. In addition to the youthful, glow-producing trace minerals inside the cucumber, its skin carries a high percentage of vitamin A and vitamin C.
With its high alkalinity, cucumbers are one of the ultimate Pitta-reducing foods ~ decreasing inflammation, high blood pressure, sore throat and acne; its peel can be used to relieve sunburn and mild skin irritations, similar to aloe vera; and studies have shown that when eaten regularly, cucumbers regulate uric acid, helping to prevent certain kidney or bladder stones and rheumatoid diseases like arthritis.
Perhaps best of all, since most cancers thrive in acidic environments, cucumber’s high alkalinity is being studied for its potential in avoiding cancer.
The other thing I like to do on warm summer days is to simply fill a pitcher with water, add 8-10 slices of cucumber, 5-6 slices of lime, 2-3 sprigs of mint, a dash of Himalayan Salt and a tiny pinch of Succanat (pure evaporated cane sugar). If you leave it overnight in the refrigerator the water becomes infused with the perfume of cucumber and mint, and tastes like everything the body has ever wanted.
Creamy, crunchy, juicy, wrapped in deep green and bursting with goodness, Cucumber is definitely summer cool.
They are also great fun to grow ~ and cukes from your own garden retain the taste of your terroir, while teaching great life lessons on mortality and immortality, attachment and non-attachment ~ as versed 5,000 years ago in the Maha Mrytunjaya Mantra.
Wishing you good health and a cool, refreshing, sweet summer.