Beating summer fatigue

Water is more easily absorbed if you enliven it with a fresh lemon.

by Dr. Jane Hendricks — 

It’s summer, and you may be feeling sluggish. A lack of fresh air and direct sunlight could be two important reasons why. The blinds stay closed, the AC is on and so are your sunglasses when you are outside. Habits tend to change in this extreme weather. For instance, if you normally run or hike outside, you may be getting less exercise because of a lack of desire to exercise indoors. We are just not as motivated to keep up with a regular exercise routine when there is no joy in it.

Another obvious reason for that summer sluggish feeling could be dehydration, especially here in the desert. Just because your skin isn’t wet doesn’t mean you are not sweating like crazy. You are perspiring, in fact, but the air is so dry that the sweat evaporates before you even notice it. To combat this, I suggest drinking close to four quarts of water per day.

Water is more easily absorbed if you enliven it with a fresh lemon. Adding lemon is better than using isolate vitamin and mineral powders as they can cause nutritional imbalances. The body does not have to expend energy to absorb the nutrients from a lemon like it does with vitamin C packets, which are also high in sugar. It’s always better to consume the whole plant rather than chemical isolates.

What about nutrition? Your body is fueled by enzymes, vitamins and minerals. So does taking a ton of vitamins give you more energy? No, they may stimulate you, but they do not serve the body’s life force. Life gives life. Plants grown naturally from the earth and kept in their original state can make us more vital by way of their living enzymes and vitamin complexes.

Moving toward a mostly raw food diet will make a significant difference in your level of energy. In fact, if you eat nearly 100 percent raw foods, your sleep time will be much shorter at night. This means you can more easily get up at 4:30 or 5 a.m. during the summer to get outdoors and exercise before it gets too hot. Eating light at night will also help you wake up earlier.

The lack of nutrients in our foods due to over-farmed land is a major problem in this country. The supplement industry is a huge business because of this. A better way to supplement your foods is to juice fresh fruits and vegetables. This way you are taking in whole, live plant nutrition rather than a few isolated vitamins and minerals. Juices do not require any effort by the body to assimilate.

Lowering your fat intake is a good idea if you are feeling heavy. A diet high in fat slows down the transport of oxygen and nutrients to your tissues, causing your blood to be sluggish. When the cells become malnourished and low in oxygen, they adapt by slowing down their activity, which includes cleansing. This translates to a whole system that is sluggish. Cutting out animal protein and dairy will significantly reduce your fat intake.

Cravings for stimulating foods such as sugar, salt, dairy, protein and caffeine will diminish as your natural life force or qi is tonified through a pure living diet.

During the summer season, avoid spicy foods. Eat seasonal fruits that are juicy and cool, such as grapes, peaches, plums and nectarines. Find a way to exercise and still enjoy it so that you can keep up with the discipline of daily movement. Yoga is an enjoyable form of exercise that helps balance and energize the organs. Practice these tips to beat the summer doldrums and energize your life.


Dr. Jane Hendricks has a doctorate in naturopathic medicine and focuses on food, rather than supplements, as the basis of nutrition. She teaches weekly classes and is the author of Feed Your Body, Energize Your Life! 602-957-0876, or

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 27, Number 4, August/September 2008.

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