Fire element in cooking
Photo: Jupiterimages/Thinkstock
Each season has its own unique energy and prepares us to glide gracefully into the next in the grand dance of nature. In winter, it's like a slow, romantic waltz as nature goes into a state of rest and rejuvenation and the water element is at its most active. Spring picks up the tempo, much like a sexy salsa as the wood element brings structure, expansion and growth in preparation for the crescendo of summer, when the colors and scents of nature are in full bloom like a summer carnival.

If we take a look at the cycle of nature and the elements, we see that each new season is prepared for and nourished by what has gone before it—water (winter) is needed to support the growth of wood (spring), which is fuel for the fire of summer.

Fire, summer's element, brings warmth, light and movement. It is often used as a metaphor for passion, which much like fire, can be a slow smoldering or a wild flame. Fire is a creative force and also has the power to destroy—living in California for several years, I was certainly witness to this power.

The warmth of summer brings us outdoors into nature to enjoy the heat and engage in outdoor activities. These outdoor activities and exercise help to stimulate a healthy appetite, but when we're more active, we burn off the extra fuel more efficiently (even more so with the help of the internal heat created by the fire element). So, summer is a time when our metabolism is activated and we're nourished by lighter, more cooling foods to keep us in balance with our climate and environment. It's also a time when you want to use quick cooking methods like sautéing, steaming and blanching and enjoy more salads and raw foods—unlike the stews and hearty foods that nourish us during the colder seasons.


Learn about the fire element's effect on your heart, emotions and health

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