Foods and Beverages Guidelines in the Summer According to Ayurveda
It's summer time!
Traditionally summer is related to light, heat and intensity. Summer has its own charming, distinct and distinguished personality. Depending on your body type, the warm and dry weather will comfort you or aggravate you.
Each seasonal change has a purpose and an effect on your body and even your mind. In fact, for optimum health it's important to adjust your diet and lifestyle, when the climate changes. For example, a Pitta individual with a warm body-type may love the winter, but will feel discomfort as the weather heats up. On the other hand, someone with cold hands and feet who cannot stay warm in winter will enjoy the sunny season.
Living and eating according to the seasons is an essential element of Ayurveda in order to stay in physical and mental balance. For sound health year around, your dietary choices should connect and correlate with the flow of the seasons. In fact, the dietary changes are in line with the traditional seasonal harvests.
As the seasons shift, make small adjustments to your diet.
Summer comes with heat, warmth, dryness and long days. Ayurveda describes the end of spring and the summer as the Pitta period. Thus, it's especially important for Pitta individuals to stay cool, hydrated and calm. However, for everyone it is important to recognize the signs of Pitta imbalance such as heat stroke, dehydration, physical exhaustion and even anger.
The following recommendations are especially for Pitta individuals as well as the Pitta/Vata and Pitta/Kapha. When the days heat up, everyone needs to make an effort to avoid the imbalances resulting from the hot and dry quality of summer.
FOODS AND BEVERAGES GUIDELINES
Throughout the sunny season, eat light and have small portions that are easy to digest and keep your body cool. Summer is a time to favor the sweet, bitter and astringent tastes and to relish cool, liquid and slightly oily foods.
Sunny days are the best time of the year to enjoy sweet fruits and large salads of leafy greens. It is also a great time to indulge in sweet dairy products such as raw organic milk, organic salt free butter, organic ghee, organic homemade cow or goat yogurt, and even cold drinks on occasion. All unrefined sweeteners like maple syrup and cane sugar are cooling and can be enjoyed in moderation during the summer months. Honey and molasses are best reduced due to their warming effects. Instead of just drinking water, sip cooled herbal teas with rose, mint, peppermint, spearmint, hibiscus, licorice, fennel and other sweet and cooling herbs. Try water infused with mint or just lime juice and a little raw cane sugar or a sweet mango lassi. Iced drinks are best avoided as they disturb the digestive capacity and create toxins in the body.
Abstain from sour or unripe fruits, aged cheeses, and root vegetables such as carrots, beets, radishes, onions, garlic and ginger. It is best to greatly reduce hot and warm spices like chili, cayenne pepper, mustard seed and even cinnamon. Also keep in mind that raw vegetables such as salads will be better digested if they are eaten at lunch, rather than at dinner.
Have a light breakfast of just sweet summer fruits, if you are not hungry in the morning. Then, enjoy the light quality of white basmati rice (while avoiding short grain brown rice) cooked with sweet dill and cumin with a large salad. For protein have garbanzo beans and sunflower seeds with your salad.
It is important to add some dietary fat in each meal which can be olive or sesame oil for the Vata, sunflower oil for the Kapha, coconut oil or ghee for the Pitta. For dinner, white basmati rice can be prepared with your favorite legume in a "curry" sauce of turmeric, mint, coriander, cumin and sea salt with some raw milk. Additionally, have a small salad or steamed greens like kale, mustard greens and parsley. Greens can be eaten for breakfast too.
You want to have more leafy greens less root vegetables, more cooling flavors with less hot spices, and more sweet fruits between meals with lots of beverages throughout the day.
As far as lifestyle guidelines, you want to get up early in the morning as the sun rises and exercise early before the heat of the day. Massage your skin with cooling oils like coconut or sunflower to calm the nervous system and protect the skin from the sun. Take cool showers in the evening to support your sleep and cool the body. Additionally, you can use the essential oil of jasmine or sandalwood and enjoy rose water sprays to refresh your mind.
Only wear cotton clothing and avoid any synthetics to allow the body to breath. Better to go to bed earlier too, so you can rise early to enjoy the long summer days.
Immerse yourself in the summer while staying cool and moist!