The sun blasts for long hours on the sizzling days of summer, and our bodies naturally swing to the thrum of nature.
Rising temperatures outside ramp up our inner fires and digestion, leaving us craving a cooling respite.
Eating with Nature
Ayurveda teaches us to live in harmony with Mother Nature’s seasons. We are part of the earth, after all, and the foods we intuitively crave are usually the ones that we need the most.
Think about the foods of summer – watermelon, mangoes, an occasional scoop of soft, sweet ice cream. The foods we hanker for after a sunlit day at the beach are the ones designed to hydrate and nourish our bodies. To compensate for water and salt lost in beaded drops of sweat, our bodies desire light, hydrating salads and juicy fruits.
It’s no wonder that the in-season fruits like apples and melons are designed to nurture our bodies with just what we need – more water and cooling properties.
Balance with Ayurveda
Eating spicy, hot foods will increase your inner temperature, whereas consuming foods with cooling properties balances an overheated body.
As the sister science to yoga, Ayurveda is all about creating stability and ease in our bodies. The three doshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha – are energies that flow together in the world and in our bodies.
Often, we have a surplus or deficit of one or even two of the energies. With tweaks to our lifestyle, we can manipulate these energies by mitigating or stimulating each dosha to aim for a comfortable balance of all three.
The Summer Dosha: Pitta
Summer is driven by the sharp, pungent, fiery energy of Pitta. Pitta energy relates to anger, jealousy and impatience, which may easily be instigated on a humid 95 degree day.
Therefore, foods that are cooling in nature are the best ones to eat in the summer, for your body and mind. Sweet, bitter, astringent and light foods will calm your Pitta fire.
Here are the yummiest, most nutritious foods to bite into during these scorching months:
- Fruits: Apples, berries, grapes, cranberries, coconut, avocado, melon, pineapples, plums, pomegranates, cucumbers
- Vegetables: leafy, astringent greens like kale, asparagus, artichokes, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, collard greens
- Grains: barley, basmati rice
- Herbs: lime, mint, basil, fennel, cardamom, parsley
- Legumes: mung beans, garbanzo beans, soy beans and products
- Oils: coconut, olive, sunflower
Eating in the Hot Months
The opportune time to eat your biggest meal during the summer is when the sun is at its highest, around noon. Make lunch your most extravagant meal of the day and take time away from your computer to eat in a calm, soothing environment.
If you can, don’t rush back to work after your meals. Rather, give your tummy a moment to begin digestion.
The plethora of raw, ripe foods your body needs during the summer makes these months some of the most convenient in terms of cooking. There’s no need to stand over a hot stove; many of the most Pitta-pacifying foods can be eaten ripe and raw.
Relax and Carouse
Overall, listen to your body; it knows what it needs – you know what you need.
Relish the sun-filled days of summer and take time to swim in cool lakes, walk in the crisp morning air, and allow plenty of time to rest and recover.
Pitta energy is already aggressive and intense, so the best way to balance it is to stay cool, refreshed and relaxed.
Author – Carolyn Gladd (YouVeda Wellness Contributor)