Maintaining a Warming Diet in the Warming Months
While the Ayurveda approach to diet varies with the body types – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha – one feature remains consistent: Ayurveda, as a whole, encourages consuming warming foods. Spicy turmeric lattes trump vibrant green juice and grounding kitchari and soups are advocated over cold, raw salads. Although these suggestions may sound appealing in the chill of winter, a steaming pot of lentils may not sound like the perfect pool-side lunch.
Unlike the seasons, our internal temperature does not fluctuate. To avoid shocking our system it is recommended to avoid ice-cold drinks or food year-round, even in Pitta season. However, there are adjustments that you can make throughout the spring and summer months to feel cool without putting out your “digestive fire.”
Always start and end your day with warm liquids
The early mornings and late nights are always the coolest times of day. Starting your day with a warm tea or lemon water will spark your digestive flame for the day. Ending your night with a warm tonic such as a turmeric or ginger latte is a healthy ritual for the mind and body.
Try warming drinks with cooling properties
Spices like ginger and cayenne warm the body from within, but mint, fennel, licorice, and cardamom have cooling properties. Try rotating your teas for the summer. Allow your drinks to cool to room temperature rather than consuming them shortly after steeping.
Add cooling elements to warm foods
Top your soups with cooling fresh herbs like dill and cilantro and a dollop of coconut, goat’s milk, or grass-fed dairy’s yogurt. Cook with coconut oil rather than sesame oil. Try lightly steaming vegetables and proteins. Grains and beans like millet, amaranth, and chickpeas are lighter than brown rice, buckwheat, lentils and black beans. Tame down the spices in your stir fries. Finally, swap lemon for lime and orange in your drinks and dishes.
Add warming elements to cool foods
This is the opposite approach to the later tip. If you choose to have a raw salad, pair it with a lemon-herb dressing with a dash of cayenne or a miso-tahini sauce with warm sesame oil. Try topping these salads with cooked beans, grains, or accompanying them with a cup of warm broth. If you have a smoothie or a juice, use fresh rather than frozen fruit and add fresh ginger, turmeric, or nutmeg. Add chia seeds or coconut oil to add healthy fats to increase absorption of these raw nutrients. Use mustard, black pepper, and fermented foods like sauerkraut as condiments. Ice cream and sorbet are a natural part of summer, but try balancing these treats with a warm (not boiling) cup of hot water to sooth your stomach.
Explore your farmer’s market
Eating locally is the best way to align your body with the seasons. Enjoy tropical fruits like coconut and papaya if they are native to your environment. In the summer, cooling vegetables like cucumber, radishes, fennel, and vibrant sprouts and greens, berries, and stone fruits like peaches are naturally abundant. Speak with your farmers to learn about different varieties of produce to add diversity to your diet.