In Ayurveda, summer season is the west is considered to be the pitta season dominated by the quality of heat.
Likely you made natural adjustments to balancing this heat by wearing cooler clothes, drinking cooler beverages, spending time in cooling water. ‘
You get the drift – COOLING is the key word!
In addition to adjusting your lifestyle to suit the season, making some simple shifts with your diet can also help keep the pitta dosha in balance. This will be most important for people who either have more of the pitta dosha in their constitution or who have a pitta imbalance. Talk to an Ayurveda Practitioner if you’re not sure where your dosha balance is at.
Pitta’s main quality is HOT.
It is also slightly oily, sharp and sour. Following Ayurveda’s balancing protocols, you would use substances with opposite qualities to help balance pitta during the summer.
In general, you want a diet that is cool, slightly dry, a little heavy and that favors the sweet, bitter and astringent tastes. Favor foods that are cool and liquid. Minimize foods that are hot including foods/tastes that create heat such as spicy, salty and sour tastes.
How one eats, is also important. Meals should not be eaten when angry, irritable or upset. Food should be taken with an attitude of emotional calm and thankfulness. Eating late at night should be avoided.
Because pitta is hot, this is the season when you might eat foods more room temperature or cool though having too much cold, especially if your digestive fire is not balanced, should still be in moderation. Foods are still best cooked versus raw with the exception of fruits. Some raw side salads, ideally at the main noon meal are also ok. Salads eaten at room temperature are good but aim for salads that have more than just raw vegetables. Cucumbers and cilantro are also naturally cooling and the recipes below will include some condiments and side salads with those ingredients. Some examples are below:
Specific Summer Food Guidelines
- Dairy: favor sweet (milk, butter, ghee, fresh paneer and ice cream in moderation) over the sour products (yogurt, buttermilk, sour cream, aged/salty cheeses)
- Grains: favor whole wheat bulgur, white rice, barley and oats. Reduce corn, rye, millet and brown rice.
- Fruits: favor sweet and ripe fruits and reduce sour and unripe fruits. Fruits, especially the sweet ripe ones bountiful in the summer, are perfect for this season as they are naturally cooling. Ayurveda views fruit as best eaten alone so they can be a lovely breakfast or snack.
- Sweeteners: all unrefined sweeteners are good except honey and molasses which are slightly heating.
- Oils: favor olive, sunflower and coconut oil in the summer. Ghee is also ok.
- Vegetables: almost all are ok except hot peppers, garlic, raw onions, radishes (lightly steamed better), spinach, and excess carrots and beets; nightshades should be minimized or avoided depending on if you have a stronger pitta imbalance (peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant)
- Spices: use less heating spices including coriander, mint, cardamom, fennel, cilantro, dill. Small amounts of clove, ginger, cumin, black pepper, fenugreek, celery seed/Ajwain, oregano, basil, nutmeg, cinnamon, soma salt and mustard seed are ok but avoid chili peppers and cayenne.
- Meat and Fish: emphasize the lighter flesh foods including white meat chicken and turkey, white-flesh freshwater fish. Eat yolks are heating so keep eggs in moderation (best to eat them whole and not just the egg whites because the yolk contains lecithin which helps keep cholesterol liquid and flowing in the blood and ultimately reduces cholesterol).
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