As the season shifts from Spring to Summer, so too should our diet and lifestyle. Not to worry, Ayurveda, the oldest and continuously practiced healing system in the world, has a guide book to support us, and yet the answers are already inside of you. Two of the guiding principles of Ayurveda are like increases like, and opposites create balance.
You are already practicing Ayurveda whether you’re aware of it or not! In the winter time, when it’s cold and windy, we tend to crave warm and heavy foods like stews and casseroles. In the summertime, when it’s hot and oily, we tend to crave cold and lighter foods, like salads and watermelon. This is our body naturally using opposite qualities working toward balance.
In the spring, we were focusing on pungent, bitter and astringent foods like onions, warming spices, ginger, dark leafy greens and asparagus. As we shift and settle into the heat of summer, we’ll want to keep the bitter and astringent leafy greens on our plates due to their cooling nature but start to lessen the pungent, heating foods and opt for sweet instead, like light grains, melon and stone fruits as well as avocado.
Below are 5 foods to naturally keep your body cool all Pitta season long, when the elements of fire and water are dominant.
1. Avocado: this is a sweet tasting food where the elements of earth and water are heavy, making it grounding, cooling and nourishing to balance any excess pitta. Make creamy homemade dressings, layer into any salad, or add to your morning toast along with other fresh, seasonal veggies!
2. Cilantro: it’s more than just a decorative piece on your plate! As a flavorful and cooling herb, it’s particularly great to add to your salads, marinades, dressings, or just tossed with veggies. Cilantro is particularly effective for cooling and cleansing the liver of heavy metals so adding cilantro to any seafood dish is a must! You can find cilantro in our cooling spice blend which we use to make a tasty avocado dip/dressing.
3. Watermelon: the name says it all. In the summer, melon is exactly what our bodies need to stay hydrated, cool and happy! This alkalizing fruit has trace minerals which can drive up our electrolyte levels and is effective at cooling and cleansing the liver! Enjoy on its own whenever you feel the extra heat from the sun, make it the star of your fruit salad with berries, or blend chopped watermelon with mint and filtered water for a refreshing beverage.
4. Ghee: while you might think Ghee is best used in the colder months, think again! Ghee is both nourishing and hydrating to the body and since we tend to get dried out and exhausted from the heat, the healthy fats found in ghee are ideal for re-hydrating and refueling. It’s sweeter in taste, cooling in nature and easy to digest, leaving a lighter feeling in the stomach. You can even take a spoonful of ghee on an empty stomach in the summer to help balance over acidity in the digestive system. Ghee is also a magical skin care ingredient! Use ghee on your skin or hair in the summertime to combat dryness associated with over exposure to the sun.
5. Basmati Rice: while grains might seem too heavy to eat when it’s hot out, this light and aromatic grain has a cooling effect on the body, is easy to digest, and is extremely satiating to the body and mind. Basmati rice has been used for centuries to calm an irritated gut or nervous system and is the easiest to digest of all the grains. By adding a little ghee, some cooling herbs and some summer veggies, you have a completely balanced yet cooling meal.
BONUS: Try making your own version of rice pudding this summer for a delicious alternative to ice cream!
Farmtrue Cooling Summer Rice Pudding
1 cup basmati rice
2 cups water (for soaking the rice before cooking)
5-6 cups of fresh almond or coconut milk (adjust amount for preferred thickness)
1 Tbsp. grassfed ghee
3 Tbsp. coconut flakes
5 chopped dates
1/2 vanilla bean-sliced open
4 cardamom pods
1 tsp cinnamon powder
chopped nuts (cashews, pistachios, macadamia) and fresh stone fruit
Soak the basmati rice in two cups of water for two hours. Then drain and rinse the rice thoroughly. Add the soaked rice, almond or coconut milk, dates, nuts and all spices to a medium size saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer on low heat (stirring often to keep from burning) for about 20-30 minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed by the softened rice to the desired pudding consistency. Take the rice pudding off the heat, remove the vanilla bean and let it cool until the preferred temperature for serving. Serve this delicious pudding served cold with your favorite summer toppings!