Summer is the season of pitta. Pitta’s qualities are hot, light, mobile, sharp, and oily. It governs the heat in the body and it is primarily responsible for digestion, perception, and intelligence. Because pitta shares many of the same qualities as summer, it is more common for our bodies and minds to suffer from conditions resulting from aggravated pitta during the summer months.
Prep for Pittas
The lead up to the summer months can be a particularly tricky one if you are pitta dominant. If you have plenty of pitta in your constitution, you will also have to cope with all the high summer temperatures. Physical imbalances such as inflammation, infections, skin irritations, hyperacidity, heat rashes, and diarrhea are more common, and pitta-type emotional imbalances such as impatience, anger, and intolerance are experienced more often. So you will really benefit from reducing your stress during this difficult time.
Prep for Vata and Kapha
Summer is the season for indulgence since the summer crop is so abundant. Sweet fruits and cold treats are very welcome this time of year! Indulge your sweet tooth, but in moderation of course. An occasional creamy treat like ice cream, pudding, or lassi can be beneficial this time of year.
Simple adjustments in our diet and lifestyle will help us avoid these conditions and maintain a state of balance.
- As a general rule, select foods and drinks that are naturally sweet, bitter, and/or astringent.
- Limit or avoid things that are pungent, salty, and sour especially: hot spices (such as cayenne, garlic, dry ginger, mustard seed, and hing), breads that contain yeast, fermented foods, caffeine, and alcohol.
- Drink six to eight glasses of cool water per day. In Ayurveda, it is believed that extremely cold or iced drinks extinguish the digestive fire. For optimum health, it is best to take all drinks cool, warm, or at room temperature.
- Enjoy sweet fruits like apples and berries rather than sour or citrus fruits.
- Eat plenty of sweet and bitter vegetables like cucumbers, spinach, celery, and zucchini rather than pungent veggies like raw onions, hot peppers, and tomatoes.
- Choose white, wild, or basmati rice rather than brown rice and go for quinoa, barley, and bran rather than rye, corn, and millet.
- If you can tolerate dairy products, use ghee, cow’s milk, goat’s milk, unsalted butter, and unsalted cheese. Ice cream is ok, on occasion. If you are prone to congestion or weight gain it may be better to avoid it. Sour cream, buttermilk, and salted dairy products are not recommended, especially during the summer.
- Use an abundance of cooling spices like cilantro, fennel, even ginger. Avoid heating spices like cayenne, chili peppers, and mustard seeds. Sprinkling coconut on foods is also a cooling treat.
- If you eat nuts, choose almonds. Soak and peel them for healthiest results.
- If you drink alcohol, choose beer and dry white wine, in moderation.
- Chamomile, dandelion, fennel, licorice, and mint teas are best. Coffee and yerba mate are not recommended. If you drink coffee, add cardamom to support digestion and bring a sweet quality to the coffee.
As a reminder, your summer routine may look slightly different from someone with a different constitution, but we all benefit from implementing diet and lifestyle changes that align with the rhythms of nature throughout the year. By setting yourself up for success, you protect your own vitality and health. This allows us to better be able to connect with and appreciate the gifts of each season. This pitta season, practice a personalized seasonal routine so that you can embrace the summer with presence, contentment, and joy.