When you think of summer you think of:  the bright hot sun warming your body, clear blue skies, gentle breezes, bountiful fresh fruits and vegetables, picnics, being near the water, long lazy days, and a swinging hammock. As summer picks up steam, the heat can intensify and cause us to develop physical or mental heat symptoms. 

Physical heat symptoms may show up as:

  • Excess body heat,
  • red rashes,
  • sunburn,
  • dehydration,
  • burning sensations in the digestive system
  • looser stools
  • inflammation in the body,
  •  hot/red/dry/irritated eyes.

Mental heat may show up as:

  • being extra critical of ourselves and others,
  • heated emotions such as increased anger or resentment,
  • generally feeling pricklier and more easily irritated

Pitta is denoted by the qualities of warm, mobile, clear, sharp, light, penetrating, and intense.  In summer, we can experience an excess of these qualities.  In Ayurveda, we use cooling, stabilized, and sweet qualities to balance out excess heat symptoms. So, if you find yourself in the desert or Southern states, or east coast, or the middle Plains states where heat can build to over 100 degrees, there are heat reducing remedies to keep you cool as a Cucumber.

Some Cooling Recommendations:

  1. Cool Foods:
    • cucumbers, cucumber water, green watermelons (which have the sweet and cold property), coconuts, coconut milk, coconut water, mint tea, bitter melon juice, aloe juice, lime juice, hibiscus water, rose water, zucchini and summer squash, kheer (rice pudding with coconut milk), ice cream only in the middle of the day, lots of greens (help with cleansing the blood and decreasing inflammation), mint, fennel, dill, coriander, cilantro, cilantro chutney, fresh juicy sweet fruits, jicama, fresh corn, cucumber raita
    • Electrolyte drink: water plus juice of a freshly squeezed lime, 1-2 tsp of raw organic sugar or other sweeteners, a pinch of salt
  2. Body cooling remedies
    • Rosewater spray
    • Rosewater eye drops
    • Sandalwood paste on the forehead
    • Coconut oil over the body, even better is coconut oil infused with rose and sandalwood
    • Coconut oil applied to marma points such as the top the head, temples, navel area, feet
    • Taking moonlight walks with bare feet if possible
    • Wear only cotton, silk or hemp clothing
    • Donate blood before summer months to clean the blood and release excess heat
    • Streaming of coconut milk over the forehead (Shirodhara)
    • Surrender to Laughter
    • Apply pressure to the point in front of the arm near the crease of the elbow to cool the head, neck and upper body – See image here.
  3. Yoga remedies
    • Shitali or cooling breath
    • Left nostril breathing (lunar breath)
    • Meditations that bring in the water element or the moon
    • Twists, forward bends, poses closer to the earth, slower pace
    • Surrender to the pose rather than muscle your way into a pose
    • Yin Yoga, or restorative yoga

Recipes:

Rice Pudding or Kheer – serves 4

  • 4 c organic coconut milk
  • 3 Tbsp organic raw sugar
  • ½ c basmati rice
  • ¼ craisins
  • ½ tsp cardamom
  • ½ tsp rose water
  • ¼ c toasted sliced almonds
  • ¼ c chopped pistachios
  • Optionally a few strands of saffron
  • Bring coconut milk and sugar to a boil in a large pan, add basmati rice and simmer over low heat until mixture thickens and the rice is tender, about 20 minutes
  • Stir in raisins, cardamom, rose water, saffron if desired and cook for a few more minutes. Serve in bowls and garnish with almonds and pistachios
  • http://www.kitchme.com/recipes/kheer-rice-pudding

New World Chopped Salad from “Heaven’s Banquet” by Miriam Kasin Hospodar – 4 servings

  • 3 Tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 Tbsp of minced fresh ginger or use oregano
  •  1 ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ¾ tsp brown mustard seeds
  • ½ c chopped red bell pepper
  • Kernels from 1 large ear of corn
  • 1 c finely cubed jicama
  • ½ c finely cubed cucumbers
  • 2 or 3 radishes, finely cubed
  • 1/3 cup of pumpkin seeds or pepitas
  • 1 c fresh cilantro chopped
  • ¼ c lime juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • Heat oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add ginger, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and sauté for about 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the bell peppers and corn, cover and cook for 3-4 minutes, until crisp and tender, stirring 1 or 2x.
  • Toss with remaining ingredients, season to taste with salt and plenty of pepper

Cucumber Raita – serves 4-6

  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 c organic plain, whole milk yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp fresh mint leaves or coriander leaves, chopped
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Paprika for garnish
  • Peel cucumber. Cut lengthwise into ¼ in strips, then into thin slices crosswise. Blot off excess moisture with paper towels. Toast cumin seeds for a few seconds in a small frying pan over high heat. In a bowl, stir yogurt until it is smooth. Mix in cumin seeds, sugar, mint or coriander leaves, and cucumber. Sprinkle with paprika and chill before serving.
  • https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cucumber-raita-104741

Next Month – We will discuss fertility foods and fertility herbal formulas –
By Mary Bruck – a doctoral Ayurvedic practitioner practicing Ayurveda in Boulder and Denver, CO
See more Ayurvedic meals recipes here.

Mary Bruck

Mary Bruck

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