Tips for Hot Summer Days
Ayurveda distinguishes three basic functional principles, the so-called "doshas" Vata, Pitta and Kapha. They function both in our physiology as well as in nature at large.
For good and healthy functioning of mind and body, these doshas have to be in balance. Many factors influence the balance of the doshas, such as our work, our food, or the seasons. When it gets hot in summer, Pitta (=heat) rises in the environment, and the body reduces its inner Agni (= fire), because of its natural tendency to maintain balance. This reduces heat production, lowers metabolism and thus reduces digestive power. Therefore, in hot weather, any activity is more difficult and appetite is low. You probably know this from your own experience.
So, follow your natural tendency and adjust your diet and activity to the external circumstances. Let Maharishi Ayurveda tell you how to stay "cool" when it is hot.
Avoid over exposing yourself to direct sunlight, even in the shade you will get a tan! Hotheads are not the only ones who should make sure that their head always remains cool. We recommend that you wear a hat to protect your head from direct sunlight. After too much sun exposure, Maharishi Ayurveda Aloe Vera Gel provides the skin with a pleasantly cooling and refreshing sensation.
For sports activities in summer: take it easy and do not exhaust yourself. We especially recommend swimming now, as well as taking a walk in nature. It is best to use Pitta massage oil for your morning oil massage. Create a cool atmosphere in your home or your car with Pitta aroma oil.
Reduce salty, sour, spicy and very hot food. Favour instead food with sweet, bitter and astringent tastes, as these balance increased Pitta. In hot weather it is particularly important to eat only when you are hungry, because digestion is running “on the back burner”. For this reason, eat only in moderation.
Favour light food: vegetable soups, vegetables with rice or noodles. Salads as side dishes are just right in this season. Also fruit is light and easily digested. Specifically, summer dishes with cucumbers, courgettes, pumpkin, carrots, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, salad, basmati rice, wheat, ghee, cottage cheese, lassi, yellow mung beans, olive or coconut oil, almonds, sweet fruits, Sharkara sugar, fresh herbs and mild spices (fresh ginger in small amounts, coriander, fennel, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, saffron). Season as you like with Pitta Churna, and use ghee (clarified butter) or coconut oil for cooking.
If possible, reduce the following foods:
Beetroot, eggplant, radish, tomatoes, hot peppers, onions, garlic, millet, rye, corn, buckwheat, yogurt (if not prepared as Lassi), quark, sour milk, cheese, sour fruits (oranges, grapefruit, lemons), olives, cashew nuts, honey, molasses, hot and heating spices (pepper, chillies, anise, cloves, cumin), salt, vinegar, alcohol, (for non vegetarians:) red meat.
During hot weather it is especially important to drink enough, because the body loses a lot of fluid through increased sweating. Avoid iced drinks even on very hot days, so as not to weaken your digestive power.
Choose from the following hot or cold drinks: Pitta Tea, Raja 's Cup, mint tea, fresh fruit juices or homemade Lassi (yogurt drink; preparation see below). For example, peppermint Lassi, Lassi with rose water, or coconut milk are all wonderfully refreshing. Their are plenty of varied, tasty and healthy drinks to choose from. Choose what tastes good, and is easily digested, since that is precisely what is healthy for you.
Drinks should not be taken straight from the fridge, because this weakens digestive fire, and the body has to compensate unnecessarily. Also, avoid if possible, Pitta stimulating drinks such as alcohol, black tea and coffee. Try the Ayurvedic coffee substitute, Raja's Cup!
Basic Recipe for making Lassi
It is best to use very fresh yogurt, preferably homemade, for example from a home yogurt maker.
Dilute 1 part yogurt with 3 to 4 parts water, and whisk thoroughly.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of finely chopped fresh (or dried) Peppermint, per glass of the basic lassi and mix thoroughly.
Add a few drops of rose water, per glass, sweeten as desired with sugar, and whisk thoroughly.
Add a dash of coconut milk or pureed coconut meat, a pinch of vanilla and sugar, then whisk thoroughly.
Add salt to taste (preferably rock salt), plus a pinch of both ground cumin and ginger, then whisk thoroughly.