Ayurveda, the ancient sister science of yoga, literally translates to the “science of life”. It seeks to bring the mind and body into balance through diet and lifestyle practices, and divides the year into three seasons based on the elemental forces, or doshas, characterized in each: kapha, pitta, and vata.
Summer is pitta season. In Ayurveda, pitta dosha is characterized by the elements of fire and water, and you may find these qualities popping up in your everyday life. With the heat and humidity of summer you may find yourself sweaty, dehydrated, or irritable. You may also find yourself more prone to skin rashes, indigestion, and a quick temper.
To counteract these qualities, we want to bring in the opposing characteristics - diet and lifestyle practices that are cooling and calming. Favor foods that are sweet, bitter, and astringent to pacify pitta.
- Coconut is cooling and hydrating. Drink coconut water, cook with moderate amounts of coconut oil, substitute coconut milk, or incorporate coconut meat into your diet.
- Watermelon and other sweet, hydrating fruits like berries and mango pacify pitta.
- Incorporate fennel and other cooling spices like coriander, saffron, and cardamom into your cooking.
- Mint and other cooling or astringent fresh herbs like cilantro and parsley are great options.
- Favor jicama and other hydrating vegetables like cucumber and zucchini.
- The bitter taste of leafy greens balances pitta.
- Lentils and other legumes, as their astringent quality calms pitta.
Think abundant salads, chilled soups, and fresh fruit. Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water infused with mint or cucumber. Try to avoid hot, spicy, fried, processed, and salty foods.
The Provenance Meals summer menu for prepared meal delivery in NYC is full of ultra hydrating and cooling meals. We’re also happy to share an easy to make version of a summertime favorite off their menu - Watermelon Berry Bamboo Bowl.
Some other pitta-pacifying tips for summer include spending time in nature, not skipping meals, and being sure to schedule free time into your day. Meditation can be extremely beneficial, and you can also start or end your day with cooling yoga asanas like fish, camel, and tree poses, as well as savasana.
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About the Author, Sarah Hebbel-Stone, CNE
Head of Client Services and Health Coach at Provenance Meals
With her focus on holistic health and a passion for cooking, Sarah is our resident health counselor on staff and assists our chefs and nutritionists in developing our weekly menu. In addition to being a yoga instructor and wellness coach extraordinaire, she also manages our customer service and concierge team for clients with special requests and custom needs on their wellness journey.