The thing I love the most about Ayurveda (an Indian healing tradition) is that it is a holistic practice. This means that it doesn’t look at individual organs or conditions as separate from the rest, but looks at body, mind, and soul all as one interconnected whole. In fact it goes way beyond that, studying the interdependence between people, food, environment, energies, and basically everything that we interact with. If you have a disease, Ayurveda attempts to heal it by looking not just at the obvious symptoms, but also at any other seemingly unrelated imbalances: food, emotions, attitudes, beauty products, daily routines, season of the year, and age.
So let’s talk about how Ayurveda can help you feel your best during the summer. First of all, you need to know that this is pitta season. For those who don’t know what this means, pitta is the energy of fire, and water. People with a predominantly pitta constitution have a tendency to always be on the go, and are usually workaholics. They have a sharp mind, a strong digestion, and are natural leaders. When out of balance, they suffer from all the conditions we would associate with “heat”, such as inflammation, skin rashes, heartburn, ulcers, and bloodshot or burning eyes. Emotionally, they can also get “heated up” very easily, being prone to anger, impatience, and temper tantrums.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a pitta person, you should know that we all have a combination of the three doshas—or constitutions—in us. And even if pitta dosha is not the strongest in you, it could become stronger at any point in your life, and cause problems. What makes pitta manifest itself more strongly? Eating a pitta aggravating diet (too many spices, too much alcohol, for example), living a pitta aggravating lifestyle (working too much and playing too little), or certain environmental conditions such as summer, when pitta is in season, can all take it out of balance.
Hot summer days should ideally be balanced with a pitta pacifying diet, and lifestyle to make sure you stay cool, calm, and collected through this season. This is why cooling foods such as fresh fruit, salad, ice cream, and cold drinks make us feel so good at this time of the year. To keep your body happy, coconut oil is a great cooling moisturizer for this season. And the best activities are relaxing, and not too intense, like yoga, or swimming. For more tips on how to balance pitta dosha during the summer, read this article.
Since I’ve been suffering from a pitta imbalance that is causing some acid reflux, my Ayurvedic doctor prescribed me a cooling smoothie that has worked wonders. The recipe is posted below. I find this smoothie not only delicious, but also extremely satisfying because it soothes my sweet tooth. I hope it helps you feel your best this summer!
Cooling Summer Smoothie
Makes 1 large glass
½ large banana
½ medium sized ripe mango
1 cup hemp milk
3 tablespoons aloe vera juice
Put all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.