Summertime is just around the corner and the beginning of pitta season. Pitta is the qualities of fire and water, which can easily be disturbed during the heat of summer. It is also the season our digestion is the weakest, so making meals that are light is ideal. It’s important to favor the tastes of sweet, pungent, and astringent at this time. Some of my favorites are cardamom limeade and beetroot salad.
3 cups water
¼ cup lime juice
¼ tsp cardamom powder
1 tbsp coconut sugar dissolved in hot water
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
pinch of hing
2 cups peeled and diced beets
½ cup shredded coconut
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
½ cup water
Start by heating the peeled, raw minced beets in coconut oil; add water, mustard seeds, seasoning (hing is a seasoning that consists of 13 herbs – if you don’t have it, substitute seasonal herbs listed below), shredded coconut, cinnamon and salt. I tend to add more cinnamon and salt to enhance the flavor.
The limeade is a refreshing light drink that will cool you down and pacifying dehydration and pitta aggravation. Pitta is associated with irritability and redness in the skin and eyes. It’s advised to eat warm meals in Ayurveda, but this is the season for salads and ice cream during hot days. Apples, avocados, figs, grapes, melons, pears and plums are all good choices. For vegetables, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery and leafy greens are excellent – cabbage and asparagus give you the benefit of a natural diuretic as well. Consider cooking with cardamom, cilantro, cinnamon, dill, fennel, mint, and saffron. These herbs have a cooling effect on the body and aid in digestion.
The daily routine in pitta season should include massaging the skin with coconut or sunflower oil daily. Gentle exercise like walking in grass, restorative yoga outdoors under the shade of trees, and swimming are beneficial. This is the only time of year a short 20-minute nap is advised after lunch.
During harvest many people will suffer from dry eyes, allergies, and skin irritation. While over-the-counter remedies can be a quick fix for some, an ayurvedic practitioner can give you natural herbs to resolve these issues that will not give constipation, liver toxicity and other side effects commonly associated with these medications. Nasya, a gentle cleansing of the sinuses with medicated oil is a treatment that provides relief from allergies, headaches, and congestion. It heals and soothes the sinuses and provides a grounded sensation from the dizziness of allergies. Herbs like clove and cinnamon combined with several others and mixed with raw honey can be taken throughout the day and easily carried to deal with food and airborne allergens.
If you’re considering an ayurvedic consult, it will look very different from a traditional doctor visit. If you have access to recent blood work or a physical examination, it will be discussed, as well as current medications. It will also include an examination of the skin, eyes, tongue, as well as a discussion about current diet, stools, urine and a pulse diagnosis. Where ever you are on your health journey is acceptable and not judged. An ayurvedic practitioner’s goal is to shine the light on the path that will give each person the optimal lifestyle they design and uncover the root of chronic aliments and disease.
To schedule a consult or view treatments offered in Brownsville or the Albany clinic, please visit www.laayurved.com or call 310-614-3669 to discuss your health questions. I will be offering a more in-depth discussion on Ayurveda at Love Yoga in Albany June 8th from 12-2pm. For more information or to register call Love Yoga at 541-971-8244.