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Cool Yourself this Summer

Dr. Ankita

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Avoid refrigerated drinks and using ice cubes. The cold shocks the system, weakens the digestive fire and causes sore throats. Ideally, keep your tap water in a pure clay pot (untreated clay). Otherwise keep a stainless steel or glass pitcher full of filtered tap water. As a last resort, use a plastic pitcher (but there may be plastic leakage into the water).

Fresh fruit and vegetable drinks are also very pleasing. Other ideas include lassi (yogurt & water mixed together)

a) Vayu & Pitta: 1/2 part plain yogurt to 1/2 part room temperature filtered tap water.

b) Kapha: 1/4 part plain yogurt to 3/4 part room temperature filtered tap water.

You may add some cumin seeds and rose water to the mixture for further cooling and digestive benefits.

Drink mashya/takra (homemade butter milk). Take 1/5 part organic plain yogurt to 4/5 part room temperature filtered tap water. Add cumin powder and optionally, rock salt. Put in jar and shake for 1 minute. You will see the curds and whey separate. This is a delightful drink that can be taken even after sunset, and is also good for those with weak digestion.

You might like to eat less during the very hot and humid days.

During summer, you may adjust your diet to include more Pitta-reducing foods and drinks to help balance fire during the hot weather. Salads, fresh fruit, extra teas and water are advised. Avoid hotter spices like chilies. Consult with your Ayurvedic practitioner if you are not sure what to do.

Try to avoid or use air conditioners only when needed. Air conditioners create an artificial environment and artificial air.

Try using a ceiling and/or floor fans to keep cool when the humidity is lower. Close blinds to prevent the hot sun from heating the house.

Homemade ginger tea is good. It is prepared differently for each dosha. Start your mixture with 1 glass of room-temperature filtered tap water. Add for
a) Vayu: 1/2 tsp. ginger with cane sugar.
b) Pitta: 1/2 tsp. ginger with rock sugar candy.
c) Kapha: 1/2 tsp. ginger with honey.

Keep out of the midday sun

If you need to balance Pitta, choose ghee, in moderate quantities, as your cooking medium. Ghee, according to the ancient ayurvedic texts, is cooling for both mind and body. Ghee can be heated to high temperatures without affecting its nourishing, healing qualities, so use ghee to sauté vegetables, spices or other foods.

Cooling foods are wonderful for balancing Pitta dosha. Sweet juicy fruits, especially pears, can cool a fiery Pitta quickly. Milk, sweet rice pudding, coconut and coconut juice, and milkshakes made with ripe mangoes and almonds or dates are examples of soothing Pitta-pacifying foods.

The three ayurvedic tastes that help balance Pitta are sweet, bitter and astringent, so include more of these tastes in your daily diet. Milk, fully ripe sweet fruits, and soaked and blanched almonds make good snack choices. Eat less of the salty, pungent and sour tastes.

Dry cereal, crackers, granola and cereal bars, and rice cakes balance the liquid nature of Pitta dosha, and can be eaten any time hunger pangs strike during the day.

Carrots, asparagus, bitter leafy greens, fennel, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, green beans and bitter gourd (in very small quantities) are good vegetable choices. They become more digestible when chopped and cooked with Pitta-pacifying spices. Vegetables can be combined with grains or mung beans for satisfying one-dish meals.

Basmati rice is excellent for balancing Pitta. Wheat is also good—fresh flatbreads made with whole-wheat flour combine well with cooked vegetables or Pitta-balancing chutneys. Oats and amaranth are other Pitta-balancing grains.

Choose spices that are not too heating or pungent. Ayurvedic spices such as small quantities of turmeric, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom and fennel offer flavor, aroma and healing wisdom.

Drink sweet lassi with lunch to help enhance digestion and cool, not ice-cold, water to quench thirst.

Drink cooling spice water. You’ve probably heard that drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day is important for flushing out toxins, and in summer it’s even more important to keep replacing fluids that may be lost to perspiration. You can get extra cooling and purifying impact from your water by adding a few herbs and spices. Here’s a summer recipe:

The herbs in this formula not only cool Pitta dosha, but if used over time they help stimulate digestion and cleanse the micro channels of the body, allowing the water to hydrate the deeper layers of the skin.

Avoid Drinks that Dry Out Your Skin. Sure, those caffeinated drinks look thirst-quenching on TV, but the fact is that caffeine actually dehydrates the body. Alcoholic drinks are even more dehydrating.

Worse, both caffeine and alcohol are toxic to the liver. When the liver becomes overloaded, it can no longer do its job of screening out toxins from the nutritive fluid. That’s the point when ama (digestive toxins) and more harmful impurities, start to circulate to the tissues and organs of the body. And one of the first signs of toxins in the liver is dull, dry, lifeless skin.

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