You are a reflection of the world around you. Whatever is happening in nature, is happening inside your body. This means that as the hot summer months go by, heat accumulates within. Your diet is one of the best tools to balance out excessive summer heat. The guiding principle—a diet based on light and cooling foods.
Ayurveda teaches that like increases like. Adding water to a bucket of water, results in more water. Feeding an overheated body with spicy curry, increases heat. That being said, opposites balance. Pour water over a fire and it goes out. Feed an overheated body cool watermelon juice and instantly you will feel a cooling effect. This Ayurvedic philosophy is summed up in this passage from the Vedas:
As is the microcosm, so is the macrocosm,
As is the atom, so is the universe.
As is the human body, so is the cosmic body,
As is the human mind, so is the cosmic mind.
The Ayurveda summer diet is based upon this principle. It incorporates cooling foods; those which nature so intelligently gifts you in warm months to counteract heat.
Your power of digestion is actually at its lowest in summer. In order to prevent itself from overheating, the body turns down its internal heat (agni). This is why appetite is naturally lower in summer and you tend to crave light foods such as fresh fruit juices or salads.
The Ayurveda summer diet is similar to (but somewhat lighter than) a pitta-pacifying diet. Pitta is the dosha, or energy, composed of mostly fire and some water. As pitta is pungent, sour, and salty by nature, it’s balanced by the bitter, astringent, and sweet tastes. The best foods for pitta are predominant in these three tastes and have a cooling, post-digestive effect.
Foods to avoid:
Foods to favor:
Understanding food in terms of taste and energetics makes it easier to choose the right diet for summer. And besides what you eat, keep in mind that it’s how you eat that matters too.
Make lunch your biggest meal of the day to satiate pitta, and try to eat in a calm and settled atmosphere. This kind of mindful nourishment is aligned with nature’s rhythms and helps to prevent heat-related imbalances.
Chopra, Deepak. The Path to Love. New York: Harmony Books, 1997.
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