Do you live in the Southern Hemisphere? You may need the Ayurvedic Diet for January instead.
ClimateIn terms of climate, July is a time of transition as the humidity of early summer gives way to the dryness of late summer. The month starts out hot and sweaty as June completes the 'melting' process started in spring, flushing all remnants of winter 'dampness'. Your body then switches from an internal pattern of dampness to dryness over the course of July so that by August you may feel parched. The temperature tops out mid month and then as soon as it starts to drop, you may feel like you are shriveling up into a prune.
Altogether, July is the height of Pitta season therefore it is best to favor a Pitta balancing diet. As the sun blazes, eat cooling foods that reduce inflammation and easy to digest foods. Sharp, hot and pungent foods like ferments and most spices should be avoided. It's tempting to celebrate at social events with alcohol, but ferments like alcohol sharply increase pitta and could create hot tempers. Instead, make watermelon or pomegranate juice your celebratory drink.
PsychologyJuly is footloose and fancy free. Aside from the intense heat, relaxing feels natural. The kids are out of school, work slows down, gardens boom and social events abound. It's a good month to put daunting tasks on hold and enjoy the warm weather while it lasts. While you may feel invincible, the body is actually tender this time of year. Resist the urge to overdo it, to avoid feeling cranky and spent. Instead, break out your hammock, a good book, and relax while you enjoy some summer reading. Book that trip you've been wanting to take. You've earned it. This is the time of year to reward yourself for all your hard work and recharge your batteries.
As July is a time of year in which Pitta predominates, Pitta type emotions like anger and jealousy might arise. One of the best ways to pacify Pitta is with relaxation, luxury, time out in the fresh air and cooling foods and herbs - all the more reason to take a vacation!
July in Your BodyYour body becomes easily dehydrated and lethargic due to July's intense heat. Stay juicy with moderate use of salt and a generous intake of fluids. Cucumber and watermelon replenish electrolytes and cool down your body however they are also diuretics. While they cleanse Pitta from your body in early July, their diuretic nature could also dry you out by late July. Towards the end of July however, peaches and grapes should replace these fruits. These sweeter fruits nourish the body's juice (rasa dhatu). Favor food with a gel like consistency (demulcents) like okra, tapioca and chia seeds. These are naturally soothing as they coat and protect parched tissues in late July.
RoutineWith so much heat, the heart is beating fast, creating a tendency to become ungrounded this time of year. Vacations increase mobility and knock you off your routine, so choose gentle excursions. Skipping a meal to keep playing may seem like a good idea in the moment, but can lead to impatience and irritability. Eating on time and favoring foods to keep you rooted will ensure you'll stay balanced and enjoyable to be around. If your loved ones seem extra argumentative or hot tempered, sweet taste can pacify their Pitta and restore grace.
Treat yourself daily to the refreshing decadence of rose hydrosol spray. Allow its romantic aroma to provide a refreshing reprieve - interrupting summer impatience, anger, and road rage with its cooling mist! Keep a bottle in the glove box of your car, your purse, your hiking backpack and your bathroom counter for a moment of peaceful cool. It's great for spraying on your sunburned skin or summer rashes, or even to cool off mentally, emotionally, and physically in the midst of a boiling summer afternoon. It is a wonderful toner for all skin types, and makes a practical and suitable body splash, anti-anxiety spray, deodorant and room freshener. Roses are not only pacifying to Pitta, but an aphrodisiac with embedded roots dating back thousands of years.
If your mind is racing and summer nights are sleepless, the heat may have disturbed your electrolyte balance. Restore calm by replenishing electrolytes and keeping hydrated. After a long day in the sun, rub down with Pitta massage oil before bed - a sure fire way to calm your mind, calm your senses, soothe your skin and promote sound sleep. Moon bathing is a beautiful way to reduce Pitta and completely cool and refresh your mind.
With all the activity and sweating, your body also needs extra nourishment. But, digestion is weak due to the heat and dehydration. You'll naturally crave lighter foods like raw salads during the day. Fruit smoothies are perfect for daytime because they are hydrating, sweet and easy to digest. Later, with the cool breeze of night-time, you'll be ravenous and ready for heartier portions.
Diet for JulyAs July is a month of transition, the diet for July changes rapidly from early to late July. An early July diet is similar to the June diet while a late July diet is similar to an August diet. The transition time varies by client and climate, but it will be close to mid month.
Even though the sun rides high in the sky, digestive fire in the body is actually lowest in July. It's therefore best to eat light and easy to digest foods. Favor simple, easy to digest carbs like white rice (brown may be too heavy), quinoa and millet. Tapioca's demulcency provides soothing relief from the relentless heat. Starchy vegetables like sweet potato, yam, carrots, jicama, and taro all fill you up without weighing you down. Lighter proteins such as fish, egg whites, tofu and tempeh are best for summer.
Astringent is the most pacifying taste for Pitta. Astringent foods are great in the beginning of the month when it's still humid. Legumes like green beans, snap peas, bean sprouts and mung daal reduce swelling and water retention. Salads and raw foods are ideal for mid-day summer heat because they are refreshing, light and astringent. This is the one time of year where everyone can enjoy the cool refreshment these foods deliver. You might notice an aversion, or at least an indifference to astringents by late July as the air dries out. Sour astringents like pomegranate and cranberry are still helpful even in late July, since they reduce Pitta while at the same time moisturize.
Beat the heat by favoring bitter taste and cooling foods. Bitters should be slightly sweet, nourishing, or demulcent such as aloe vera, lime and iceberg lettuce. Favor refrigerants foods and herbs like cilantro, cucumber, coconut, pomegranate and jicama. Refrigerants are herbs that have cooling properties, making you feel cool and relaxed amidst the blazing heat. Delight in the refreshment of our popular cucumber and coconut cooler.
Melons such as watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew are also especially cooling and refreshing. They take center stage on July's menu. Blend them with aloe vera into a soothing summer smoothie. Combine with pomegranate and lime for a revitalizing mocktail. Puree them with cucumber and mint for a healthy dessert option. Tropical fruits like kiwi, papaya, figs and banana provide rejuvenating sweet taste when sweating. Plums and raisins boost your immunity with an abundance of antioxidants.
The garden harvests of zucchini, yellow squash, okra and sweet peas are ideal easy to digest, cooling vegetables to brighten your meal. Cauliflower adds a lightening crunch to your plate - grill it or try our new vegan cauliflower hot wings recipe. Cook with kale and chard and add sweet, cooling iceberg lettuce to your salads.
Small amounts of sugar are ok this time of year as they work to pacify Pitta. Lassis are a nice after meal treat to boost digestion, but avoid heavy dairies like cheese - especially mid day. Opt for cooling nuts such as coconut, cashew and peeled almonds to provide substance to your meals. Use only cooling oils like ghee, coconut and sunflower in your cooking. Minimize spices this time of year as Pitta is already high. Instead favor cooling digestives like fennel, cardamom, cilantro and salt. Generally avoid ferments which are heating.
HerbsDemulcent and cooling herbs like licorice, vidari, shatavari and marshmallow root are ideal for late July as humidity leaves the air. Licorice is especially useful in that it tonifies the liver and relaxes the eyes which can become strained in the bright summer sun. Anantamul is a top herb choice for July that clears pitta from the circulatory, urinary and reproductive system. Kaishore Guggulu also purifies the blood and tonifies and protects the liver. Hibiscus clears excess heat from the body, cleans the blood, promotes healthy hair growth and refreshes the skin - supporting a healthy complexion.
Treat yourself to all the Pitta pacifying essentials with our Pitta Self Healing Kit. The kit includes some of our favorite products to keep Pitta in balance as well as a lecture - perfect for downloading onto your phone and listening to on the beach! You'll also get a recipe book filled with recipes selected specially for you.
July is a time to focus on the soothing the liver and reducing Pitta. Amalaki is an ideal Pitta balancing herb whose cooling nature soothes inflammation. Liver nourish and support tonifies the liver, cleanses the blood and acts as a cholagogue to stimulate the release of bile and the heat that goes along with it. Brahmi allows you to feel calm and clear. It rejuvenates mental function supporting a healthy brain and nervous system. Avipattikar churna stimulates weakened summer digestion without overheating you. Soothe Inflamed Intestines tea relieves irritated bowels and calms inflammation in the digestive tract.
Liver & Lymph Cleanse Tea contains bitter herbs such as manjistha, and guduchi balance Pitta dosha. Manjistha is the quintessential blood purifier of Ayurveda serving to rejuvenate the skin. Guduchi restores the liver and is balancing to all 3 doshas.
ConclusionWhatever your pleasure for summer time fun, take heed of the heat. Eat right to keep cool and ensure you'll be able to maximize your days in the sun.
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About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.
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Happy summer. Can you please suggest a couple of smoothies for Kapha for hot humid NC weather --- just one thing --- ordinary ingredients i can get at grocery store, garden or curb market? Thanks! I have plenty of digestive issues probably IBSD
Green smoothies are great for Kapha. As are these from our website: Banana apple smoothie with ginger and apple lime smoothie with ginger and cardamom. If you look under the tab "Eat Ayurvedically" and choose "Kapha Balancing" you will find all of our Kapha balancing meal and drink suggestions.