Ayurvedic Diet & Digestion School
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Do you live in the Southern Hemisphere? You may need the Ayurvedic Diet for January instead.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Bitter herbs such as manjistha, bhringaraj, and guduchi balance Pitta dosha. Manjistha is the quintessential blood purifier of Ayurveda serving to rejuvenate the skin. Bhringaraj is a light yet nourishing herb that nourishes fluids, calms the liver and eyes and supports the nervous system. Guduchi restores the liver and is balancing to all 3 doshas.
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. His online course Balance Your Ayurvedic Diet in a Week provides tools for gracefully healing with Ayurveda to thousands. 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.