Summer can be reminiscent of barbecues and picnics consisting of burgers, hot dogs, potato salad, and beer – all which tend to have heavy qualities. In Ayurveda, Summer is recognized as Pitta season when the elements of Fire and Water are more dominant. Summer is actually meant to be a naturally cleansing time if focused on eating seasonally.
Pitta Season invites us to rest in the shade, swim and spend quality time with loved ones. What can happen is filling up our schedules, excess travel, and perhaps partaking in spicy margaritas, spicy food and hot yoga classes. Two guiding principles of Ayurveda are ‘like increases like’, and ‘opposites create balance’. Because summer is hot, oily, and sharp, we want to hone in on the opposite qualities of cold, dry and smooth in our foods and activities.
Pittas are the do-ers. They are action-oriented. They have a 1 day, 4 week, 6 month, 5 year plan. Pittas are organized with a big drive to get things done and done well. They glow and radiate when they’re doing something they’re passionate about and it’s infectious. They are courageous and brave, and walk with purpose.
Pittas can tend toward perfectionism because they want things done a certain way and may have a difficult time saying no and taking some rest. They pride themselves on their work and could tend toward burn-out with all that fire. Remember Pittas, there will always be another task on the to-do list, so it’s brave to pause, rest and play.
Ayurveda teaches us that switching up the foods in your diet during the seasonal transitions is essential to living well. Your body should naturally be craving cooling, cleansing foods such as cherries, strawberries, peaches, mangos, spinach, lettuce, and cucumber. Notice what’s growing in your community by supporting your local CSA or community garden. It’s ok to have raw foods during this time if it feels right for your digestive system because the food is cooked by the sun, like tomatoes right off the vine.
Look to incorporate sweet, bitter and astringent tasting foods to your diet: think leafy greens like lettuce, swiss chard, kale, and water-based fruits and vegetables like zucchini, grapes and bell peppers. Spices and foods like dill, fennel, cilantro, cardamom, and coriander are Pitta balancing powerhouses. We love to use our traditional ghee as ghee has a cooling quality and therefore helps to balance out heat and acidity that might build up in our bodies. Heat your spices in ghee to enhance their properties before adding to your meals.
It’s important to allow yourself to pause in the summer and focus on maintaining your cool; think about how animals rest in the summertime. Find a shady spot, gaze at the water, hydrate, take more pause and rest during the peak heat of the day between the hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
What are some of your go-to practices for Pitta Season? Let us know in the comments!