Summertime Cooking Tips

Cooling Herbs and Spices:

One easy way to prepare Pitta-pacifying foods is to add cooling spices and herbs to your foods and drinks. During the next hot months:

Add more: Anice, cardamom, coriander, cilantro, fennel, fenugreek, licorice, mint and turmeric. Simply adding mint leaves to your drinking water can provide a cooling influence.

Avoid heating spices: Cayenne, garlic, chilies and black pepper.

These are obviously general tips. Individualized recommendations for your specific state of balance and imbalance can be given to you by an Ayurveda expert in your area.


Ghee: The Perfect Summer Cooking Oil

Although most oils increase Pitta, ghee (clarified butter) has the unique property of stimulating digestion and cooling Pitta at the same time. Ghee is a cherished in Ayurveda as a nutritional food for all body types. Ghee does not burn at high temperatures, so it works great as a cooking oil.

Sweet Lassi

Although yogurt is a sour food that you’ll want to avoid in summer, when blended with water and sweetener, it becomes a healthy, cooling drink called lassi. Try this recipe for delicious sweet lassi:

3 parts room-temperature, pure water

1 part freshly-made yogurt. (The fresher the yogure, the less Pitta it will have)

Raw sugar or honey or stevia to taste

Rose water to taste

Pinch of freshly ground cardamom powder

Pour ingredients into a blender and mix thoroughly

Coconut Water

Coconut water is a great thirst quencher that comes with a long list of health benefits. High in fiber, it aids in the prevention of indigestion. Coconut water contains five essential electrolytes present in the human body: potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and sodium. This makes coconut water an excellent choice for rehydrating after exercise. Coconut’s amazing ability to rehydrate was recognized in WWII, where coconut water was actually used for blood transfusions in remote Pacific outposts.

Coconut water has a soothing anti-inflammatory effect in our digestive system. Its creamy quality helps soothe inflamed mucosal membranes throughout our entire digestive tract.

Try adding some raw sugar, lime and a pinch of cardamom to coconut water for a refreshing summer drink.

The Ayurveda Approach to Migraine, Tension and Cluster Headache Pain


Ayurveda complements the modern medical approach to migraine, cluster and tension headaches by introducing subtle techniques for determining the root imbalance at the basis of headaches and providing natural approaches to removing those imbalances.

There is a general agreement as to what physiological changes in the brain create headache pain. In every case there must be some stimulation of the pain sensitive structures in the head. Stimulation of these pain centers is usually created by a dilation or constriction of blood vessel walls that aggravate nerve endings in the pain sensitive areas. It is less clear to modern medicine as to why certain stimuli like estrogen fluctuation, barometric pressure change, light, insomnia and hunger trigger these intense headaches.

Ayurveda can often provide individuals with a new perspective on what is causing their headache through the technique of pulse assessment. An expert in Ayurveda pulse assessment can determine which divisions of biological intelligence have become imbalanced. Ayurveda describes how it is these imbalances in the inner intelligence of the body that prevent the natural self-repair processes from removing the physical sources of migraines and other headaches.

Pulse assessment will provide an understanding of the degree to which mental stress and a build-up of toxins may be contributing to the episodes of headaches. In this way the root causes of vascular fluctuations in the brain can be more precisely pinpointed.

Let’s look at the two approaches to dealing with headaches: modern medicine and Ayurveda.


The modern medical approach uses different sets of drugs to help prevent headaches from occurring, to stop them once they have occurred and to reduce the pain of an ongoing headache.

While those in the throes of an attack may well welcome the quick relief offered by drugs, there are limitations to this approach. Drug based approaches may not be completely effective at removing headache pain, they can all have some side effects and none of them permanently remove the primary physiological imbalances that predispose an individual to headaches in the first place.


The vascular changes in the brain at the basis of headache pain are often created by nervous system instability. Excess vascular wall dilation and constriction occurs due to an inappropriate response from the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. Ultimately it is the imbalanced performance of these divisions of the nervous system that creates the experience of headache pain.

Ayurveda calls the principle of biological intelligence that controls nervous system activity Vata. By assessing the extent and location of Vata imbalance within the body, an Ayurveda expert is able to offered targeted natural recommendation to address the root imbalances in Vata and nervous system disfunction. Because Vata is the most commonly disturbed principle within the body, there is a great wealth of recommendations within Ayurvedic medicine to help restore Vata’s proper functioning.


Certain foods increase the activity of Vata and others decrease Vata activity. By eating Vata balancing foods and avoiding Vata aggravating foods, individuals can gain a powerful dietary approach to reducing imbalances at the basis of headache symptoms.

Detoxification and Purification

Toxin accumulation in nervous system tissue can aggravate and sensitize those tissues to pain.

Impurities can also block channels of circulation and elimination, which prevents nutrients from nourishing nerve tissues and waste from being eliminated. Adjusting one’s diet to avoid foods prone to being poorly digested or which can compromise the digestive process and improving elimination are important first steps.

A key part of the program to address migraine headaches at The Raj Ayurveda Health Center is Panchakarma, the traditional detoxification and purification treatments of Ayurveda. Panchakarma is a powerful tool for removing imbalances and the basis of migraine and headaches. The multi-modality approach works by:

1) loosening impurities from where they have been deeply embedded in the tissues

2) liquefying the impurities so that they may be more easily eliminated and

3) opening the channels of circulation, thereby supporting natural cleansing processes.

The goal of Panchakarma is to draw out of tissues the chemical impurities that are unbalancing Vata and clogging circulation.

Oil Massage

Herbalized oil massage is especially helpful in balancing Vata and eliminating impurities. Daily home massage provides a deeply soothing and balancing effect to the entire nervous system.

Stress Management

Many individuals experience that headaches are often worsened by heightened stress, anxiety and mental fatigue. This is due to hormonal changes and other biochemical responses to stress that can aggravate the nervous system, create pain and depress resistance. A vicious cycle can also be triggered wherein the sleep disturbance that can be created by headaches increases fatigue and thus one’s susceptibility to stress, which can lead to more headaches. The Raj recommends the Transcendental Meditation technique (TM) to help remove the stress component of migraine and headache. Research shows that TM creates virtually the opposite physiological response that stress does and helps the body recover more quickly from stressful stimulus. There are published articles on the effectiveness of TM practice for both pain relief and insomnia.

Lifestyle and Daily Routine

One of the most important factors for balancing Vata and keeping the natural cleansing processes strong is to have a lifestyle that does not disturb natural bodily rhythms. When we eat, sleep and exercise in constantly fluctuating and disturbing patterns, the body looses its natural balancing cycles and cannot cleanse or heal itself properly. Therefore regularity in daily routine can be extremely important for reducing headache symptoms.

For more information on programs that address migraines and other headaches or to schedule a consultation with an Ayurveda expert, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Center

Healthy Tips for Summer

As the official beginning of summer is approaching, temperatures are already heading upwards. The lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer can be a delight if we stay cool. According to Ayurveda, sizzling summer weather can cause Pitta dosha—the metabolic principle that governs health and metabolism—to increase in our body. Heat rashes, ulcers, acid indigestion, irritability and anger are just a few problems caused by too much Pitta.

Try these tips to beat the heat and feel your best during the Pitta season, which lasts from June to October.


Eat More:

Cool foods and drinks. (But avoid ice-cold or carbonated drinks, as these inhibit digestion, which tends to grow weaker in the summer.)

Fresh, organic foods and pure water.

Sweet foods such as milk, cream, wheat products, rice, sweet and ripe fruits, and sweeteners like raw sugar (in moderation).

Astringent (dry) foods such as beans, split mung dal, broccoli, cauliflower, apples, pears, and pomegranates.

Bitter foods such as romaine lettuce, endive, spinach and other leafy greens.

Eat Less

Oily, heavy foods.

Eat less food in general. You’ll likely find that your digestion naturally slows down in warm weather, to counter the rising heat of the environment. You’ll feel healthier if you eat lighter during the summer months.

Sour foods, such as yogurt, sour milk, cheese, tomatoes, vinegar and sour grapes.

Pungent (hot) foods, such as chili pepper, salsa, cayenne, ginger, onions and garlic.

Salty foods.



Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.

Opt for light colored, natural fabrics like cotton and linen.

Stay hydrated! Room temperature drinks are ideal. Pure water, tepid herbal teas and coconut water will help refresh the entire physiology.

Keep the temperature cool when you are indoors.

Take it easy in the summer. It is the season to relax and enjoy nature’s beauty.

Avoid the mid-day sun. Evening walks are highly recommended.

Enjoy cooling aroma oils such as lavender, sandalwood, and rose.


Over-exercise. You’ll want to choose milder exercise and avoid getting overheated. Cooling sports like swimming are ideal.

Sunbathe for long periods. The noonday sun can be damaging during the summer months.

Avoid caffeinated drinks. Caffeine is both stimulating and dehydrating.

Consider switching to coconut oil for your morning massage. Coconut oil is cooling by nature.

Remember, these are general tips that address the basic principle of reducing Pitta dosha in the summer months. Consider getting an Ayurveda consultation in order to receive individualized recommendations that address your specific imbalances and concerns.

Common Scents — Improving Health with Aroma Therapy

The aroma of cinnamon rolls in the oven, the smell of cut grass on a summer’s day, the fragrance of a apple blossoms…depending on your body type, each of these aromas will have a different effect on your body. Just as each dosha responds to a different taste, they also respond to different smells.

Vata is pacified by warm, sweet, sour aromas, such as basil, orange, rose geranium, clove and other spices.

Pitta is pacified by sweet, cool aromas, such as sandalwood, rose, mint, cinnamon and jasmine.

Kapha is pacified by warm, spicy aromas, such as juniper, eucalyptus, camphor, clove and marjoram.

Because smelling directly affects the hypothalamus (the gland responsible for regulating such processes as thirst, hunger, blood sugar levels, growth, sleeping, walking, and emotions), it has a powerful effect on the entire mind/body system.

You may have noticed that smelling a certain aroma can trigger a long-forgotten memory or emotion. This is because aroma directly affects the brain’s limbic system (which directly processes emotions) and the hippocampus (a part of the brain that stores memory).

At The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa, specific aroma oils are used during certain Panchakarma Treatments treatments.  During the Heart Pichu, for example, aroma oil is used to help people become more settled and to sooth any emotional purification.

Aroma oils are also a part of The Raj’s new anti-cellulite treatment, Beautiful Body. Here the essential oils are warming and help to improve circulation, increase metabolism, and stimulate the lymphatic system.

Maharishi Aroma Therapy can also be taken as its own separate treatment. A range of VedAroma essential oils are selected by a consultant, based on one’s particular balance of doshas and on specific areas of the physiology that need to be strengthened and supported.

Ayurveda has identified aroma oils that help balance both the doshas and subdoshas. Using the ancient technique of pulse assessment, an Ayurveda expert can identify imbalances on these subtle levels of the physiology and advise which aroma oils would best support balanced health. Aroma oils can help address a wide range of issues such as regulating sleep, emotions, headaches, aches and pains, digestion, etc.

Aroma recommendations are often a part of the Going-Home-Program given to Raj guests at the end of their stay, to continue their progress at home.

For those traveling, Vata-pacifying aromas are helpful for all body types. A small dab of Vata aroma oil, or basil or rose geranium oil on a cotton ball tucked into your airline seat can help smooth the jangles of air travel. Aroma diffusers for the car are a great boon on long trips.

For more information on Ayurveda consultations and on Vedaroma treatments at The Raj, Ayurveda Health Spa visit our website at