In the hot, sticky days of summer it is natural to think of ice cream and cold drinks. It is also natural to opt for salads and raw vegetables to avoid cooking over a hot stove. But these habits can lead to poor digestion and a build-up of ama that could make one susceptible to allergies in August and September and cause fatigue and lethargy. Remember, when the outside temperature is hot, our own internal fire diminishes, and with it, our ability to digest food.
(Raw fruit is fine to eat: Ayurveda considers ripe fruit to be “cooked” by the sun. Sweet, ripe fruits that are not high in acids are best in the summer months.)
Avoid iced drinks and food, especially with a meal. Slightly steaming your vegetables will allow you to pull more nutrients from your food. Eating raw vegetables requires a robust digestive fire.
And, of course, follow the traditional Ayurveda recommendations for balancing Pitta: favor foods that are cooling and liquid. Minimize foods that are spicy. Increase tastes that are sweet, bitter, or astringent. Minimize foods that are spicy, salty or sour.
Asparagus and/or Carrots with Lemon-Herb Sauce
Steam your chosen amount of asparagus and/or carrots to a “fork friendly” quality. This means a little more cooked than “al dente” but not mushy. Then pour the following lemon-herb sauce over the vegetables.
(Increase recipe for larger amounts of vegetables)
Juice one lemon
I pinch of salt
1 tablespoon honey (Use unheated honey only — remember that heating honey makes it toxic. Check the label on your honey to make sure it says “unheated”.)
Put in blender with a few leaves of fresh basil and mint. Puree until smooth.
Try this easy, Pitta-pacifying dessert:
Poached Peaches with Berry Coulee
Blanch peaches in boiling water. Remove skins. Blend raspberries and strawberries until smooth. You can add sugar or honey to the berries before you blend them, per your own taste. Spoon the mixture over the poached peaches. Garnish with mint leaf.