May brings a wave of excitement as the feeling of summer is in the air. Picnics, barbeques, and trips to the beach fill the weekend schedule as sunnier skies start to draw you outside. While the warmer weather is a welcome relief for many, it’s not all fun and games for everyone. The mounting heat of May may leave you feeling more irritable, agitated, and quick to anger. So what can you do to keep yourself cool and calm before the sweltering summer sun hits?
In Ayurveda, each season brings with it a new set of diet and lifestyle guidelines to keep you balanced year round. Instead of waiting for the scorching summer to burn you out, check out these top tips to help you transition gracefully into Pitta season. By starting to slowly adapt some of these cooling techniques into your routine, you will be better able to adjust to the rising heat that’s on the way!
Adjust your Diet
Eating seasonally is one of the best ways to ensure year round energy and vitality with Ayurveda. As you prepare to move into summer, it’s time to check in on your diet and see if it needs to be adapted to the hotter months ahead. Summer is all about introducing sweet and juicy fruits, like mango, grapes, and pineapple. The heavy root vegetables of winter are replaced with light, cooling vegetables such as cucumbers, kale, and green beans. Meat is generally eaten in moderation in warmer month, particularly the more difficult to digest meats like beef and pork.
At the Holistic Highway, we have taken all the guesswork out of eating seasonally for you. In our customized Ayurveda Meal Plan, you can transition your diet with ease each season. This meal plan is unique as it is completely personalized to your individual body type. To get started, take our Modern Dosha Quiz to discover your metabolic body type and learn what foods work best for you.
Keep Digestion Strong
Keeping digestion strong throughout the year is the most important aspect of caring for your health in Ayurveda. When digestion is strong, you are able to fully break down, absorb, and assimilate all of the nutrients in your food, fueling your body. When digestion is weak, food can sit undigested in the GI tract and start to ferment, creating gas, bloating, and a build up of undigested food toxins (ama). These toxins are the root cause of many diseases from brain fog to arthritis, so caring for digestion is of paramount importance.
The trick as summer approaches is to support digestion without overheating the body. Many digestive herbs and spices are hot, pungent, and may overheat or irritate your digestive tract during the warmer months of the year. Instead, favor mild, slightly cooling digestives that will gently stoke digestion. One of the most popular options in Ayurveda is CCF Tea. This combination of cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds has been long revered to support digestion while also clearing excess heat and reducing inflammation. This tea also helps gently flush digestive toxins (ama) from the GI tract too. When cooking, consider adding cardamom and fennel seeds to your meals, with a garnish of cilantro. These herbs and spices will support digestion without heating you up.
With the heat of the summer on the way, there is no time like the present to check in on your water consumption. How many times have you been working at your desk or running around doing chores and suddenly realize you haven’t had a glass of water for hours, and be left with a parched tongue? It is surprisingly easy to miss your daily water intake, however, it is absolutely essential to nip this bad habit in the bud before summer arrives. Without doing so, you’ll be more prone to dehydration, headaches, and fatigue in the heat.
Ayurveda has some useful tips and tricks on how to get the most from your water to ensure you are well hydrated. Firstly, room temperature or warm water is favored, and cold or iced water from the fridge should be avoided. Cold water weakens digestive strength, even as tempting as it is with the warmer weather. Adding a pinch of mineral salt and a squeeze of lime to your water will further enhance digestive strength, and it is also cooling and refreshing! Coconut water is another wonderful source to replenish electrolyte stores and keep you well hydrated. Lots of supermarkets sell fresh coconuts – a wonderful option to make yourself a refreshing summer “mocktail” or one of these cooling tonics for your next backyard barbecue.
Protect your Skin
Your skin is your biggest organ, and it needs TLC year round. However, the summer brings its own set of challenges for skin care. Make sure to protect your skin daily with a good quality SPF and do your best to avoid the midday heat when the sun is at its strongest. After your time in the sun, replenish your skin with an Ayurvedic self-massage called abhyanga. This is something you can perform daily in the lead up to summer and throughout the warmer months, preferably with coconut oil.
Another tool to make sure to have in your summer skin care kit is aloe vera gel. This is another soothing option to care for your skin after a day in the sun. Aloe vera is well known for its abilities to heal the skin, particularly if you’ve gotten a little sunburned. You may notice your eyes become more easily fatigued in summer. Refresh them each morning with some rosewater to brighten your mood and lift your energy levels for the day ahead.
Keep Calm and Do Yoga
With the rising heat, you may notice that tempers start to flare. If you are stressed, overworking, or quick to anger, make the effort to carve out some time for yourself each day. Even just 20 minutes in the morning can be enough to set yourself up for the day ahead. Spend this time with no technology and no to do list. Simply give your mind the break it deserves with either a short meditation, or by practicing some easy morning yoga. We have put together the perfect cooling sequence that will help you through this transition and keep you feeling calm and content throughout your day.
Make your bedroom a cooling sanctuary before the summer months. It’s impossible to get a good night sleep if you are hot and bothered and lay awake tossing and turning. This may mean purchasing some blackout blinds so you can have deep, uninterrupted sleep. You may also need to swap to a lighter blanket, or even just a sheet to ensure you stay cool overnight. Remove all technology from your room, and make it a peaceful haven for refreshing sleep.
If you would like to learn other ways to improve your health with Ayurveda, sign up for a complimentary consultation today.