Welcome to August!
In the heat of the summer, especially if you have a pitta body type, your body will potentially overheat or dry out.
Scientists call this thermal accumulation: the tendency for the earth, along with its inhabitants, to heat up during the second half of summer. Around mid-August, you may begin to feel accumulation of this inner heat.
Heat in your body rises, which can result in dry skin; sensitive, irritated, and dried-out sinuses; or looser stools. In Ayurveda, this is known as upward-moving vata.
You may notice your sinuses beginning to run. Creating reactive mucus is a response to dryness. You may experience looser stools, the body’s response to heat. Your intestinal villi might be irritated.
This month, particularly, is an important time to not let the heat take over and dry you out. Take this seriously.
If you don’t get rid of the heat now, it will turn to dryness and you may suffer this winter. Going from hot/dry this summer to cold/dry in the winter will leave you susceptible to the perfect breeding ground for undesirable, opportunistic bacteria.
What to Do about Summer Heat?
Especially if you missed the cleansing train this spring, summer heat can bake heavy winter fare onto the intestinal wall, turning it into hardened mucoid material.
You can mitigate this by eating cooling fruits and vegetables, along with some whole grains from the summer harvest. They have specific microbes we need during the summer, and will help dissipate heat, protect intestinal mucosa, and prevent irritation and reactive mucus.
Digestive acid reduces in the summer as a way to avoid overheating, resulting in weaker digestion and reduced ability to properly digest heavier foods. If you indulge in popular summer foods, such as burgers, fried chicken, barbequed wings, french fries, chips, pizza, and ice cream, here are some things to remember:
Enjoy these foods as a larger midday meal, when digestion is stronger, rather than in the evening or late at night when digestive fire is less efficient.
Yes, it is okay to eat some harder-to-digest foods in the summer. Just do your best to eat smaller portions of the barbecue and much larger portions of the salad, fruits, and veggies.
Look at our Summer Grocery List, which offers suggestions on how to limit heat-increasing (pitta) foods and increase heat-reducing foods. Circle foods you like and make a point to eat more of them. Luckily, foods harvested in summer are very easy to digest and don’t require a big furnace to be properly cooked and, therefore, digested.
Think What can I eat more of? rather than What can I not eat?
Is a Summer Cleanse Out of the Question?
No, not at all. Although we are not in a seasonal transition, summer is a time many of us have the time to rest and take care of ourselves. Short cleanses, like our free Short Home Cleanse our new five-day Kaya Kalpa Cleanse (for advanced cleansers) are perfect for summer to help reset fat burning, detox, and weight loss. Also, with time to retreat and rest during a summer cleanse, the opportunity to shed old unwanted emotions couldn’t be greater.
So if you have the downtime, summer may be an ideal cleansing window for you!
I always say the best time for a cleanse is when you have time to rest.
Your Summer Plate
I challenge all of you to eat a ridiculous amount of summer vegetables this month. This is what your plate should consist of:
- 1/2 veggies (fresh, raw, or lightly steamed)
- 1/4 protein
- 1/4 starch
We want to eat foods off the vine, which have already been cooked by the sun. We don’t want to have to cook them once we eat them.
Easy-to-digest summer fruits and veggies from the garden, farmer’s markets, and CSAs are in such abundance: take advantage!
Start of Grain Season
According to Ayurveda, grains are cooling and harvested at the end of summer and into fall. In small amounts, they are fine as part of your August diet.
In certain areas of the northern hemisphere, cooling grains, like wheat, barley, millet, oats, and rice, are being harvested.
I suggest you eat the majority of these starches at breakfast and lunch, as these are times when your digestion is strongest.
Excess grains, starches, or sweets at night can raise morning blood sugar and increase risk of glycation: when sugars in the blood stick to proteins. Glycation has been linked to a host of health concerns.
We RecommendProtect Your Skin From Glycation
As we move into September and October, we will see the harvest change again, allowing for more grain, which I will discuss next month.
Want to get a head start? Read my book Eat Wheat and learn how to safely reintroduce wheat and dairy back into your diet.
Vitamin D Needs
Are you getting enough sun exposure this summer to optimize your vitamin D3 levels?
Remember, UVB rays, even in summer, are only strong during midday hours. Morning and evening sun rays, while delightful, carry very little UVB or vitamin D3-making rays.
To get adequate vitamin D3 in the summer, we need about 10-15 mins of direct midday sun three to four days a week, without sun protection (sunscreen). Sunscreen blocks UVB vitamin D-making rays.
If you avoid sun and don’t supplement with 2,000-6,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day, your immune system may be subpar, and your intestinal villa and mucosa are at risk for drying out.
Ingesting vitamin D, even during summer, is a good idea. That way it absorbs directly into the intestinal mucosa.
Seasonal Grocery List
When we adjust diet and lifestyle to match the season, health-promoting digestive microbes dramatically change. Summer microbes support balanced immunity, digestion, mood, energy, blood sugar, weight, sleep, and much more.
Summer is also associated with the qualities of pitta: hot, light, and dry. To stay balanced, focus on foods and activities that are cool, moist, heavy, and oily. Experiment with flavors and enjoy!
Superfoods for Your Body Type: Summer Edition: Long days of summer provide more hours to eat ourselves into balance . . . or out of balance. Understanding importance of summer fare and following certain digestive guidelines are key for a healthy fall and winter. In this article, I list my top preventive tips as well as my favorite summer foods. Let’s reap the benefits that summer was originally meant to bring!
Balance Your Pitta This Summer: Do the words burnt out, hot-headed, fired up, irritable, rageful, angry, or rash sound like anyone you know?
All of these reflect imbalances caused by excess heat in the body. Ayurveda calls this heat pitta.
Why You Should Eat Cherries This Summer: Bright, hot days of summer are upon us. What better way to beat the heat than with nature’s bounty: cherries!
I think of cherries as half berry and half fruit – the last berry of spring and first fruit of summer.
These fantastic recipes are gifted to us by Emma Frisch: cook, blogger, freelance food writer, and former farmer. She is Co-Founder and Director of Culinary Experience at Firelight Camps and top finalist on Food Network Star, Season 10. Emma’s recipes fall right in place with the rest of our diet and seasonal eating recommendations.
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Introduce yourself to your new community! Let us and your fellow challengers know why you’re looking forward to the next year of living and eating with the seasons. Post inspiration, photos, recipes, and more to social using hashtag #3SeasonDiet.
Not signed up for the 3-Season Diet Challenge yet? Do so here.