Welcome to July!
Summer is here! Let’s reconnect to this lovely time and take advantage of what it has to offer.
Stay Cool, Calm + Hydrated
Nature’s super cooling foods are harvested during summer to move excess heat out of the body.
This gift of extra fruits and veggies is nature’s antidote to hot and dry weather.
You may notice an abundance of fruits and vegetables on the grocery shelves or at your local farmer’s markets—these are naturally cooling, cleansing, and supportive to the blood, skin, and liver. Emphasize greens as they abound in early summer, as do berries and cherries. The super sweet fruits tend to ripen at the end of summer as part of nature’s end-of-summer cool-and-prepare-for-winter plan.
Remember that starchy foods likes grains, pasta, beets, carrots, and potatoes won’t be fully in-season until late summer, so for now, hit the non-starchy veggies.
July Seasonal Eating Tips
EAT MORE: Asparagus, lettuces, chards, parsley, baby kale, cilantro, leafy greens, and herbs like mint.
To stay satiated, eat fatty foods like avocados, seeds, nuts (like coconut, pumpkin, and sunflower), eggs, raw cheeses (in moderation), and fatty fish like salmon and sardines.
Staying cool, calm, and hydrated is key. Sip cool or room temperate water with cucumber slices, make coriander tea, drink coconut water, and eat early summer ripe fruits.
Other cooling summer teas: chicory, dandelion, mint.
My Favorite Early Summer Food: Cherries
During late spring and early summer, berries and cherries are harvested.
Both are loaded with powerful antioxidants best known in Ayurveda as lymph movers.
Cherries are the last chance of the season to capitalize on these potent lymph-moving antioxidants.
While the benefits of sweet cherries are noteworthy, it’s tart cherries that are truly the lymph’s best friend this time of year. You can find them at your local farmers market or in the frozen section of your grocery store. Organic is best, of course!
Tart cherries are loaded with phenolic compounds, anthocyanins, and other nutrients in much greater quantities than sweet cherries.
Compelling research supports the benefits of cherries. Studies suggest that, due to their superior phenolic and anthocyanin content, tart cherries may help reduce the risk of joint, muscular, cardiovascular, weight, and blood sugar concerns, as well as issues relating to memory and cognitive function.
We RecommendWhy You Should Eat Cherries In The Summer
Ayurveda says fruit should be eaten alone for optimal digestion and health.
During the summer, digestion is a little lighter, allowing you to enjoy fruit as a full meal. Experiment with this by having fruits (alone) for breakfast and see how long it will last you.
We RecommendFruit: Ayurvedic Food Combining Guidelines
During the summer, care for both inner and outer skin is critical. Here are a couple of my favorite herbs to take during hot, dry months:
Neem is Ayurveda’s most powerful support for healthy inner and outer skin. Cooling for pitta, neem is harvested in spring and eaten all the way through October.
Neem is a boon for skin from several angles. Internally, neem cleanses protective skin of the gut wall and works to restore balance to the microbe populations living on both the inner and outer skin.
Neem oil also acts as a natural bug repellent, but always mix it will a carrier oil such as coconut. Do not use on broken skin.
Via its cooling and rejuvenating properties, brahmi supports energy and mental clarity while simultaneously encouraging deep, restful sleep.
Famous as a tonic for nerve and brain cells, cerebral circulation, memory, intestinal health, and sleep, brahmi is revered as one of the most powerful and spiritual herbs in Ayurveda.
Amalaki, also known as Indian Gooseberry, is a small fruit from the amla tree. Although the amla fruit ripens in the winter and spring and not much in the summer, it is still an effective early summer berry that can deliver many benefits for the summer months, such as delivering needed vitamin C, supporting healthy intestinal lining, and protecting the body’s good fats from oxidative damage.
Amalaki may be most well-known for its support of antioxidant activity and healthy skin via the encouragement of collagen and elastin production.
In this way, amalaki supports not only health of outer skin, but also inner skin that lines the gut, respiratory tract, and mucous membranes.
Avoid exercise in the midday sun. Read up on nose-breathing exercise to keep cool.
In your diet and exercise regimen, you might notice some aggravated pitta, which will manifest as lethargy, extra acid production, irritability, impatience, heartburn, stomach irritation, sensitivity to heat, emotional or irrational behavior, anger, skin irritation, and even blood sugar highs and lows.
3 Summer Tastes
Eat more foods that are Sweet, Bitter, Astringent / Cold, Heavy, Oily, such as salads, steamed vegetables, fruit, and coconut oil.
Eat less foods that are Pungent (Spicy), Sour, Salty / Hot, Light, Dry, such as coffee, chips and salsa, and spicy foods.
All foods marked with an asterisk on the Summer Grocery List are summer superfoods. Eat more of them!
Reduce or avoid the following if you have a strong pitta constitution:
- Spicy foods
- Red meat
- Yogurt or cheese
- Fermented foods (i.e. pickles, sauerkraut, soy)
It’s important to be mindful that our digestive fire is weaker in the summer, and thus we will have a harder time digesting heavy, fatty, and rich foods. Think twice before indulging in barbecued ribs, milkshakes, breads, and cheeses, as these winter foods are a challenge to digest.
Nature is cooking fruits and veggies on the vine all summer long, so the need to turn on a big furnace of digestive acid to cook foods is unnecessary.
Please print out our free Summer Grocery List. It’s simple: just circle the foods on that list that you like and give yourself permission to eat more of them.
Do your best to get:
- 50% veggies
- 25% protein
- 25% starch
For brain, gut, and fat-burning benefits, have one teaspoon of coconut oil or ghee with each meal. Olive oil is beneficial to add to your vegetables and salads and is okay to cook with if you are certain your extra virgin olive oil is pure. My favorite is from small organic California farm Fandango.
Add very small amounts of ferments to each meal. Fermented foods are heating, so just a couple of olives will do the trick in summer. (Avoid if you have a strong pitta constitution.)
Travel Tips: Stay Healthy, Calm + Energized This Summer: While we all look forward to a summer vacation, many folks dread travel. From an Ayurvedic perspective, vata dosha (or air energy) can easily become disturbed from flying, change of routine, movement, or travel.
Benefits of Cilantro + Coriander in Summer: Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) is a summer delight that offers much more than just great taste to a summer salad or to top off a soup, kitchari, or gazpacho. Typically, cilantro is planted in late spring for some fresh late-summer herb. Coriander offers a digestive boost and acts as a refrigerant and thirst-quencher.
Amalaki: The Best Vitamin C Berry: Indian Gooseberry, also known as amla or amalaki, belongs to a group of herbs that, according to Ayurvedic texts, promote longevity, induce nourishment, and prevent the effects of aging. Today, modern science has been equally fascinated by what one study calls “the wonder berry,” which supports everything from digestion to elimination, immunity, and inner and outer skin health.
These fantastic recipes are gifted to us by the lovely Emma Frisch: cook, blogger, freelance food writer, and former farmer. She is Co-Founder and Director of Culinary Experience at Firelight Camps and was a 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.
All photos and recipes by Emma Frisch.
Zucchini Soufflé + Watercress Salad
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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, recipe ideas, and more to social using hashtag #3SeasonDiet.