In This Article
Are you in the Southern Hemisphere? See the February Guide here.
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 the 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, the 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 cleanses 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 the risk of glycation: when sugars in the blood stick to proteins. Glycation has been linked to a host of health concerns.
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 the 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
- Balance Your Pitta This Summer
- Why You Should Eat Cherries This Summer
- 3 Ayurvedic Superfoods for Summer, Fall + Pitta Balancing
By Emma Frisch
From The Yoga Body Diet by Kristen Schultz Dollard + John Douillard
By Divya Alter
- Webinar: Applying Ayurvedic Principles to Italian Food, specifically Steamed Artichoke with Olive Tapenade
Prebiotics that Balance Pitta
Apples | Harvested Fall: Balances Pitta
Pectin, an active prebiotic, accounts for approximately 50% of an apple’s total fiber content. Pectin increases butyrate, the short-chain fatty acid that feeds the beneficial gut bacteria and decreases the population of harmful bacteria. It also supports a healthy lining of the intestinal wall.6
Apples are high in polyphenol antioxidants that support healthy fat metabolism and LDL cholesterol levels.7
Asparagus | Harvested Summer: Balances Pitta
Asparagus is rich in inulin, one of the more potent prebiotics. Asparagus, due to its high inulin levels and natural antioxidants, has been shown to promote friendly bacteria in the gut and support a healthy epithelial lining of the gut.8
Jicama Root | Harvested Fall: Balances Pitta (tropical)
Jicama root is low in calories and high in fiber, including the prebiotic fiber inulin. Jicama root helps improve digestive health, blood sugar, and immunity, due to its high vitamin C content.5
To see all prebiotic recommendations, read Nourish Your Microbiome: Seasonal Prebiotics for Your Ayurvedic Body Type.
Named after one of the highest states of consciousness (Brahman or God consciousness), Brahmi Brain (Centella asiatica) is one of the most powerful brain tonics in the Ayurvedic apothecary. 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.
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. Grab your copy of the 3 Season Diet book today.