Summer is a beautiful season. Our days are longer, the ocean warms up and fresh organic produce is in extra abundance. We generally feel more laid back and relaxed about everything in life, including our yoga practice and daily routines.
With summer-time, sun-drenched, salty-hair-bliss and a new schedule of festivals, gatherings, family get-togethers and road trips, comes a temporary change in our food and lifestyle routine. Alongside this festive social calendar, it’s important to remember to listen to your body. Your mind and body love routine, even if you are a free-spirited wild adventurer who thrives on spontaneity and the unknown. Establishing some regularity with your meal times and daily rituals can go a long way.
One of the most basic yet profound principles of Ayurveda is that to stay balanced in mind, body and spirit, we must be able to adapt to the changing seasonal environment. To stay cool, balanced and full of energy this joy-filled festive season, here are four simple Ayurvedic kitchen tips. Add them to your daily diet and ensure you are glowing with good digestion all summer long.
- Stay hydrated
Water is essential for our brain and body to function. During summer the heat of the environment can have a drying effect on our body and we lose fluids through our pores via sweat. Staying well hydrated during the day is essential for good digestion and will also keep your skin clear and radiant. The best way to make sure you’re drinking enough water is to:
- drink one or two large cups of warm water on an empty stomach to start the day.
- carry a water bottle with you so that quenching your thirst is only ever a few seconds away. (I recommend using an insulated water bottle so you can carry warm water with you. Drinking cold water requires more energy and slows down digestion.)
2. Add fresh coriander to your meals
Coriander is a summer super-food. Known in Ayurvedic medicine to remove excess heat from the body, coriander has a cooling, purifying effect on the blood. Add some freshly chopped coriander to your salads, soups and savoury meals for a delicious flavour and to cool you right down. (If you don’t like coriander, there are many other cooling foods you can eat such as fresh coconut water and flesh, leafy greens, cos lettuce, cucumber and aloe vera juice.)
3. Ayurvedic tips with spices
Spices have numerous health benefits when added to our cooking and are a huge part of building immunity and aiding digestion. Due to the potency of spices, however, it’s important to use them intelligently and in harmony with the season. During summer there is already a lot of heat in the environment. Keep your blood cool and your fire element (Pitta dosha) in balance by avoiding hot pungent spices including chilli, garlic, cayenne, mustard, nutmeg, excess salt and excess black pepper. Instead, choose more subtle spices to warm digestion such as fresh ginger, turmeric powder, cumin seeds, coriander seeds or powder, cardamon, fennel, cinnamon in moderation, and fresh herbs including basil, parsley, coriander and curry leaves.
4. Choose simple food combinations
Our digestive system loves simplicity. Every time we eat something our body has to produce specific enzymes and acids in the stomach to digest that particular food. During summer our body puts the majority of its energy into keeping us cool, which means there’s slightly less energy available for digestion. Nurture your digestion by keeping food combinations simple. Here are my top two food combining tips for glowing digestion:
- Eat your fruit by itself and at least 20 minutes before or after any other food. Avoid mixing dairy and fruit especially in smoothies or breakfast yoghurt. Opt for dairy-free milk and yoghurt such as coconut milk/yoghurt.
- Allow 20 minutes between eating and drinking to ensure you don’t dilute your digestive enzymes.
Enjoy a nourishing yummy summer, filled with connection, celebration and great digestion!