Because summer is pitta season, your primary focus in the summer months will naturally be to keep pitta under control, but you’ll want to have a close eye on supporting healthy vata by countering excessive lightness, dryness, sharp intensity, subtlety, and mobility as well.
Foods to Favor
Focus on eating summer foods that are good for both vata and pitta: apples, coconut, dates, figs, melons, prunes and soaked raisins, asparagus, cucumbers, green beans, cooked leeks, okra, parsnips, sweet potatoes, summer squash, zucchini, kidney beans, mung beans, soft cheeses, cottage cheese, cow’s or goat’s milk, yogurt, amaranth, cooked oats, quinoa, white rice, and wheat.1 If you enjoy salad or raw vegetables, consider a lightly sautéed salad, blanched vegetables, and lubricate your greens with a generous amount of olive oil, sunflower oil, or ghee. Also consider some mild spices like fresh ginger, cardamom, clove, coriander, cumin, and turmeric to keep your digestive fire healthy.
Acceptable Seasonal Indulgences
Sweets are cooling, nourishing and calming to both vata and pitta, so this is a good time of year to indulge your sweet tooth, in moderation. Creamy sweets are especially balancing to both vata and pitta, but be careful not to disturb the digestive fire with too much cold or frozen food.
Foods to Minimize
Do your best minimize foods that aggravate both of your primary doshas like sour apples, cranberries, persimmons, raw carrots, corn, eggplant, raw onions, radishes, millet, and rye.1 Otherwise, the most valuable thing you can do for yourself is to cultivate awareness around your eating habits and learn to notice the effect that various foods have on you. Listen to your body and be on the lookout for signs of excess heat (acidity, diarrhea, sour taste, rashes) and excess dryness (gas, bloating, or constipation).
Your challenge during the summer months is to stay cool and relaxed. This is a great time of year to spend time in nature, and even though your vata may love the sun, try to enjoy the outdoors at cooler times of day, when the atmosphere softens the sun’s intensity. Favor pitta-pacifying exercise with a vata-protecting attitude of grace and love, being careful not to go too hard or too fast. For yoga, a traditional pitta-pacifying routine followed by a long shavasana would be ideal. Don’t over-commit yourself and take plenty of down time to replenish after you’ve been going strong. Manage stress with contemplative practices or pranayama and make time for fun and play in your busy and driven life.
1 Lad, Vasant. Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing. The Ayurvedic Press, 2006. 232-238.