Early fall is a transitional stage, as we move from the height of summer’s heat to cooler weather. In Ayurveda, the change from summer to fall is known as Ritu Sandhi, the gap between seasons. This gap can present a delicate time for digestion, because the weather fluctuates—along with the doshas and digestive capacity.
By the end of summer, Pitta dosha (heat) may have accumulated in your body, causing impurities that could lead to imbalances during cooler months if they’re not cleared out. And, if you’ve eaten a lot of cool foods over the summer, Vata dosha (coolness, dryness) may have built up as well.
For these reasons, this transitional period is an ideal time to gently cleanse and nurture your body. Here are seven easy, Ayurvedic ways to stay balanced during late summer.
1. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
When heat and dryness accumulate outdoors and inside your body, it’s important to keep pushing fluids and stay hydrated. Be sure to up your daily intake of pure water. Drink cooling fruit juices—especially freshly squeezed or juiced!—which help to replenish your electrolytes. For a sweet and cooling rose lassi (digestive yogurt drink), blend ¼ C yogurt with ¾ C water and a tablespoon of Organic Rose Petal Spread. Roses are particularly cooling to both mind and body.
Frizzy or dry hair from too much time at the beach or pool? Tending to your scalp will not only leave your locks looking better, it will also relax you and promote a sounder sleep. Before bed, try a gentle scalp massage using 1-2 tablespoons of lightly warmed organic coconut, almond, or olive oil with a drop or two of high-quality rosemary, rose, jasmine, or lavender aroma oils. The scalp massage and oil will nourish your hair, relax your body, and stimulate circulation. Leave the oil on overnight if you can, or at least for an hour or two. Then, gently rinse with an herbal shampoo. Tip: Do this once a week, or two to three times a week and see the difference!
During this period, favor lighter, warmer foods and skip heavier foods if you find them harder to digest. Salads; cool, summery soups; and sweet, juicy fruits are great choices—as opposed to salty, roasted nuts, which increase heat in the body. Meats, leftovers, processed foods, heavy carbs, and junk foods are generally harder to digest. Check out our Pitta-Pacifying diet for sweet, bitter and astringent-tasting foods that can help increase your digestive power without heating your body.
Need a bit of dining inspiration for those lazy, hazy days? Visit your local farmers market for a colorful array of fresh, inviting produce to tempt your palate and pacify Pitta (fresh figs, grapes, berries, leafy greens, artichokes, cucumbers, kale, and green beans, anyone?). For some fun new menu ideas, try these colorful, cooling Ayurvedic dishes:
- Green Papaya Tossed in Apple-Mint Sauce
- Panir Squares Dressed with Fresh Mango-Pomegranate Purée
- Tangy Grape Compote
- Coconut Pudding
5. Use Digestive Herbs, Spices… & Salt
The dog days of summer (a.k.a. late summer) can often be the hottest time of the year. You might notice you feel a bit lazy or lethargic—and your digestion will likely follow suit. Rather than reaching for the spicy Sriracha sauce, opt for Pitta-pacifying spices that also promote healthy digestion. Think: fennel, coriander, fenugreek, rosemary, basil, cardamom, parsley, and cilantro. You’ll probably want to use fresh ginger, cumin, and black pepper in smaller amounts during this period. Last but not least: make sure you’re getting enough salt if you’re out there sweating under the summer sun.
During summer, excess toxins can build up in your liver, leading to sensitive skin, emotional irritability, and digestive upset. Elim-Tox-O helps balance and strengthen the liver while gently removing toxins, and it’s particularly helpful for people with Pitta body types. Elim-Tox is another powerful formula, but it shouldn’t be used by Pitta-predominant types. If you’re experiencing constipation, it can lead to excess heat build-up in the tissues; Herbal Cleanse uses cabbage rose and fennel to clear toxins from the colon and bowel without heating the body in the process.
Organic Premium Amla Berry (also known as Amalaki, Indian Gooseberry) is an excellent supplement for staying vital and energetic during summer’s hottest. It’s unique in that it enhances absorption and assimilation by strengthening all thirteen digestive fires (agni) without increasing acidity. In fact, it actually has a balancing effect on stomach acidity and other Pitta-related digestive disorders. Organic Premium Amla Berry also fortifies and stimulates the liver, helping to remove toxins by keeping the elimination system regular and supporting the urinary system. Last but not least, this antioxidant immunity-enhancer is an excellent source of Vitamin C and supports the muscles, eyes, skin, brain, heart, and lungs (to name just a few).
Stay cool, and enjoy those last, lingering days of summer!