Summer Eating: Tips and Recipes


There is more heat, humidity, and sunlight in the summer. So what does this mean for our internal body? During summer there is naturally a greater presence of fire and water (Pitta dosha), and its associated qualities including hot, sharp, penetrating, light, liquid, and oily. An excess of these qualities can lead to rashes, acne, burning eyes, rosacea, hot flashes, heavy sweating, hyperacidity, diarrhea, headaches, indigestion, heart burn etc. While mitigating severe heat imbalances requires a detailed personal consultation, there are some basic foods that everyone can incorporate to stay cooler. Luckily nature provides us with most of those foods during the summertime!

Which foods heat the body?

  • Eating hot, spicy, or oily foods including tomatoes, citrus fruits, peppers, onions, garlic, hot sauces, and more
  • Drinking coffee or alcohol

How can we pacify the additional heat that summer brings?

  1. Favor cooling, hydrating, sweet, bitter, and astringent foods in the summer. Sweet foods include most grains, maple syrup, milk, and licorice. Bitter foods include aloe vera, dandelion root, sandalwood, turmeric root, bitter melon. Astringent foods include pomegranate, green beans, peas, okra, alfalfa sprouts, most raw vegetables, goldenseal, neem, chickpeas. Cooling drinks such as coconut water, limeade or hibiscus tea are helpful.
  2. Avoid coffee and alcohol. If you enjoy alcohol, favor something more cooling like beer (especially IPA), punch, or white wine
  3. Avoid prolonged sun exposure. Favor early morning or late evening sun and wear a hat if you must be in the midday sun.


Hibiscus Cooler

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ginger
  • ½ cup dried hibiscus
  • Maple syrup
  • Bring water to a boil.
  • Add cinnamon, ginger, and hibiscus.
  • Cover and reduce heat to low.
  • Let simmer 10 minutes.
  • Strain and serve, sweeten with 1 tsp maple syrup per cup or to taste.

Cucumber Pumpkin Seed Salad


  • 5 cups chopped cucumberCucumber on White
  • 1 cup shredded carrot

Dressing (makes ~ 1 cup)

  • ½ bunch cilantro (1/2- 1cup chopped)
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ½ tsp rock salt
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp coriander
  • 2 ½ Tbsp lime juice (fresh)
  • 2 Tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1-2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • Pepper to taste


  • Combine ingredients together and shake.  You can also blend all ingredients together for a creamier dressing.

Fresh Cilantro Sauce: Great on rice, salad, just about anything! This was a favorite while we were in Ayurvedic school.

  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantrocilantro
  • 1 date, pitted
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 2-3 Tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 Tbsp organic yogurt (substitute coconut milk if pitta is high, or goat cheese if kapha is high)
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper


  • Step 1: Put all the ingredients except the salt and pepper in a blender.  Blend until smooth.
  • Step 2: Pulse in salt and pepper.


5 Practices for Summer Pregnancy


The summertime, especially down in Texas, is hot and sunny. While this can make for some fun days of swimming at the river with the kiddos, it can also make for some uncomfortably hot days, especially for mamas in the midst of summer pregnancy. According to Ayurveda, the fire and water elements naturally increase in our environment during the summer. This means that the hot, sharp, light, mobile and oily qualities can rise in our bodies leading excess internal heat. When heat moves into unwanted areas we can experience rashes, headaches, heartburn, burning eyes, indigestion, hyperacidity, and many other inflammatory conditions. These imbalances annoy anyone, but especially pregnant mamas in the summer.  Luckily from an Ayurvedic perspective, there are some basic practices that can help most people to stay cool during the summer. DSCN5865 1) Eat sweet and cooling foods (avoid hot, oily, spicy foods): Healthy grains, rice, milks, fresh fruits, fresh coconut, split yellow mung beans, dates, soaked or blanched peeled almonds, warm steamed greens, sesame seeds and ghee in moderation. All of these foods are cooling, and excellent for pregnant women in the summer.

2) Shitali/Sitkari Pranayama: Excellent cooling breath for anyone wanting to cool down, but especially pregnant mamas. Be sure to be gentle with any pr?n?yama during pregnancy, and reduce the amount of breaths to between 1 and 3 (instead of the normal 10-12).

A dear colleague and fabulous yoga therapist Genevieve Yellin of Sundara Yoga Therapy gives wonderful instructions for these two breathing exercises:

Shitali: Lower the chin slightly. Curl the tongue and begin to draw the air in through the straw of the tongue. As your draw air in, slowly lift your child toward the ceiling. Do not drop your head back, the goal is to open the throat. Close your mouth at completion of the inhalation to wet the tongue. Exhale slowly though the nostrils as you lower your chin. Make the exhalation longer than the inhalation.

Sitkari: Draw the upper and lower teeth close together, but not touching. Place the tongue just behind the teeth and “flattened.” Draw the lips back and wide to exposure all the teeth. Draw air in through the teeth and slowly lift your chin toward the ceiling. Do not drop your head back, the goal is to open the throat. Close your mouth at completion of the inhalation to wet the tongue. Exhale slowly through the nostrils as you lower your chin. Make the exhalation longer than the inhalation.


3) Stay Hydrated:  Water, water with fresh squeezed lime (lime is cooling while lemon is heating), coconut water, and cooling herbal infusions are excellent. Cooling herbal infusions ca include a homemade blend of Raspberry leaf, Nettle, and Oatstraw.  For infusions, boil 1 cup of water to 1 Tablespoon of herbal mixture). Pour water over herb and steep for 30-60 minutes. Yogi Tea also has a wonderful “Women’s Mother to Be” blend. The herbs above are cooling, and nourishing for pregnant mommas in the summer.

P10101394) Coconut Oil Abhyanga for 2nd or 3rd trimesters of pregnancy (& anytime during preconception or postpartum): Follow directions outlined in our abhyanga post, but DON'T massage the oil in deeply, simply spread over the skin the way your would a lotion. *Avoid if there is any sign that pregnancyis threatened, and also avoid during the first trimester.


5) Stay out of the sun between 10am and 2pm: The fire element is strongest between 10 andsummer_feet 2 (and arguably until 4pm in the southwest!). In the summer, pregnant moms should stay inside and rest and relax during these hours.