The summer heat has hit, barbies are stoked and bathers are on, but be careful not to let the season burn you out! For lasting fun in the sun make simple lifestyle choices to stay cool, clear and calm all season long.
With hot temperatures and long bright days this season has a stimulating effect on our body and mind, making it a time of activity, expansion and lightness.
But we all know it’s possible to have too much of a good thing.
In summer time we’ve got to watch out for burn out from too many activities, digestive inflammation or irritable bowels, as well as dryness and dehydration from excess heat.
So, while we sing our praises to the sun, for the Healthy Habits Summer Series we’ll also show you how to be mindful of food, attitudes and exercise to avoid summer burn-out and truly enjoy the season with simple Ayurvedic principles.
Ayurvedic Basics for Summer
Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India, focuses on finding balance between body and environment, and that’s why changing habits as the environment changes each season is so important.
Summertime is characterised by heat and dryness (even in humid climates because our body loses moisture through sweating).
Ayurveda focuses on finding balance through opposites and works to prevent excessive build up or imbalance of any one characteristic.
In summer we want to balance excessive heat with cooling, mellowing and relaxing activities, and avoid dryness with a hydrating diet and self-care practices.
Let’s start with what to eat!
A Healthy Summer Diet
Eat Light, Small Meals
In summer our bodies naturally crave easy to digest light foods and small meals because our metabolic fire is more dispersed throughout the body in order to keep it cool. If we overeat the digestive tract demands more blood flow and the body’s ability to cool itself slows down.
Enjoy Juicy Fresh Fruits and Veg
Keep the moisture up in your body with juicy fresh fruits abundant this time of year like apples, berries, avocados, zucchini, cucumbers, grapes, limes, celery, mangoes, melons, pineapples, plums and coconut.
Favor Sweet, Bitter and Astringent Tastes
These tastes are cooling and light – perfect for a summer diet! Find the sweet flavour in those juicy fruits, the bitter and astringent in fresh greens, asparagus, green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage and kale.
Delight in Sweet Dairy
While we avoid dairy in winter and spring to reduce mucus build up, this is the time of year to indulge in sweet dairy products like milk, cottage cheese, fresh yogurt and the occasional ice cream (but be mindful to keep sugar intake down).
Minimise Heating Vegetables and Spices
Try to avoid extremely spice foods like chilies or cayenne pepper and don’t overdo heating vegetables and spices like ginger, garlic, onion, mustard seeds, beets, radishes and carrots.
Cooling Drinks without Ice
Infuse your water and drinks with cooling herbs like mint, fennel, licorice root or rose and add a squeeze of lime but avoid ice as it disturbs digestion.
Healthy habits in action
- Replace drying crackers and crisps with cooling and hydrating celery sticks.
- Keep your fruit bowl full of juicy fruits and even add them to your salads.
- Make a big jug of herb-infused water and keep in your fridge to encourage more water consumption.
Include the kids
Keep the kids hydrated with watermelon and lime smoothies, lots of cucumbers in their lunch boxes and snacks like celery with nut butter.