To stay healthy and radiant this season and to balance the intensity of summer requires mindful, intuitive adaptation, says Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science of health. Choosing foods that are sweet, bitter, and astringent—i.e. fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits that help our body to naturally cleanse itself from the inside out—is key, as is engaging in calming behaviors such as gentle yoga and meditation to soothe and nourish the body and mind.
If you would like to feel more peach-like than prune-like in a few months, here are some simple and delicious Ayurvedic recipes to inspire you toward more equilibrium this summer.
Warm foods are considered easy to digest in Ayurveda and can be a boon in the summer when our body’s digestive fire calms down slightly in order to compensate for the intensity of the sun’s heat. I like having this chia pudding on the warm-ish side, but you may also have it cool if you prefer, on a hot day. The chia is great for helping to move a sluggish digestive system and cardamom is good for too much heat in the body. It makes a great breakfast, snack, or dessert and is vegan and gluten free.
¼ cup chia seeds
½ cup hot water
1–1 1/2 cup almond milk (I prefer to use homemade almond milk, but if you are using store-bought try The New Barn’s, which is closest to homemade)
1–2 tsp raw honey or maple syrup
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
½ tsp cardamom powder or cardamom seeds ground finely into a powder
1 tsp coconut butter
This warm salad calls for grated beetroot and either fresh or dried turmeric powder, lightly sautéed with coconut and spices that add both taste and nourishment. Both beetroot and turmeric are cooling and cleansing, while the coconut adds flavor and a sweet taste that calms and cools. This recipe is gluten free and can be vegan if you omit the yogurt. Serves 2–4.
2 cups diced beetroot
¼ cup finely chopped turmeric or ½ tsp turmeric powder (be sure to taste some raw turmeric first to see if you like the taste)
Cilantro leaves to garnish
1 tsp coconut oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
2–3 curry leaves
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 tsp salt (Himalayan salt)
This is a cooling and refreshing thirst quencher that is ideal on a hot summer day. Drink cool but not cold to keep your digestive fires easeful. Vegan and gluten free.
2 organic limes
1 organic lemon
8 cups water
Handful of fresh basil leaves
* These recipes are my creations and adaptations but I have had many sources to refer to, including my mother, my grandmother, the KARE Ayurvedic Center in Pune, India, and the extensive Indian vegetarian cookbook Lord Krishna’s Cuisine by Yamuna Devi.
Photos by Insiya Rasiwala-Finn