Ayurveda: What You Should Eat During "Pitta" Season
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A couple of weeks ago, a yoga friend and yoga teacher got in touch with me to tell me that she will be stopping by Kyiv the next morning. Just coming back from a yoga retreat, she had proposed to meet at a vegetarian cafe in the city center. While surfing the net for a suitable vegetarian cafe, I stumbled upon an Ayurvedic center that houses both a yoga studio and a vegetarian cafe, serving fresh and tasty vegetarian food.
We met at the Ayurvedic center the next day and enjoyed a delicious vegetarian breakfast together while catching up discussing about all things yoga and food. At our breakfast table, I noticed a brochure on Ayurvedic nutrition and had particular food recommendations for “Pitta” season.
According to Ayurveda, the summer season falls under the control of “Pitta-dosha” which is a combination of two elements: water and fire.
From all five known elements – fire, water, wood, metal and earth – Ayurveda explains that only the element of fire has the capabilities to transform substances from one form to another. “Pitta”, which contains the element of fire, is thought to be like bile in our body and therefore also responsible for digestion. It is a fire of transformation, however not only of the food but of impressions as well. The balance of “Pitta” in our body depends on how well we absorb nutrients and also comprehend the essence of things.
Ayurvedic principles assert that it is important to learn how to control Pitta’ s fire component. Having too much fire may be detrimental to our body as it causes inflammation, heartburn and increased appetite. An excess of fire also affects the mind as fire means anger, irritability, and over-criticism. Balancing the fire element within us will encourage transformation on both a physical and mental level.
General nutrition recommendations for “Pitta” balancing
In Ayurveda, you can balance your Pitta-dosha by making alterations to your diet from the size of your meals to the various types of food you should include in your day to day nutrition. Here are some ideas:
- Eat lighter meals
- Utilize the theory of the 6 tastes
- Eat more seasonal fruits, vegetables, greens and berries
- Use herbs, oils, and spices that have a cooling effect
- Support your liver with detoxifying foods
- Add more turmeric to your meals
- Include coconut products to your menu as much as possible, be it in its oil, water, milk or paste form
- Don’t skip food meals
- Include cooling drinks
- Use supplements to calm down the mind, cleanse the blood and reduce inflammation.
Specific Food Recommendations
To help you better plan your meals, here are our specific food recommendations that will help you make informed choices!
All dairy products are good, especially goat’s milk. However, it is best to reduce the consumption of fermented milk products.
Most vegetables are good especially when consumed raw. To balance Pitta, it is best to limit the consumption of spinach, eggplant, radish, turnip, seaweed.
Apples, pears, plums, melons, prunes, grapes (excluding sour varieties), sweet cherries, sweet oranges, pineapples, apricots, dates, pomegranates, figs are best included in your diet. However, do try to avoid lemons, bananas, grapefruits.
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds can be eaten if enhanced protein nutrition is required.
All grains are beneficial but try to consume grains in moderation.
If you are craving for something sweet, raw honey is a great option!
Oil and butter
Use fresh sunflower oil, olive oil, and Ghee.
While spices make great additions to your food, use them in moderation. The best spices to balance Pitta is cardamom, turmeric, mint, cumin, fennel, coriander.
Unfortunately, it is best to avoid coffee. But you can substitute your daily caffeine needs with black or green tea. Other drinks to add to your diet include herbal teas, milk, and fruit juices as well as cold spring water.
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