When I first started to learn about Ayurveda, my teacher read my pulse and asked me a series of questions to determine my constitution. When she told me my constitution and began to describe to me what it meant, I felt like all my traits, emotions and symptoms finally made sense. It gave me a whole new understanding of who I am and how to take care of myself. This newfound framework, transformed my life and my health. Now every time I’m feeling a little off, I look at my symptoms through the lens of Ayurveda and adjust my diet and lifestyle accordingly. Understanding my constitution has been incredibly empowering. If you don’t know your constitution, seek out a certified Ayurvedic practitioner or you can begin to learn more here.
Listening to my body and responding accordingly means different things at different times, but more often than not, during the summer, it means pacifying Pitta.
So, what exactly is Pitta? Pitta is the energy of transformation made up of fire and water. Pitta is at its peak during the summer months and between 10-2 (am/pm). Pitta people are typically of medium, athletic build with hazel, green or brown eyes, yellowish or reddish skin, a sharp voice, straight hair, good organization, concentration and drive, active dreams, and a strong appetite. When out of balance, Pitta manifests physically as rashes, hives, acne, diarrhea, heartburn, acid reflux, ulcers, inflammation, headaches (especially behind the eyes) and poor eyesight. A Pitta imbalance manifests mentally and emotionally as irritability, anger, judgment, impatience, perfectionism and criticism. Any of this sound familiar? If so, there’s a good chance you’ve got a fair amount of Pitta dosha in you.
As a child I struggled with nightmares, being overly competitive, loud and prone to anger. As a teenager I often got hives when sitting out in the sun. I got glasses in high school and struggled with acne. In college I developed headaches, acid reflux and heartburn. As you can see, I’m a pretty textbook example of what a Pitta imbalance looks like. Since learning about Ayurveda, most of my symptoms have subsided thanks to a Pitta pacifying diet and lifestyle. So, if you’re like me and can’t handle the heat, here are some tips and tricks to help you find balance too…
Pitta Pacifying Diet
-Eat regular meals (don’t skip meals and avoid fasting)
-Favor sweet, bitter and astringent tastes
-Favor cooling spices and herbs such as cumin, coriander, fennel, turmeric, cardamom, cilantro, and mint
-Favor cooling foods such as cucumber, watermelon, lime, avocado, coconut, pomegranate, barley, almonds, and ghee (you can find a full list of dosha specific dietary guidelines here)
-Avoid spicy, oily, salty and sour/acidic foods
-Avoid caffeine, alcohol, fermented foods and red meat
-Drink Watermelon Cilantro Limeade (wink wink)
Pitta Pacifying Lifestyle
-Create a solid routine, making time for self care and relaxation
-Daily abhyanga with coconut oil or untoasted sesame oil
-Moderate exercise in the morning or evening (avoid exercising during the heat of the day and over exhertion)
-Incorporate meditation and sitali breathing
-Avoid overly hot baths and showers
-Sandalwood and rose are good essential oils to calm Pitta
P.S. A huge thank you to everyone who nominated Tending the Table for the 2017 Saveur Blog Awards. I’m honored and thrilled to be a finalist in the Most-Inspired Weeknight Dinners category. Voting is open through September 6. If you value the recipes, photos and content here on the blog please take a moment to vote. These awards are a great opportunity for me to expand my audience which will allow me to continue to make a living bringing you the content you enjoy. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
*Be sure to follow me on Instagram and tag photos of my recipes with #tendingthetable.
Watermelon Cilantro Limeade
3 cups cubed watermelon
1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
juice from 2 limes
1 1/2 cups water
Lime wedges and cilantro sprigs to garnish
Combine everything in the container of a high speed blender and puree on high for 20-30 seconds. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, discarding the pulp. Serve over ice with a wedge of lime and cilantro sprigs.