One of the delights of summer is the joyful abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables tumbling off the grocery shelves. According to Ayurveda, sweet fruits and bitter greens help pacify the pitta dosha. According to the scientific community (and our own common sense) fruits and veggies also help protect us from falling ill.
A recent international research study conducted by the University of Adelaide found that people who consumed a diet high in fruit, vegetables, and whole grains had a lower risk of developing a host of chronic health woes, including anemia, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, arthritis, hepatitis, coronary heart disease, asthma, stroke, bone fractures, and cancer. The study found that a high intake of fruit was associated with a lower risk of developing any chronic disease, while a high intake of vegetables may help people with one chronic disease avoid developing a second. Here are some delightful pitta-pacifying recipes to try this summer!
Cooling Mint Tea
1 cup fresh peppermint leaves
1 quart boiling water
1 quart room temperature water
2 teaspoons sweetener
Pour the quart of boiling water over the mint leaves. Cover and let steep for 20 minutes. Strain the tea into a pitcher or glass jar. Add a sweetener. If you are adding honey, make sure the water has cooled down first. This is a great drink for aiding digestion. Drink at room temperature for maximum assimilation. Remember that iced and chilled drinks dampen our digestive fires, making it difficult to properly digest our food.
Asparagus and/or carrots with lemon-herb sauce
Steam your chosen amounts of asparagus and/or carrots to the point where they are “fork-friendly.” This means a little less firm than al dente but not soft or mushy. Then pour the following lemon-herb sauce over the vegetables.
Lemon-Herb Sauce: Juice one lemon. Add a pinch of salt and 1 tablespoon of honey (use only unheated honey). Mix together in a blender with a few leaves of fresh basil and mint. Puree until smooth.
This side dish goes well with dhal, rice, curries, and other Indian dishes.
Combine in a mixing bowl:
1 cup fresh yogurt
¼ cup cucumber, peeled and diced finely
1 tablespoon ginger root, peeled and grated
¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro (the leaves of the coriander plant)
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
salt to taste
If your lawn is full of dandelions, stop complaining and start picking! Dandelions are one of the most nutrient-dense plants you can eat. Their leaves, when young and tender, have a slightly bitter taste like that of arugula. The older the plant, the more bitter the greens. Before you start picking, be sure that the yard in which the dandelions are growing has not been treated with toxic chemicals.
1 cup dandelion greens, washed and dried
8 large leaves of butter lettuce, washed and dried
½ cup feta cheese or goat cheese, chopped or crumbled
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 cup olive oil
sweetener to taste (just a bit is needed)
1 tomato chopped
fresh ground black pepper to taste
Boiling the dandelion greens is better for older, larger leaves as it removes their bitterness. You may even want to boil older, tougher greens twice. If so, boil once for 2 minutes; then, drain and boil again for 2 minutes.
For information on consultations with Ayurveda experts or to take a dosha quiz and discover your individual mind/body type, visit us at our clinic or online.
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease.