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Living through summer gracefully: Grishma ritucharya.



Have you observed that each person has a preferred time of the year, much like a plant that blooms in a particular season? Based on their unique dosha profiles, individuals may experience seasons differently. The three doshas - Vata, Pitta, and Kapha - vary in their amounts in each person, making us distinct from one another. Ayurveda has been celebrating individuality long before the modern body-positive movement.


As a philosophy, Ayurveda focuses on aligning humans with their immediate environment naturally. Even if we choose to sit in an air-conditioned room with the sun blocked out, it's impossible to escape the seasonal effects.


Ayurveda advocates for living in harmony inside out as the simplest way to maintain good health. The Ritu Charya, a chapter on seasonal regimens in Ayurvedic texts, outlines how one can adapt their lifestyle, diet, and leisure activities based on the seasons.


Grishma: During summer the sun's rays become stronger each day. It depletes the Kapha and increases the Vata dosha. Resorting to food and lifestyle that is inherently warm and heats up the system should be avoided. salty, sour, and spicy foods, strenuous exercises, and exposure to sunlight should be avoided.


Foods that are inherently sweet (not artificially sweetened), rich in natural oils and fats, and cooling soft and watery are advised. eg. Milk, Sattu, etc.


This article attempts to help you determine the best of the following based on your Prakriti.


Vata Dominant Prakriti: Vata dominant individuals have thin, wiry, lanky bodies. They tell the best jokes or are the target of them. They put on weight with difficulty and when they do, they carry it in a pouch on their abdomen. Their skin tends to be dry, they have dry eyes and hair. They are intolerant to cold. Summer is quite naturally their favorite season. They are spacey, creative, and sometimes dreamy. They like to think things through, sometimes overthink, and suffer quick exhaustion.

If you are,

  • Diseased

  • Travel frequently

  • Older than 65 years,

  • have lost a significant (more than 10 kgs in 3 months) amount of weight recently

  • Feel constantly exerted and tired,

You may not naturally be a Vata-Prakriti but should follow a Vata balancing diet, because it may be your vikruti.


Pitta Dominant Prakriti: Pitta dominant individuals have a medium build and are often muscular. They have warm skin and undertone-reddish or yellowish. They may also have a physiology that denotes high heat in the body. Possess quick wit. keen digestion and a fiery temperament are characteristics of a pitta individual. They may suffer from Hyperacidity and have loose bowels. The face is bright, and radiant with rosacea or acne.


If you are suffering from,

  • Heat and exhaustion

  • Short menstrual cycles and excessive bleeding

  • Frequent Hyperacidity

  • Skipping meals, sleeping for less than 6 hours.

  • Stressed, with anger issues,

You should follow a Pitta-balancing diet because it may be your Vikruti.


Kapha Dominant Prakriti: They have big bodies that are often chubby. These are calm individuals and like to do things at their own pace. They have long thick hair, moist cool skin, and a bluish or whitish undertone. They find losing weight difficult but seem to function normally even at a higher BMI. Psychologically, they are complacent and sometimes sluggish. They are naturally traditional. Kaphas particularly despise summer. It is against their very nature of calm and coolness.

If you,

  • Indulge in a regular day of sleeping

  • Eat heavy, congestive food

  • Are overweight

  • Spend your day in air-conditioned (very cool) spaces.

  • Have metabolic disorders like Hypothyroidism, PCOS, or type 2 Diabetes,

Again, you may not be a Kapha-dominant individual but may have Kapha vikruti. Thus having a kapha-balancing diet can be beneficial.



You can have Single dosha dominance or dual dosha dominance. Rarely are some individuals endowed with a prakriti that's a perfect balance of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.


Diet for summer, based on each dosha dominance in Prakriti :

​Food groups

Vata

Pitta

Kapha

Grains

​Rice

Wheat Wheat + Jowar

​Rice

Barley + Wheat

Barley

Oats

Jowar

Barley + Wheat

Barley

Dark coloured/ nonwhite rice

Oats

Jowar

Ragi

Fats

Ghee Butter Sesame oil Castor oil Ground nut oil

Ghee Butter Coconut oil Sunflower oil Ground nut oil

Ghee Safflower oil Sunflower oil Mustard oil

Sesame oil

Pulses and Legumes


Tur (Pigeon pea) Kulitha (Horse gram) Udad (Black gram)


Moong

Cow pea

Masura

Tur (pigeon pea)

Chana (Bengal gram)

Moth (Mat bean)

Kapha-dominant Individuals digest all kinds of legumes and pulses well. However, its use should be limited during high summer.

Spices and condiments

​Jeera (cumin seeds) Hingu (Asafoetida) Salt-in moderation Maricha (Black pepper) Shunthi (Dry ginger) Pippali ( Long pepper)

Cane sugar

Elaichi (Cardamom)

Dalchini (Cinnamon)

Tej Patta (Bay leaf)

Maricha (Black Pepper)

Jeera (Cumin seeds)

Saunf (Fennel seeds)

Palm sugar

Mishri (Sugar Candy)

​Jeera (cumin seeds) Hingu (Asafoetida) Maricha (Black pepper) Shunthi (Dry ginger) Pippali ( Long pepper)

Lavnaga (Clove)

Cane sugar - In moderation

Drinks and accompaniments

Shrikhand (Rasala)

Aam Panna

Lemonade

Kanji (Ganji)

Takra (Buttermilk)

Imli Panna

Shrikhand (Rasala) Sharkarodaka (Recipe Below) Dhaniya Panna (Recipe below)

Takra (buttermilk)

Kanji (Ganji)

Jali (Recipe below)

Vegetables

All seasonal vegetables are good except beans. Beans can increase Vata.

All seasonal vegetables

All seasonal vegetables

Fruits

Avoid all fruits with milk, including mangoes.

Mango Melons Ripe Jackfruit Banana

Bael

Kapittha (Wood apple)

Pomegranate

Mulberry

Grapes

Melons should be eaten with their seeds

Citrus fruits should be avoided or eaten minimally

Mango: Drink warm milk with ghee after 30 minutes of consuming mangoes.

Bael

Jamun

Mangoes : Drink warm milk with dry ginger powder after 30 minutes of consuming mangoes.

Mouth Freshener

Dill seeds

Linseed

Clove

Hing (Asafoetida) goli

Tamarind candy

Anar (pomegranate) dana

Fennel Seeds

Cardamom

Paan (betel leaf) and Gulkand (Rose jam)



Areca nut

Clove

Jeera (Cumin seeds)

Ajwain (carom seeds)

Paan (betel leaf) and Choona (Slaked lime)


​Asana and Exercises

Mild bodyweight exercise and weight training.

Asana that are slow paced and include raising the legs up is beneficial (e.g. Sarvangasana)

​Competitive workouts should be avoided during summer. The focus should be on building strength.

Chandra-namaskar are beneficial

Light aerobic workouts.

Walks during dusk and dawn.

Gatyamak Yogasana.


End note:

This dietary advice is for healthy individuals who do not suffer from metabolic or chronic diseases. In case you suffer from chronic or metabolic diseases, it is good to consult an Ayurvedic expert. A tailor-made diet plan suitable for each season will help you live through them gracefully. It's summertime, stay healthy and you can stretch right up and touch the sky.


Unconventional but ayurvedic summertime drinks:

Sharkarodaka:

Mishri dissolved in water and spiced with cardamom, clove, camphor, and black pepper.

It relieves thirst, increases strength, and is cooling. It specifically balances Pitta and Vata dosha.


Dhaniya Panna:

Coriander powder soaked and filtered in cool water. Mixed with sugar, and camphor.

This drink balances Pitta dosha, relieving heat and thirst.


Jali:

Raw mango is ground to a paste and mixed with powders of Mustard seeds, Salt, and Asafoetida. This is then mixed with water to make a drink

It helps improve taste, cleanses the throat, and kindles digestion.


General dont's for summer :
  • Intense workouts

  • Venturing out in the summer sun

  • Frequent coitus

  • Strong/hard alcohol


2 Comments


Tanvi patel
Tanvi patel
Apr 17, 2023

Informative and well concised , looking forward for more.😀

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Dr. Zeel Gandhi
Dr. Zeel Gandhi
Jun 22, 2023
Replying to

Thank you !

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Hi I am Dr. Zeel Gandhi

My calling in life is to democratize Ayurveda because all of us are entitled to be the best versions of ourselves. Tip-top metabolism, super strength, lush hair, shiny skin, and blissful mental health – Ayurveda is so simple to employ but deeply transforming.

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