Charlotte Jernigan is our resident Ayurveda expert at Natural Epicurean.
Chef Charlotte is a Lead Ayurveda Chef Instructor and a Certified Ayurveda Practitioner with the National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA).
She studied Ayurveda, Sanskrit and Jyotish at Mount Madonna Center in California and the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Botany from the University of Texas.
If you are following a Kapha/Winter-Spring eating plan for cardiovascular or lung health, cleansing, weight-loss or metabolic syndrome, how do you adjust for the hot, humid weather of summer to avoid aggravating inflammatory tendencies and Pitta Dosha?
Dietary Guideline for Kapha-Pitta Summer Eating
Both Kapha and Pitta can benefit from a lighter diet. Plant-based eating, where protein is acquired across a wide variety of less concentrated, high-fiber sources, fits very well in this scenario, the key being vegetables and fresh herbs galore! Fill in your healthy summer vegetable diet with moderate portions of foods containing essential fatty acids plus fruits, whole grains, and legumes.
The ancient reference texts of Ayurveda do not require vegetarian or vegan eating but, in modern times, there are many potential health benefits from reducing meat and dairy in the diet. For those who are not already using a vegan diet, the Kapha-Pitta combination can definitely benefit from eating more vegan meals and reducing or eliminating dairy, eggs, and meat as long as these changes suit your individual needs and nature. In consideration of a particular individual and their circumstances, some fish, especially freshwater fish and/or small portions of lighter meats may still be desired. This is especially true for those in transition to vegetarian or vegan eating where the body-mind complex is still adjusting.
What about taking things a step further to raw-vegan eating? This special diet can work for summer and Kapha-Pitta if there is an effort to also follow the natural laws that govern these biochemistries, as reviewed in the first installment of the series. It is important not to be seduced by too many desserts, juices, smoothies and sweets. These can become a pitfall during hot humid weather, especially for Kapha. Other raw-vegan pitfalls for Kapha-Pitta are the “cheeses” or any concentrated consumption of nuts. Excessive intake of nuts does not work for either Pitta or Kapha, so be careful to keep portions small. Do not consume excessive servings of sweets or nuts in a given day or week.
More raw foods like salads and slaws work well especially when they are dressed with light, dry-spiced toppings in lieu of heavy, creamy or sour dressings. Lightly cooked vegetables are also good, like braised or stir-fried vegetables and warm-salads. Serve these with legumes and steamed grains or whole grain crackers. Keep any glazes, dressings or sauces light. Dry toppings are preferred. Eating lots of fresh herbs at every meal can only enhance efforts to cleanse and lighten the body and its fluids.
KAPHA-PITTA COOKING METHODS
Added oil, salt, sugar and sour should be minimized regardless of method. Methods, dishes and techniques in common between Kapha and Pitta:
Recommended Cooking Methods:
- Pan Sear
- Water Bath
- Pressure Cook
- Sous Vide
Recommended Foods and Dishes:
- Compote Salad
- Fermented Veggies
- Pressed Salad
- Tossed Salad
- Salad Slaw
- Spiralized Vegetable “Noodles”
- Spring Rolls
- Stews with Legumes, such as Dal
- Vegetable Sushi Rolls
- Vegan Bean Dip
- Vegetable Juice, small amounts
* high-fiber, whole foods are preferred over juices and smoothies
For more information on Ayurvedic eating in the summer, see the first installation in this series.
Have other questions about plant-based eating? Tag us on social media with #AskNEthing!