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How to eat right for summer

Let go of the eating practices of winter and begin eating appropriately for summer. The season is changing and gradually, we can see the days become warmer and the sun sharper.

brunch Updated: Apr 06, 2013, 17:22 IST
Shikha Sharma
Shikha Sharma
Hindustan Times

The season is changing and gradually, we can see the days become warmer and the sun sharper. During the Aadan Kaal (northern solstice), the sun and the wind become powerful and excessive heat and dryness deplete the body’s energy. Visarga Kaal (southern solstice) is the period when the sun and wind are milder and they impart energy and strength to the body.

As the season changes, we need to change our eating patterns and modify our day-to-day routine. The reason these changes have to be made is because our bodies, the foods we eat and the seasons are linked by an intricate thread called the prakriti. The prakriti is common to everything in the universe. According to the Vedas, the five basic elements are the same for everybody (air, water, fire, earth and space). As the seasons change, these elements, too, change their intensity, strength, action and impact.

Light and easy: Fresh foods such as salads and chutneys are easily digestible in summer.

Tap into your elements
The human body is also made up of the five basic elements. So, vata constitution types have an excess of the air element, pitta types have more of the fire element and the water element is on the higher side in the kapha body type.

Our food, too, has elements of the cosmos within it. So, we have foods that have higher elements of vata such as beans, channa, rajma, cabbage and broccoli. Foods with higher elements of pitta include spices (all garam masalas) and meat products and foods which have a higher element of kapha include wheat and banana.

Several small festivals signal the onset of the seasons and pave the way for changes in our eating and daily routine. It is that time of the year when we have to let go of the eating practices of winter and begin eating appropriately for summer.

In this new eating regimen, we have to stop consuming foods with high kapha content (such as items cooked and kept overnight), fried food and heavy desserts. Sweets made of khoya and ghee should make way for lighter sweets such as kheer, thandai and fruit puddings. In the summer, the variety of grain should also become lighter. So, switch to easier-to-digest grains such as rice, sattu and barley.

The logic of fresh

Another aspect of your diet that needs to be addressed with the change of season is the freshness of food. Fresh food is light and easily digestible, which is important, because in this season our digestive capacity reduces as compared to winter. Amongst fresh foods, one can eat cereals (rice, barley, oats) fruits, salads, vegetables and chutneys.

Grains of wisdom: For summer, switch to eating lighter grains like rice, sattu and barley.

This is the season to start preparing chutneys as they can be made fresh every day and enjoyed with most meals. Traditionally, chutneys contain several ingredients that are high in digestive properties.

The needs of your palate should also keep pace with the change of season. In the cold and humid winter, the taste to hanker for is sharp (spices). In the spring it is astringent (salads). In the summer it is bitter, in the rainy season sour, in the autumn salty and in the beginning of winter (during Diwali and New Year), it is sweet.

Avoid heavy sweets made of khoya and have kheer, thandai and fruit puddings instead

From HT Brunch, April 7

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