Have you noticed how your body, moods and lifestyle change during the summer in response to the hot weather? Do you look at food as a way to balance your natural body and moods throughout the three harvest seasons (Spring, Summer and Fall)?
In the summer, we begin to accumulate inner heat which may show physically as the skin drying out, sinuses beginning to run and the digestion system slowing down (have you noticed your appetite go down in the heat of the summer months as compared to the cold winter months?). The heat can aggravate your health with symptoms such as burning eyes, skin rashes, seasonal allergies or hay fever, digestive issues such as constipation, diarrhea, gas or bloating. It may lead to a compromised immune system come the Fall unless you eat seasonally to maintain skin (inner and outer) integrity. Psychologically, you may feel overheated (hot blooded!), overly active, restless, aggressive and may have trouble sleeping.
The summer foods will help cool you off. And if you’re a Pitta body type (Summer body type in Ayurveda), you’ll feel more aggravated than the Spring (Kapha) and Winter (vata) body types in this season. Avoiding spicy foods and alcohol is important for aggravated Pittas. I know I’ve been a little off balance and decided to reduce my consumption of alcohol to special occasions and social gatherings. At home, I’m making mocktails. Below are 4 mocktails recipes leveraging the top 3 fruit of the season which will help lower your core temperature.
Credits: The last two mocktail recipes, pomegranate-based, the bitters recipe and ginger syrup recipes were developed by my gym Lifetime Athletics. The health facts about watermelon, apples and pomegranate were written about by my Ayureda professor in nutrition school John Douillard.
Watermelon is 92% water and extremely cooling by nature. It helps remove heat due to its sweet taste, ability to hydrate, and mild diuretic properties. Watermelons are a very good source of: Vitamin C, A, Lycopene, Vitamin B6 + B1 and Citrulline ( a precursor to amino acid arginine, which is also a precursor to human growth hormone and nitric oxide, whose discovery won the Nobel Prize as the body’s own “panacea”.
Ingredients (all chilled):
(Makes 2 drinks)
Option: Add Rum if you want to turn this mocktail into an adult beverage.
As my Ayurvedic teacher John Douillard described it, apples are natural heat-removing purgatives. The body’s natural way of dispersing heat out of the body is purgation, the promotion of loose stools. This is why fever is often followed by diarrhea. Eating enough apples in the summer through October to just slightly loosen the stools can be a therapeutic dose.
Health benefits: Apples also help balance blood sugar because the quercetin in apples may slow down the breakdown of carbs into simple sugars in the gut. The polyphenols in apples may help lower the rate of glucose absorption, decreasing blood sugar spikes and apples support the pancreas to produce more insulin to help support blood sugar. Pectin in whole apples, help lower LDL cholesterol.
(Makes 2 drinks)
Shake the tea, apple juice, ginger syrup and ice in a cocktail shaker, then strain into glasses. Garnish with a slice of ginger.
Option: Add vodka to spice it up.
SOBER SANGRIA AND POMEGRANATE LIME-TINI
Pomegranates have been used in Ayurveda as an anti-pitta and anti-heating agent for blood and lymph.
Health benefits. Pomegranates have multiple cardiovascular benefits, support blood sugar levels, prostate health, lower lipids oxidation, a leading cause f high cholesterol levels, protect the brain against stress-induced cognitive changes and their antioxidant properties may far exceed those of blueberries, grapes, red wine, etc. 2 to 8 oz a day of pure pomegranate juice for maximum benefits.
(Makes 10 drinks)
Boil the water and steep the hibiscus tea and honey for 10 min. Strain and chill the tea. Mix the chilled tea, juice, fruits, and bitter together in a large pitcher and allow the flavors to blend for at least an hour before serving. Pour sangria into glasses with crushed ice, leaving room to top off with the carbonated water.
Option: Add wine or brandy to make it strong!
(Makes 2 drinks)
Shake the first 4 ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Strain into martini glasses and garnish with lime twists and pomegranate seeds.
Option: Add vodka if you desire.
SIMPLE BITTERS RECIPE
Here’s a recipe for the Sober Sangria. Traditionally bitters are made by infusing bitter herbs and other ingredients in alcohol, but you can make your own natural, nonalcoholic bitters in a pinch. I also like the Seedlip non alcoholic spirits and use them to make mocktails and as bitters.
(Makes 1 cup)
Pour boiling water over the ingredients and infuse for about 30 minutes. Strain, and chill before using, Store in the fridge and use within one week.
GINGER SYRUP RECIPE
To use in the Pomegranate Lime-Tini
(Makes ½ cup)
Simmer all the ingredients together for 5 minutes. Cool, and then strain out the gingerroot. Store in the fridge and use within two weeks.
Thank you for reading. If you have any favorite mocktails recipes, would you share them with me?
PS: If you want more dietary tips on what to eat to stay upbeat, read my blog about the foods to eat to keep your immune system and energy up during COVID-19 times HERE.
PS2: You can also find the Summer-Foods Grocery list on my teacher John Douillard’s website. Eat as many of these foods as possible!