In Berlin it’s been pretty fresh these days. The temperatures are dropping. August is a challenging time for the body, because the latter needs to prepare for the changing climate in the following months.
Varsha Ritu, the Rainy Season in India
In Sanskrit, late summer is called Varsha Ritu, the rainy season. In India, the birth country of Ayurveda, this is monsoon season, a very hot, moist and difficult climate. Vata is aggravated now and immunity very low.
Travelling in India, during this time I suddenly got all kinds of joint and bone pains that I never experienced before. I have been weak and tired all the time. Basically, I felt like an old woman – that’s how aggravated Vata feels.
Late Summer in the West
In the West, the climate is less hot and moist. Here, the physical effects of the climate change are not so in-your-face, but more subtle. Maybe you have felt a little tired since the weather change or experienced some slight joint pains? The danger is that we tend to ignore these subtle hints of our bodies.
Common Psychological Problems
The aggravated Vata of late summer also affects the mind. Especially city people can be ailing from anxiety, fears, depression, insomnia and panic attacks.
Here are some ayurvedic tipps that should ease all of the mentioned problems – whether physical or psychological – and also help to prevent them in the first place.
1. Eat Good Carbs
In the summer a light, fresh plant-based diet cooled us down and hydrated us. Now the body starts to crave more carbs again. Give it what it wants, but only the good stuff: quinoa, rice, sweet potatoes, whole grain rye, spelt, barley, oats, even full grain wheat if you can digest it.
2. Stock up on Proteins
The body also needs more protein now: legumes, sprouts, nuts and seeds are rich in proteins, but also some vegetables as for instance spinach, artichokes and broccoli. If you eat meat, Ayurveda recommends deer for this season.
However, don’t mix starches (grains) with animal proteins. The digestion processes for these food groups are very different. Mixing them confuses your digestion. Rather combine either one with vegetables.
3. Go for Cooked Food
Now the digestion is generally weak. Raw Food is too hard to digest. Rather, boil or steam your food.
4. Reduce Sweets & Dairy
In late summer all processes in the body are slow. Sweets, milk and dairy, especially yoghurt, block the tissues and increase this effect. Coconut yoghurt or organic soy yoghurt are good alternatives.
5. Pass on that Ice Cream
Ice cream slows down the digestion. This is not a good thing when the digestion is already slow and weak as in late summer. The cooler it is outside, the worse the effect of ice cream on your system. You also risk to easily catch a cold, especially if you have some ice cream at night.
6. Stay Hydrated
We lost a lot of fluid during the hot months. Now, there is a tendency to dry skin and constipation. Drink a lot of unchilled, room temperature water and tea to counter this.
7. Ayurveda’s Secret Weapon: Ghee
Ghee is pure, clarified butter without the proteins. It contains no allergens and deeply penetrates and nourishes all tissues. Use a little amount for frying or put some on top of your rice and boiled or steamed veggies.
8. Oil Massage with Coconut or Sesame Oil
An ayurvedic massage counters all Vata-problems that typically arise in late summer: neck pain, back pain, joint pain, cramps, varicose veins, constipation, bloating, exhaustion, dark circles underneath the eyes, anxiety, insomnia…
Go to an ayurvedic massage practitioner or do it at home. If time is scarce, just massage the feet every night before you go to bed. It’s very effective.
A warm glass of water with the juice of a half squeezed lemon is a fantastic way to start your day, especially in late summer. The lemon juice has an alkaline effect in the body and counters acidity.
10. A glass of wine
Usually, Ayurveda is not a big fan of alcohol, but in late summer, a small amount of red wine is recommended to stimulate agni, the digestive fire. Cheers!