This is the month that officially launches summer, with Summer Solstice. It’s a light-filled time of the year where our hearts and bodies feel expansive and free.
I just love the simple pleasures of summer and all the joy that this season brings: days that last for so long, fresh fruit and veggies in every market, warm evenings under the stars, long road trips, camping with friends, and beach days with gorgeous sunsets.
In Ayurveda we describe this as the season of the Pitta. It is composed of fire and it is mediated by water. You may notice signs of pitta heating up all around you, such as irritability on the road, inflammation in the body or feeling overheated. Pitta governs our metabolism and digestive system. Regardless of your constitution, it’s important to take measures to stay in balance during this amazing- yet firey- time of the year.
#1. Always protect your skin
Prepare your skin with essential oils
Use simple ingredient carrier oils to prepare your skin for the summer. Adding essential oils into your routine can help you nourish your skin before you expose it into the heat of the sun. I like to use lavender, patchouli, or geranium to moisturize and really prep my skin before I go outside. You can also use these in your hair before jumping in the ocean or the pool to help it hydrate!
Block out harmful rays with optimal sunscreen
Sunblock is widely available, and some can be really inexpensive, but I want to caution that it can be some of the most toxic ingredients out there. A lot of the ingredients in sunscreen interact with the heat of the sun, creating free radicals that can age your skin.
In my book Radical Beauty I go into detail about how some sunscreen can actually contribute to skin cancer! Seek out titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, non-nano forming sunscreens that don’t have the ability to cross the blood brain barrier. Avoid sunscreens with oxybenzone and any level of vitamin A; this interacts with the heat and can possibly contribute to skin cancer. It’s always a good idea to wear a hat to bring shade with you wherever you go!
Give yourself post-sun care
After sun exposure, using essential oils like spearmint and peppermint essential will help create a cooling effect while recovering your skin. I recommend adding just 6 drops of oil with 1 oz of aloe gel. A tiny amount of essential oils goes a long way!
#2. Enjoy foods for the season.__text in bold__
Before we get into foods, I can never recommend enough the importance of drinking room temperature water. Yes that’s right, room temperature! Icy water can inhibit digestive enzymes, leading to digestive distress. There is a reason why both Ayurveda and TCM frown on ice. Coconut water is also a great option in the summer! When the body is nice and hydrated it doesn’t feel the need to hold on too as much.
Load up with Independence Day colored produce. Not only is it a fun idea, but also you will be protecting your skin with great nutrients! Red – Watermelon and tomatoes are loaded with lycopene, which enhances the skin’s natural defense against free radicals. White – Hemp seeds are high in beneficial essential fatty acids, helping to prevent sunburns and repair damaged skin cells. Blue – Blueberries and acai are a super high source of antioxidants and vitamin C!
Keep an eye out for great summer greens at your local farmer’s market. Kale, romaine, spinach, cilantro, parsley, artichokes, and leeks all work wonders to protect your skin from sun damage. Think about all the vitality-boosting vitamins and minerals you will obtain if you enjoy these in your next salad or GGS!
#3. Prevent uncomfortable bloating.
Be mindful of the salt
It’s very common in the summer, especially when you live a hot humid place, to retain water and feel heavier. It may seem obvious though it is really helpful to not cook with salt at all, and instead sprinkle it on top of your food at the very end. You will end up using less salt, and you will get a stronger pop of taste.
Try to cut down on microwaved meals and eating out all the time. You can try very simply bowls, meals and salads, which are easy to toss together but come from your energy…and your controlling how much salt you add!
Flush it out
It’s a really great idea to enjoy natural diuretics and vitamin C during summertime, to help flush out excessive water weight. Try adding in pineapple, parsley and cranberry during this time of year. My favorite cranberry de-bloater is super simple to make. Just purchase frozen cranberries and blend about 1/3 cup of them with 16 ounces of water. Sip on it during the day to help flush out extra water weight, helping your skin and body feel hydrated and de-puffed
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Even though the weather is getting warmer, this comforting, delicious hot and sour Tom Yum Noodle soup is so yummy it doesn’t matter what the temperature is outside. This is an easy soup to whip up and the leftovers will keep in the fridge for a week!