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fiery roses

fire!

Summer solstice – the sun has reached its most northern point in the sky and days are longest. Heat is building in the atmosphere and if we all still lived in harmony with nature, heat would be building in us; but air conditioning keeps us cool, iced drinks cools us more, cold foods….

Yet, all this cold doesn’t keep us cool when we go back outside in the heat and may even aggravate heat further. Pitta, nature’s fire, has its place in the universe and in us. The cycle of the seasons ensures continuation of the cycle of life. In our bodies pitta manifests as agni, the digestive fire. Too much as we become angry, hot-tempered, with acid indigestion or reflux, itchy skin eruptions, and rashes. Too little and we can’t fully digest our food. In nature, if it were winter all the time seeds could not germinate and grow. In us if our agni grows cold we will be unable to properly digest our food.

So how do we keep cool during hot summer months? By learning about the foods Mother Nature provides for us during the season that balance heat naturally – sweet, bitter, and astringent foods like all the fresh greens coming from our local organic farms, fruits (excepting sour ones), sweet grains like rice, oats, wheat, and corn; dairy (except for cultured dairy which can cause problems), and cooling spices like coriander, cumin, fennel, mint, and turmeric.

Now is a good time to eat more like a vegetarian as your digestive fire is better able to deal with raw or lightly cooked foods (save the heavy, difficult to digest meats for cooler weather and winter, when you need to build bulk). And protect your agni by avoiding ice cold food and drink. You can even use coconut oil as your massage oil or moisturizer, drink coconut water to rehydrate (better tasting than those nasty sports drinks), and spritz yourself with a rose water spray.

Keep agni protected (not too little, not too much) and you will be rewarded with a survivable summer. Let it go out and when winter comes the fire that should keep you warm won’t be there to protect you; build it too high with spicy foods and you may burn out!

June 2010
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