Alternative to Iced Drinks in Hot Weather
Protect the Agni/ Yang in Summer: Juiced Watermelon with Lime, Ginger, and Salt
The other day was quite hot (for SD!), and I swam at the beach after walking down from the top of Torrey Pines, and got home overheated and thirsty. I could still feel the sun hot on my head, even though I had worn a hat. I needed a lot of fluid and to cool down healthfully.
An excellent alternative to iced beverages in hot conditions like that is juiced melon, especially watermelon. I juiced mine with fresh ginger root so as to protect my digestive fire/yang/agni from the naturally cold of the juiced watermelon, b/c our digestion is actually weaker in summer than winter.
This is b/c our yang is spread out to our periphery, just as the yang of plants is (flowers/fruits) and digestion is a yang process of warm transformation, so there is actually less fire in the gut and more in the muscles. This is why we lose our appetite in the heat and have robust appetite in the cold.
I used organic watermelon so I was able to juice the rind without worrying about pesticides. The rind is full of minerals and phyto-nutrients, but is also energetically very cooling, like cucumber but more so, almost like gypsum or aloe. But like all things cold, it can be over-cooling to the stomach, so do add the ginger.
This is actually a great home remedy for bladder infection. In Chinese medicine one can also cook the peel and drink its broth like a cool summer soup.
In my case though, I added a little salt and lime, Mexican or Indian style. Essentially I made my own gatorade, Potassium from the melon, and sodium from the NaCl. And the salt and lime, like the ginger stimulate your digestive fire, thus balancing the extreme sweet of the melon. Try it!
Run 3 cups fruit and 1 cup rind thru a juicer with a 1 inch chunk of ginger. More or less to taste
If you don’t have a juicer, then put the fruit in a blender (remove seeds first!) and forget the rind.
But cut the fruit as close to the rind as possible
When making in the blender, add 1 cup water.
Add sea salt and lime juice to taste. Start with a 1/8 tsp salt and 1-2 tsp lime.
While I love fresh lime, I also love the taste of the bottled lime juice from Iran that i get at the Iranian market, Parsian Mkt, on Convoy St. It has a really special taste that is a bit more astringent.
In Ayurvedic terms, Watermelon juice alone would be good for Pitta, ok for Vatta, but detrimental to Kapha. In pure terms, of course.
Another words, you could be a Kapha Pitta who is not imbalanced, and it would be fine for you in summer. So when we say bad for Kapha, we mean it elevates or increases Kapha. If you tend to Kapha excess, then you add the ginger to balance. You could even add a little black pepper, if you were a very cold damp earth kaphic type. If you have a Kapha problem right now, like phlegm in the lungs, don’t have it even with the ginger.
If you have a Pitta imbalance don’t add the ginger or only a tiny bit. But a very small amount of the lime and salt are fine, unless it is really flared up. Overall the cool nature of this beverage is excellent for Pitta, and the lime is slightly bitter and astringent; both pacify Pitta
Vatta is balanced by heat, heaviness, sweet, salt, and sour, so this is fine for Vatta in moderation in summer and use less rind and more fruit.
Copyright Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. San Diego, CA All Rights Reserved, Use With Permission Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego http://new.bodymindwellnesscenter.com