Welcome Summer! I’ve just returned from a long weekend in Santa Fe + Taos celebrating summer solstice with my sweet sisters and preparing for our Spirit of the Rose | Chakra Awakening Retreat Journey this August. The sun was intense, to say the least, and even though we were dipped into the mineral springs half the time, I found myself shying away from the heat as much as I could. As someone with a strong Pitta constitution that flares up in the summer, I’ve had to pay extra attention these days to avoid getting overheated. The Summer Renewal Cleanse I just led in conjunction with the solstice was all about this – how to stay balanced in summer.
For starters, skip your spicy, pungent and salty flavors this summer and favor sweet, astringent and bitter instead. Here’s a quick handy guide to the cooling ingredients I’m stocking my pantry with this summer:
|Beverages||Vegetables||Fruits||Herbs & Spices|
|Coconut water; Fresh organic juices; Teas of mint, nettle, chamomile, lavender, hibiscus, rose, tulsi;Infused waters with cucumber, lemon, lime, mint, basil; Raw Goat’s Milk||Leafy greens like lettuce, arugula, radicchio, spinach, chard, watercress; Cucumber, Celery, Summer Squash, Peas, Asparagus, Broccoli, Cabbage, Okra, Green Beans||Stone Fruit like cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots; Watermelon, Honeydew, Cantaloupe and other fresh melons; Apple, Berries, Mango, Pineapple, Oranges, Figs, Grapes||Fresh herbs like cilantro, basil, mint, parsley, tarragon, dill, fennel; Dried spices like cardamom, fennel, coriander, saffron|
The peak of summer, when the element of fire is most present, is the time when my inner raw foodie gets to come out and play. At breakfast, I’m enjoying fruit salads and fresh juices. At lunchtime – big raw salads with creamy coconut water-based dressings (recipe coming soon!). And for dinner parties or special occasions, lovely raw desserts like this coconut avocado lime tart.
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You’ll notice that I used soaked almonds for the crust, along with a shredded coconut and coconut oil – all cooling properties. In general, dry nuts tend to be very heating, so it’s best to switch your summer snack to fresh fruit, or enjoy seeds or soaked nuts in smaller quantities. When soaked, almonds release their phytic acid, an enzyme-inhibitor that can make it more difficult to digest and receive the nuts nutrition. The softer soaked nuts are easier on the digestion, and if you really want to get meditative, try chanting your mantras as you remove the almond skins! Though I leave the skins on for this recipe and sometimes for time’s sake, removing the skins from the almonds for something like almond milk makes an even smoother, more sattvic drink. My mom does this weekly, she calls it her Mantra Milk
So I first tested this recipe in February for the Integrative Wellness Retreat Tulum 2015 retreat. I wanted to create a menu that was aligned with both Ayurveda and the local culture. That meant taking into account the weather and the elements at play, what was available locally, and what also felt like Mexico! I actually had a blast cooking for this retreat, and on the final day we ended our closing celebration dinner with two cacao-infused desserts – a chocolate chili torte + avocado lime tart – both drizzled in my favorite cacao+sweet chili sauce. I make note below, that while it’s best to observe the general guidelines of a pitta-balancing summer in hotter climates, sometimes it’s fun to spice things up a bit. All in balance right? When making this recipe, you can choose to omit the sweet chili powder from the drizzling sauce if you choose.
I’ll be reuniting with Amanda, Jenn + the wonderful women attending our next Integrative Wellness Retreat in Malibu this Fall, where the menu will be aligned with the energy of rooting, grounding and nurturing needed in Autumn. By the way, early bird registration for our October Malibu Retreat closes this week, we hope you can register and join us on the beach! More details on the IWR Fall Ayurveda, Alignment + Yoga Retreat here.
In the meantime, IWR has just hosted an in-depth “Intro to Ayurveda” workshop in LA with Dr. Jay this past weekend, and they even made this avocado lime tart to share at the event! Here’s the recap post on Dr. Jay’s + Amanda’s great introduction to the language of Ayurveda – a great place to get started if the doshas, gunas and the 8-limb path of the sister sciences are new to you!
AVOCADO LIME TART WITH COCONUT MACAROON CRUST
2 cups almonds, soaked overnight
1 cup shredded coconut
¼ cup coconut oil
2 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla paste
½ tsp salt
Combine the almonds in the food processor and pulse into a coarse flour. Add the remainder of the ingredients and pulse into the mixture begins to clump. Press evenly into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Refrigerate until ready to use.
1 cup coconut butter
¼ cup coconut oil
½ cup lime juice + 1 tbsp lime zest
¾ cup raw honey or maple syrup
4 tsp vanilla paste
In a high-speed blender, combine all ingredients and blend until creamy. Pour filling into prepared crust and spread evenly. Store in freezer 4-6 hours, or until the filling is firm before serving. Serve with a drizzle of chocolate chili sauce and sprinkle of cacao nibs.
Makes one 9-inch tart
½ cup coconut oil
¼ cup raw honey
½ cup raw cacao powder
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp sweet chili powder
Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender. Blend until glossy and smooth. Pour into an airtight glass container and keep warm to serve. This mixture will solidify at lower temps, so if you’re storing in your fridge, place the jar in a bowl in boiling hot water to melt before using or heat slowly in a double boiler on low heat.
Note: While eating chilies regularly in summer is not recommended in a pitta-balancing diet, you can elect to add in a bit of sweet chili powder and a pinch of cayenne to your chocolate sauce for a little added kick to the experience. If you are feeling overheated, skip it!
Makes roughly 6-8oz chocolate sauce