Ayurveda describes six rasas or tastes embodied in nature’s food that our body recognizes. These are as following: Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter and Astringent. Each of the tastes contain the universe’s energetic building blocks – Pancha Mahabhutas or five elements – that build, feed and renew the body, nourish the mind and celebrate the spirit. Namely these are Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space.
Since the tastes are comprised of the same five elements our body is made, and our doshic makeup is determined, different foods and their corresponding tastes will stimulate a certain action in our body and an experience to our senses.
For example, in springtime we give preference to bitter greens stimulating the excess mucus in the body to liquify, which is an accumulation of the Kapha dosa. Hay Fever, running nose, cold during spring… – anyone?! During summer we seek for fresh bitter vegetables and sweet fruits that are naturally somewhat sour to reduce the excess heating quality of Pitta and balance the Vata dosa as well. Autumn with its windy and rainy weather causes Vata dosa to flare up. Saltiness from fermented vegetables will support digestive system and bring us back to earth. And in winter we tend to enjoy sweet root vegetables that will keep us grounded, warm and nourished from within. Kapha will start to increase and with the arrival of spring the new cycle will begin.
So taste goes far beyond the sensation on our tongue. It starts before we even see or taste the food. We contain the taste within, it is part of us. It is the environment, our physical and emotional health that governs the perception of certain taste.
In summertime, when the energy of the fire element is at it’s highest, we select certain foods with cooling quality to balance the excess heat in our body. Favoring fresh seasonal ingredients that are sweet, bitter and astringent in flavor will help us enjoy summer with a healthy body and calm mind.
This rehydration lemonade comprises all six tastes but with dominance of the above mentioned ones to keep you balanced during the summer heat.
AYURVEDIC SUMMER LEMONADE
- 1 piece of fresh ginger root, approximately 7 cm, sliced (if organic, you can leave the peel on)
- 1 turmeric rhizome, peeled and chopped or 2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
- 2 tablespoons goji berries
- juice of 2 large lemons or limes +
- 1 lemon or lime cut into wedges
- very small pinch of rock salt
- 2 tablespoons local honey
- 1 sprig fresh Tulsi (holy basil) or mint
In a medium saucepan bring 1,5 liter of water to a boil. Add ginger, turmeric and salt and boil for 3 minutes. Turn the heat off. Add the goji berries and holy basil or mint into the saucepan. Let steep for 30 minutes. When it comes to room temperature stir in the honey and lemon juice.
Pour the lemonade along with solid ingredients into a serving pitcher, add lemon wedges and a sprig of holy basil or mint.