Well hello, and welcome to hell’s front porch, I mean summer. My goodness this one has been a straight up sizzler. I can feel my bp tick up every time I open Apple News and doom scroll through the weather events (eek!). I won’t alarm you with the 2022 highlights, but bottom line? Mother Earth has undoubtedly entered the fiery pitta stage of life.
A refresher on the qualities of pitta:
Pittaṁ sasneha tīkṣṇa uṣṇaṁ laghu visraṁ saraṁ dravam |
Pitta’s qualities are slightly oily, sharp, hot, light, foul-smelling, fluid, and liquid. Any substance that has these qualities will increase pitta, while those with opposite qualities will decrease pitta.
What does this all mean?!
These sweltering, sweat rolling into your eyeball days are pitta dosha in a nutshell. You may notice that even when you flee the summer sun for AC the heat lingers in the body (and mind) hours later. Heck, you might find yourself waking up after midnight off-gassing and dumping sweat. Now imagine what’s happening to your body by mid-August…September. For some, myself included, that heat gets stored deep into the marrow. This is a slow and insidious process. In June most are psyched to be licked by the golden rays of the sun, feeling few immediate repercussions aside from the occasional sunburn. However, as the days tick by and we are continuously exposed to these pitta qualities, we slip out of balance. The result? Pitta dosha gets pissed off and signs and symptoms abound including:
- Irritated skin – red, raised bumps, rashes
- Acidic digestion – sour burps, heartburn, jacked up metabolism
- Hangries, followed by nausea when meals are skipped
- Loose stools
- Dry, red, burning eyes
- Heat coursing throughout the body
- Sharp emotions – frustration, anger, prickly, irritable
- Hypercritical, judgmental, impatience, lack of tolerance
Don’t worry there’s hope, there’s always hope. As previously mentioned – Any substance that has these qualities will increase pitta, while those with opposite qualities will decrease pitta. It’s time to cool and purify the blood with some DIY cranberry juice. Bonus, if you are prone to UTIs (wet bathing suits are a UTI breeding ground) keep a stash of whole cranberries at the ready in your freezer.
If you’ve never had 100% pure cranberry juice you may not know that cranberries are incredibly astringent. I once offered a glass of pure cranberry juice to my dad and he was positively offended. His mouth practically went concave when he took a micro-sip. The astringent taste is not commonly experienced unadulterated in the standard American diet. You know you are experiencing astringency when it feels like all the moisture has been sucked from your mouth like a band of dementors clamoring for your soul.
Examples of the astringent taste include:
- Strong black tea
- The little nub at the bottom of a banana (eww) and unripe bananas
- Pith of citrus (the white part we are eager to discard)
According to Āyurveda, the astringent taste is composed of the elements ether and earth. Pitta dosha is a marriage of the elements fire and water. Going back to that opposites create balance theory, bringing in the earth and ether elements to the diet and lifestyle can dial down exacerbated pitta.
Cranberries can assist with numerous pitta conditions such as burning urine, stones in the urinary tract, infections, skin rashes as well as toxic blood.
In The 3-Season Diet, Dr. John Douillard states that cranberries “offer us the last chance to cool the blood and remove the excess heat from the long, hot summer. They are also an acid food, unlike most summer fruits and veggies, which are alkaline. The cooling property combined with its acid nature (which is more appropriately a winter quality) makes cranberries a great transition food to start the rebuilding process of winter.”
Convinced? Good. But why make your own? It pretty much boils down to frugality and convenience. My jaw literally drops when I see the prices of 100% cranberry juice at the grocery store. Sometimes upwards of $15, lord knows it’s probably $500 at Erewhon Market. I tend to keep bags of frozen cranberries in my freezer and make a batch as needed. This way I can make small amounts and not be stressed by that $15 bottle eying me each time I open the fridge. Fun fact: when I had COVID in February all I craved was 100% pure cranberry juice, which makes sense since I had a fever and needed to help cool and detoxify the blood/body.
Last reason to DIY, 100% cranberry juice is just as it sounds…cranberries, no sugar, no grape/apple/pom juice, or weird additives. Once you taste pure cranberry juice you’ll be able to grasp how much sugar needs to be added to make the stuff palatable for the average bear. Sugar is not going to help when there is inflammation, in fact, it will do quite the opposite. Hence DIY. Sugar free, simple, affordable, and you can make 1 cup at a time if you wish.
Let’s get cooking!
- 2 cups – Fresh (or Frozen) Whole Cranberries
- 2 cups – Filtered water
- Add cranberries and water to a stainless steel saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Drop to a simmer, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat and leave covered and let cool to room temperature.
- Strain through a fine mesh sieve or a nut milk bag. You can reuse the strained cranberries and process one more batch, it will be less vibrant in color but potent nonetheless.
- Store in glass bottles for up to a week, perhaps longer, I haven’t tested this theory. Reused GT Synergy Kombucha bottles are my container of choice.
Feel free to dilute your glass of cranberry juice with some water, heck you can even add some ice and a squeeze of lime.
Stay cool out there.