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Eating Well in Santa Fe  - July 2015 - Santa Fe

Vitality Foods: Summer's Guilty Pleasures


By Valeria Alarcón and Manon Pierme


Or not so guilty but rather igniting…! Did you know that it takes 80% of your body’s energy to digest cooked foods and only 20% of energy to digest uncooked foods? Well, it’s true, it’s a scientific fact and I’d love to share with you the health benefits of eating for energy and pleasure, especially during these hot summer days. Indulging in healthy seasonal foods that are cooling, cleansing and health promoting is key during our Pitta season.


Summer is the season of heat and playfulness, it’s also known as the Pitta season in Ayurveda. Pitta is one of the four Ayurvedic doshas, there’s also Kapha and Vata. These three doshas are energy types that govern physiological activity in the body, based on a five thousand year old Hindu traditional medicine. Ayurveda stems from the Sanskrit word ‘Ayur’ literally meaning ‘life’ and ‘veda’, meaning ‘knowledge of’. Essentially, Ayurveda is the energy that influences our bodies and is in connection and in harmony with nature. The Pitta dosha is ruled by the elements of water and fire and correspond to various organs in our bodies but it primarily relates to the intestines, liver, gallbladder and spleen. The Pitta dosha governs digestion, metabolism, and energy production. Therefore, the primary energy of Pitta is transformation, transforming nutrients into energy, literally and metaphorically speaking.


Transformation is essential in our unfolding and in the healing of body, mind and spirit. Using ayurvedic principles in daily nourishing and cleansing of the body, cultivating wellbeing and a healthy lifestyle creates a strong foundation towards building lasting change. The guidelines Ayurveda provides are unlike others, one of which is through understanding the connection and health benefits that raw foods and the Pitta season/dosha have with each other.


Eating seasonally and learning about the elements around us, within us and in our foods can help achieve and sustain optimum health and vitality! Raw foods for instance, in the form of delicious salads, pesto pasta (made with zucchini and cucumber noodles), vegetable juicing and indulgingly tasty green and fruit smoothies will enhance your energy. Including fresh, organic, non-GMO produce in our daily meals will help us keep cool during our Pitta season. Some of the health benefits from consuming seasonal dark leafy greens and a variety of vegetables and fruits include improved digestion and healthy gut flora, increased alkalinity, blood purification, strengthened immune system, improved liver, gallbladder and kidney function. Consuming seasonal and regional vegetables and fruits will also promote a subtle, light and flexible energy, which balances the energies of Pitta.


The Pitta season invites you to enjoy seasonal eating for a balancing experience, enjoying the colorful choices of vegetables and fruits that are cooling and hydrating for your body and stimulating for your energy. Connecting with one another while enjoying a walk in nature or a picnic at a park, or simply lying by the river or lake in the embrace of a book. All in all, think about the ways in which you can create a more balancing experiences in your life, whether winter, spring, summer or fall, it’s all about creating a harmonious existence. 


These Vitality Smoothies are packed with great sources of protein, health promoting fat, anti-oxidants and nutrients for a well-balanced meal on the gO!

Berry Merry Smoothy!

1 cup of mixed berries 

A handful of almonds or walnuts

1 cup of rice or (yogurt optional)

1 cup of chilled hibiscus tea 

1 scoop of your favorite protein powder


Nutty Buddy Smoothy!

A handful of walnuts or almonds

1 frozen banana 

1 cup of almond or rice milk (yogurt optional)

1/2 tsp of coconut butter

1/4 tsp of cinnamon

1 to 2 drops of vanilla extract

1 scoop of your favorite protein powder


Valeria Alarcón is a Holistic Health Coach and Advocate AADP, whose mission is to inspire, educate, and empower individuals who are committed to reclaiming life and vitality through health and wellness. 


As a cancer survivor Val knows what it takes to reclaim life and vitality, and she is delighted to be of support to her community. For more information visit



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