It’s summertime, and the livin’ is easy—or at least we’d like it to be. If you’re tired and stressed out from care giving, here are some tips to make mealtime easier, for you and your care partner.
According to the ancient Indian system of Ayurveda our body consists of three main elements or doshas—Vatta, Pitta and Kapha. Pitta consists of water and fire. It’s hot, so during summer when the temperature rises we want to eat cooling foods. Eating cooling foods not only keeps us from overheating, it reduces the tendency to get irritable, impatient and angry.
1) First and foremost, stay hydrated. It’s especially important to make sure dementia patients are getting enough liquids because they forget to drink and can become dehydrated quickly, which leads to other health problems. It’s also crucial to keep the brain hydrated in order to maintain cognition. Drink plenty of water and stay away from carbonated and caffeinated drinks. Herbal teas, and fresh fruit or vegetable juices are great in summer. Just remember that fruit juices are high in sugar and calories.
2) Enjoy the bounty of summer fruits and vegetables. The summer fruits such as peaches, apricots, cherries, watermelon, cantaloupe, and berries are especially good for helping the body reduce the fiery heat of summer. According to Ayurveda, some of the recommended summer vegetables include cucumber, green leafy vegetables, green beans, squash, zucchini, asparagus, beets and eggplant.
3) Sprinkle on the herbs and spices. They’re easy to use and contribute added flavor and antioxidants to your diet. Cooling spices include cardamom, coriander, fennel and tumeric. Cooling herbs include cilantro, mint and dill.
4) Avoid hot, sour and salty foods including fermented food, red meat, and greasy and spicy food. Excess pitta aggravates the tendency towards heartburn and gastric hyperacidity.
5) Here’s some good news—Ayurveda recommends ice cream during the hot summer months! So by all means, enjoy! Dementia patients are especially fond of ice cream. If the person you are caring for refuses to eat or eats very little, try serving ice cream. It contains protein, calcium and calories, and it’s easy to serve and eat. If weight gain or cholesterol is a concern, select a dairy-free version of America’s favorite dessert. Rice Cream, Coconut Bliss and Soy Delicious make delicious non-dairy, frozen desserts.
6) My roses are bursting with fragrance and beauty. Roses are especially cooling and ff you have rose bushes that are free of chemicals, here’s a special treat to make: Rose Petal Jam. It’s fun and easy and the person you are caring for might even like to get into the act. It’s also very cooling and pacifies irritability. Spread it on toast, put a teaspoon on top of a scoop of ice or add it to warm milk for a yummy nightcap. (see recipe below)
7) Make a lassi using a tablespoon of rose petal jam. Or use this delicious recipe to make the classic, cooling Indian-style milkshake.
Rose Petal Jam
- 1 cup fresh rose petals (must never have been sprayed with any chemicals)
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 lemon, juice of (1/4 cup)
- 2 1/2 cups sugar or evaporated cane juice crystals
- 1 package pectin
- 3/4 cup water
- Puree rose petals, 3/4 cup water and lemon juice in blender until smooth.
- Slowly add sugar.
- Blend till all sugar has dissolved; (leave in blender) Stir 1 package pectin into 3/4 cup water, bring to a boil, and boil hard for 1 minute. Pour mixture into blender with rose petal mixture until well blended.
- Do this very quickly – it sets up FAST!! Pour into small, sterilized jelly jars.
- Let set for 6 hours, till firm.
- Will keep one month in refrigerator.
- Freezes well.
Rose Water Lassi
- 2 1⁄2 cups plain yogurt
- 1/2-teaspoon fine sugar
- ¼ tsp of ground cardamom
- 2 teaspoons pure rosewater
- 3⁄4 cups Ice water
- 1 cup Ice cube cracked
- Fragrant rose petals for garnish
Blend the yogurt, sugar, cardamom, rose water and iced water in a blender for 2 minutes. Add the ice and process for another 2 minutes. Pour the lassi into tall, refrigerated glasses and garnish with rose petals. Chill out and enjoy!