Ayurveda for Fall & Winter
Fall and Winter - Eat Seasonal & Stay Healthier
In Ayurveda, there is a great emphasis on eating seasonal fruits, vegetables and grains and changing our lifestyle with the change of season; this is called Ritucharya. Each season has a different effect on our minds and bodies. Just imagine sipping a hot cup of tea in the middle of the summer when the temperature in the atmosphere is rising, and think of sitting in a house near a winter snowing mountains and trying to enjoy an ice cream. How does your body react? It sounds unappetizing, while your body and mind don't feel well about it. There is a reason why your body reacts differently to different food items in different seasons. Different types of food help your body get back into balance during different times of the year. So when you eat out of sync with nature, even if you eat an otherwise "healthy diet," the consequences can include a compromised immune system, unhealthy weight loss or gain. You may also experience irritated, dry skin and poor hair quality, skin quality and even an increased risk of more illnesses. Eating in accordance with the season doesn't just make you feel good in the movement, but it is a robust preventive health measure as per Ayurveda.
Ritucharya is Characterized by four seasons in the US, unlike India's weather which has six seasons. But the principle remains the same as those. It goes through a cycle of accumulating, aggravating and palpitating in different seasons, and we must balance them with our diet and lifestyle.
We have now entered into the fall season and are close to approaching winter. Vata (air and ether element) season runs from autumn and early winter to mid-September right up to January. Kapha ( earth & water element) season takes place from February to May, and Pitta (fire & water) season is from June to mid-September. However, we should always take our cues from nature. For instance, in northern states, the winter season is longer. According to the holistic system of Ayurveda, Vata is ruled by the elements of air and ether, which tend to increase in the fall. Vata qualities are cold, dry, light mobile and erratic. You will also see similar qualities manifesting in nature – the leaves are getting brittle and dry, and the temperatures are dropping. These are the few symptoms that nature is indicating to us for the change in diet and lifestyle.
Following are a few symptoms that indicate your Vata is gaining too much momentum and causing various illnesses #fallandwinter
♦ Dry lips, dry skin, dry scalp, and dry nasal passages
♦ Gas, constipation, bloating
♦ Earaches, headaches, tinnitus
♦ Insomnia, broken sleep, waking up with dry tongue/throat
♦ Sensitivity to cold, cold hands and feet
Here are some beautiful lifestyles and diet changes that can help prevent the aggravation of Vata during this fall and winter #fallandwinter
♦ Abhayanga – give yourself (entire body)a warm oil massage in the morning and have a hot water shower. As per the season, sesame oil is recommended, and if you are experiencing a lot of aches and pains, You may use the Ayurvedic Mahanarayan oil(not more than twice a week ). This will reduce anxiety and excess Vata.
♦ Drink hot teas made from the following herbs.
- Ginger tea.
- Cumin fennel tea.
- Chamomile tea.
- Carom seeds/ celery seeds and Cardamom tea.
- Rosemary tea.
- Cinnamon tea.
- Lemongrass and mint tea.
♦ Eat a vegetarian diet consisting of seasonal roots and squashes as they are rich in beta-carotene and vitamins such as A, D and C.
♦ Here is a list of vegetables to be eaten during fall & winter.
Pumpkins, butternut squashes, carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, okra, turnips and some seasonal greens such as kale, chard rhubarb. (cooked).
♦ Most of the beans are high in Vata and generally cause bloating and gas if eaten in the Vata season. So keep beans off the diet as much as possible. Moong dal, also known as moong beans, are suitable throughout the year. Among the grains - barley, finger millets, pearl millets, basmati rice, brown rice, amaranth, sorghum, whole wheat and oats are most suitable for fall and winter. Avoid raw foods and cold salads. Prepare more soups and curries.
♦ OILS - Sesame oil, almond oil, ghee, coconut oil high for temperature cooking, olive oil for a light saute, and making dips & chutneys for steamed/baked vegetables.
♦ SWEETENERS - Honey ( do not cook/bake with honey/or add into hot teas), jaggary, molasses.
Here is one simple seasonal recipe for this fall with vibrant colors and flavors!
Brownrice splatters with Gojiberry Fennel Dip
Ingredients for the dip:
1/2 cup goji berries
1/2 cups almonds
1/2 coconut flakes
1 Kashmiri lal mirch/1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon of sesame oil/olive oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper pods
1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Boil all the ingredients except the almonds & lemon juice in one 1 and 1/2 cup of water for 5-8 minutes. You could turn off the heat and let it cool down. Add the almonds and lemon juice and blend into a fine paste. The dip is ready.
Ingredients for the Brownrice Splatters
2 cups of cooked brown rice
2 cups of cilantro
1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup yuca flour/cassava flour/potato flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt.
1/2 cup mini sweet peppers
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
sesame oil as needed to pan-fry the splatters.
In a food processor, add all the ingredients and 1/2 of water and 1/2 cup of sesame oil, and the lemon juice to retain the colour and flavours. Process until well combined. Add 2 tablespoons of sesame oil to a large pan and turn on the heat. Add a spoonful of the sticky batter to the pan using a small serving spoon. Place a few more, as many can fit int your pan within a 1-inch distance. Wait until slightly brown and flip. Pan fry both sides and repeat the process for the rest of the batter. Make a humble prayer, offer it to the Lord, and enjoy it as a late evening snack or dinner.