In Ayurveda, health is described as the flow of nature through our bodies. When the body is working optimally, the flow is strong and the body is working with ease. In this state, there are no blockages in the systems, and digestion of food, fluids and sensory experiences is smooth.
We have to pay attention to our bodies at all times. The environment and nature around us has a huge influence on our mind and body. Any excess of food or fluids will lead to an imbalance, as well as any excessive exercise or sleep. We have to keep the balance within our body.
This is why paying attention to the season, and what we eat in the seasons, is so important. The seasons are defined by different characteristics, and we need to be balancing our nutrition with these characteristics.
Summer is defined by the constitution of Pitta, and the characteristics are hot, light, sharp and intense. We therefore need to bring in the opposite characteristics with our foods, such as cool, heavy, bland food. Excessive use of spices will lead to an imbalance as summer is already hot.
Mother nature provides us with all the balance that we need with the summer fruits and veggies. Watermelon, fennel, grapes, cucumber, leafy green vegetables, and mint are all in season and very cooling foods. We are looking for sweet, bitter and astringent tastes, so summer salads are great at this time of year.
Autumn is defined by the Vatta dosha, and is characterized by the qualities of cold, dry and rough. We need to counter these qualities with tastes that are sweet, sour and salty. Salt increases the water in our bodies, which is important for this dry season.
During autumn, the vegetables in season are root veggies such as beets, carrots, potatoes – these all allow us to feel grounded. Warm, moist and heavy foods are imoprtnant, so you want to be cooking soups and stews. A good supply of healthy fats from nuts and nut butters is also important. Avoid salads in this season as this only aggravated the rough quality of autumn and will cause an imbalance in our bodies.
This is the Kapha season, defined by moist and heavy qualities as we come out of winter. There is a slowness and sluggishness as the world is drying and we are emerging from the cold months. With the heaviness, we want to avoid more heavy and moist food. Rather opt for hot, dry and light foods that are less oily – so baked and broiled foods.
Foods that have more spices will spark the digestive system and spices like cardamom, turmeric and cloves are all good. Limit sweet and sour tastes, and avoid salt as this will lead to retaining moisture. Herbal teas are important at this time of the year and drinking lemon with ginger in the mornings will kickstart your digestive system. Cinnamon is a great spice as it is warming, it balances blood sugar and reduces the craving for sweet, sugary foods.
I absolutely love the Ayurvedic approach to nutrition. It is simple and straightforward, and so in line with our natural being. When we start eating according to what allows our body to flow, it becomes a lot easier to maintain healthy habits.
Have a great day.
Lots of light and love xx