By Bindu Shortt
The transitions between seasons challenge your physical and mental health, according to Ayurveda. Most of the USA is now transitioning from summer’s pitta qualities to fall’s vata qualities. From heat and humidity, you move into cool, dry weather into fall and throughout winter. The temperature is dropping. Leaves are turning brown. Even with crops ready for harvesting, the fields and even the air are slowing and quieting. Can you sense it?
Like increases like. These outer conditions increase the same qualities inside you. Thus, you may experience fall allergies or a bit of constipation or gas. Your skin, hair or nails may be drying. You may have a low-grade sore throat occasionally, depression or a little loneliness.
When outside nature transitions, nature within us wants to do the same. Now is the time to eat warm, oily, heavy and grounding foods as well as activities. They carry you into the next season with good immunity, digestion and mood. Favor cooked cereals for breakfast, even adding some cream. If you like fruit at breakfast, cook it right into your cereal. If savory is your breakfast taste, then soups, rice and beans or kitchari will satisfy you.
Make lunch the biggest meal of your day. This allows your digestion to provide the most energy. Soups, stews and casseroles with homemade breads work well, along with extra veggie dishes. The heaviness of dairy, nuts and seeds creates a deep layer of warmth within. This supports the effectiveness of your gut and immune system. Extra ghee will lubricate you. As your constitution allows, use as much as three tablespoons a day.
Cut way back on raw foods. Use them only a few times a week — only as a garnish to cooked foods. If you love salads, eat just a couple of tablespoons as a condiment occasionally. You may find your system automatically no longer wanting raw foods such as melons or cucumbers. You may no longer want very dry foods such as crackers or popcorn. This Ayurvedic wisdom is already active within you.
For your daily massage oil, switch to sesame for more warmth. Maybe it’s time to wear a scarf or at least carry one with you, every day. Be sure to follow a regular schedule of eating, sleeping and doing your practices. Vata dosha needs routine for calm and stability. As you align yourself with the rhythms of the season, you can enjoy all it has to offer.
Use the following vata tea to support your digestive and detoxing systems into winter:
- Mix equal parts of whole cumin, coriander and fennel seeds, and store in an airtight container.
- Each morning stir 1 tablespoon of the mix into 1 quart of water.
Bring it to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain and discard the seeds. Sip this tea with meals and throughout the day.