The ayurvedic lowdown on fall
Hard to believe fall has officially started with everything looking green and lush! The hint of color in the trees and the cold snap on Monday are hard proof that the cold weather is coming soon! Whether you are on denial or not is good to be aware of the changes we need to make in our routines for good health and holistic bliss. So here is the lowdown for the ayurvedic guidelines for this season of the year.
If you need an introduction to the ayurvedic concepts discussed in this topic, read the ayurvedic lowdown for spring. I also recommend that you read some of the resources listed in the Ayurvedic Institute website for a more complete introduction ayurvedic science in and tests to find out what your constitution is.
Fall is the season for vata. To remain in balance, we need to follow a regimen that keep us warm and that pacifies vata especially, if your constitution is primarily vata. The qualities of vata are cold, light, and dry. The key to keep vata in balance is to keep warm and to keep a regular schedule!
What to eat
Choose warming foods with a variety of spices. Favor foods with sour, sweet, and salty taste which reduce vata.
- Sour foods help you to increase strength, lightens the minds, and to help digestion.
- Sweet foods help you to nourish the body tissues and to prolong life. Be careful, excessive intake of sweets leads to obesity, diabetes, parasites, and kapha-like disturbances.
- Salty foods help to cleanse body tissues and to prevent accumulation of toxins. Be aware that they tend to aggravate pitta and kapha.
Here is a list of recommended foods for fall:
- Warm cooked whole grains that are healing such as basmati or brown rice, and oats (sweet). Add oils or ghee to reduce dryness
- Heating legumes in small amounts such as brown and red lentils, kidney beans, navy beans (sweet and astringent)
- Steamed vegetables are best. If you eat raw salads, be sure to add an oily or creamy dressing and to limit to small amounts.
- Most fruits except astringent such as cranberries and pomegranate. Bananas and berries are best for vata. Apples and pears are sweet but they are also astringent so therefore a bit cooling. Stewed or baked makes them sweet!
- Chicken, eggs, turkey, fresh fish, goat, and venison
- Ginger and garlic are best. Also, heating spices like cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Some of the cooling spices can also be beneficial such as cumin, coriander, and fennel
Astringent, bitter, and pungent tastes aggravate vata. Here is a list of foods to avoid:
- Raw foods especially apples and cabbage family foods
- Frozen foods and drinks
- Hot spices (pungent)
- Avoid caffeine in the evening, drink herbal teas instead. Peppermint helps to reduce gas and is a nerve system stimulant
What to do
Keeping warm at all costs! Here are some of the recommendations:
- Keep a regular schedule. Routine is very grounding.
- Get adequate sleep and avoid staying up late.
- Avoid strenuous exercise and activities.
- Take breaks and avoid overworking.
- Massage with warm sesame oil or coconut oil for pitta before shower in the morning.
- Avoid excessive stimulation (tv, movies, and radio).
- Dress warm when going for a walk.
What to practice in yoga
Practice grounding asanas, supined and inverted poses such as:
- Sun salutation
- Forward and backward bends
- Spinal Twist
- Plow, Camel, Cobra , Locust,
- Cat and Cow
- Leg Lifts
- Shoulder Stand, headstand, and half Wheel
- Yoga mudras
Practice breathing exercises such as:
Meditate with the right attitude involves giving up fear, anxiety, worry, negativity, and lack of faith.
Warm sweet potato and fennel salad
This warm salad is a great and tasty dish to accompany any protein of your choice. Fennel is tridosha which means is good for everybody and sweet potato and squash are good for vata and pitta. The spices balance the dish as the fennel seeds are cooling and the fresh ginger is just a bit heating.
You can use chayote instead of the sweet potato. But if you do, cook the fennel first and then add the chayote. Cook it for only a couple of minutes as it is very tender and you want the veggies to be crunchy.