Healthy Balance for Fall with the Wisdom of Ayurveda
Autumn brings beautiful changing leaves, crisp cool air, strong breezes, a fresh lightness and a time of change. According to Ayurveda, October to February marks vata season with characteristics of creativity, lightness and enthusiasm. Vata is associated with a cold, windy and dry climate. As this external environmental vata increases, our internal vata often increases as well.
If you are experiencing cold hands and feet, chapped lips, dry flaky skin, racing thoughts, digestion issues, depression or fatigue you may be out of balance. These are all signs of aggravated vata which tends to accumulate in the fall.
Sticking to regular routines and paying attention to the natural laws of the season can help you maintain a sense of balance and avoid illness as the weather turns colder. Try these tips and lifestyle solutions to enjoy this beautiful season without getting out of balance!
Balance Dry & Crunchy with Moist & Juicy
In the fall, the leaves turn dry and fall from the trees. While the sound of dry, crunchy leaves beneath your feet may remind you of autumn, you want to avoid this crunchy, dryness when it comes to your diet and body. Vata is associated with dry, rough and crispy qualities. To keep vata balanced, include plenty of moist produce and fluids in your diet. Opt for hearty cooked stews and soups, juicy fruits, hot beverages and moist veggies to pacify aggravated vata. Cook veggies in organic ghee or unrefined organic coconut oil to sooth and calm the nervous system and reduce restless vata energy.
Incorporate Sweet, Sour & Salty Tastes
According to Ayurveda, sweet, sour and salty tastes help to balance vata energy. Fortunately, the fall harvest provides plenty of inspiration with carrots, tender leafy greens, beets, sweet potatoes and winter squashes. Try incorporating citrus fruits and apple cider into your cooking to add sweet and sour tastes and opt for salty roasted pumpkin seeds for a satisfying snack. Avoid too many foods with bitter, astringent and pungent flavors like peppers and those that are dry, raw or cold.
Choose Warm, Cooked Foods Over Cold, Raw Foods
To counter the cold, dry, restless energy of fall, we need nourishing, grounding, warm food. Ayurveda considers raw items like salads to be cold as well as cold dairy milk and some fruits. Opt for mostly cooked foods which are easier to digest and absorb for a weakened vata digestion in the fall. You can also experiment with adding warming spices like cinnamon and ginger to change the quality of foods and make them warmer.
Rest, Rejuvenate and Recharge
While spring is classically considered an ideal time for cleansing, autumn is also a natural time to detox and rejuvenate. During these seasonal transitions, your body naturally wants to rebalance itself and cleanse of built-up toxicity. Like the leaves shed their leaves in the fall, an autumn detox can help you cleanse your system to stave off seasonal colds, keep your immune system strong and fortify the body for the colder months ahead. Try to go to sleep by 10pm and keep a consistent wake-up time to create stability and resiliency in the body and mind. Make room in your schedule for meaningful stress management, relaxation and gentle movement. Avoid fast driving, loud music and over-scheduling too many projects to keep yourself energized and in balance.
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Every body is unique so be sure to check with your health care professional before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. These are methods and products that I use and should not be considered medical advice.
Originally published at www.jenniferweinbergmd.com on October 14, 2015.