Ayurveda Day 53: Nutrition pt. 4 – Seasonal Diet

The past few blogs we have been discussing the topic of nutrition. It is a wide subject full of depth.

From eating in accordance with the taste of food, the potency (warming or cooling), to the post digestive effect, there is a lot to consider when selecting a meal.

Throw the doshas into the mix and things can drive you crazy.

I have a ______ (insert dosha) imbalance, what foods can I eat? What tastes? Should they be warming or cooling? What is their effect on my body? How do they combine with other foods? What if I don’t have those available? I don’t want to give up _______ food! Does this mean I can’t eat ______ anymore??????

It’s enough to make anyone neurotic! So where can someone start?

Well for starters, we must always consider the following:

The fresher, less processed, organic, ethically harvested, and non-gmo foods are always going to be more beneficial to our bodies than anything else.

So you may read something like:

Pitta’s shouldn’t eat tomatoes.

There is a danger in this kind of thinking. Yes, they can increase pitta, but there is a difference between pouring a tomato sauce on your pasta that is full of sulfites that has been collectively reduced from dozens of tomatoes and picking a fresh tomato from a garden, slicing it, and placing it in your meal.

It doesn’t matter if you are Vata, Pitta, or Kapha, the origins of the food are more important.

If you reach in your fridge or pantry right now, pick one item that you eat regularly that isn’t all that healthy (processed, gmo, not organic, etc…). Now see if you can replace that one item with something that is a healthy alternative. Instead of that tomato sauce from a can, maybe you make your own. Then even from there maybe you can work your way off from tomato sauce entirely. But start small.

Aside from eating the healthiest foods possible, eating in accordance with the seasons is paramount. As a general rule of thumb, if it grows easily in that season, it’s probably pacifying the doshas that get aggravated in that season!

Fall/Winter
In the fall and winter, Vata dosha becomes more easily disturbed. Therefore, eating sweet/sour/salty foods that are warming will pacify it. These types are foods are nutrient dense: grains, dals, beans, greens, cultured vegetables, reconstituted dried fruits, winter squashes…essentially foods that are not glucose rich and foods that store easily during this season.

Spring
In the spring, Kapha dosha becomes more easily disturbed. Eating pungent/bitter/astringent foods that are warming will pacify it. Cleansing and reducing foods such as lighter grains, dals, and greens are best. I can not stress this enough: Look around in spring, and what do you see? Growth! Spring is in bloom! Therefore, eat plenty of greens, greens, greens! Veg out!

Summer
In the summer, Pitta dosha becomes more easily disturbed. Eating sweet/bitter/astringent foods that are cooling is best. So many foods become available in the summer that we can have: Fruits, vegetables, greens, grains, dals…Summer is a great time of year to be eating, and preparing for the season ahead.

In order to truly craft a dietary plan for yourself, there is no list you can print off the internet. You really do need a CAS to help you get started on the path. This is why diets typically don’t work or last. People tend to feel good following a diet for a while, but after some time they don’t realize too much of one thing doesn’t work in every season for every dosha. Nature tells us exactly what we need, but it’s hard for us to change our habits. Ayurveda can help you slowly have a healthier diet.

With gratitude,

S

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