Ayurveda, translated as “science of life” in Sanskrit, is an ancient Hindu system of natural healing with the purpose of prolonging life. These 5,000-year-old principles may help us remain healthy and balanced as we transition through the seasons.
Ayurveda shows us how to pay attention to the produce that’s plentiful throughout the year and to eat accordingly.
Season the Seasons with Ancient Principles
What is your dosha?
In Ayurvedic medicine, the five elements of nature are air, space, fire, earth and water. These elements combine to create fundamental principles called doshas. The three Ayurvedic doshas are vata (winter) — qualities reflecting the elements of air and space; pitta (summer) — qualities reflecting fire and water; and kapha (spring) — qualities reflecting water and earth. Ayurveda demonstrates that we are born with all three doshas, and according to our particular mind-body composition, we can determine our unique, dominant dosha for living a healthy life.
Ayurveda focuses on eating in accordance with our body type and the seasons, promoting health through balancing the doshas. Your body will naturally desire the tastes that balance its dosha.
Ayurvedic nutrition suggests that all six of the following tastes should be included on your plate each day. Here are a few examples:
Sweet Fruits, grains, sweet potatoes...
Sour Lemons, yogurt, vinegar...
Salty Sea salt, kelp, seaweed...
Pungent Cayenne pepper, ginger, garlic...
Bitter Leafy greens, herbs, spices...
Astringent Beans, lentils, turnips...
Heavily processed foods, excessive amounts of sugar and caffeine, and large amounts of meat are restricted.
During an Ayurvedic class several years ago, I completed a written exercise to determine my dosha. I discovered that although I exhibited qualities in all three doshas, kapha was dominant. I have a strong desire for sweet foods and have to be careful not to overindulge. I am able to keep my cravings in check by pairing naturally sweet foods with bitter foods. This mindful pairing satisfies my sweet tooth while providing balance on my plate and in my body.
For example, scan the contents of my lunch bowl:
--Mixed greens and veggies (kale, romaine, radicchio, zucchini, red onion)
--1/2 small chopped apple
--Dressing (apple cider vinegar, lemon, olive oil, ginger, basil, pinch of sea salt)
Can you identify the six tastes? The chopped apple tossed into my medley provides me with a little lunchtime sweetness.
Take a look at your dinner plate. Is it filled to the rim with pasta and breadsticks? Achieve nutritional balance by including more items from the Ayurvedic taste categories. Vow to eat a warm, modest evening meal at 6 p.m. to allow your food ample time to digest before retiring.
“When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.” — Ayurvedic Proverb
Weather, cooler temperatures and less sunlight during this time of year affect our bodies in various ways, so prepare yourself for optimal health. We are unique individuals with specific needs. What works for one person may not work for another. Will Ayurvedic principles help you remain healthy and balanced during the change of seasons? Test the system to see if it makes a difference in how you feel.
For more information on Ayurvedic principles, click here to review a brief introductory guide from the Ayurvedic Institute. This resource explains each taste and its primary actions and common food sources. Learn which ones are more balancing and which ones are most aggravating.
Four Steps to Nourish, Transform and Flourish
• Today, set a loving intention to further investigate Ayurveda to see if it makes a difference in your life.
• Begin by making a few changes with the upcoming season.
• Will Ayurveda practices help to balance your mind, body, and spirit?
• Close your eyes and visualize how this lifestyle change can prepare you for your amazing second half.
Need help with your wellness goals as you move through the holidays?
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In love, peace and health--
Your feminine glow guide,
T. Kari Mitchell, M.Ed.
Certified Holistic Health Coach
When your spirit is nourished, your inner light produces an outer glow reflecting your beauty and truth.