Ayurvedic Lifestyle Tips: Seasonal Eating For January
By Elizabeth Halliday-Reynolds
Many western doctors and and professionals who focus on nutrition and wellness extoll the benefits of eating seasonally. Eating seasonally is also an approach favored in the ancient science of Ayurveda. When we chose to follow an Ayurvedic lifestyle, we are urged to eat with the seasons and according to our dosha.
The logic behind seasonal eating is that foods will be fresher and have more nutritional value having spent less time in storage. In Ayurveda we learn that we are able to digest certain foods better during certain seasons. For instance, generally big salads with lots of raw vegetables are going to be harder to digest in the cold months because our bodies are using energy to stay warm rather than using that energy to kindle the digestive fires. Because digestion and elimination are so important in Ayurveda (less waste in the body = a healthy body), taking the seasonal approach also means that we support our digestion processes.
Vegetables: broccoli, broccolini, brussels sprouts, butternut squash | celery root, collards, fennel, leeks, mache, potatoes (maincrop), pumpkin, rutabaga, salsify, sweet potatoes, sunchoke, turnips
Fruits & Nuts: kiwi fruit, oranges, pomegranate, tamarillo, tangerines, ugli fruit
Meat: duck, goose, quail, rabbit, venison
Fish & Seafood: clams, crab, mussels, oysters, scallops
Ayurveda notes that we are in Kapha season which runs from Mid-November through Mid-March with some Vata days thrown in (dry and cold). Taking this list of foods and and choosing foods and spices that support the season means choosing foods that are supportive of Kapha. This during this winter (Kapha) season, we will choose foods that have tastes that are pungent (leeks), bitter (Collards) and astringent (broccoli). On the Vata days we would look for sour (oranges), sweet tastes (Basmati Rice)and warming (Quinoa) foods. Keeping these ideas in mind when selecting which in season foods to eat will support us better during this season of Kapha (cold, wet) and sometimes (Vata) cold, windy and dry winter months.
Grains that support all dosha types in the winter are: Amaranth, Basmati Rice, Buckwheat, Grain Flours, Hulled Barley, Quinoa, Rye, Short-grain Brown Rice, Wheat Berries and Whole oats.
Another factor in Ayurveda is that not every body is built the same way. We each have an individual constitution made up of all three doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha). The amount of each dosha in your individual constitution can impact the way in which you digest food. It is telling that you may be able to handle a lunch of pasta easier than your friend who has a different dosha.
If your particular dosha does not support pungent, bitter and astringent or salty, sour, sweet or warming, you would make modifications to these food lists by way of cooking, combining or spicing.
Want to Learn More?
To learn about your dosha, seasonal food preparations, Yoga and aspects of following an ayaurvedic lifestyle, join Lauren Stinespring and Elizabeth Halliday-Reynolds in their every other month Workshop for Ayurvedic Yoga & Lifestyle: A Seasonal Class.
— See our workshop schedule for all current events.
Some content in this article is adapted from, “A Life Of Balance” by Maya Tiwari sold at BlissBlissBliss.