Follow these Ayurvedic dietary techniques to enjoy a calmer and healthier Fall season

Fall is around the corner and you may find yourself feeling glum or out of sorts as the season changes. To improve your mood, experts suggest making certain dietary changes based on Ayurvedic techniques.

Ayurveda basics: Vata, pitta and kapha

Ayurveda is a 3,000-year-old system of medicine developed in India. While the practice is an ancient one, modern dieters recommend Ayurveda to those who wish to ground themselves, feel calmer or improve their gut health.

Ayurveda is a practice that thinks of the body and the world holistically. It was developed to help you acclimatize as the seasons change. With fall fast approaching, making some Ayurvedic changes to your eating habits can help improve your mood and make you feel calmer and happier.

Don't Eat a Lot of Refined Carbohydrates. Not all carbs are created equal. Refined carbs have been highly processed, and have had all the fiber removed from them. They are low in nutrients (empty calories), and can be extremely harmful. Studies show that refined carbohydrates are linked to overeating and numerous metabolic diseases.

While on an Ayurvedic diet, you eat according to your “dosha,” or dominant constitutional type. Think of your dosha as your most prominent energy.

There are three different Ayurvedic doshas derived from five elements: air, earth, fire, space and water. Each element is associated with different attributes.

  • Vata (space and air) – Vatas are associated with creative, intense and expressive personalities. Their attributes include cold, dry, light and rough.
  • Pitta (fire and water) – Pittas tend to be driven, intelligent and joyful. Their attributes include hot, liquid, mobile and sharp.
  • Kapha (earth and water) – Kaphas are usually calm, lethargic and loving. Their attributes include heavy, moist, soft and static.

To determine your dosha, consider which qualities you embody out of the three detailed above. In some cases, you may have at least two strong doshas. Practitioners of an Ayurvedic lifestyle can also embody all three doshas.

salad2Eat more fruits and vegetables. Fruits contain lots of vitamins and minerals. As much as possible, you should consume your vitamins and minerals via your daily diet. Satisfy your palate with these nutritious fruits: Watermelon, Apricots, Avocado (yes, avocado is technically a fruit!), Apple, Cantaloupe, Grapefruit, Kiwi, Guava, Papaya, Strawberries.

Using Ayurveda to address imbalance caused by fall

According to Sahara Rose, an Ayurvedic expert and the host of the “Highest Self” podcast, what you eat while on an Ayurvedic diet will depend on certain factors, such as your individual dosha or unique mind-body type and the ever-changing seasons.

As the seasons change, you may experience imbalances in different doshas.

For example, during summer you may experience a pitta or fire imbalance due to the heat and humidity. Since pitta energy resembles summer weather, you may suffer from imbalance. To balance your dosha, eat cooling foods like fruits, herbs and leafy greens.

You can do things to help you sleep better at night. You can avoid stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime. Also, while alcohol is well-known to help you fall asleep faster, too much close to bedtime can disrupt sleep in the second half of the night as the body begins to process the alcohol.

Fall is vata season, meaning the qualities of the vata dosha, ether and air, become more dominant. As the weather cools down and your body adjusts to more limited daylight, you’ll experience various changes, such as:
  • Being more easily annoyed
  • Creaky joints
  • Feelings of depression
  • Feeling sleepy earlier in the day
  • Heightened levels of anxiety
  • Flaky skin
  • Weakened immunity

To counterbalance the cold, dry, light and rough qualities of fall, consume more nourishing hot drinks, hot soups and stews.

As fall is the “vata time of year,” it’s important to nourish your body and stick to a productive routine. Before fall reaches full swing, achieve balance by seeking out the opposite of vata like hydration, oil-based foods and warmth. Seek love, nurture yourself, be more grounded and follow a daily routine.

Eat a balanced diet. A balanced diet does not have to be a boring diet. As long as you are getting adequate proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and fats, that slice of chocolate cake you're craving shouldn't do you too much harm. Enjoy your meals, chew your food properly and eat a variety of foods, including five portions of fruit or vegetables a day. Too much processed food or sugary food can make you feel sluggish.

Ayurvedic foods for a well-grounded fall

This fall, consume more “grounding foods,” which include root vegetables like carrots, parsnips and sweet potatoes. You can also incorporate ginger and turmeric into an Ayurvedic diet since these two foods are often considered roots.

Warm yourself by making a delicious ginger carrot soup or roast diced vegetables in ghee, ground turmeric, black pepper and sea salt.

Consuming nuts and seeds can also help balance the vata of fall. Make a nutty breakfast by adding a handful of almonds to your oatmeal or finish off a stir-fry with some hemp seeds or cashews.

To maintain balance, skip raw foods like smoothies and start your day with warm, cooked foods like oatmeal and lattes. Once fall starts, drink your favorite tea and choose the hot equivalent of your preferred iced summer beverage.

Cleanse Your Skin With Almond Oil. Switch from bar to liquid soap that doesn’t lather. Instead of stripping your skin with foamy cleansers, nourish your skin while you cleanse for a healthy clean glow. You can use oils such as argan and almond oil to cleanse the skin naturally or use a natural cleanser.

Mushrooms are also perfect for warming fall dishes. Relish the grounding earthiness of mushrooms by making pasta dishes with sliced garlic and some olive oil. Alternatively, you can make a savory risotto or soup using umami mushrooms as a nourishing base. Mushrooms are a natural source of vitamin D, which you’ll need more of once winter draws closer.

Following these Ayurvedic tips and using ingredients that can help balance your doshas will also help boost your mood and overall health during fall.

Sources include:

MindBodyGreen.com

VeryWellFit.com

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