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.

Eat your stress away. Prevent low blood sugar as it stresses you out. Eat regular and small healthy meals and keep fruit and veggies handy. Herbal teas will also soothe your frazzled nerves. Eating unrefined carbohydrates, nuts and bananas boosts the formation of serotonin, another feel-good drug. Small amounts of protein containing the amino acid tryptamine can give you a boost when stress tires you out.

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.

Sugar-coated. More than three million South Africans suffer from type 2 diabetes, and the incidence is increasing – with new patients getting younger. New studies show this type of diabetes is often part of a metabolic syndrome (X Syndrome), which includes high blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease. More than 80% of type 2 diabetics die of heart disease, so make sure you control your glucose levels, and watch your blood pressure and cholesterol counts.

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.

Challenge yourself. It may sound completely absurd, but try brushing your teeth with your opposite hand. Doing so will force you to think with a different part of your brain, helping to foster creative thinking. Within days, you’ll notice a cascade of new ideas that may just have you trying tofu next week, kickboxing next month or a half marathon by the end of the year!

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.

Here’s the rub. Improve your circulation and help your lymph glands to drain by the way you towel off. Helping your lymph glands function can help prevent them becoming infected. When drying off your limbs and torso, brush towards the groin on your legs and towards the armpits on your upper body. You can do the same during gentle massage with your partner.

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.

Avoid electromagnetic field toxicity. Remove electric clocks from your bedside table (use battery operated instead). Don’t sleep or work near a fuse box or other electrical appliances. Don’t put anything electrical on or near your head. Use cell phone protectors to diminish EMF fields.

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:

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Increase your energy, naturally. I know that sounds simple, but I read recently that only 6 percent of Americans get the recommended five to six servings of vegetables daily. Make it a goal to add at least one more vegetable into your day and just watch your energy levels soar.

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