Discovering The Seasons With Ayurveda
Let's talk seasons and how to adjust our nutrition and lifestyle to live with the seasons through the practice of Ayurveda.
Ayurveda is a science deeply rooted in healing and improving the quality of your life. It combines psychology, spirituality and philosophy, focusing on how each individual experiences life. Ayer means “life” and veda means “knowledge”. Ayurveda appreciates the impact that food and their seasons have on our health and overall lifestyle. Highlighting the practices of Ayurveda help us to embrace the changing seasons and welcome in foods and practices that support our gut, immune and overall health.
4 Practices to Transition intoFall & Winter with Ayurveda:
1. Drink herbal tea and incorporate herbs into cooking
Herbal tea packs a powerful punch of beneficial compounds that support both our immune health as well as our digestion! As we transition into Fall and Winter, incorporating more warming teas that contain nutrient dense polyphenols and phytonutrients nourish our gut microbiome that in turn nourish our immune health!
The beautiful thing is that ALL teas contain nutrient rich compounds to support our health. In particular, Ayurveda emphasizes some of our favorite teas that also pack a punch for digestive health. Digestive symptoms like bloating, gas, constipation and indigestion can be hugely remedied with ginger, chamomile, fennel, licorice, peppermint, cloves and thyme which are all carminative herbs. This is often why teas are prescribed medicinally in Ayurvedic practices to
help remedy these digestive discomforts and are pantry staple in our NDD community!
Organic India products use herbs grown using ancient Ayurvedic bio-regenerative methods to maximize efficacy. Organic India is unique because it incorporates Tulsi as a foundation to their formulas. Tulsi, aka Holy Basil, is an adaptogenic herb that balances stress in the body and aids in stress relief, uplifts mood, supports the immune system and supports the body’s natural detoxification process.
Cooking with Herbs & Bitters
Incorporating a diversity of herbs and bitter plants into our diet in the Fall and Winter months can help to keep the “digestive fire” going in Ayurveda which to us inside of NDD means digestive chemicals and motility. In particular, fresh or dried herbs and bitter plants like dandelion, cranberries, endive, arugula, citrus, ginger and parsley can aid in optimizing digestion during the colder months. Aim to add a bitter food at most or even all meals to support robust digestion!
Our favorite Organic India teas are HERE!
2. Eating Seasonal Foods and Connecting to your Community
Eating with the seasons can enhance our connection to the natural shifts in seasons that offer variety in seasonal foods and support our body's nutrient needs for each season. For instance, Fall and Winter seasons bring more grounding and warm root vegetables, squash,
and hearty greens such as swiss chard and kale that nourish our beneficial microbes to support more robust immunity for those seasons. While Spring and Summer bring more mineral-rich hydrating foods to optimize minerals and hydration for the warmer months of the year. Appreciating and leaning into these seasonal shifts can bring us closer to nature and more deeply nourish our bodies at the same time!
Community is our connection to everything from ourselves to the people and environment around us. Our connection to community is a powerful tool in our health that many of us saw first hand how important that connection is through the past couple of years. Food is a beautiful connector to our community as food is a universal language that connects to the people we share meals with and build experiences with. In Ayurveda, food prepared with love and shared with people whom we love is believed to increase the nourishing qualities of that food - and we believe that intensely!
3. Mindful Eating Practices
Mindful eating and being present to the meals we are enjoying helps to support optimal digestion and create more connection to our mealtime experiences that nourish us well beyond nutrients alone. Practicing mindful eating allows us to slow down and appreciate our food and the energy that went into preparing it. The mind-body connection is a cornerstone in Ayurveda.
Remember these Three Steps to practice mindful eating that will help to promote optimal digestion:
Prepare your environment:Digestion starts in the brain! Sit down to focus your energy on digestion, clear distractions to focus and appreciate your meal and BREATHE! 3-7 rounds of deep breathing can help transition your brain for optimal digestion.
Meal Timing: Aim for meals to be at least 20 minutes, this gives our stomach enough time to communicate to our brain that we are full. Aim to have 3-4 hours in between meals. This allows the self-cleaning mechanism of the GI to run called the MMC. Stop when 80% full - check-in on satiety until you feel satisfied!
Check in with yourself: Chew your food! We want to break down each bite before we deliver it to our digestive system so it’s easier for our bodies to breakdown. Take your time! Put your fork down, take deep breaths and pause in between bites. This will strengthen our hunger signals and let us appreciate and enjoy the food we’ve prepared. Drink to thirst! Use liquids to quench thirst at meals, too much liquid can water down our digestive secretions so save higher liquid intake to enjoy between meals.
4. Transition into Fall & Winter with Ayurveda
Inviting in Ayurveda practices into your Fall and Winter routine to embrace the seasons, nourish your gut and optimize your overall wellness:
Cooked and Blended Foods
Ayurveda encourages enjoying more cooked foods during the cooler months, especially cooked vegetables. Cooked and blended foods support digestion and energy as they are easier on the digestive system as the cooking process outsources some of the work for the gut. Think about warm blended soups, roasted vegetables and cozy baked dishes as the weather turns cooler.
Incorporate Root Vegetables
Root vegetables are incredibly grounding in Ayureda, meaning they help to sooth the nervous system and promote more connection to the body. Root vegetables are in season in the Fall and stay well right through the Winter, making root vegetables like sweet potatoes, turnips, carrots, parsnips and beets a great staple for meals in the cooler seasons. They are also packed with fiber and feed the beneficial bacteria in our gut to support more robust immune health throughout colder months!
Add some spice to your Fall and Winter meals with warming spices that help to heat up and promote healthy digestion, an emphasis in Ayurveda during the cooler months. Warming spices can also aid in alleviating digestive symptoms such as ginger which can help reduce nausea, gas and bloating. Another favorite warming spice is turmeric which is a potent antioxidant that reduces inflammation and helps to relieve gas and bloating.
Check out our recipe below for a warming digestive tea you can make with just a few ingredients!
*Remember: You are the expert in your body! These are not hard set rules, they are tools. Get curious about what feels best in your body right NOW!
Want to learn more about how to heal your gut and eliminate frustrating digestive symptoms such as gas, bloating, constipation, heartburn, diarrhea and more? Our No Drama Digestion (NDD) program is a three step process to healing your gut and eliminating your symptoms for good! Learn more about NDD HERE!
Warming Ginger Tea
Cook time: 10 minutes
¼ cup fresh ginger root (peeled and sliced thin)
⅛ cup fresh turmeric root (peeled and sliced thin or use 2 tsp dried)
1 tsp lemon juice
Peel of one lemon
1 cinnamon stick
2 cups boiling water
Pinch of salt
Put the ginger, turmeric, lemon peel, lemon juice and cinnamon stick into a mug and add the boiling water. Stir to combine the ingredients. Let brew for 10 minutes or longer if you want a more intense flavor. Strain and add a dash of salt and honey to taste. Enjoy!
*Buy organic ingredients if possible!