Ayurvedic Diet & Lifestyle practices for Autumn season.
Summer is over and autumn has officially started - which means that Vata season is upon us!
Autumn is a beautiful season of transition, from hot, sticky summer to the cold, dark winter. During such transition, it’s important to develop a diet and routine that help us keep our bodies and minds in tune with the environment, and maintain a sense of harmony and balance.
What does Ayurveda say about Autumn?
Ayurveda - the sister science of Yoga - teaches us how to live within the laws and rhythms of nature. What we see happening in our environment is also happening inside our minds and bodies, have you noticed that?
To make it short, within Ayurveda there are three doshas : Vata, Pitta and Kapha. They each have their own makeup and are connected to different seasons. Ayurveda divides the year into three seasons, according to which dosha is most prevalent in each season.
- Vata is strongest in fall through early winter.
- Kapha season runs from late winter through spring
- Pitta rules the summer months
Autumn is Vata season. Vata represents the elements of air and space, and is characterised by irregularity, motion, and restlessness.
How to create balance and harmony during autumn?
In Autumn, the first and most important thing is to keep yourself grounded and keep a regular routine and schedule. Your diet is also a powerful way to soothe vata this autumn and it's not complicated at all, it simply requires a few tweaks here and there.
Here are the key qualities for your diet to pacify Vata:
In other words, you want to opt for substantive, oily, nourishing foods that are high in protein, high in healhty fat, brought to life with warming, stimulating spices, and served hot. These foods will help you maintain your internal reserves of moisture and keep you grounded through the vata season.
Diet for balance and harmony
1. Healthy fats
Yes, absolutely, more fat means body insulation!
olive oil, nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts)
seeds (sunflower, pumpkin)
ghee (ghee is purified butter. It’s sort of an Ayurvedic superfood )
olive oil, sesame oil
2. Warm, cooked and grounding foods
cooked root vegetables (all the squashes, beets, carrots, potatoes, and sweet potatoes)
stews & soups
basmati or brown or wild rice
cooked apples or pears (with cinnamon & ginger for example)
3. Spices & herbs
Ayurvedic spices give lots of flavour to your dishes, and they are also energetically warming and grounding. And for the record, they help with digestion, which Vata may struggle with.
turmeric - and always combined with black pepper
4. Hot, nourishing beverages
spiced teas such as ginger, liquorice, and cinnamon
turmeric milk: 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder + 1/2 teaspoon of cardamon powder in 250ml of warm milk.
What to avoid?
1. Raw foods and salads
They’re way to light and too difficult to digest in Vata season .
2. Cold and frozen foods
Remember, you want to warm up.
3. Bitter, astringent and pungent foods
You want to go for sweet, salty and sour tastes, which will are Vata-pacifying tastes.
4. Dry snack foods
Avoid potato crisps, popcorn, crackers, and dry, cold cereal.
Autumn is Vata season. Vata represents the elements of air and space, and is characterised by irregularity, motion, and restlessness. During the Vata season, it’s therefore important to slow down. You must allow yourself to rest more often and you need to be gentle with yourself to get ready for the darker winter months ahead after the high energy of the warm summer we’ve had.
In Autumn, the first and most important thing is to keep yourself grounded and keep a regular routine and schedule.
Practice a daily routine. Try to do the same things (wake up, exercise, eat meals, go to bed, etc.) at roughly the same times every day. Set the tone for your day by rising early, enjoy the silence, stillness, and peace of the early morning hours. Rise a little before your family and savour this moment.
Then, you can calm your nervous system, awaken your body, and ground your energy by massaging your skin with warm, organic sesame oil. After that, take a warm, relaxing shower, making sure you leave a coat of oil on the skin to absorb throughout the day. IT's also good protection against the autumnal wind.
Dress for the season
Wear enough clothes that you stay warm throughout the day. When you step out into the elements, cover your head and ears to protect them from the biting wind and cold.
Autumn season exercise tips
Vata is very easily aggravated by fast, mobile activities, so it's a good idea to consider slow, gentle, strengthening forms of exercise.
Walking, hiking, swimming, biking, yoga, and tai chi are good choices, provided they are done at an appropriate level of intensity.
The best times of day to exercise are in the early morning (6-10am) and in the evening (6–10pm).
Ideally, exercise at about 50–70 percent of your capacity, breathing through your nose the entire time. If you cannot breathe through your nose, it means you're pushing too hard. Slow down!
And remember to balance your activity with adequate relaxation and sleep so that your tissues and your whole being can rejuvenate properly.
Remember, a seasonal routine is an investment in your own health and vitality.
I wish you well, happy and healthy.
Don't hesitate to get in touch if you'd like more information or if want to set up a consult (online or in Brussels)