We become what we digest, not what we eat. That’s what Ayurveda tells us.
Proper digestion is essential to keep the body healthy: it takes 30-35 days for our digested food to become all of our bodily tissues. But only if digestion was proper: anything we didn’t digest becomes toxic food waste (ama) that can make us feel heavy and unbalanced. If digestion was incomplete, tissues won’t be formed completely or the digested food essence doesn’t reach the more subtle tissues.
How do we digest well? Eating with the seasons, fine tuned for your body type (dosha) is one of the best way to keep digestion healthy. So let’s have a closer look at how we need to eat in winter for perfect health.
Why eating with the seasons?
Because nature provides a natural perfect antidote for what’s happening during a specific season in nature:
- in spring, kapha-pitta season, nature gives us bitter roots to cleanse the liver and combat heaviness after winter
- in summer, pitta-vata season, we can enjoy sweet fruits and healthy carbohydrates like vegetables and grains that are naturally cooling for the body and easy to digest
- in autumn, vata season, the harvest looks like root vegetables, heavier grains, nuts and seeds that keep us warm & strong during the colder months
How about winter? Winter is vata-kapha season. Depending on where you live in the world, it is either a cold, wet and heavy season (kapha) with lots of snow and rain, or a cold, dry and windy season (vata).
Most of us benefit from a combination of kapha & vata balancing practices. The common denominator is that they’re both cold doshas. So adding heat will be our main focus.
Nutrition for Winter
In general: cooked, warm, well-spiced foods with a bit of oil is recommended, drink only room temperature, hot or warm drinks and use lots of digestive spices like ginger, cardamom and cinnamon.
Vata winter is cold, dry, windy and usually manifests in the beginning of winter and in the transition from autumn to winter, follow this especially if you have a vata constitution or imbalance
Tastes to favour: sweet, sour, salty tastes
Tastes to avoid: astringent, bitter and pungent tastes
Focus on sweet and nourishing foods with oily, heavy and wet qualities
Grains, nuts & seeds, organic dairy, sweet (cooked) fruits and well-cooked vegetables are best
Kapha winter is cold, wet (lots of snow and rain), heavy and usually manifests in the second part of winter and in the transition from winter to spring, follow this especially if you have a kapha constitution or imbalance
Tastes to favour: astringent, bitter and pungent tastes
Tastes to avoid: sweet, sour and salty tastes
Focus on warm, cooked, spicy, slightly dry, light and easy to digest foods
Bitter roots and greens, clear soups, crackers, beans and dried fruits are best
Follow these guidelines and notice how it makes you feel. The cool thing about eating with the seasons is that your body will start to ask for the right foods as it becomes balanced. So tune into how you feel often and you might start to feel a natural shift in appetite and cravings for certain foods as the seasons change.
If you have a specific imbalance or feel you’re totally lost with what to eat, I can help you with a personalised plan.