Ayurvedic Seasonal Eating Leads to Optimal Digestion, Balanced Life


When prepared in the Ayurvedic way, eating seasonal produce benefits your wallet, your digestion, and your health. The best buys for winter include sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, carrots, beets, bananas, dates, figs, grapes, and lemons. (photo by Sydney Gastman)

With the fast-paced, stress-filled living that comes with our globalized, technology-driven society, the mindfulness-based, yogic lifestyle is appealing to many. An ancient Indian medicine called Ayurveda is closely aligned with the yoga lifestyle. Literally translating to “the science of life,” Ayurveda has been trademarked as the path to holistic health, peace, and purpose. Rooted in the notion that each person has his or her own path to optimal health, Ayurveda places emphasis on the connection between the mind and the body so that everyone can make optimal choices about diet, exercise, and other aspects of life.

As the weather gets colder and the seasons change, Ayurveda recommends that people adjust their diets to align with the season. The bacteria that aid in digestion are different in winter, so adjusting to the Ayurvedic winter diet leads to balanced immunity, digestion, mood, energy, blood sugar, weight, and sleep. Here are some steps that will help you live a life in tune with the new season:

  1. Incorporate more sweet, sour, and salty foods into your diet.
  2. Balance out the qualities of coolness and dryness with foods that are warm, moist, heavy, and soothing (soups, stews, casseroles, root veggies, steamed veggies, warm herbal teas).
  3. Say no to the big salads and green smoothies. Eat warm, cooked meals instead.
  4. Eat more fat and protein (ghee, avocado, healthy oils, nuts, and seeds) and larger quantities of food to stay full.
  5. Take advantage of the seasonal produce that are aligned with the winter tastes (sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, carrots, beets, bananas, dates, figs, grapes, lemons) and make sure to take these foods warm.
  6. Utilize warming spices (basil, black pepper, cinnamon, cumin, fennel, ginger, turmeric).

As always, it is best to eat within an eight-hour time frame throughout the day, with the biggest meal at high noon when digestion is at its peak. Also, it is important to eat sitting down in an uplifting, settled environment for optimal digestion; eating while driving, walking around, or watching TV inhibits the digestive fire from reaching its full potential.

Along with getting restful sleep, engaging in light, warming exercise like yoga, and taking time to relax, these tips can lead to a balanced, healthy, peaceful life. All it takes is a little extra effort and mindfulness.