Winter Wellness

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Ayurveda Winter Wisdom, 2014

In the Pacific Northwest, we have a unique weather system that has vata and kapha in a dance from winter solstice to spring equinox. For the next month at least, we will be more in the vata season, although kapha will be starting to take its hold. When I’m unclear about which dosha to address, I go back to the basics. Like increases like, opposites balance. 

To balance Vata, make choices that bring warmth, stability, and consistency to your life.  To balance kapha, make choices that bring lightness to the heart and invigorate the body.  Try to get to bed before 10pm, awaken by 7am, and eat your meals at regular times.

Fresh ginger root is beneficial and can be used frequently. During the cool weather, sip ginger tea throughout the day.

  • Be certain that your bowels move on a daily basis. Refer to the post : A dilemma to digest.
  • All sweeteners pacify Vata and may be taken in moderation. Kapha is best to avoid sweeteners.
  • Fats and oils are beneficial in the digestive system and help reduce Vata. Use up to 3 teaspoons daily of ghee or extra virgin olive oil. If Kapha is high, use less.
  • If your digestion is strong, all low-fat dairy products are recommended. Milk is easier to digest when warm or heated.
  • If Kapha is high or digestion is sluggish, build digestion with agni appetizers. Fifteen minute prior to meals, take trikitu or ginger slivers with a pinch of rock salt and a squeeze of fresh lime
  • Rice and wheat are the best grains for balancing Vata but can increase kapha.
  • To reduce kapha increase the amount of quionoa, barley, corn, millet, buckwheat, and rye.
  • To reduce kapha, fast one day a week from after dinner the first day to before dinner the second day.
  • To balance all three doshas, eat kichadi one day a week.
  • To balance vata favor sweet, heavy fruits such as: bananas, avocados, mangoes, apricots, plums, berries, coconut, figs, grapefruit, orange, lemon, melons, papaya, peaches, pineapples, rhubarb, kiwi, dates, nectarines and dried fruits.
  • If Kapha is high, eat dry or light fruits such as apples, cranberries, pears, and pomegranates. To ease digestion, fruits are best eaten lightly cooked, sautéed or eaten alone.
  • Cooked vegetables are best. Raw vegetables should be minimized.
  • Sprouts and cabbage tend to produce gas and should be minimized.
  • For non-vegetarians, use fresh, organic chicken, turkey, seafood, and eggs.

Favouring heavy foods such as sweets, oils, and richer foods may contribute to weight gain. Focus on natural grains, and moist fruits and vegetables. Keep your sweets to a minimum and use low-fat milk products.

Cook your food for easy digestion. Lightly steaming vegetables greatly reduces digestion time and increases nutritional uptake in most people by facilitating the breakdown of the fiberous outer cell wall which are an undigestable cellulose.

Don’t wait for a sunny day to go out and breath the fresh air. If you can get into the coastal rainforest right now, the kapha micro world of mosses, mushrooms and fungi is in full bloom.

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