The warm weather and renewal of spring is a wonderful time to shed weight that is no longer serving us from winter. However, we want to emphasize that Ayurveda views each person as a reflection of the universe. Because of this, there is no “right” or “wrong” way to look. Ayurveda views weight gain as a natural cycle that mimics nature. In winter it is more natural to gain weight and in summer it’s more natural to lose some. Both are natural cycles that the body goes through. We want people to feel whole, healthy, and happy. With summer right around the corner and warm weather already becoming more frequent, many people might notice they have put on a few extra pounds during the winter months.
When it’s colder, the metabolism slows down and begins to store fat for insulation. This is actually very important to your health, although it may be slightly frustrating. We must honor what our bodies need in each season. Now that we are moving into the spring and summer, our bodies no longer need to hold this excess weight so we must do our part in helping detox and shed our winter coat and transform into this spring season.
Spring is a Kapha season saturated in water from melting snow and April showers. Our bodies follow this Kapha pattern and retain heavy, cool, and smooth qualities. Therefore, it is important to follow a Kapha-pacifying lifestyle and avoid foods and activities that aggravate Kapha. This allows the body to properly shed off any excess weight gained from the winter, and to detox any excess mucus that may build up. Let’s talk about losing weight, the natural spring shed, and the natural rhythm of seasons in Ayurveda.
In Ayurveda, we strongly believe that you are what you digest. Imagine your stomach like a pot, and your Agni is the fire that allows the food to be digested and assimilated. There is a balance that must be kept in order to start and maintain Agni. Eating large meals can smother the digestive fire, while not eating enough will cause the fire to die out altogether. Therefore, healthy weight management and metabolism depend on regular and reliable fuel. This means eating three healthy, digestible meals each day without snacking in between to boost your metabolism. Ideally, lunch should be the largest meal while breakfast and dinner are small portions. The stomach should be filled a third of the way with food, a third with water and the last third left empty.
Spring Nutrition Guideline:
Kapha is heavy, oily, cool, and smooth in quality, so it is important to eat whole foods that are opposite in nature. A Kapha-pacifying diet is one that emphasizes light, warm and dry foods that are rough and digestible. Generally, fruits and vegetables should constitute the majority of your meal followed with some grains and legumes. In the spring season, it is okay to eat raw fruits and salads as the season supports digestion of raw foods, as long as the weather is warm. Foods that are dry in nature are: beans, potatoes, dry fruits, and an occasional glass of wine. Make sure to eat plenty of foods with fiber such as broccoli, cabbage, and dark leafy greens. Foods to avoid are those that are Kapha-aggravating such as dairy, pudding, nuts, wheat breads, pastas, red meat, fried foods, eggs, and avocados.
Emphasizing foods with pungent, astringent, and bitter tastes also helps pacify Kapha. Pungent tastes are found in foods such as chilies, radishes, turnips, onions, and most spices. Bitter foods such as kale, dandelion greens, and dark chocolate helps to cleanse and tonify the skin, muscles, improve appetite, and support digestion. Astringent foods such as legumes, beans, apples, and cranberries, and pomegranates are dry and light, therefore reducing the watery and heavy qualities of Kapha and help utilize fluids.
Here are some meal ideas to get you going:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with a handful of fruit and a dab of honey. Paired with a cup of tea or warm lemon water.
Lunch: (largest meal of the day): Sautéed Greens (Leeks, Kale, Spinach, and Beet Greens) served over cooked quino. (recipe can be found in our newsletter article for this month)
Dinner: A cup of soup with toast.
Foods to Avoid:
Kapha favors tastes like sweet, sour, and salty so avoiding these is important to not building up kapha qualities. Remove all refined sugars and processed foods from your diet as they are major contributors to weight gain. Sour foods are moistening and oily and tend to aggravate Kapha. In addition to sugar, salt is one of the main culprits when it comes to gaining weight. This is because salt causes water retention, increasing the watery and heavy Kapha qualities in the body and can also cause excess thirst, intestinal inflammation, and high blood pressure. By avoiding sweet, sour and salty and favoring astringent, bitter, and pungent, the excess Kapha in the body is pacified and extra weight can be shed.
Weight loss isn’t just about going to the gym. It’s important to make lifestyle changes to support a sustainable pathway to health.
Our first tip is to have a regular time when you fall asleep and wake up. As spring is the season of rebirth and renewal, the ideal time to wake up is between 6 and 8 am. Sleep is one of your greatest allies when it comes to looking and feeling your best.
The second tip is to do fifteen minutes of yoga or movement every day and to exercise four times a week. This might sound like a huge commitment but it will show amazing benefits after only a week. . A good aerobic exercise that gets your blood pumping and sweat going will have your metabolism burning fat quickly and efficiently. Practice something you can find pleasure in, such as going on a bike ride or a run along the beach!
The third tip is to eat three satisfying meals a day with lunch being the main meal and avoid snacking on anything but fruit. This way, your body will be supported nutritionally and your digestive fire will be at its strongest. Ideally, lunch should be the largest meal while breakfast and dinner are small portions. In addition to eating the right sized meals at the right time, it is important to prioritize nutrition. Spring naturally provides produce that supports the spring shed and detox so seek out locally sourced food, visit your local farmers market, and eat seasonally.
Welch, DR. Claudia. “Balancing Kapha.” Banyan. N.p., 31 Jan. 2014. Web. 24 May 2017.
“Managing a Kapha Constitution.” Banyan. N.p., 01 Apr. 2014. Web. 24 May 2017.
Rudman, Aarajean. “Eight Ayurveda Tips for Weight Loss.” Kripalu. N.p., 22 Sept. 2016. Web. 24 May 2017.