Ayurveda teaches that nature provides the ideal harvest for each season. As the holiday season quickly approaches we are ready to bundle up on the chilly evenings and eat the traditional holiday foods at parties with family and friends. While it is important to enjoy this beautiful time of year, food cravings can be powerful yet it is wise to keep in mind the teachings of Ayurveda and refrain from over indulging and having later regrets. This knowledge of life reminds us that the problem is not necessarily the craving itself but the imbalance that has led to the craving.
As we shift our diets with the change of season and eat more of what nature provides, over time our bodies will learn to crave the foods that are appropriate during each time of year. For example, in the winter when our bodies are building up natural fat supplies, a healthier craving would include soups, grains, nuts and proteins to ensure the storage of fats for the winter.
A few ways that can help overcome cravings using Ayurveda includes: eating three regular meals at about the same time each day; making lunch the main meal of the day (heavy dinners can tax digestion and disrupt sleep); cooking and eating fresh food; leftovers are considered less nourishing than fresh foods, so if possible the less leftovers you eat the better; sitting quietly during and for a few minutes after the meal for better digestion of food; and drinking hot water several times a day helps remove toxins from the digestive system.
Ayurveda recommends eating foods that are appropriate to each season in your diet. As we move into the season of Vata, some of the best foods to include in your meals are: dates, figs, grapefruits, grapes, lemons, oranges, persimmons, avocados, brussel sprouts, carrots, garlic, pumpkins, winter squash, sweet potatoes, amaranth, oats, quinoa, brown rice, almonds, cashews, pecans, pistachios, walnuts, ghee, along with most proteins and oils.
You can stay calm and connected in this whirlwind season with a consistent practice that includes things that are nourishing, warming and protecting. Applying the Ayurvedic principle that opposite actions create balance, you can maintain balance during this Vata season by emphasizing lifestyle and food choices that are grounding, stabilizing, warming, moisturizing and softening.