Beautiful yellow, orange, and red tree leaves, crisp cool air, an elevated level of creativity and lightness – the Fall brings all of it to life. It was a favorite season for many bright minds known to humanity. Alexander Pushkin sang odes to Autumn – its colors, freshness, and a sweet melancholy of a passing summer. While some might feel the same tender love to this beautiful season others may experience quite the opposite – constantly cold feet and hands, dry skin, chapped lips, racing thoughts, fatigue, and even depression. Add to it constant digestion problems and you get a rather unhappy individual. All these are signs of an aggravated Vata that tends to accumulate in the Fall. However, Vata season doesn’t have to be miserable. Balanced Vata portrays characteristics of an increased creativity, lightness, and enthusiasm. As always in Ayurveda, it is up to you to decide how you want to feel this Fall! Below are some easy tips that you can use throughout day to keep capricious Vata in balance.
4 Tips to Stay on Balance During Fall
1. Choose Warm over Cold.
In the culture of iced drinks it might be difficult to accept the fact that cold can be bad not only for a sore throat. According to Ayurveda Vata qualities are cold, dry, rough, and constantly moving. To counterbalance Vata we need to provide nourishing, grounding, warm food and environment. Diet is the simplest way to provide the missing nourishment. Some foods are easy to qualify as cold just by touching or tasting them, such as ice cream. But the list doesn’t end here. Ayurveda considers most raw items to be cold: salads, sushi, milk, uncooked vegetables and some fruits. Cooked warm foods are a lot easier to digest and absorb for a weakened Vata digestion. Adding warming spices will help change the quality of foods making them warmer. Most spices are warming and enhance digestion, so cook with a combination of spices that appeals to your taste buds and is appropriate for the dish you are making. Ayurvedic spices such as small quantities of turmeric, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, dried ginger, black pepper and saffron offer flavor, aroma and healing wisdom. To reduce a heavy stomach feeling after a meal, sip some ginger or cinnamon tea.
2. Moist/Juicy is Better than Dry/Crunchy.
Vata is dry and rough by nature and anything dry will aggravate it even more. To keep vata balanced, one’s diet has to contain plenty of fluids, including juicy fruits, soups, stews, and well cooked grain dishes. Stay away from dried fruits, crackers, and cold cereals. Anything crunchy and crispy is not a good Vata choice. Pureed soups, cooked fruit, hot cereal, rice pudding and hot nourishing beverages such as nut milks or warm milk are excellent “comfort” foods and help pacify aggravated Vata. If you have sandwiches on a regular basis, make sure they are not too dry. For example, add grilled veggies or have it with a vegetable soup.
3. 3 Powerful S’s
The three ayurvedic tastes that help balance Vata are sweet, sour and salty, so include more of these tastes in your daily diet. Grains, citrus fruits, and salted toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds make good snack choices. Apple cider available in abundance on all farmer’s markets, can be a perfect afternoon pick me up. Avoid foods that taste bitter, astringent, or pungent. Carrots, asparagus, tender leafy greens, beets, sweet potatoes and summer squash such as zucchini and lauki squash are the best vegetable choices for the Fall season. Vegetables can be combined with grains or mung beans for satisfying one-dish meals.
4. Soft and Warm To Touch
Diet is important to staying balanced and healthy but other factors of our surrounding can have a big influence as well. During Vata season, October – Feb try to add more things that are warm and soft into your life. Get a soft to touch sweater, change your rugs to softer ones, develop and nurture warm kind relationships with yourself and others. Try to surround yourself with warm colors. Orange red, yellow can lift your mood and help create a positive outlook. Whether you choose to update your wardrobe or buy a soft new couch throw is up to you. You can also show your creative side and arrange a Fall bouquet on your table. Use pumpkins, squashes, dry or fresh flowers, and pretty fall leaves that you found in the park. Most importantly, stay warm!
To learn more Vata balancing tips, join me this Saturday, Nov 6 for a fun an Ayurvedic Brunch! Learn fun and useful Vata recipes and Vata balancing techniques that will take you through the entire season. RSVP HERE!
Happy Vata Season!
- Fall Vata Farmers Market Guide (mindbodygreen.com)