Colder days and longer nights make Winter a season of withdrawal, inviting all of nature to slow down, hibernate, and restore.
The fields lay fallow, trees and plants lose their leaves and flowers, creatures big and small cocoon or hibernate, and while on the exterior they’re not productive or flowering, this is a crucial time for rejuvenation from within.
We also benefit from taking advantage of the Winter season to slow down and restore with nourishing, grounding foods, lots of rest, and time to introspect and reflect.
But, there is also a tendency for slowing down too much this time of year, becoming lethargic, depressed and putting on excess weight.
Health is about balance, and we want to navigate the seasons with their qualities in mind to stay balanced.
Ayurveda defines winter as characterised by the Dosha Kapha, and the elements Earth and Water.
The basic principle of Ayurveda, like increases like and opposites balance, guides us to choose food, exercise and lifestyles that support our overall balance and wellbeing.
Aligning with Food in Winter
The body requires more fuel to stay warm in the Winter months, leading us to crave more substantial, nutritive food, and often larger quantities. To support digesting the heartier, grounding food we eat over Winter, we want to stoke our digestive fire with spices, and well-cooked foods.
Winter Food Focus:
- Eat warm, cooked, slightly oily, well-spiced foods
- Drink room temperature, warm or hot beverages
- Avoid iced or chilled drinks (this slows digestive fire)
- Avoid/reduce raw and cold foods (difficult to digest and ungrounding)
- Favour heating vegetables like radishes, cooked spinach, onions, carrots and other root vegetables
- Use more spices like garlic, ginger, black pepper, cayenne, and chili peppers
- Favour cooked grains like oatmeal, barley, tapioca, rice or kitchari
- Legumes and dahls balance Kapha as long as they are well cooked
- Avoid/reduce dairy as this time of year tends toward excess mucus
Healthy Habits in Action:
- Make a big, hearty vegetable soup with lots of spices at the beginning of your week so you can easily enjoy eating in alignment to winter all week!
- Add more spices to all of your meals to stoke your metabolic fire throughout the season.
- If you love salads for lunch, add more roasted veggies. Roast a big tray of veggies for dinner, then use the rest throughout the week for your lunches.
Get the kids involved
Add more cooked veggies to the lunch box rather than raw, or send the kids to school with a thermos of warm soup.