More than any other aspect of food, Ayurveda pays attention to its qualities – hot/cold, heavy/light, moist/dry, etc., because these qualities make all the difference to your health. An example of this is how the qualities in a glass of water will make all the difference in how it affects your health. A glass of ice-cold water has the potential to worsen allergies, weaken digestion, hamper circulation and may even cause you to lose your voice. A glass of warm water, on the other hand, has exactly the opposite effect – reducing congestion, strengthening metabolism, improving circulation and clearing the voice. During the cold winter, it is always a better choice to opt for a warm or room temperature glass of water.
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Ayurveda also focuses on combining the six tastes in each meal, which makes your food tasty, delicious, balanced and medicinal. These tastes are sweet, sour, salty, pungent, astringent, and bitter. When they are successfully combined, you are completely satisfied and not left craving anything after the meal.
The concept of eating seasonally grown foods is a cornerstone of Ayurveda. Nature is wise and produces fruits and veggies which create balance in each season. Root veggies, squash, pumpkin, nuts and beans are readily available in the fall and store well for winter. Because the foods are heavy, sweet and moist, they balance the qualities of Vata (which are light and dry) prevalent in the winter. Therefore, if you follow nature's lead, you will stay healthy and balanced.
Need more reasons to eat seasonally?
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Just as you change your clothes with the seasons, so must you adjust your diet. If you start making seasonal to your foods according, you will be able to prevent many dis-eases.
We each have an innate intelligence which most of us have learned to ignore. If you are craving cold foods ( in temperature or quality) in the winter—such as eating watermelon cubes during a Christmas party or having a bowl of ice cream on a cold winter night—it is a good indication that your body has become out of balance. A good way to start to re-balance yourself is to eat the foods that are at local farmer's markets in the winter.
Not sure what is growing in your area at a given time of year? Check out your local farmer’s market and talk to the farmers!
Coach's note: I've been contacted by so many people recently who "never get sick," yet who are currently sick. One thing that they all have in common is that they are on a cleanse of have just completed one. I cannot stress this enough...winter is NOT the time to cleanse. Winter is the time to be dormant, to rest, relax, and renew for all of the new life coming in the spring. It is a time where your body is supposed to hold weight for warmth and insulation.
Once winter is over and the first berries and dandelion roots of spring appear, it is time to cleanse and release all the winter brought you (fat, mucous, cold) from your system.