A few tips to prepare your body for the fall season
Staying in tune with Mother Nature means making seasonal changes in our daily life style, so we can maintain balance. As soon as the weather gets colder, Vata (combined elements of air & wind) increases in nature and therefore in our body, we are prone to arthritis, body pain, constipation, bloating, depression, anxiety, dry skin and many other Vata manifestations. It is important to prepare the body and take a few days to remove the toxins from the body prior to the cold weather. A few tips to avoid important Vata aggravations:
• Cut down on dry and light foods such as popcorn, toast, rice cakes & crackers etc, ice cold foods and drinks, junk food and too much alcohol;
• Emphasize warm nourishing foods, sautéed, stir-fried, or steamed vegetables, and, if you are not a vegetarian, sea food, turkey, and chicken; take dairy products in moderation. Avoid taking any cold drinks and have daily herbal teas and warm drinks. If your digestion is weak, a cup of warm water after meals will help you reduce the gas & bloating and will ensure faster digestion;
• Decide upon a daily routine and do your best to stick to it;
• Keep yourself warm. Drink plenty of warm water and/or herbal teas;
• Get up early in the morning and do little exercise, even if only for 5 minutes;
• Meditate in the morning on the divine flame inside your heart and dedicate your day to the Divinity;
• Plan the day ( but be reasonable and do not schedule too many activities);
• Massage the whole body with sesame oil two-three times a week; if tendency towards anxiety, apply warm oil on the head and keep it overnight (2 table spoons of warm sesame oil);
• Clean your tongue regularly with a tongue scraper or with a spoon, as this helps increase the digestive fire and reduce the toxins (AMA) in the body.
A few things to avoid are cold salads, cold water, cold juices and ice-creams. Sweet fruits like Banana, Apricot, Papaya, Peach, Pineapple and Grapes are good. Fruits are good in purées during this season, prepared with natural sugar and spices such as ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon. Steam or sauté veggies – a Variety of winter squash, asparagus, beetroot, green beans, okra, zucchini, sweet potatoes prepared with olive oil or ghee are excellent.
All nuts are good to moisten the skin and give us strength, but eat them with moderation especially if you are of a Pitta or Kapha constitution. Good grains are basmati rice, wheat (unless gluten intolerant), oats, quinoa and amaranth. Use mild spices for your food such as cumin, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, mint, sage, spearmint or thyme.
The main idea for fall and early winter is “keeping yourself warm, grounded, and moisturized”.
Fall is a time to start slowing down after an active, hot summer season. It is a time to start growing roots and nourishing our senses as we prepare for cooler, dry and windy days ahead. The key to good health is slowing down & listening to our body through cravings or symptoms, and making proactive choices to keep a healthy balance; in body, mind, and spirit.