The Winds of Change

Posted On Nov 14, 2013 By Jennifer Galardi

healthy balanced diet for the fall

In case you haven’t noticed, fall is here. Along with the beautiful bounty of colored leaves, Mother Nature also brings wind, decreased temperatures, sometimes erratic weather patterns (sunny and 80o one day, rainy, windy and cold the next) and often times, just a wee bit of chaos. (Back-to-school schedules, anyone?) Whether or not you are aware of it, your body attempts to adjust to the change fall brings.

You see, fall is Vata season, which is dominated by the wind element. (For more information about doshas, click here.)

In my July blog, I introduced the concept of Ayurveda, a lifestyle system of natural healing that creates balance within the body in harmony with nature. Ayurveda tells us that health is our birthright. It seems our American culture has come to consider health as a privilege. I love Ayurveda because it places the responsibility back where it belongs – in the hands of the individual. No one but you is responsible for your health. YOU make the choices that contribute to either disease or radiant health.

But like the winds of fall, I seem to be blowing all over the place here. This is my brain – on Vata imbalance.

If you are someone who tends to a Vata imbalance like me, there is no time of the year where it will be more apparent than the fall. Typical Vata imbalance symptoms include anxiety, lack of focus, and feeling ungrounded and spacey. Physical symptoms can include constipation, cold extremities and irregular eating/hunger patterns. More than ever, now and moving into winter is the time Vatas need to ensure they adopt the proper lifestyle and eating habits that keep them balanced. Try to eat regular meals, establish a routine, limit travel, try a nurturing abhyanga massage, drink warm liquids, use warming herbs (GINGER!) and eat foods that will lubricate the internals and help keep you grounded. It’s no coincidence that the produce abundant in nature right now includes ROOT veggies and grains that do just that. That Mother Nature, she’s pretty savvy that way. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Butternut Squash – A top choice! Check out this simple recipe (which includes Ghee, an Indian cooking staple and an EXCELLENT ingredient to nurture Vatas)
  • Pumpkin – Duh! Even Starbuck’s and Dunkin Donuts cashes in on this seasonal fave.
  • Sweet Potatoes – You’ll be hard pressed to find a food more grounding and nurturing vegetable.
  • ANY Winter Squash – Spaghetti, Acorn, Kabocha (one of my pet squashes!), Delicata
  • Celery Root
  • Chard
  • Fennel – I love adding roasted fennel to some winter barley or just eating it plain as a side.

For a more comprehensive list of what’s in season, click here.

Also, check out the website Local Harvest, which includes resources to find local CSA’s, markets and Co-Ops in your area.

Now bundle up, grab a ginger tea and go play in some leaves!

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