As our days are getting shorter, the weather getting colder and winter just around the way, it is time to switch up our eating and lifestyle habits to suit the colder temperature and the changes going on around us.
Ayurveda medicine teaches us that autumn time is a time where our Vata dosha is starting to become in full bloom ready for the winter. This means that we can tend to be more on the anxious side, not feeling grounded, not able to make decisions and having a dry constitution (think cracked lips, dry skin, and constipation).
We want to counteract the Vata problems that we could be experiencing during the autumn and prevent other problems that arise once winter comes around like cold and the flu. We are able to do these through the food we eat and the way we choose to move during autumn and leading into winter.
Our body naturally wants to find ways to warm up our organs from the inside out and we naturally start to crave warming and nourishing foods once the weather starts to get cooler. Eating foods that are in season during the autumn time provide us with the nutrients that we need to get through the season. They provide us with plenty of zinc, vitamin c, antioxidants and vitamin E to prevent us from getting sick. It’s also a cheaper option as most farmers markets or supermarkets have seasonal fruit and vegetable at cheaper prices than imported out of season produce.
Foods that are in season for autumn include:
- Apple, pear, plum, eggplant, capsicum, fig, tamarillo, feijoa, kumara, parsnip, pumpkin, persimmon, cabbage, mushroom, zucchini, tomato, cauliflower, broccoli, chilli, pomegranate, avocado, blackberries, passionfruit, papaya, orange, mandarin, lime, lemon, kiwifruit, rockmelon, jerusalem artichoke, onion, fennel, leek, lettuce, silverbeet, spinach, radish and brussel sprouts.
Our gut has a big role during the autumn and winter months and is put under pressure to absorb as many nutrients as possible to prevent us from getting sick. We need to take extra care of our gut during these months, meaning we have a good excuse to get the slow cooker out.
Slow cooked meats and vegetables are able to be broken down and absorbed in the digestive system a lot easier than raw foods as they have already started the breaking down process during cooking. The stomach and small intestine don’t have to do as much work breaking slow cooked meals down allowing our gut to rest easy during these meals. My favourite meal to have during winter is cottage pie, you can check out a healthy version here.
Learn to embrace the pungent, astringent, spicy flavours of winter that will help us get warm and nourish our entire body.
We can also create heat in our bodies with movement. It is very tempting to stay in bed that little bit longer when it is raining and cold outside, but any type of movement is able to get our blood pumping faster and better around the body providing heat and energy. Join a gym and go for a walk on a treadmill if you don’t want to face the elements outside or start yoga at either a yoga studio or in your lounge in front of the fire.
During the colder months, we want to embrace warming ourselves from the insides, using spices and slow cooked meals to provide heat within the body. We also want to take it a bit easy, we don’t have as much energy as we do in the winter, so don’t feel bad if you’re not able to go for that big walk in the sun like you have been doing the last couple of months.
Embrace the cold and embrace the change of seasons as new foods arise to eat and our bodies adapt to the colder weather.
Time to get our my slow cooker and start preparing some delicious warming recipes