Friday, October 2, 2020

Easing the transition into Fall

by Dr. Aisha Durrani, ND

In ayurvedic medicine a person’s body can be predominant in one of 3 body types Vata (Air), Pitta (fire), and Kapha (earth).

Fall carries with it qualities of vata. The vata body type contains elements of ether and air. Vata is responsible for movement, digestion, and circulation. Vata minds are creative, quick to learn and enthusiastic. In the fall season we experience the cold dry wind picking up and causing movement of the air element that can aggravate Vata types.

A vata imbalance can show up as cold hands and feet, dry skin and hair, excessive worry, scattered thoughts, fear of the unknown, irregular appetite, and constipation. This year we face the added challenge of worry that aggravates vata further. 

Keeping your vata in balance is good for overall health to balance the immune system, keep you grounded, and energized. These physical and mental-emotional signs also show up in all body types. Here are some guidelines to keep your Vata balanced into Fall:

Lifestyle

The following lifestyle factors can help keep your Vata in balance:

  • Waking up early when the air is calm and still.
  • Eat at roughly the same time everyday, routine is key to ground Vata types.
  • Dress warm and in fall colours- oranges, red, yellow, white as these colours are grounding. If you tend to feel depressed avoid dark colours, such as black and grey.
  • Avoid fast movements- driving fast, loud music, running in wind. These movements create more movement of the air element and worsen anxiety and restlessness.
  • Gentle and strengthening exercises- hiking, swimming, biking, yoga and tai chi.
  • Abhyanga/self massage with warm sesame oil before shower can go a long way to ground Vata.
  • Pranayama/alternate nostril breathing and meditation- helps ground and control the air element.
  • Vata types need to avoid fasting during this season to prevent undernourishment.
  • Apply ghee to navel and soles of feet at bedtime if suffering from dry skin and lips.

Dietary

In general eating warm, oily and grounding easy to digest foods (such as kitchari- recipe below ). Adding warming spices and favouring sweet, sour and salty tastes will help keep vata stable. Reduce raw, cold and bitter vegetables. Increase protein and fat sources

  • Breakfast- oatmeal, cream of rice, stewed apple or pear- cook in ghee and/or milk.
  • Lunch and dinner- grains, steamed or cooked vegetables, soups, stews.
  • Protein: eggs, meat, tofu, legumes and lentils.
  • Fats: nuts and seeds, coconut or olive oil, avocado

Increase Underground Vegetables: sweet potato, turnips, beets, squash, pumpkin, carrots
Reduce bitter vegetables: kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, bitter melon, arugula, cabbage, cauliflower- ensure they are cooked with warming spices.

Fruits- apples and pears (cooked), peaches, grapes, avocado, mango, dates, figs, banana

Spices- asafoetida, anise, bay leaf, cinnamon, clove, cumin, cardamom, black pepper, ginger, garlic, mustard seeds, nutmeg, oregano, parsley, rosemary, turmeric, saffron, dill,

Oils to favor- ghee, sesame oil, olive oil, flax oil, almond oil.

Teas: CCF tea (Coriander, Cumin, Fennel equal parts), or ginger-cinnamon tea.Warming and soothing bedtime tea- warm milk with a pinch of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cardamom.

Herbs: dashamoola, ashwagandha, haritaki, triphala, vidari.

Kitchari Recipe: https://www.ayurveda.com/recipes/kitchari 

To book a consultation with Dr. Durrani, ND and to find out about more about your body type and the recommended diet and lifestyle for you, please call the clinic at 905-940-2727.