Keys for a strong winter body
Ayurveda is one of the beautiful ancient and healing philosophies from the East that honors the poetic nature of the body and diet.
As modern dietary trends come and go, the tenants of Ayurveda remain as steady as the seasons themselves with principles deeply intertwined with the natural elements.
I don’t need to remind you that although we have the same basic blueprint, our bodies each have their own particularities. You might hate the winter, rejoice in summer, and frequently get colds in Spring. You might get angry when you’re stressed, thrive when you’re busy, and err on the side of acid reflux and inflammation when you’re out of balance.
Ayurveda sheds light on our “weak areas” and how imbalance shows up in our bodies and minds through symptoms.
It also offers us a path back to more balance and harmony.
So here we are, in the heart of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. And although we’re all wired a little differently, body care in the winter has it’s own considerations to keep in mind.
The wisdom of the opposites
In Ayurveda it’s said the nature doesn’t stack against itself. More than that, Nature provides the antidote to the season. For example, rhizomes and leafy greens (known to be particularly light and do an excellent job of decongesting the liver and scrubbing the villi of the small intestine) grow in the Spring which tends to provide balance in a heavy, muddy, congested, “mucus-y” season.
Now we look to the qualities of winter, traditionally cold, dry, and windy. Then we find the opposite qualities: warm, lubricating, and grounded.
And there’s your basic winter blueprint.
Warm: avoid excessive amounts of raw and cold foods and increase cooking, baking, and roasting. Sip on hot water. Here’s your antidote to winter bloating.
Lubricating: avoid excessive amounts dry foods like crackers and popcorn and increase dietary fat and cooked meals. Drink plenty of water. Though not an Ayurvedic staple, add chia seeds and flax seeds to your food. Here’s how to stay regular.
Grounding: avoid excessive amount of foods that bring your energy “up,” again, like raw fruits and vegetables, and increase cooked roots and fats like ghee and fatty fish. Here’s how to ground down and calm your nervous system.
It seems to me that the closer we stay with what’s Natural, the better we do. And the further away we get from that, things start falling apart. This is not a case for dietary ideals, but one for paying attention. Whether our hearts are feeling weathered or our bodies run down, we all need periods of inspiration and renewal.
Bless the rest of your winter season and the small acts of kindness you offer yourself these coming weeks.
with love & respect,