Seasons come, and season go. Each ushering in unique qualities affecting our life and wellbeing. With each new season, it is imperative we understand the elemental, physical, and mental changes that occur in our world and within our bodies.
Ayurveda sees the world through the lens of the 3 doshas- Vata (air/ether), Pitta (fire/water), and Kapha (water/earth). In Ayurveda there are not 4 seasons, instead, there are 3- Vata, pitta, and Kapha. Vata, pitta, and Kapha not only related to our being but the entire world's constitution. Pretty cool, right?
Why eating seasonally is important
Each season has a different effect on our bodies. In winter we move slow, bundle up, and crave soups, casseroles, and piping hot beverages. Whereas in summer, we innately want smoothies and ice cream and feel more energized and naturally buzzed. Our bodies are extremely tapped in, even when we aren't aware of it. Our body needs different types of nourishment to ground and balance itself within different seasons.
Eating in alignment with the seasons promotes a strong immune system and overall a balanced state of being. Acting against the natural inclinations of your body can break havoc within your system, leading to a compromised immune system, unhealthy weight gain or weight loss, hair loss, and potentially more serious ailments.
Within Ayurveda thought, each of us exudes a dominant dosha or combination of two doshas. Vata's are controlled by the air and ether, Pitta's are ruled by water and fire, and Kapha's are dominated by water and earth. Each season either enhances or pacifies these elements within us. It is crucial that we can understand our elemental nature and pivot with the seasons, in order to not be thrown off balance.
In order to create more ease within maintaining harmony within the change of season, Ayurveda created seasonal guidelines- Ritchuchara. Think of Ritchuchara as your coach, to guide you through each season, by using guidelines for diet and lifestyle changes throughout the year.
The time from fall to early winter is classified as Vata season. This time period is cool, dry, light, irregular, and rough. Vata season is the queen of change, so beware of dry skin, irregular digestion, and change in mental clarity (dazy, spacey, anxious, etc).
Eating for Vata season
Warm and wet foods will be your best friend during this time. Focus on foods that light up your internal fire, think oatmeal, curry, root vegetables, soups, and warm beverages. Allow your body to calm with soothing and warming foods.
Kapha season takes place through the dead of winter, to the rebirth of spring. This early part of kapha season is extremely heavy, lethargic, dark, wet, and gooey. It is easy to fall into excess kapha, leading to weight gain, an energy zap, excess sleep, and even depression.
Eating for Kapha season
Turn to foods that are lighter, like the essence spring, this will help pacify kapha. Berries, sprouts, and leafy greens will naturally support the shedding of the heaviness of the kapha season. Stick to 3 meals a day, to keep you satisfied and to avoid overindulging.
Pitta season takes over in summer and lasts till the beginning of fall. Pitta season is a period of heat, intensity, and sharpness. Excess pitta within the pitta season can lead to hot-headedness.
Eating for Pitta season
Prioritize nourishment that has a cooling element to it. Try a glass of coconut water, or a bed of cucumbers, an acai bowl, a yummy salad. Eating lots of raw fruits and vegetables during this time is amazing.