Ayurveda is a 3,000-year-old system of medicine developed in India. While the practice is an ancient one, modern dieters recommend Ayurveda to those who wish to ground themselves, feel calmer or improve their gut health.
Ayurveda is a practice that thinks of the body and the world holistically. It was developed to help you acclimatize as the seasons change. With fall fast approaching, making some Ayurvedic changes to your eating habits can help improve your mood and make you feel calmer and happier.
While on an Ayurvedic diet, you eat according to your "dosha," or dominant constitutional type. Think of your dosha as your most prominent energy.
There are three different Ayurvedic doshas derived from five elements: air, earth, fire, space and water. Each element is associated with different attributes.
To determine your dosha, consider which qualities you embody out of the three detailed above. In some cases, you may have at least two strong doshas. Practitioners of an Ayurvedic lifestyle can also embody all three doshas.
According to Sahara Rose, an Ayurvedic expert and the host of the "Highest Self" podcast, what you eat while on an Ayurvedic diet will depend on certain factors, such as your individual dosha or unique mind-body type and the ever-changing seasons.
As the seasons change, you may experience imbalances in different doshas.
For example, during summer you may experience a pitta or fire imbalance due to the heat and humidity. Since pitta energy resembles summer weather, you may suffer from imbalance. To balance your dosha, eat cooling foods like fruits, herbs and leafy greens.
Fall is vata season, meaning the qualities of the vata dosha, ether and air, become more dominant. As the weather cools down and your body adjusts to more limited daylight, you'll experience various changes, such as:
To counterbalance the cold, dry, light and rough qualities of fall, consume more nourishing hot drinks, hot soups and stews.
As fall is the "vata time of year," it's important to nourish your body and stick to a productive routine. Before fall reaches full swing, achieve balance by seeking out the opposite of vata like hydration, oil-based foods and warmth. Seek love, nurture yourself, be more grounded and follow a daily routine.
This fall, consume more "grounding foods," which include root vegetables like carrots, parsnips and sweet potatoes. You can also incorporate ginger and turmeric into an Ayurvedic diet since these two foods are often considered roots.
Warm yourself by making a delicious ginger carrot soup or roast diced vegetables in ghee, ground turmeric, black pepper and sea salt.
Consuming nuts and seeds can also help balance the vata of fall. Make a nutty breakfast by adding a handful of almonds to your oatmeal or finish off a stir-fry with some hemp seeds or cashews.
To maintain balance, skip raw foods like smoothies and start your day with warm, cooked foods like oatmeal and lattes. Once fall starts, drink your favorite tea and choose the hot equivalent of your preferred iced summer beverage.
Mushrooms are also perfect for warming fall dishes. Relish the grounding earthiness of mushrooms by making pasta dishes with sliced garlic and some olive oil. Alternatively, you can make a savory risotto or soup using umami mushrooms as a nourishing base. Mushrooms are a natural source of vitamin D, which you'll need more of once winter draws closer.
Following these Ayurvedic tips and using ingredients that can help balance your doshas will also help boost your mood and overall health during fall.