Cooler, drier seasons are bound to increase your level of vata. This could spell trouble, particularly if you have a vata-predominant constitution. Ayurveda says that excess vata dosha can make you prone to the greatest number of mental and physical disorders.
Some symptoms of excess vata dosha are:
Fear, anxiety and depression
Feeling “spacey” and ungrounded
Thinking too much
Dry skin, chapped lips
Acne around the chin and lower part of face
Colds with sore throats and dry coughing
If you find that you tend to experience these symptoms, especially during the holiday season, no need to worry! Ayurveda offers simple, holistic, and in the case of recipes, delicious solutions to balance your doshas. Below are three highly important dietary and lifestyle recommendations from the mouth of Ayurveda.
Emphasize Augmenting Foods
Augmenting foods are grounding, calming and balancing for vata dosha. They are typically sweet and heavier in nature. Ayurveda suggests having about 60% augmenting and 40% extractive foods in each meal. But during the colder months, you could adjust that ratio to 70% augmenting and 30% extractive.
Some examples of augmenting foods:
Brown and white rice
Eat Extractive Foods, But Avoid Raw Vegetables
In Ayurveda, a balanced diet is key to perfect, sustainable health. That means eating augmenting as well as extracting foods. Extractive foods are typically bitter and astringent in taste. Extractive foods aid your body by keeping food moving in the digestive tract. They act like a cleansing agent in your body, though too much extractive will increase your vata dosha and create sickness, especially in the vata season. It is best to not eat raw vegetables at all during the cold, windy months. Instead, cook your vegetables with ghee or sesame oil and spices. Ghee kindles your digestive fire and aids in absorption of nutrients.
Some examples of extractive foods:
All legumes, such as mung beans, azuki beans, garbanzos, lentils and black eyed peas
Kale and other leafy greens like spinach, chard, and collards
Broccoli and cauliflower
Nuts and seeds
Keep A Regular Schedule
The first major signs of excess vata dosha are restlessness, difficulty sitting still, an overactive mind and insomnia. Below are listed some of the top lifestyle tips for calming vata dosha.
Vata Calming Lifestyle Suggestions:
Wake up at the same time each morning
Keep a daily morning routine of meditation and Yoga asanas, or enjoying a cup of tea on the couch
Eat your meals at the same times each day
Just before bed, rub sesame oil onto the bottoms of your feet and put on a pair of socks
Go to bed before 10 pm
Here’s a quick overview:
1. Eat warm, gently cooked meals at the same time each day with 70% augmenting foods and 30% extractive foods
2. Avoid raw vegetables and juices
3. Keep a regular schedule, including daily time of quiet reflection
Keep in mind the excess vata in your body will likely make sitting still in meditation and eating grounding foods the last thing you feel like doing. But a balance of the doshas is key to inner and outer health and harmony!
Remember it is possible to move through this season, holidays and all, with peace, relaxation and regular bowel movements!
Below is a tasty recipe to start your autumn or winter day with calm vata. Enjoy!
Vata-Calming Breakfast Recipe for 2: Stewed Apples with Dates & Cinnamon
2 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
9 or 10 dates pitted and cut in half
2 cups of water
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 Tsp ground cardamom
1 Tsp ground cinnamon
Put all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.
With a ladle, transfer about a third of the contents, including the juice, to a blender or a food processor. Blend or process until pureed. Stir the puree back into the pain.