Spring season is here; keep the allergy outburst to minimum
The winter, a season that is governed by vata dosha and its elements, ether and air, according to Ayurveda, is slowly leaving. At winter, we are challenged by dryness and cold while our body and mind are supported by warm and moist food as it contracts with the elements of outside environment. At spring we get challenged by lots of moisture and heaviness in the air and we are supported by dryer and warm food. Before the warmer weather arrives at its fullest, the day temperature may still fluctuate, and we may need to practice many of the recommendations for winter to pacify vata dosha as we transition into spring in order to stay balanced.
As we look at the calendar we see spring season is at its door step. Even if we do not look at the calendar we can see the changes outside in nature as Mother Earth wakes up and causes sprouting, blooming and flowering. The energy moves up. We feel more energetic. Some of us are ready to venture out into the gardens and start planting, bringing more colors into our environment after the winter, others to do more hiking and spending more time outdoors. It is a season of celebration, season of renewal.
Each season, Ayurveda is governed by two primary elements and specific dosha. For spring, it is kapha dosha with water and earth elements. Both elements are heavy in nature. Kapha dosha is bodily energy that is cooling and forms the body’s structures, supplies the liquid needed for life of cells and bodily systems. It lubricates the joints, moisturizes the skin, helps to heal wound and maintains immunity.
It provides strength, stability and vigor.
Due to the warmth, the snow and ice of winter starts to melt. Similarly, accumulated kapha in the body starts liquefying and running. Kapha builds up during winter due to eating heavier foods and perhaps for some having fewer activities, and digestion can falter. That is why Ayurveda recommends spring cleanse called panchakarma. This is done under a supervision of Ayurvedic practitioners specializing in this type of cleanse. It is to open the channels for better flow in the body and mind and discard the accumulated toxins and thus help prevent allergies, cold and sinus congestion.
We may choose to assist our body in this cleansing process by adjusting our food intake and life style in everyday living. In Ayurveda good healthy digestion is considered the most important in order to stay in balance and avoid future diseases.” You probably heard the sentence: “We are what we eat”. Ayurveda goes step further and proclaims: “We are what we digest”.
This is why is so important to pay attention to eat food that will support kapha and digestion especially at this time of the year.
We do not have to go far to search for tools to kindle good digestion as most of us have spices in the kitchen that help with the digestive process, such as ginger, black pepper, cumin, coriander, clove and cinnamon. It is suggested to incorporate these into daily menu.
For example, tea made from cumin, coriander and fennel in equal proportions is good to drink to sip on during the day or you may choose chewing some roasted fennel seeds after a meal to aid better digestion. If your constitution is vata / fall or pitta / summer, you may still use the warming spices mentioned above but less in quantity.
The season changes gradually and so the changes in diet will be also gradual. It is recommended to stay away from heavy, oily food which we ate at winter time for our support. Also reduce or omit sweet, sour and salty food since they provoke kapha. Stay away from milk especially in the morning. Avoid ice cream and icy drink, sauces, gravy, seafood, crab, and lobster during spring season as they all produce phlegm, congestion and heaviness in the body and mind. Cup of warm to hot water with a teaspoon of honey helps balance kapha during spring season. However it is not recommended to boil or cook honey, it clogs the subtle channels and acts as toxins in the system.
Favor bitter, pungent and astringent food. All legumes, such as beans, lentils, garbanzo, split yellow peas accompanied with turmeric and spices mentioned earlier will be very a good choice. Introduce more green leafy vegetables as kale, swiss chard, and spinach into your diet. Dryer food as crackers, toasted bread, potatoes is all good choice. If you are meat eater baked and broiled meat is preferable.
Ayurveda always recommends living in harmony with nature and for this reason it is desirable to eat local grown food as much is possible. Food which comes from the area where we live will benefit us greatly on many levels, in body, mind and spirit.
It is my wish you all experience a happy and cheerful spring season.