Be well Nourished this Autumn
As the cooler weather is setting in, have you noticed that your eating choices are changing?
As you walk about your local farmers market or food store are the fruit and vegetables choices available also changing?
These changes are a reflection of the changing seasons from Summer to Autumn in preparation for Winter. The wisdom of ages, reflected to us through the timeless science of Ayurveda explain that as the seasons change, so to our needs change.
What do you eat now that you would not have thought to eat in June?
Personally, during Autumn to Winter cold foods and salads are not on my horizon. I spontaneously move from enjoying the sweet fruits (many sweet fruits are in season in autumn and winter – apples, pears, grapes, winter squash, etc. ) and crisp salads of summer with fresh herbs, to the warm and heavier foods of autumn with warming spices. As daylight hours reduce I also notice I naturally go to bed a little earlier than during the longer days off Summer.
What do you notice?
The Golden Age
Interestingly, Ayurveda explains that in the past there was a golden age where people spontaneously lived in accord with natural law. They were hungry at regular intervals in time with nature’s daily cycles. They ate when hungry, taking just the right amount of food to satisfy hunger, to nourish and to energise.
Digestion was optimal and disease from partial or incomplete digestion was said to be rare. It was a time when effortlessly we stayed in tune with natural law and people of that time enjoyed great health and happiness. It does sound like a golden age!
You may well ask, what happened? Where did we go so wrong?
Loss of connection
Over time, this golden age of living life in accord with natural law was lost due to ‘pragyaparadha’ (mistaken notion of the intellect), where people lose touch with the guiding impulses of nature within.
People began eating at anytime of the day or night, favouring foods that were not in season, eating before the previous meal was digested and eating foods in combinations that caused impurities or indigestion. The incidence of dis-ease increased. The Ayurvedic physicians stopped to consider what needed to be done to turn the tide of illness as the memory of what to do to stay well was declining.
With compassion and in the spirit of healing or wholeness the Ayurvedic principles for health and wellbeing were written down. So those who had lost access within or forgotten would have guidance.
With reference to diet and wellbeing, the written wisdom of Ayurveda explained how all of creation is a combination of 5 key elements – space, air, fire, water and earth. These elements were seen reflected within and outside in nature. The elements were broken further down into 6 tastes and 6 food qualities.
- 6 tastes are sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent and pungent.
- 6 qualities of food are hot, cold, oily, dry, heavy, light.
Then to make it even easier Ayurveda identified the tastes and qualities in foods and which foods to favour or reduce during the three main periods of the year:
- Autumn/Winter – Vata time of the year
- Spring – Kapha time of the year
- Summer – Pitta time of the year
One could say, great, just tell me what to eat for Autumn and I’ll do just that!
To really impact your health and wellbeing, today, tomorrow, next year and beyond, I suggest a different approach is required. This approach aims to restore your connection with nature’s intelligence within. Then as the season changes and as your needs change you will spontaneously choose what is best for you.
Complete this Autumn challenge for the next 7 days or more
- Sip water that has been boiled for 10 to 20 minutes every 15-30 minutes. Aim to have a minimum of 1-1.5 Litres per day. You may like to add a Vata Tea Bag or a slice of ginger root to the water prior boiling.
- Notice when you are hungry and eat when hungry. If digestion is variable consider taking Herbal Digest prior main meals to balance your appetite. Then take Digest Plus after meals to support digestion. If you are not sure if you are hungry, then sip 1/3 cup of hot water and see if appetite or feelings of lightness remain or return quickly. Do not eat unless you are hungry. If you have a serious illness or are diabetic please discuss the suitability of this recommendation with your health professional.
- Choose warm food and drink. Eat foods that are freshly prepared. Balance the tastes at lunch and your evening meal by using Organic Vata Churna. Add it to your cooking or sprinkle over your meal at the table. (Choose warm food and drink. Eat foods that are freshly prepared. Use Organic Vata Churna to enhance the tastes most needed at this time of year. Add it to your cooking or sprinkle over your meal at the table.)
- If physically active take a snack of fruit between meals. (Preferably the fruit should have been ripened on the tree/bush). If not physically active avoid eating between main meals.
- Read the list of Vata Balancing Foods once a day for the next 10 days.
- Allow your choice of what foods to eat to come from a body sense of what will be most nourishing and enjoyable for you at that time.
- Sit and eat with full attention: Start eating when you feel empty – 0-1. Allow your awareness to be with your body while eating. Stop eating when at 5-6 comfortably full. Avoid overeating 7-8.
- Sit quietly for 5-10 minutes after eating. Where possible then take a 5-10 minutes stroll to aid digestion.
- Notice how your appreciation of what is eaten increases. Notice how effortlessly without trying your food choices become more aligned with what is recommended during Vata Season.
Following these simple yet profoundly effective recommendations will help you strengthen your access to the wisdom of Maharishi AyurVeda within you.
Wishing you the bliss of balance
Linda Sinden, Maharishi AyurVeda Consultant.
Linda Sinden has been a practising Maharishi Ayurveda Consultant since 1990 and is a regular contributor to our health articles. She has a practice in Auckland, New Zealand and also provides phone or Skype sessions for those who need assistance, but don’t have a consultant in their vicinity.
Mobile: +64 212 237 525