Ahar / Diet

It is said in Vedas, “You are – What you Eat.”

Following table shows preferred taste and food in each season according to Ayurveda.

RituSeasonsPowerful taste
ShishirCold and dewy seasonTikta (bitter)
VaasantSpring seasonKashaya (astringent)
GrishmaSummer seasonKattu
VarshaRainy seasonAmala (sour)
SharatAutumn seasonLavan (salty)
HemantaWinter seasonMadhura (sweet)

 

Seasonal regimen

Hemanta ritu (winter season) 
Shishira ritu (cold and dewy season)
DietLifestyle
  • Sweet, sour and salt taste food can be taken. In this season the digestive activity becomes more powerful. Increased vata gets obstructed from spreading out due to cold atmosphere outside which can digest the tissues. More intake of sweet, sour and salt helps reducing the vata.
  • Wine prepared from jaggery (molasses) can be taken.
  • Wheat/gram flour products, milk products, sugarcane products and corn/edible oils can be taken as a part of food.
  • Massage with oil.
  • Ubvartan with fine paste/powder of kumkum (kesar).
  • Exercise (vyama).
  • Clothing-leather, silk and wool.
  • Exposure to sunlight and fire to keep yourself warm.

 

Vasanta Ritu (Spring Season)

In this season, increased Kapha is liquefied by the heat of sun which causes diminished agni (digestive activity) causing diseases.

DietLifestyle
  • Easily digestible food.
  • Barley, honey, roasted meat, mango juice can be taken as food.
  • Beverages such as asava (fermented infusion), arista (fermented decoction), sidhu (fermented sugarcane juice), honey mixed with water and water boiled with extracts of sandal wood.
  • Avoid hard to digest and cold food, sour, sweet and fatty food as it cause kapha
  • Physical exercise.
  • Dry massage.
  • Nasal medication can be taken.
  • After massage bath with karpura/ chandan/kumkum.
  • Avoid sleeping during day time.

 

Grishma ritu (summer season)

In this season, sunrays become powerful. Kapha decreases vata increases day by day.

DietLifestyle
  • Sweet, light, fatty and liquid food can be taken.
  • Wine should not be taken as it can cause burning sensation and even debility.
  • Drink cold water. Panak panchsara (syrup prepared with draksha (sugarcane), madhuka, date, kashmarya and parshuka fruits all in equal quantity cold with cardamom powder.
  • Scrub body with chandan paste and take bath with cold water.
  • Stay in cool places.
  • Wear light dresses.

 

Varsha Ritu (Rainy Season)

The agni (digestive activity) weakens further and gets vitiated by doshas. Hence all methods to mitigate doshas and measures to enhance digestive activity can be adopted.

DietLifestyle
  • Easily digestible food to be taken.
  • Pulses, meat juice, soups, old grains and mastu (thin water of yoghurt ) can be taken in food.
  • Panchkarma can be done.
  • Perfumes can be used.
  • Avoid sleeping at daytime, exertion and too much exposure to sunlight.

 

Sharad Ritu (Autumn Season)

Sudden exposed to sunlight after cold season aggravates Pita.

DietLifestyle
  • Bitter, astringent and sweet taste can be included in food.
  • Take easily digestible food like rice, green gram, aamla, honey and sugar.
  • Avoid heavy food, curd, oil, strong liquors.
  • Udvartan with chandan.
  • Bath with warm water.
  • Pearls give soothing effect from aggravated pitta.

Recipe Of The Month

Ghee – Clarified butter

To make ghee, use unsalted and good quality butter. Place the butter in a pan and let it melt and simmer on the lowest possible heat. In the beginning it will make a lot of noise, the butter will look thick and cloudy, and a foam will appear on the top. In the first five minutes occasionally give the liquid a stir to allow all the water content to evaporate, and then leave the liquid to continue simmering for a further 15 minutes. Slowly particles will sink to the bottom, the foam will settle on the top and in between the pure butter oil will become clear. The moment the sediment on the bottom starts to turn brown, remove the pan from the heat, skim off and discard the foam, and strain the liquid through a very fine sieve or muslin into a jar.

Don’t store ghee in the fridge: it doesn’t go rancid and will keep for months. Use it for cooking (ghee doesn’t burn as quickly as butter does) and you can always add a teaspoon to your food.

Moong soup

Moong beans are less gas producing than other beans, remove toxins from the body and when cooked with the suggested spices, stimulate the digestive fire. Soak the moong beans either over night or for at least one hour before cooking. Heat olive oil or ghee in a pan and add a teaspoon of turmeric powder, 2 pinches asafetida (to take the gas quality out of the beans) and two bay leaves. (All ingredients are available in any Indian food store.) Discard the water from the soaked beans and add the beans into the pan with fresh water. To one part moong you need at least three to four parts water. Leave to bubble away for 30-40 minutes adding water as necessary. (If you have a pressure cooker the soup is cooked much quicker). Slowly the beans begin to soften and break up. Continue to cook until all the beans are soft.

Whilst the beans are cooking heat some oil or ghee into another pan and add one heaped teaspoon of cumin and coriander seeds plus any other herbs or spices (except chilies) such as garam masala, black pepper, kokum etc. Saute briefly and then add a finely chopped onion, some fresh root ginger and 2-3 cloves of garlic. Saute until the onions turn golden brown and then remove from the heat. Once the beans are soft add the onions and some salt into the pan and continue to simmer for a further few minutes. Don’t add salt until the end as this makes the beans tougher and they would therefore take longer to cook. Serve with rice, fresh coriander leaves and ghee.

Khichadi

Khichadi is a simple stew of rice and split moong beans which is easy to digest and stimulating to the digestive fire.

Soak the split moong beans for at least one hour before cooking. Heat ghee or olive oil in a pan and add cumin or coriander seeds. Then add some finely chopped onion, root ginger and garlic and saute until golden brown. Stir in 1 tsp. turmeric powder, 1 tsp. asafetida, some black pepper and a few bay leaves. Take a cup and fill half with moong and the remaining half with white basmati rice. (One can also add any chopped vegetables that you have such as carrots, pumpkin, green beans, courgettes, asparagus etc.) Add the beans into the pan with min. four cups of water (more if you have added vegetables). In a normal pan you will need to cook it for about 30 minutes, adding more water as necessary whereas in a pressure cooker it will cook within about 5 minutes after coming to pressure.

When it’s ready, i.e. the beans have become completely soft, add a little salt and serve the dish with ghee and freshly chopped herbs. Experiment with different vegetables and spices to create different flavors.

An ideal breakfast – Porridge

In the evening place some water in a pan and soak at least 10 black raisins, 2-3 dates and some dried figs and apricots if desired. (Dried fruits should either be soaked over night or cooked into a compote.) You can also soak a combination of any of the following seeds and nuts: sunflower and pumpkin seeds, blanched almonds, hazelnuts, shredded coconut, sesame and linseeds (flax). In the morning bring the water and soaked fruits etc. to the boil and add 2 tsp. cinnamon powder and 4 crushed cardamoms. Then pour in rolled oats and cook until soft. Experiment with adding different grains such as flaked millet, popped quinoa, amaranth etc. and try altering the flavors by adding 1 tsp. fennel seeds. To make the porridge creamier, use Oatly (oat milk), soya or rice milk. If you like it really sweet, add any syrup of your choice (date, barley, rice, maple etc.), fruit spreads or hazelnut and almond butter.

Ginger water

Ginger water is the ideal remedy when you have a cough, cold or excess mucus accumulation in your throat and sinuses. Being hot in nature ginger has the quality to cut into and loosen mucus as well as stimulate your digestive fire so that the stomach can clear the mucus effectively. Due to this stimulating action on the digestion it is also the perfect drink to be taken either before you eat a meal or half an hour afterwards. Don’t drink it more than twice daily as it might then increase pitta too much, but when suffering from cold, ginger water can be drunk in small amounts throughout the day.

Cut 4-5 slices of fresh root ginger and place in a pan of water. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for at least 5 minutes. Strain into a mug and enjoy! If you wish to sweeten it with honey, add it only after the liquid has cooled to drinking temperature, as honey is not heat stable.

Digestion enhancing Tea

Place 4 cups of water, 2 tsp. cumin powder, 2 tsp. coriander powder, 20 rose petals (or 2 tsp. dried rose petals), 4 crushed cardamom, 1 tsp. fennel seeds, 1 pinch black pepper, 1 pinch asafetida and 2 slices fresh root ginger together in a pan and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for about 5 minutes, remove from the heat and keep it covered for a further 20 minutes. Filter and keep warm in a flask to drink regularly throughout the day.

Home Remedies Of The Month

For Aam

1) castor oil + ginger tea +/- honey (castor oil breaks aam and vata and lubricates joints)
2) 1/2 tsp dry ginger in 4 glass of water

For Acne

2 tsp. Marigold flower juice 
2 tsp. Fuller’s earth 
Half tsp. Coriander powder 
Half tsp. Calamus root powder 
Half tsp. Sandalwood powder
Rose water to make a paste 
Apply a thin layer of this paste over the face. Wash off with water when it becomes dry. 
Apply at least three times a week.

— OR —

2 tbsp of banana pulp 
Half tsp. Ghee 
1 tsp. Sesame seeds 
2 almonds or half tsp of pine nuts 
Water or milk to make a paste 
Put everything into a blender and churn to a pulp. Apply onto the face at a ¼ inch thickness. Leave for half an hour, wash off with water and then massage moisturising cream on skin. Apply daily before bed.

For Anger

1 tsp. Cumin powder 
1 tsp. Coriander powder 
Half tsp. Fennel seed powder 
20 rose petals 
1 tsp. Raw cane sugar 
1-cup water 
Boil everything together for 5 minutes, remove from the heat and keep covered for 20 minutes. Filter and drink.

For Arthritis

Take 1 tbsp. Of castor oil + pinch dry ginger powder with warm water every night before bed

— OR —

Take 1 tsp. Fenugreek seeds every night before bed with warm water. Swallow, don’t chew. 
-pind swed with dry ginger and oregano (ajwayan), salt 
-garlic

— OR —

*bitter neem leaves – one bunch 
*black pepper – 50 balls 
Supachak – Half tsp 
Ashwagandha – 2 tabs 
Water – 1 cup

Warm the above and drink it. Continue this recipe for 7 days.

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