According to the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, living in harmony with the seasons is an important pathway to health and healing. When we live in balance with the natural cycles of nature we tend to be more balanced in ourselves. As we have moved further away from the natural world we have begun to lose touch with the natural rebalancing that each season brings.
One way that we can begin to live again in harmony with the seasons is through the food we choose to eat. With each season comes an offering of food which helps us to retain balance. Food not only has a taste, it also has specific attributes and energy. Food can either heat us up or cool us down, it can add moisture or dry up excess moisture, it can be uplifting and give us energy or slow us down and help us to feel grounded.
We can choose foods to eat that allow us to stay in balance according to the season.
For example, summer is the hottest time of the year, the season dominated by the fire element. To balance the heating and drying effects of summer, nature provides us with cooling, moist foods like cucumber and lettuce and delicious juicy fruits like blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and plums. Through their cool and moist nature these seasonal summer foods naturally offer a balance to the hot, dry nature of summer.
In comparison, in the autumn temperatures decline and there is a sense of change in the air. Leaves turn and begin to fall. This is a time when we can easily become ungrounded and even fearful. But if we pay attention to the changes occurring around us we can make the appropriate changes in our diet and lifestyle to balance these influences. Dense root vegetables like beets and carrots, potatoes and highly nutritious butternut squash are in season at this time and they are exactly the kinds of foods we need to be balanced at this time. They offer a warm, grounding and stabilizing energy. Replace cooling raw salads with warming soups and baked vegetables, warm up the energy of fruit by baking it in a pie or crumble with warming spices like cardamom and cinnamon, nutmeg and clove.
While summer is a time for celebration, fall is the time of harvest, to harvest the benefits of the seeds we have sown for the past 6 months of spring and summer.
Fall is also a time to reorganize and reevaluate, in preparation for the winter ahead, the season when we slow down and take some rest. It is a good time to clean out old files, closets, cupboards and catch up on neglected paperwork. It is time to reevaluate choices and reexamine motivations. As fall is a time of change and uncertainty it is a good time to form plans and stick to routines that work for you. As the universe is experiencing the drive to reform and reorganize we can find mental peace if we follow suit.
Anna Dodds is a nutritional consultant practicing in Nanaimo. She works with diet to address health issues, teaches healthy cooking and baking and even helps people get started on their own vegetable gardens. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org , 751 9751.