Food Combining (Spring Season)

The thought of beautiful shades of green color leaves on trees and delicate flowers is magical. Yes, Spring is a season of birth, a new beginning. I really wonder how these strong trees stand through harsh winter and snow and is always amazed to see this magic of nature.

PhotoGrid_1553543256306.jpg

PhotoGrid_1553544443898.jpg
A new beginning….

—A time for the earth to manifest the potential within all things. Vasant is the spring season described in Ayurveda. The official start of Vasanta is marked by the festival of Holi. This period is from mid-March to mid-June, it can depend upon the distance from the equator. Nature makes it look smooth, but for us humans it’s not an easy transition from one season to the next—especially from winter to spring. More often we find ourselves feeling heavy and slugging.

Ayurveda shows us simple principles to use in our life to make harmony with the change in nature, to follow lead and dance to nature’s rhythm.

Many people notice a natural, but distinct, shift in their cravings as winter gives way to spring. In fact, your appetite may decrease and you may find yourself craving fruit, fresh vegetables, and salads galore. This is your body’s way of telling you that it’s time for some spring-cleaning.

More topics related to Food combining on my blog, click below links to read more:

Spring season is also associated with colds, congestion, hay fever and allergies ? Why?

In the ayurvedic system, people fall into one of three basic classifications as vata, pitta, and kapha. Spring season is referred to as season of kapha. The word “kapha” is made of two words. ” Ka” — which means water and ” pha” — means  to flourish. There is increase in moisture, heaviness and warmth starting this season. There are congestive qualities which includes general lethargy, excessive sleep which come up during this period which leads to colds, pollen allergies, mucus accumulation and fever.

In winter, your body mirrors these kapha-like changes. You tend to eat, sleep, and stay inside more during winter, which can result in a “winter coat” of insulation. In spring, you need to shed this excess kapha or risk becoming vulnerable to seasonal allergies or head colds. You might also gain or retain weight or succumb to a general lethargy or emotional dullness.

If we continue our food habits and grocery as were in winter season, it affects our digestive Agni. In this season our Agni is low as compared to winter time. When Agni is weakened, our appetite is poor, it reduce capacity to digest food and poorer nutrient absorption in the body. This leads to number of health challenges.

With an appropriate seasonal diet and lifestyle that invites a little extra lightness, sharpness, dryness, and heat into our lives, we can overcome spring’s challenges while promoting optimal health.

 

Favourable Food, Spices and Tastes in Spring

Tastes of Spring which has ” scraping ” qualities beneficial for our body in Spring season.

  • Bitter
  • Pungent
  • Astringent

Apart from avoiding Kapha aggravating and Pitta triggering foods, we also need to add certain foods to our diet to help control aggravated Kapha and flush it out of our bodies. Kapha means mucus or moisture so we should eat food that are having opposite qualities like ”Laghu” (light) and ”Rooksha ”(drying) so their addition can help absorb and dry out liquefied Kapha. That is the reason to include food having bitter, Pungent and Astringent taste in Spring season.

Add these foods and Spices:

  • Grains : Millets, yuva (barley), rice flakes, oats, Quinoa

Grains are Astringent and little sweet in taste. These grains are light and easy to digest. Their dry properties helps dry up kapha. Yuva (barley) helps remove aggravated liquefied kapha both through urine and through feces. It also ignites ”jataragni”  digestive Agni which is key for health.

  • Legumes/Beans /Pulses : Mung, yellow split moong, masoor dal, pigeon/ toor dal. You can also have little of garbanzo beans and kidney beans in lunch, as they are tough to digest.

Beans are great source of protein and they are Astringent in taste, so good for Spring season. They should be easy to digest so choose for beans smaller in size and split open called as ”Dal” in India.

  • Fruits :  Apples, pomegranate, all sorts of berries: strawberry, blueberry, raspberry.

They are Astringent to taste and also sweet. Avoid sour fruits like oranges and pineapples. Astringent quality has a cleansing quality, detox quality needed in this period.

  • Vegetables: All leafy greens, bitter greens are bitter in taste. Cabbage family (cabbage, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.), purple cabbage is also good in antioxidants and astringent qualities. Red radish is good in salads due to its astringent, little pungent and little bit of bitter taste. Bell peppers of bright colors are great in antioxidants, vitamins and pungent taste.
  • Spouts : Sprout beans or grains like wheat grass, sunflower sprouts. Include them in salads, stir fry, wraps or soups.
  • Spices : Spices like haldi/ turmeric ( fresh or dried),  ginger ( fresh/ dried), cumin, clove, elaichi/ cardamom and maricha (Black pepper) in the food. It is important to use ”Ushna” spices means warm.

Haldi/Turmeric is astringent and drying, and will help absorb excess liquids in the body. Dried Ginger is warming without being intensive and aggravating Pitta, so can be safely used to spice food. Similarly, cloves and cardamom are both warming without aggravating Pitta dosha. Maricha (black pepper) is recommended in Ayurveda to balance excess Kapha, aid digestion and open up the srotas . Maricha/ black pepper is a better spice choice for most people compared to red and green chillies.

  • Dairy : Do your best to minimize your intake of dairy products—especially in the morning—as they can be quite congesting. Rice milk and almond milk are good substitutes. If you do have cow’s milk, boil it first, take it warm, and consider adding a pinch of turmeric or ginger to make it more digestible (and less congesting).
  • Oils : Olive, sunflower oil.

Use oils lighter in qualities. Try to avoid coconut oil. Use very little oil or ghee/butter when cooking and, if necessary, substitute water to prevent sticking.

  • Trail Mix of seeds : sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp

Favour seeds over nuts and dry fruits. Almonds, pecans or walnuts roast them in some species so it is less prone to accumulate kapha. Try to avoid  figs, dates and coconuts.

  • Drinks : Prefer at room temperature, warm, or hot beverages. You might even consider sipping on some warm water with a dab of honey throughout the day.

Instead, Ayurveda suggests we sip specific, herbal warm drinks in Vasanta to aid expelling of liquid kapha. We can sip plain warm water, or water which has been boiled mildly with dried ginger powder (in cases of large volumes of aggravated mucous).  Do not drink too much Ginger water as it can heat up the body in large amounts.You can sip 1 glass of warm ginger water per day, for a few days at a time, to help move aggravated Kapha out of body.

 How to make Dried Ginger water:

Boil one glass of water until the water comes to a rolling boil. Switch off the gas. Add 1 teaspoon of freshly ground dried ginger powder. Allow the herb to steep for 4 – 5 minutes into the water. Strain. Do NOT sweeten. Sip through the day. Do NOT OVER DO on this.

How to improve digestive fire :

Spend five to 10 days eating only fresh (ideally local) fruits and vegetables and kitchari, a curried mung bean and rice dish. This will improve your digestive fire and eliminate ”ama”. During your cleanse, you can also drink tea made with cinnamon, black pepper, and ginger one hour after breakfast and lunch. Drink chamomile tea in the evening; it’s beneficial to your digestive and circulatory systems and helps expectorate excess mucus.

You can enhance your meals with the pungent flavor of onions, garlic, ginger, black pepper, small amounts cayenne pepper, and an unlimited variety of herbs and spices.

To conclude:

FOOD :

Ayurveda advises us to avoid Guru (heavy), Snigdha (oily), Amla (sour) and Madhura (sweet) foods during this season.Heavy (Guru) and sweet  (Madhura) foods increase Kapha dosha accumulation in the body. Oily (Snigdha) and Sour (Amla) foods aggravate and increase Pitta in the body. When Pitta is stimulated, it will further melt Kapha, adding to the volume of mucous already flowing through the body.

Vasanta is also a good time for physical exercise. It is advised to do it at a slightly lower level than we would have during winter. The main purpose during exercise in Vasanta is to moderately (and not sharply) increase heat and provoke sweating in the body, to encourage drying and removal of excess Kapha dosha. Do Yoga —  Sun Salutation ( Surya Namaskar), important point to remember is breathing pattern. When you breathe this way, you actually sweat less because the heat stays inside. This inner heat melts the kapha and breaks down ama in your tissues so your body can eliminate it. If your breathing is erratic or forced, it will disturb both sukha and agni; as a result, kapha and ama won’t budge—and may even increase slightly.

Other foods that are best avoided during the spring include fast foods, sweets, soy products, nuts, excessive amounts of bread, and chilled or refrigerated foods—especially when eaten cold. If at all possible, eliminate iced or chilled drinks, ice cream, and popsicles altogether.

Exercise :

Vasanta is also a good time for physical exercise. It is advised to do it at a slightly lower level than we would have during winter. The main purpose during exercise in Vasanta is to moderately (and not sharply) increase heat and provoke sweating in the body, to encourage drying and removal of excess Kapha dosha. Do Yoga —  Sun Salutation ( Surya Namaskar), important point to remember is breathing pattern. When you breathe this way, you actually sweat less because the heat stays inside. This inner heat melts the kapha and breaks down ama in your tissues so your body can eliminate it. If your breathing is erratic or forced, it will disturb both sukha and agni; as a result, kapha and ama won’t budge—and may even increase slightly.

Tune into Nature:

Anything that gives you time and space to appreciate the beautiful transformation that’s happening around you will fill you with inspiration, energy, and light.

PhotoGrid_1553544355812.jpg

Sources:

 

Advertisements

12 Comments Add yours

  1. Very informative and detailed post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rita says:

      Thank you ☺️ I am just trying to learn our basics.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jyo says:

    Quite a nice info Rita…Happy Spring 🌸

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rita says:

      Thanks Jyo, Happy and healthy Spring 🌼

      Like

  3. Beautifully written and informative.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rita says:

      Thank you lalitha krishna

      Like

  4. Sandhya says:

    Such an informative post Rita!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rita says:

      Sandhya, Thank you very much 🌼

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Rita says:

      Jyoti, Thank you
      And Happy spring 🌼

      Like

    1. Rita says:

      Thank you ☺️

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.