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November 09, 2021 4 min read

As the fall and winter season settles across the northern hemisphere, do you find yourself dealing with different ailments or changing your routine to account for the weather and lack of daylight? In Ayurveda, it is well understood that the change of season undoubtedly affects our bodies and immune systems. Whether it’s seasonal allergies based on what is blooming, dry skin due to cold weather and lower humidity, or illness due to seasonal viruses like the flu, the fall and winter bring.

Because we are an integral part of the natural environment, but generally live out of tune with nature in Western society, we need to focus extra attention on listening to what our bodies need at this time. Before we provide some tips to help your body adjust, we want to offer some background knowledge on how Ayurveda recognizes the seasons and periods of time within a year.

“Ayurveda teaches us something beautiful, something that Western medicine is yet to acknowledge in its entirety—that we do not exist in isolation from the natural world, but as an integral part of it, relying on it for our health and well-being.”

Ayurveda and the Seasons

As society spends more time indoors with access to the same foods year round despite seasonality, and as climate change impacts the length and duration of the seasons, our bodies have a harder time adjusting naturally throughout the year.

In Ayurveda, a year is divided into two periods, known as kaal, and each includes multiple seasons:

  1. Uttarayana: the cold months. The seasons include autumn/fall, late autumn/pre-winter, and deep winter. 
  2. Dakshinayana: the warm months. The seasons of spring and summer.

Additionally, yourdosha type plays an important role in how you adjust to the seasons. Everyone is born with a unique mix of the three doshas (Vata, Pitta, & Kapha). But one is usually stronger than the others. Each one controls a different body function. It is believed that your chances of getting sick and the health issues you develop are linked to the balance of your doshas.


For more information about doshas and the seasons read thisarticle “Relationship Between the Doshas and the Seasons by the Art of Living Retreat Center.

Healthy Tips for the Fall and Winter 

Keeping up with Ayurvedic principles during this time can help make the transitions easier on your mind, body, and spirit.

Here are some Ayurvedic tips to ease your transition into Autumn no matter your dosha type:

  • Enjoy cooling fruits (apples, pears, etc.)
  • Choose sweet foods like sweet potatoes and melons to calm your body during the season change
  • Go for hearty food options and avoid foods that are too rich in fat
  • Get yourself into a morning routine and actually stick to it all fall and winter. 
  • Keep your skin moisturized and hydrated 

Food and the Seasons

Many of us are accustomed to eating our favorite foods year-round since grocery stores provide a wide selection of fresh foods despite the seasons - you can thank global trade for that. However, there still are foods you may avoid in certain seasons like a hot bowl of chili on a summer day or a cooling watermelon salad in the dead of winter. 

Sometimes it is obvious that certain foods and the seasons may not go well together. Ayurvedic sciences goes much deeper than that, but ultimately, it’s all about choosing the right food for the time of year so that your “healthy eating” does not actually harm you and impact your immune system, skin, or even sleep in negative ways.

Here’s a great Ayurvedic fall recipe that you can try this week!

Khichdi - The Classic Detoxifying Ayurvedic Recipe

Khichdi is a simple yet wholesome meal filled with antioxidants that not only boosts your energy  but also improves your immune system. It is low in glycemic index and so can be an excellent meal for those with diabetes or digestive challenges.

Below recipe serves 2 

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp White rice (White rice gives the traditional flavor but Brown, Red or any rice of your choice should be fine.You can also split the portion by using ½ Rice and ½ Quinoa or cook entirely with Quinoa as well)
  • 6 Tbs Moong Dal (Yellow Split Gram)
  • 1 inch ginger, finely cut
  • 1 large size tomato cut up (optional)
  • ½ cup of finely cut veggies (Peas, beans, Carrot, beans, Cauliflower) (Veggies are optional)
  • 1 Indian/Thai chilli , finely cut
  • ½ tsp of Turmeric
  • 1 tsp of Cumin seeds
  • 2 Tbsp Ghee
  • 1/2 Lime/Lemon ( Optional )
  • Cilantro ( Optional)

Cooking instructions

  • Wash the Rice and Dal together in a pot. Wash 2-3 times till the water is almost clear.
  • Add the diced vegetables : tomato, peas, beans, carrot, cauliflower ( Optional )
  • Add Turmeric
  • Add 3 cups of water if using a pressure cooker or InstaPot. If cooking directly in a pot, without pressure, add about 5 cups as the Dal will take some time to cook without any pressure cooking.
  • If using a pressure cooker or InstaPot, wait for the 2 whistles. The Dal, rice and vegetable mixture should be very soft and creamy when fully cooked.
  • Add salt as per your taste and mash the mixture till its soft and creamy texture.
  • In a separate pan, use a low flame and add 2 tbsp of Ghee. Once warm, add 1 tsp of Cumin seeds, chill and ginger. Once it starts popping, add this to the Rice and Dal mixture. Stir well.
  • You can add a sprinkle of lemon juice on top and garnish with cilantro (Both are optional).
  • Khichdi is ready to be served! 

Changing seasons can be hard on our bodies, but Ayurvedic principles and tips can make it easier. Incorporate these into your regular life and see how the change helps you! 


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