A Deeper Look Into Ayurveda

The colder weather has finally moved in and the fall season is officially in full swing!  Last time on the blog, we introduced you to the seasonal approach of nutrition through Ayurveda.  We learned that Ayurveda focuses on reaching balance through the mind, body, and spirit. This time, we are going to take a deeper look.  How do you even start on this health journey? What more do you need to know about this ancient practice?

To begin, there are three constitutions, or Doshas, in Ayurveda’s approach; Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.  Each person matches up to one of these more than the others.  Finding your match is key to using the Ayurvedic philosophy to your advantage.  Vata, which is air and space, is dry, airy, light, cold and clear.  Vata types tend to be thin and lanky.  Vata also regulates movement.  Pitta, which is fire and water, is sharp, hot, liquid, and oily.  Pitta types are usually of medium build and moderately muscular. Pitta’s domain is transformation.  Finally, Kapha, earth and water, is heavy, cold, dull, cloudy and hard.  Kapha types are usually very athletic and have strong, large builds.  Its domain is stability and structure.  To find out more about Doshas and which type is most like you, take this quiz.

By breaking out the different qualities into three Doshas types, the Ayurvedic approach to health is unique and not your average one-size-fits-all approach.  You can use the principle Dosha rules to fit your individual needs based on your imbalances, geography, and the changing seasons.  And by doing so, you can keep yourself healthy, balanced, and more aware of your body and it’s needs.  This is done by choosing foods to best fit and compliment your Dosha, as well as the season.  This takes us to the six tastes of Ayurveda nutrition.

The six tastes are very important in this practice as they help us to experience our food more fully and enjoy the actual experience of eating.  The six taste are sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent.  And how these tastes are combined in a meal can create all kinds of responses in ourselves and affects our Dosha.  During the fall season, the Vata constitution is higher in most people due to the colder and drier climate.  We need more warm, cooked foods, olive oils, ghee, and warm drinks.  Eating foods like cold cereals and sandwiches during this season may throw off our balance and are not recommended.  Sweet, sour, and salty tastes are favored.  Foods like rice, cream of wheat, pasta, cooked vegetables and fruits, cashew, almonds, and sesame seeds are all good choices.  Cooked apples, avocados, grapefruits, beets, and carrots are all favored fruits and vegetables in the Vata season.  Check out more Ayurvedic recipes for the fall season here.

We can all benefit from acknowledging the seasons and the changes each brings and establishing a routine for each that increases our health and happiness.  If you would like to learn even more about Ayurveda and how to adjust with the seasons, come join us in our upcoming workshop, Transition into fall with Ayurveda on October 22nd.


Sweet Potato Butternut Squash Soup

Perfect for fall or winter, this sweet potato and butternut squash soup is great for the Vata season.


1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 medium sweet potato
3 TB coconut oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 in. fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 c. coconut milk
1/4 cup raw cashews blended with 1/4 c water, blended until smooth
6 c. stock or water
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cumin
1⁄4 tsp. ground cloves
1⁄2 tsp. ground turmeric
1⁄2 tsp. sea salt
black pepper, to taste

In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons coconut oil, and sauté the garlic, onion, and ginger for 2 minutes, until tender. Add the squash and the sweet potato. Sauté for 5 minutes, reduce the heat to low, and cook about 10 minutes.
In a large soup pot, add 1 tablespoon coconut oil and the remaining spices. Sauté until fragrant. Add broth and vegetables from the skillet to soup pot. Bring to a low boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 10 minutes, until squash is tender.
Puree in a blender until smooth. Return to soup pot, and add coconut milk, cashew cream, salt, and pepper to taste.

Find this recipe and more here.