Ayurveda states that we feel the changes of the season in our bodies. In the midst of the autumn season, you’re much more likely to feel restless, anxious, unable to focus, or even out of control due to aggregated vata—the dosha that’s at its strongest this time of year, characterized by air and space.
To balance out excess vata in the body, it’s recommended to adopt lifestyle habits that keep you grounded. This means sticking to a daily routine and enjoying foods that are warm, heavy, moist, and nourishing.
To help pacify vata and feel more grounded, start looking toward these healthy foods.
1. Root Vegetables
Root vegetables are great for grounding and stabilizing vata because they grow underground. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, onions, parsnips, turnips, garlic, radishes, rutabagas, and ginger are all ideal examples of root vegetables that can be cooked up in warm dishes throughout the autumn season.
2. Pumpkin and Squashes
Ayurveda recommends going for sweet, sour, and salty flavours rather than bitter, astringent, and pungent ones. Many root vegetables and squashes fall into the sweet category when they’re cooked, so get creative by adding pumpkin to your baked goods, or incorporating squashes into your soups and sides.
3. Lean, High-Quality Meats
Yogis who are not vegetarian or vegan can help themselves feel more grounded by taking advantage of the high protein content in high-quality meat sources like fish, poultry, and beef. Just be sure to select meats that are as cruelty-free and environmentally-friendly as possible by looking for labels like organic, hormone-free, free-range, grass fed, etc.
4. Naturally Red Fruits and Vegetables
The root chakra, located at the base of the spine, is the chakra that governs grounding and is associated with the color red. Root vegetables help to balance this chakra but you can go further with it by incorporating red foots into your diet. Tomatoes, strawberries, cherries, apples, and pomegranates are just a few suggestions to try—especially when they’re cooked or stewed.
5. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds offer plenty of protein and healthy fat (in additional to several vitamins and minerals), making them ideal to snack on or add to meals during vata season. Stock up on cashews, almonds, pistachios, and peanuts during this time. Sesame seeds in particular are also good to have this time for their powerful vata-pacifying effect.
Other Foods to Favor
During vata season, ground yourself in warm, nourishing meals that incorporate the above foods plus others like whole grains, some dairy products like milk and homemade cheese, naturally fermented foods (such as sauerkraut), warm spices, and healthy oils. You’ll want to cut back on anything that’s dry, raw, cold, or iced to avoid aggravating vata.
Though many dry and raw foods are healthy in general, now is not the time to be serving yourself a bowl of dry cereal for breakfast or a salad with raw veggies for lunch if you want to keep vata balanced. Liquids including milk and water should also be consumed ideally warm or at room temperature—with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or a dash of spice like ginger.
Take this as an opportunity to really hone in on your diet, check out some new recipes, and enjoy the foods that this season has to offer. You’ll get to enjoy new tastes and feel better too.