As the weather changes from winter to spring (vata season to kapha season) you may notice changes in both your mind and body. Nature is waking up and you too may feel the need to get out, exercise and get started on new projects. You may also find yourself falling ill with a cold or flu.
Here are some tips for kapha season to help you make a healthy, balanced transition from vata season.
1. You should have already been favoring warm, cooked foods during vata season. Continue this trend. Both vata and kapha are characterized by the quality of cold. During kapha season, add a bit more spice to your meals. Chili, curry, turmeric, cayenne, and mustard seed are all helpful spices.
2. Again, as you should have been doing in vata season, drink hot drinks throughout the day. During kapha season you may want to switch to a more stimulating tea — perhaps one with ginger.
3. Substitute honey for sugar. Raw, unheated honey is very effective in reducing kapha. (Caution: never bake with honey. Heated honey creates a toxin that clogs the channels of the body and is difficult to remove.)
4. Favor the grains quinoa and barley instead of rice and wheat.
5. Cut down on simple carbohydrates (sugar, white flour, candy, chocolate, cake, jam, soda and packaged cereals) and favor complex carbohydrates. Foods that contain complex carbohydrates include spinach, yams, broccoli, peas beans, whole grains, zucchini, lentils, and skimmed milk. Complex carbohydrates act as the body’s fuel and contribute significantly to energy production. This is the time of year when it is most important to get moving.
6. Favor foods with astringent, bitter and spicy tastes. A few examples of foods with these tastes are:
Astringent: legumes, beans, lentils, pear, apple, pomegranate, quinoa, tofu
Spicy: chili peppers and curry powder
Bitter: dark leafy greens, turmeric, barley, basil
7. Take steps to enhance your digestion. Digestion tends to be sluggish at this time of the year. A thin slice of ginger topped with a bit of fresh lemon juice taken 15 minutes before a meal will insure that your digestive enzymes are primed to make the most of your food. After you are finished eating, sit quietly for a few minutes to allow your digestion to continue its job undisturbed.
8. Be consistent with your morning oil massage. This is the season when then body naturally begins to detoxify. The skin is one of the main organs of purification in the body. Not only are toxins eliminated from the body via the skin, our skin is also our first barrier to environmental toxins. An oil massage each morning before your bath or shower helps support this natural self-cleansing mechanism.
9. This is the optimum time of the year to schedule panchakarma treatments (the traditional rejuvenation treatment of Ayurveda) for a more powerful boost to your body’s natural purification process.
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