Eating with the Seasons

Healthy Diet in Ayurveda: Pacify Kapha in Early Spring/Late Winter

Posted by on Apr 9, 2014

Healthy Diet in Ayurveda: Pacify Kapha in Early Spring/Late Winter A big part of healthy diet in Ayurveda (and Chinese Medicine) is eating with the seasons. Now we are in the Kapha season in the Northern Hemisphere, Late Winter/Early Spring, roughly the 6 weeks before and 6 weeks after the Spring Equinox on March 20. Choose a diet that follows the season; when Kapha predominates; eat foods that reduce Kapha Healthy people of all doshas should favor a diet that pacifies, or reduces, Kapha this time of year, but if Kapha is your dominant body-mind type then you should...

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Autumn in Chinese Medicine

Posted by on Oct 22, 2013

Autumn Fall Autumn in Chinese Medicine is the time of falling, hence its secondary name. Spring up, Fall down.  In fact we even use the word autumn to describe a period in the human life span, the autumnal years, a period of beautiful maturity that is also verging on decline. In Autumn the celestial Qi, which is another way of describing the effects of the sun, moon, stars, and of course the weather (that in turn is a function of the effects of the sun in terms of the seasons), recedes in Autumn from its full bloom of summer....

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Using Spices in Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine to Protect Your Digestive Fire in Summer

Posted by on Jul 9, 2013

In summer we sweat and our yang energy or heat keeps getting dispersed and exhausted. On freezing cold days you feel cold, but on boiling hot days you sweat and become exhausted. In winter in every culture people eat heavy high-calorie foods, but in summer switch to lighter food. That is in part because our digestive fire weakens in summer because the yang is at the surface.Conversely, in summer, because it is so hot, we eat lots of cooling juicy food like fruit and more raw food. Raw food is cooling, because your body has to provide the fire...

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Healthy Summer Fruit Tart

Posted by on May 16, 2013

A Healthy Summer Fruit Tart is a nutrient dense food full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, flavanoids, antioxidants, and protein, with high amounts of life force from fresh ripe, organic ingredients, and without what’s bad for you–white sugar, artificial stuff, preservatives, things with no life force, like frozen fruit and pie crusts off the shelf of Cost Co. Traveling in Europe one of the things you might notice is that the pastries are sweet, but not sickeningly so. In particular the fruit tarts  are slightly sweet, but not so much that the flavor of the fruit comes second. Something I...

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Springtime Tea from Somalia with Cardamom and Mint

Posted by on May 3, 2013

Food and drink like language and music spreads between cultures without rules. But within any given tradition, within any given culture, its as if there are unspoken rules that govern change; creativity is allowed, but to a point. In the world of food or music, for example, once you change a thing enough it is no longer what it started out to be. This can lead to certain kinds of conformity.  For example, in my grandmother’s Russian Jewish culture there were two kinds of gefilte fish–sweet without garlic, but with sugar, and spicy, without sugar, but with black pepper...

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Ayurveda and Fruits: Match Food to Your Dosha and the Season

Posted by on Feb 14, 2013

What foods match your dosha? Fruits are naturally sweet sour and refreshing. Some fruits, like apples, also have an astringent or drying property, depending on variety, macs more than fiji, for example. Your mouth feels a bit dry after a bite of apple, or quite dry after a bite of unripe banana–this is the astringent flavor. Pomegranates are another great example of this, as are  persimmon, especially if not perfectly ripe. Some fruit are more sweet than sour, like ripe figs, dates,  bananas, some fruits are especially cooling, like watermelon, ripe bananas or oranges. Some fruits can be less...

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Come in from the Cold Ayurveda Winter Tea

Posted by on Jan 12, 2013

Tonight it was quite cold for San Diego and I walked to my friend’s house and then we went out again, so when we came back in I made an Ayurveda winter tea.  We put on a small kettle and I placed in the tea pot: Fresh Ginger Slices, 5 Cloves 4 Cassia Twig 1 inch, broken Ginger Powder, 1 tsp Cinnamon Powder ½ tsp Cumin ¾ tsp Thyme ½ tsp Black Peppercorn 5 and then poured in about 2 cups of water just off the boil. Now Thyme is an excellent herb for winter for the lungs, it...

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The Way of Heaven at the Winter Solstice: Practical Idealism

Posted by on Dec 19, 2012

It has forever struck me as odd, if not delusional, that anyone would think the  human mammalian body is magically not subject to the cycles of solar, lunar, and terrestrial energies that cause trees to drop down their leaves in  Fall; that cause our cousins the bears to hibernate and be still across long winter, or to purge their intestines of accumulated gases by first eating the plant called “skunk cabbage” on waking in spring; that cause the crocus to be the first to shoot up flowers in late February, and that lead to the ultimate explosion of blue...

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Wakame Sea Vegetable with Turnip, Pear, and American Ginseng

Posted by on Dec 5, 2012

    Wakame is a delicate, mild tasting, low calorie sea vegetable with a succulent texture. A favorite food in Japanese and Korean cuisine, it is traditionally cooked in miso soup, served on its own as a cold side dish (sunomono), or cooked with foods like kabocha squash. It can be adapted into American cooking in salads, soups, stews, as a side dish, and even added into raw sauerkraut. It compliments grains from barley and quinoa to rice and millet. Wakame looks black in the package, but turns a delicate green color when cooked, brighter if blanched briefly in...

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Winter Wisdom: Chinese Medicine

Posted by on Nov 1, 2012

Winter Wisdom of Chinese Medicine The Nei Jing/Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, which presents the cutting edge medical wisdom of its time, is full of brilliant advice for both prevention and cure.  Chapter 2 describe how to adjust our lifestyles to match the natural rhythm of the  seasons.   Winter is the season for “storage” in Chinese Medicine.  It is the storage of winter that allows for the “bursting forth” of Spring. As in nature so in humankind. Storage of what?  Storage of Qi, Blood, Yin, and Yang.  How? To store means to hold on to what you...

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Dr. Wickermasinghe’s Ayurvedic Detox Tea for Colds and Flu

Posted by on Nov 1, 2012

Drink a quart or more a day of this delicious detox tea  if you are fighting off a cold or flu. You can also take this if you are already sick, to get better more quickly, and to prevent secondary infection in throat, sinus, or lungs. Do not use if you have a raging sore throat or high fever. Do use especially if you feel cold and have clear mucus or phlegm. This is a delicious tea made from ordinary kitchen spices that is a powerful remedy for common colds and flu. I learned it in Sri Lanka, from...

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Juiced Watermelon with Lime, Ginger, and Salt

Posted by on Aug 29, 2012

Alternative to Iced Drinks in Hot Weather Protect the Agni/ Yang in Summer: Juiced Watermelon with Lime, Ginger, and Salt The other day was quite hot (for SD!), and I swam at the beach after walking down from the top of Torrey Pines, and got home overheated and thirsty. I could still feel the sun hot on my head, even though I had worn a hat. I needed a lot of fluid and to cool down healthfully. An excellent alternative to iced beverages in hot conditions like that is juiced melon, especially watermelon. I juiced mine with fresh ginger...

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Ayurveda Summer Tea–Ayush Brand ProPita Tea

Posted by on Jun 8, 2012

Ayurvedic Summer Tea One of my favorite Ayurveda Summer Teas is Ayush Brand ProPita Tea. This is a naturally cooling tea that is mildly relaxing. Because it combines energetically cooling herbs and spices like Tulusi, Sandalwood, and Cardamon,  with sweet spices like Licorice and Cinnamon,  ProPita tea pacifies Pitta, which is the dominant dosha of late Spring and early Summer. What’s great is that at the same time, the mild pungent qualities of Cardamon, Tulsi, and Cinnamon  promote Agni/Digestive Fire,  so this tea is safe to drink in large quantities, unlike iced teas and iced beverages, which damage Agni....

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Peppermint and Gotu Kola Ayurvedic Cooling Summer Tea

Posted by on Jun 2, 2012

Cooling Teas of Summer: Peppermint and Centella Asiatica (Brahmi, Gotu Kola, Pennywort) There are lots of ways to hydrate and cool off in summer, without damaging the Agni/digestive fire/Spleen Qi which is actually weaker in the hot weather than in the cold weather. In cold weather the Agni fires up in the core to keep us warm, but in the hot weather it is dispersed to the surface as we sweat. That is why we can eat heavier food in the winter than in the summer. So it is important to be careful about too much cooling food in...

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Curried Quinoa Super Food: Pacify Kapha in Late Winter/Early Spring

Posted by on Apr 11, 2012

Curried Quinoa Super Food: Pacify Kapha in Late Winter/Early Spring The ancient grain of the Incas, Quinoa has a delicate, nutty, slightly bitter flavor and the lightest texture of all grains.  This combination of bitter taste and light texture make it an ideal grain for Kapha types and Kapha imbalances such as excess weight, sluggishness, and issues of phlegm.  And while Quinoa is excellent for elevated Kapha  any time of year, it’s especially true  in Late Winter/Early Spring when Kapha predominates.  Quinoa  is also a very good choice for Pitta imbalances that benefit from the bitter taste and light...

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