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Try these autumn Vata balancing foods now!

By Irina | ForeverSunday

September 20, 2017

ayurveda, vata, vata foods, vata season

Autumn. It’s here already! The days are getting shorter and it’s getting colder on this side of that big orb that we live on. In ayurveda autumn is Vata season. Vata is one of the three doshas – or constitutions – that describe the human body.

Related: What is ayurveda?

The Vata dosha is ruled by the space + air elements. Vata is mobility, wind, cold, lightness, irregularity, dryness, roughness. Think about the mistral wind in France. If you have ever experienced it (or anything like it) you will know what I mean.

what is my dosha

Free What is your dosha workbook 

Sign up to get started with the free 8 page Ayurveda dosha workbook:  take the dosha quiz and get nutrition and exercise recommendations based on your type!

Vata aggravation

Like increases like

In Ayurveda ‘like increases like’: each dosha is increased in its corresponding season. In autumn it is easy for Vata to get aggravated or out of control. This can lead to a rise in complaints like stiffness, respiratory problems, hoarseness, hypertension, anxiety, insomnia and digestive problems in the lower GI tract (colon, bladder). You might also start to feel more restless, insecure, indecisive, getting impatient and worrying,… The Vata mind is pretty frantic!

Eating seasonally

Through our food we can counter some of the excess Vata effects that we experience in autumn. Ayurveda makes a lot of sense, following the laws of nature. Every season gives us the food that we need! It is best to eat foods that are in season, grown locally and ripened naturally.

And that’s because eating seasonal food (drumroll):

  • is better for your health, providing all the nutrients that you need in the current season
  • is more sustainable
  • supports the local economy
  • is cheaper!

Nowadays everything is available everywhere, anytime, and we are forgetting the basic knowledge about our food. Take this new season as an opportunity for a fresh start!

So now that autumn is here, how can we balance Vata with food?

Autumn vata balancing foods

Vata aggravating foods

Vata foods are bitter, astringent and pungent. These are the kind of foods that we want to avoid in autumn. An excess of bitter, astringent and pungent foods will lead to an increase in Vata. Examples of high Vata foods are: leafy greens and lettuces, cabbage, nightshades, legumes. This is because many of these produce wind in the body, and Vata is wind (air element) so we want to avoid eating too much of those…

Vata foods are bitter, astringent and pungent

When I say ‘avoid’ these foods – there is no need to completely eradicate these foods from your diet in autumn! We still need a little bit of each of the 6 tastes with every meal. We just change the proportions of every taste with every season.

Autumn Vata balancing foods

The foods that balance Vata are:

  • sweet, salty and sour (the taste or rasa),
  • moist, heavy, smooth (guna)
  • hot (virya or energy of the food) in nature.

To balance our Vata dosha we need to decrease the foods that are Vata producing and increase the foods that are Kapha and Pitta producing.

Here is a complete list of autumn foods to balance Vata, foods that are ok to eat occasionally, and foods to avoid to keep Vata balanced in the autumn season. To get the printable worksheet, sign up for my list! :)

Veggies

artichokes, beets, carrots, leeks, onion, pumpkin and squashes, zucchini, sweet potatoes, olives, watercress

Fruits

apricots, avocado, bananas, berries, cherries, citrus fruits (lemons, limes, tangerines, oranges, grapefruits), fresh figs, fresh dates, grapes, papaya, mango, plums, peaches, pineapple, melons

Grains

whole grain rice, basmati rice, oats, wheat

Beans and legumes

mung dal, cooked tofu

Nuts

preferably lightly roasted (DIY!), nut milk, nut butters: almond,brazil, hazelnut, flax/linseed, macadamia, pecan, pine, pistachio, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts

Dairy (always fresh and organic!)

butter, buttermilk, cottage cheese, ghee, yoghurt, kefir, raw cow’s milk

Oils

canola oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil

Herbs + spices

Basil, coriander, marjoram, rosemary, oregano, sage, thyme, bay leaves

Spices like anise, cumin, caraway, cardamom, chili pepper, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, dill, fennel, nutmeg, mustard seeds, poppy seeds, paprika powder, safron, turmeric, black pepper, vanilla

rock salt, sea salt

Other

mustard (fresh, organic, not the supermarket kind), seaweed, carob, vinegar

Eat occasionally in autumn

These are foods that are coming in or going out of season, or vata aggravating foods when eaten in excess.

Veggies

broccoli, cucumber, kale, lettuce, parsnips, radishes, spinach, sprouts, parsnips

Fruits

apples (ok when cooked with cinnamon), pears (ok when cooked), cranberries, pomegranate, quince

Grains

quinoa, barley, amaranth, couscous

Beans and legumes

lentils, aduki beans

Dairy

cheeses, goat’s milk, sour cream

Oils

coconut, mustard, olive, safflower, walnut oil

Herbs + spices

cayenne pepper, cilantro, garlic, fenugreek, horseradish, parsley

coconut milk and grated coconut, cashews, pumpkin seeds

Other

Sweeteners like cane sugar, fruit sugars, honey (raw), jaggery, maple sugar, molasses

Avoid these foods in autumn

Avoid these foods because they are not in season, or they are aggravating vata.

Veggies

bell peppers, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, sweet corn, nightshades (eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes,…), raw onion, raw garlic, mushrooms, okra, peas, turnips

Fruits

prune (dried plum), persimmon, watermelon (eat on its own). (Fruits are generally vata pacifying)

Grains

buckwheat, corn, millet, rye

Beans and legumes

black-eyed peas, black gram, chickpeas, fava/broad beans, flat beans, lentils, kidney/navy/pinto beans, split peas, soy beans, peanuts (they are wind producing, wind = Vata)

Dairy

all non- organic dairy products, ice cream

Oils

animal fats, corn oil, mixed vegetable oil

Other

white sugar, brown sugar, coffee, carbonated drinks, highly processed foods

Try it! What is your experience eating this way? :)

Read more:

Bad food combinations according to ayurveda

The ideal way to start your day: upgrade your morning routine the ayurvedic way

About the author

Irina is a certified Ayurvedic coach and yoga teacher in the Hatha and Traditional Tantra traditions (500+hr RYT). Irina has been teaching and writing about Ayurveda and Yoga, hosting retreats and offering online classes, workshops and consultations since 2015, when she founded ForeverSunday Ayurveda and Yoga.

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