Ayurveda understands everything in terms of qualities: Hot or cold, heavy or light, moist or dry etc. During fall, our bodies will most appreciate a diet that is warming, fortifying and substantial. By understanding the qualities of food and how our diet affects the qualities of our body each season, we understand how to support our own health.
Fall cleansing is not meant to be a time for drastic fasting, but rather a time to support the system and strengthen the liver. During Fall the body needs to be rejuvenated, not left more vulnerable going into winter. The liver works year round to detoxify the body. Toxins from the foods we eat, the products we use on our bodies and chemicals from our environment can overload the liver which creates “ama.” Ama in Sanskrit means excess build up that weakens. So the question becomes how do we reduce ama and fortify the body specifically during fall?
Unlike Spring when our energies are moved by more sunlight, new life and an abundance of food, Fall is about slowing down and conserving energy. Multitasking and overloading the mind will overburden the nervous system and harm the liver instead of heal it. Its important to slow down, reduce your workload, and eat meals in peace. Allowing your mind to have single focus will allow you to tune into your own natural rhythm. Afterall, perfect health truly equates to being in relationship with yourself.
Here is a simple guide for nurturing, nourishing and loving yourself this fall season:
1.) Favor foods that are in season and warming to the body and avoid processed, packaged foods. Remember that this is a time for fortifying and nourishing the body with what it needs instead of striping the body. Cleansing, most importantly, is about paying attention to what the body needs each season. Stick with well-cooked, nourishing, heavier foods like lentil soups, roots and tubers, warm spiced milk, whole grain baked goods, and Kitcheree. Make sure you’re able to digest a heavier diet. Kitcharee is a beautifully balanced meal of mung beans and rice with the perfect ratio of protein and carbohydrates. It’s also tridoshic, meaning it is balancing for all constitutions. Use Ghee as a healthy and beneficial fat to lubricate digestion and help move toxins out of the body.
2.) Slow Down! Create rituals around meal time so that you can focus solely on the nourishment you are receiving. By simple eating slowly with gratitude you are giving your digestion the ability to do its job. Daily yoga and meditation will compliment your detoxification process. Look at nature for signs. Fall is a time for tilling the soil, planting new seeds and preparing for next year’s harvest. You are that soil, so tend to yourself in a way that provides new life.
3.) Love yourself! Ask yourself questions like “How am I creating my best life?” “What am I doing to contradict my healing?” Keep a journal in order to reflect upon your insights. Also make time to compliment yourself; use loving words to acknowledge yourself each day. A particularly beneficial practice is Abhyanga or self massage. Take an extra moment before bathing to massage yourself with warm sesame oil and give love to your toes, your knees, your tummy, your shoulders. All that yummy love will flow through you and nourish you just as much as the healthy foods you eat.
I hope you use this time to connect with yourself and grow deeper into the awareness only you have of your unique and perfect self.
With Love and In Best Regards to your Health!
Megan Fleming for Marin Ayurveda
Ayurvedic Health Educator