Nature is our guide in Ayurveda. We look at the changes in the season, the weather patterns, and the qualities of our environment and rhythms of our lives to see how we can best support ourselves physically and mentally/ emotionally to stay in good health.
Ayurveda believes our disconnect with nature causes diseases and imbalances in ourselves.
Our lives and environments are ever-changing and to keep yourself in balance it helps to look at the seasonal changes to know how to adapt.
Read all about the month of November to stay in good health!
Fall is in full swing! The leaves are changing colour and are falling from the trees. The wind is rushing through the street and temperatures have dropped significantly. The heat in our houses has come on and this creates the challenge of dryness in fall. Heavier meals are appearing on the dining table to keep us warm and grounded. Our cravings move towards heartier, warming, and heavier foods, which is perfect, because in November our appetite naturally peaks. Now is the time to fuel the body for good immunity during the wintertime.
Winter is surely on the rise and we better get ready!
Yesterday's Halloween Feast has marked the season of darkness and pumpkins.
"Heavier meals are appearing on the dining table to keep us warm and grounded."
It is very clear now that we are fully in the fall season. The last days of warm weather are behind us and we are looking ahead to the winter season. Temperatures have dropped, the wind has picked up, and leaves are falling. You can even see the first frost on the rooftops in the early morning on some days. Better dress warm and get your scarves and hats from the attic!
The shorter days and dark early nights can give a cozy feeling of cuddling on the couch, but can also be challenging in terms of mental health. Getting enough sunlight in the day can help with that. Even though it is cold, still go outside!
It is still vata season which brings challenges of dryness, low energy, and anxiety. Drinking enough warm water and a soothing and warming ginger tea can keep your skin from drying out and keeping your GI tract moist for proper elimination. Adding some extra good-quality oils can also be beneficial to your elimination.
This is THE time of year to start up the daily practice of self oil massage (abhyanga). Do this massage with sesame oil (warming oil) in the morning to stay warm during the day. Oiling up also provides a nourishing element to the nervous system and can help with feeling grounded and calm. Kapha or pitta types both have the water element in their constitution and might not need to hydrate as much, but can still benefit from a grounding oil massage, as most of us nowadays struggle with stress and anxiety and staying grounded and calm.
The holiday season is here as well plus many Covid restrictions have been lifted, this means we can enjoy the company of others again! Getting together with family and friends over dinners in your own home gives a great sense of togetherness and pulls us out of the isolation we have been in for so long.
Daylight savings ends on November 7th and the clock moves one hour back. This means we lose an hour of sleep and this has more repercussions than you might think. Other biological clocks get disrupted and we feel it. Taking it easy that week to get accustomed and getting a good dose of sunlight during the day helps to overcome this jetlag kind of feeling.
"Getting together with friends and family over dinners in your own home gives a great sense of togetherness and pulls us out of the isolation we have been in for so long."
The Three Doshas in November
Vata is in full swing which means we have to stay warm, comfortable and take it easy. Make use of the shorter days, relax in the evening, and get to bed on time to have a good amount of sleep at night. Warm meals and dressing for the weather are key for vata to curb anxiety and stay warm. The best practice for vata is that self-oil massage in the morning. This will make all the difference!
Constipation can be more of a challenge around this time of year for vata. Dryness in your home due to the heat can increase that. A humidifier might help, ample fluid intake, and extra ghee in your meals!
The season of cold hands and feet is here. Due to the cold blood vessels constrict in your arms and legs and blood gets pushed to your core, this leads to a higher appetite, but also to cold hands and feet. Important for vatas is to eat nourishing, building, and warming foods that build up a layer of fat for the winter to prevent extreme cold and weight loss.
Preventing cold hands and feet comes from the insight out, drinking warm ginger tea can help to move blood to the extremities.
Vatas really need to avoid raw and cold foods at this time of year and make sure that they cook their food and eat it warm.
Pittas have had their time to cool down from the summer. This doesn't mean some people are still struggling with inflammation in the body, which can be a year-round thing. The biggest practice for pitta is to slow down. Adjust to a slower pace of living even though that is your biggest challenge. Focus on your private life instead of on just work and elevate the joys of the Holiday season! Plan fun outings with friends, pamper yourself at the spa and enjoy an activity with your family. Life is more than work. Productivity is overrated ;)
Pittas will greatly benefit from being active outdoors, going for hikes, taking a bike trip, or a walk in the forest. The drying wind will cool down pittas fire.
Vata can actually push pitta even further out of balance. Important here again is to slow down, ground as much as you can, and release any pent-up stress where possible.
"Focus on your private life instead on just work and elevate the joys of the Holiday season!"
Kapha also has the cold quality in their constitution, just like vata. They don't like being cold, so keeping warm is just as important. The dryness of this fall season is welcome to kapha though, they can lose some water weight and reduce any excess mucus and moisture in their body. They might feel lighter at this time of year, although they need to be aware of Seasonal Affective Disorder, which can be most palpable for kaphas. Making sure they see enough sunlight during the day can help with this.
Keeping active is key for kapha. Get that blood moving to stay energized and active. Late fall and winter are actually great times for kapha to start something new and exciting to keep them in a positive mood.
Not oversleeping and napping in the daytime is important for kapha to keep a good mood and good energy.
Routine and lifestyle
Routine is always important, year-round. But especially for vatas and pittas, it is beneficial for them at this time of year. Not only because the Holidays can bring about stress, but the weather patterns can cause anxiety and a feeling of overwhelm. Stick to your sleep schedule. Especially pittas love staying up late and diving in the deep internet hole to learn more and engage their ever-absorbing minds. Getting to bed by 10 pm and leaving your phone in the living room is a great practice for all doshas.
The dryness of this weather can cause vata to struggle with insomnia at night time. Reducing intake of coffee and adding good quality oils is important to counter the dryness. Self-oil massage should be a daily practice for vatas.
Adding a calming night-time routine can be beneficial, some yin yoga, yoga Nidra, or just reading a book or taking a bath are great practices to end the day.
Slowing down your pace might come naturally to some people, but it is not uncommon to go at the same pace all year round for some people. Learning to adapt your pace to the pace of the seasons can be a wonderful guide to slow down.
Ayurvedic Diet for November
What is available is always depends on where you are in the world. Your best bet is to check your weekly farmers' market or subscribe to a newsletter of your local farm to stay updated.
November is the month where our appetites are highest due to increased blood flow to our core because of cold weather. This means we can digest heavier foods like meat, dairy, nuts, and fats easier. We want to be consuming these products to create an insulating (good quality) layer of fat for winter to prevent low immunity.
This means soups, casseroles, stews, roasted vegetables, etc. Hearty meals that are satisfying and nourishing.
A good time to add more good quality fats like ghee (lactose-free) and olive oil. And possibly increase your meat intake for proper nourishment and building. Especially for vatas this is important.
You can still find abundance at your farmers' market from the end of the harvest season. Indulge in any type of root vegetable; pumpkins, squashes, beets, turnips, carrots, rutabaga, potatoes, sweet potatoes, you name it. Mashed potatoes, pumpkin soup, or roasted beets are on the menu!
Other good news for cheese lovers. November is THE month to enjoy this gooey deliciousness. Since our appetites ramped up we are more able to digest this heavier type of food. Go for soft cheeses like goat and feta. Adding a pungent chutney can make your cheese easier to digest.
Herbs like rosemary, thyme, and sage are a perfect match for roasted vegetables and meats and bring a pungency that helps with digestion.
Vatas need to watch their hydration to avoid excessive sweet cravings and kaphas need to watch their overindulgent nature. Adding bitter greens to their meals will help with this. Kale, chard, and spinach are still readily available.
Oatmeal is a great breakfast. Adding stewed apples with cloves and star anise keeps you hydrated and warm. Stewed apples help with smooth elimination.
Adding nuts and seeds to your diet can bring extra good fats and nutrition.
Or adding a bit of pungency with ginger and black pepper will cut through the heavier meats and potatoes as well. Keeping our blood moving instead of becoming stagnant.
This is the start of the overindulging seasons, and this is something we want to stay aware of. Eating just three meals a day can help with that. No snacking or late-night eating. And enjoy those pumpkin and apple pies in moderation!
Make your own chai spice mix and enjoy a cup in the afternoon or morning. Spices will increase blood flow and stimulate digestion.
If you need support with improving your digestion, finding joy in eating and food again, or maintaining a healthy weight without dieting, click below to book a 20-min Free Discovery Call.
*Always consult your physician before making adaptations to your lifestyle and diet.