Bringing the Spirit of the Holidays into Your Meals

Bringing the Spirit of the Holidays into Your Meals

While this holiday season may look different than what we're used to, the spirit of the festivities can still be found and felt in homes across the land. Winter holiday traditions abound in almost all cultures and families, passed lovingly from one generation to the next.

And while some of these traditions may require newfound creativity and innovation to fit into the context of this year, the heart of these rituals remain the same—celebrating the richness of life, honoring the presence of light within the dark, and connecting with those we love.

It is especially during this time that we at Banyan are reminded of our gratitude for friends and families (including you!), our appreciation for good health and plentiful laughter, our wish for harmony and upliftment, and our love of nourishing goodies!

We know we aren't the only ones who love these treats.

Around the world, food brings friends and families together with warm, hearty aromas, creating the perfect environment for reminiscing about fond memories and creating pleasurable new ones.

Even if our gathering is done remotely this year, the process of creating, enjoying, and sharing our favorite foods is a tradition that can still be used as a way to nourish our bodies, uplift our spirits, and connect with our loved ones.

Whether you are cooking for your family, your “COVID pod,” or for yourself, use the opportunity to infuse your meals with love, intention, and prayers. Use only the best ingredients, organic when possible, and choose them with care. Just as important as the quality of the ingredients is the positive intention and attention that is given to the food by the cook.


How to Care for Your Whole Self

Typically, the holidays can often be a time that brings increased stress and chaos with the flurry of travel, gift-giving, planning, and hosting. This busyness can be aggravating to all the doshas, especially pitta and vata. If you find yourself with less activity this year, use it as an opportunity to enjoy some quiet calm and reconnect to the true spirit of the holidays.

Here, we offer a few tips that may be helpful in keeping healthy, happy, and connected to the spirit of love during this unconventional holiday season.

Nourish Your Heart

  • Keep to your daily routine vigilantly. A daily routine with a grounding practice, including meditation, yoga, pranayama (breath techniques), or journaling is an excellent way to preserve calm and avoid burn-out.
  • Find some quiet time. During and after meals, quiet can aid digestion. At other times, moments of quiet are fundamental to rejuvenating your mind and body and helping you stay connected to your heart.
  • Keep warm. In the cold of winter, keep bundled up when you go outside so that the cold and wind don't upset your vata and kapha. Also, consider a self-oil massage to warm the body and show yourself some love.

Honor Your Body

  • Stay physically active. This will help keep your digestive fire lit and burn some of those extra calories consumed. It will also help keep your endorphins running and your festive spirit jolly. 1
  • Moderation is the key. Indulgence and excess can easily become the themes of the holidays without a good measure of awareness. Enjoy all that the season has to offer, including the goodies, and also listen to your body (not your tongue) when it says you've had enough.
  • Get rid of wastes. As your body digests the foods you take in, it must also have a way to rid the wastes. Having healthy bowel movements is key for this to happen. For gentle support for healthy bowel movements, turn to your trusted friend triphala.
  • Keep a healthy weight.  If you'd like to support your metabolism and healthy weight levels, in addition to the above recommendations, consider Trim Support.

The most important first step in truly enjoying the holidays is finding mental harmony and calm to help us balance the stress and the chaos that can accompany this season. Here, we offer a few tips that we've found helpful in keeping healthy during the holidays:

Tend Your Digestive Fire

  • Use warming winter spices. In all your delicious meals and goodies, include some warming spices like gingercardamom, and cinnamon.
  • Kindle the digestive fire. Easy Digest liquid extract is a great option, or try a little fresh ginger, lime, and salt about a half hour before you eat.
  • Boost digestion. Consider Vata DigestPitta Digest, or Kapha Digest.
  • Drink warm or hot drinks. Avoid iced drinks and, if possible, cool room temperature beverages.
  • Give yourself a break. If you are not attending a large gathering, consider giving your digestive fire a break by eating easy to digest, nourishing foods.
  • Feast at lunchtime. When possible, schedule any large meals during lunch, rather than dinner. The digestive fire is much stronger at mid-day.

Consider a Cleanse

After the holidays, it can be helpful to rid the body of ama (any buildup of subtle or gross wastes from improper digestion) by doing an Ayurvedic cleanse, especially if you were enjoying many rich and heavy foods. You can treat yourself to a gentle home cleanse.


We hope these tips help you stay healthy in body, mind, and spirit through the holiday season, and we wish you and your loved ones a very Happy New Year! We leave you with a quote for the season to convey our warmest wishes, with love from the whole Banyan family.

“Now is the time to free the heart, Let all intentions and worries stop, Free the joy inside the self, Awaken to the wonder of your life.”—John O'Donohue

About the Author

Premal Patel, MD

Premal Patel, MD, is a Family Practice physician who has also studied Ayurveda and Acupuncture. She serves on faculty for the Ayurvedic Institute and...

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1 "Exercise and Depression." WebMD.