Your best strategy for staying balanced this winter will be to assess your body’s state of balance and the influence of your local weather on a day-to-day basis. With a refined sense of awareness, you can adapt your routine to pacify either vata, or kapha, or both—depending on your changing needs. To this end, you may find it helpful to read both the vata and kapha sections for more useful tips on how to pacify one or the other of your predominant doshas at a time.
Foods to Favor
Refer to the general recommendations for broad-based guidelines well-suited to your body type. Eat warm, cooked foods that are lavishly spiced with a variety of flavors. Especially supportive foods for you to eat this winter include apricots, berries, cherries, peaches, soaked prunes, soaked raisins, asparagus, carrots, chilies, green beans, mustard greens, okra, rutabaga, cooked spinach, honey (never cooked or heated), amaranth, basmati rice, miso, tur dal, ghee, mustard oil, sunflower oil, goat’s milk, freshwater fish, shrimp, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds.
Acceptable Seasonal Indulgences
The heaviness and moisture of the winter season may allow you to enjoy some foods that would normally upset vata: caffeinated teas, Hot Spiced Chai, a cup of coffee or espresso, or a particularly spicy dish. On the other hand, the cold, dry weather will allow you to indulge in some sweet, nourishing treats like warm Maple Tapioca that might upset kapha at other times of year.
Foods to Minimize
You’ll definitely want to reduce iced drinks, cold or frozen foods, and leftovers. You’ll also want to steer clear of foods like watermelon, white sugar, spelt, soy beans, soy flour, and pork, which are aggravating to both vata and kapha. Beyond that, you can keep tabs on your digestion and watch for signs of excess kapha (heaviness, lethargy, brain fog) and excess vata (gas, bloating, constipation, anxiety), and adapt your diet accordingly.
To pacify both kapha and vata, you’ll want to balance predictability with spontaneity, relaxation with stimulation, and quiet stillness with active engagement. Strike this balance in your relationships, work habits, exercise routine, and in your mental presence. You can also change up your habits to be more vata-pacifying or more kapha-pacifying, depending on your local weather and any fluctuations in your internal state of balance. If the weather is wet, cloudy, and heavy, and/or if you find yourself feeling sluggish, weighed down, or lacking motivation, shift to a more kapha-pacifying lifestyle for a few days and see if you feel a shift. If the weather is cold, dry, and windy, or if you’re feeling isolated, lonely, overextended, or depleted, embrace a more vata-pacifying lifestyle until you start to feel more stable and calm. The most important thing is for you to cultivate awareness of your inner needs so that you can protect both vata and kapha this winter.