Winter is the season of stillness, reflection, and turning inward. During the cold, chilly, winter months, nature goes through a period of withdrawal and hibernation in preparation for the blossoming of spring and all the new life that is to come.
In alignment with nature’s rhythms, we can embrace winter as a time of slowing down, reflecting, and seeking rest and replenishment in our own lives as well.
Ayurveda recognizes winter as kapha season, when both our inner and outer environments are characterized by the qualities of cold, damp, heavy, stagnant, and slow. Depending on where you live, there is often a significant influence of cold, dry vata qualities as well.
Winter invites us to find a balancing act of staying warm, nourished, and grounded without getting bogged down by kapha’s heaviness. Intelligently, we tend to crave warm, comforting foods and experiences during this time. The trick is to make sure our winter meals and cold weather recipes deliver the nutritious, agni-boosting elements needed to keep our digestion and immunity strong.
For many people, winter is a season when healthy and appropriate dietary habits come naturally, and the winter comfort food we crave is often exactly what we need. When seeking winter dinner ideas and preparing winter warming food, the goal is to bring balance to kapha without increasing vata, and vice versa.
Healthy warm winter foods like broths, stews, root vegetables, casserole, and winter soups are a great way to support sustained wellness and keep the doshas balanced throughout the season. Other Ayurvedic winter staples include things like kitchari, grains, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, acorn squash, winter vegetables, and winter greens.
During the winter, we want to favor cooked meals over raw, and focus on eating foods that are moist, slightly oily, and well-spiced. Along with squashes and root vegetables, things like spinach, carrots, onions, garlic, ginger, and peppers can also be supportive during this time of year.
In general, it’s best to reduce dairy throughout the winter months as it can aggravate kapha’s dense and sticky qualities in the body. That said, a small amount of dairy, meat, and eggs are typically fine for most people. Adding warming spices like turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom will make these foods even more digestible.
When it comes to winter drinks, Ayurveda encourages drinking plenty of warm herbal teas and warm water with lemon, while avoiding ice and cold drinks. CCF teas and Turmeric Milk Mix are excellent options to sip and enjoy throughout the day.
These Ayurvedic guidelines are just the beginning! We invite you to explore the articles and recipes included here for more education and inspiration to guide you through the cozy winter months and support you in finding exciting and tasty ways to enhance your winter wellness.
Whether you’re looking for winter drink recipes, good winter dinners, an Ayurveda-friendly winter salad, inspiration for holiday meals, or a delicious post-sledding treat, Ayurveda has so much to offer! Grab your favorite sweater, cozy up by the fire, and enjoy browsing through these pages.