Almost overnight it feels like it became fall here in NYC. There’s a chill is in the air, suddenly the sidewalk is covered with leaves and apples, squashes and pumpkins are popping up at the local farmer’s markets.
While many people dread the colder months, I love and embrace them. Part of this is my personality (I’ve got a lot of “fire” so in some sense, the cooler temps balance me out), but I think a bigger part is that I’ve learned to live more in harmony with the seasons through the science of Ayurveda.
I was first introduced to Ayurveda over a decade ago during my studies at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN), and it’s something I’ve incorporated into my life and coaching practice since then. I’m now even one of the guest teachers for IIN on the very topic, as you may know if you’ve gone through the program.
What is Ayurveda and what does it have to do with loving the seasons more?
Ayurveda is the science of living in harmony with nature. While yoga was developed as a science for the practitioner to bring balance and control to the mind, Ayurveda is a sister science developed for the practitioner to bring balance to the body. I know it may seem a little counterintuitive but yoga leads to meditation which is more about the mind, and Ayurveda applies to food and lifestyle choices, which more directly impact the body). By applying Ayurvedic principles, we can use food as a way to balance the body no matter what we’re experiencing.
As the temperatures change, Ayurveda encourages us to change our diet and lifestyle habits. There’s a season for everything in life, and fall is the time to start to slow down. It’s a time of reaping the harvest of everything that grew in the summer months, and preparing for the cold, dark winter to come.
Many of us eat the same things day after day, do the same workouts and activities week after week, but Ayurveda asks us to reconsider our habits and routines to be more in alignment with the energy of the season.
Where can you start with Ayurveda? How can you begin to bring this ancient science into your everyday, modern life?
Visit your local farmers market. You can start to apply the principles of Ayurveda simply by shopping seasonally and locally. For me that means seeing what’s available at the farmers market, and using the produce from my CSA. This past few weeks it was all about squash so I’ve been roasting them with tons of turmeric and curry powder (a favorite recipe from my first book, Go with Your Gut, linked below).
Add in warming spices. Speaking of curry and turmeric, there are spices that act as natural warmers for our bodies, which are important to add in as the weather cools down. Try cooking with more of these spices – cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, curry, cayenne, etc – to add some heat to your food and balance out the chill in the air.
Eat more cooked foods. This tip is straightforward – eat more warm foods! You may find that your body is craving more soups, stir fries and roasts already so lean into that.
I’ve linked some recipes below that are inspired by and in alignment with these Ayurvedic teachings – try adding one of two of these into your weekly routine!
More than any specific food or spice, this is a time to slow down and practice more mindful eating. According to Ayurveda, fall is the season of wind which means there’s more wind in our bodies – gas, bloating and constipation are more common this time of year, especially if you’re still eating your summer salads and smoothies.
Breathing, chewing and allowing your body more time to digest are all practices I teach in my books: Go with Your Gut and Thin From Within. If you don’t have either or both of these books, I highly recommend ordering your copy or copies and cozying up with them on one of these cooler, darker nights.
In addition to the practices, most of the recipes in the books are designed with Ayurvedic principles in mind.
And if you’re ready to dig in (literally) to a more Ayurvedic approach to living, here are a few recipes great for the fall and winter seasons:
Warm Cauliflower Salad from Thin From Within
Curry and Turmeric Roasted Squash from Go with Your Gut
If you make one of these recipes or try out any of the practices mentioned above, I’d love to hear from you! Hit reply to this email or post a photo on social media (I LOVE seeing your photos – seriously they make my day!). Don’t forget to tag me @robynyoukilis and #
Big warm hugs,
PS. It’s my birthday this Friday (!!) and to celebrate I’m hosting a BIG HUGE MEGA GIVEAWAY (yes all the caps and adjectives) . Keep your eyes on your inbox for an email announcing the big birthday giveaway on Friday. You can also follow me on Instagram @robynyoukilis for daily prize updates!