Every season has it’s proper guidelines, and in Ayurveda this is known as Ritucharya. We modify the lifestyle to match the seasons. The sky is cloudy, there is still a chill in the air, April showers will bring May flowers, and you know what that means–more pollen and allegies! In Ayurveda, philosophically we should follow a diet and lifestyle that is the opposite of these qualities so that this cold and heavy energy does not accumulate in our physiology and psychology, so as to prevent imbalances and disease.
Kapha is aggravated in the late winer and spring (February to May), Pitta is aggravated in the summer (June to mid-September), and Vata is aggravated in the fall and early winter (October to February). We can’t exactly follow the calendar strictly, but mainly use our intuition and pay attention to nature as it will tell us which Dosha will be influenced. It’s mainly an opportunity to fine-tune our habits, to make small adjustments for good health.
(In India, the whole year is divided into six seasons, but understandably speaking, here in the US there is a vast difference in the weather pattern in different states which must be taken into consideration, as well)
That being said, we are in Kapha season. Dietarily speaking, food and drinks should be compromised of hot, dry, and light qualities to counter the cold, moist, and heavy qualities of Kapha. Baked, broiled, or grilled warm foods are best. Add pungent spices. Eat more vegetables. Cut down on sweets. Sweet, salty, and sour tastes aggravate Kapha, so they should be avoided. Pungent, astringent, and bitter tastes reduce kapha so they should be added.
For example, cheeses, ice creams, yogurts, and other heavy, cold, moist dairy products are going to increase Kapha–phlegm, respiratory disorders, colds, flus, asthma, bronchitis, and/or swollen glands will result. Commonly we may feel sluggish, lethargic (avoid taking daytime naps!), have headaches, or water retention. If that sounds all too familiar, then maybe observing your lifestyle with more awareness is the answer. It may be a little trial and error here and there, but make small changes and you will see a huge difference. I promise.
Herbal teas should also be emphasized. Ginger, calamus, and clove are best, and if anything, just drink warm water. Here is a recipe for a delicious and easy tea that can be prepared daily. All you need is a few herbs and you’ll be hooked! It’s my new favorite tea!
Kapha Balancing Tea
4 cups water
1 Tablespoon cinnamon sticks, crushed
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon fresh grated or chopped ginger
1 Tablespoon of sucanat or other natural sweetner (optional)
Procedure: Heat water in a pot. Add slightly crushed cinnamon sticks and turmeric powder. Boil for 3 minutes. Add sweetener and grated ginger and boil for 2 more minutes. Strain and serve hot. You can also save the herbs and put it in a metal tea steeper and add more hot water to the cup later. I reused it about two times before it lost most of the potency.