Fall is a beautiful time of the year. The leaves change color; the air is crisp and beginning to get cold and light with wind. Ayurvedically, we transition from the Vata time of Autumn to the Kapha time of Winter.
With the incoming of cold weather and the incoming of a lot of delicious Thanksgiving and Christmas dishes in mind, I devote this article to our agni or our digestive fire. These tips will help you maintain consistent, strong digestion in a time notorious for overeating and indulging in sweets. I’ll also explore the Ayurvedic properties of common fall ingredients such as turkey and pumpkin. Enjoy!
Agni: The Fire Within
During the holiday season it’s common to eat irregularly, under pressure and stress, or when you’re not hungry and are forced to eat because of uncontrollable timing. Furthermore, this is the season to overeat. (Can you say turkey coma and hello Thanksgiving pants?) These scenarios douse the digestive fire. The end result is a confused mind and a bloated, fat, fatigued, body with sluggish elimination, gas, and perhaps heartburn. These are just some of the signs and symptoms of low digestive fire. So what can be done to help keep the fire blazing throughout Thanksgiving Day and beyond?
Spiced mulled cider is a traditional holiday drink. This season try adding ginger and lime to increase agni and aid in digestion. Fresh and dry gingers are great for agni and have a wide range of healing properties according to both Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine. In this recipe, it takes center stage with cinnamon as a main ingredient. Drink this before a big meal to get the agni or digestive fire strong.
Spiced Mulled Cider for Better Digestion
1 ½ Gallon Organic Apple Cider
2 TSP Grated Organic Clove
1 ½ TSP Sea or Himalayan Salt
1 Dash Organic Pepper
1 ½ TSP Nutmeg
4 Organic Cinnamon Sticks
4-6 Pieces of Fresh Organic Ginger
2 Organic Limes Sliced
Place all ingredients in a 6 quart slow cooker and set on high for 45 minutes to an hour. Drink hot.
It would take another two articles to describe all of the medicinal properties of ghee. It is the liquid gold of Ayurvedic cooking. And it also kindles agni strongly. This holiday season, try incorporating it into your cooking and you won’t be disappointed.
Know Your Food
According to Ayurveda pumpkin has a sweet and astringent taste. It is heavy and hard, decreases Vata and Pitta and increases Kapha. Because of it’s heavy and hard qualities pumpkin may be hard to digest, especially if your agni is low. This holiday season wait a bit between your main meal and pumpkin pie. Better yet, eat a pinch of sea salt with 1 thin slice of fresh ginger. This may be enough to rekindle the digestive fire for desert! It is also worthy to note that according to Ayurveda, dark Turkey meat is heavier in quality than that of white turkey meat. If you want go lighter, eat white turkey meat, though be careful, because white turkey meat increases Vata dosha.
Be Present to Your Food Limit
Other simple ways to ensure good agni during the holiday season is to simply eat with consciousness. Don’t overeat. Don’t eat cold drinks with your meal. Eat with lightness of being and ease. And if you’re under stress during a holiday meal, don’t eat. Wait it out until conditions are more favorable for your agni.
Other simple ways to ensure good agni during the holiday season is to simply eat with consciousness. Don’t over eat. Don’t drink cold drinks with your meal. Eat with lightness of being and ease. And if you’re under stress during a holiday meal, don’t eat. Wait it out until conditions are more favorable for your agni.