Why I eat seasonally and why you should consider it too!
Throughout my life, I never really paid attention to eating with the seasons. I was born and raised in the Caribbean. I think it has been hard for my body to adapt to the colder climate of Canada.
Until my studies to become a holistic nutrition & health coach I had no idea the difference it can make to feed your body the type of fuel it needs for each season. Even cars change fuel in Summer and Winter, why shouldn’t you?
Something strange happened a few weeks back, I was feeling super sluggish. Because of being so busy with my coaching practice, setting up my website and taking more on line courses I got sidetracked and neglected switching up my diet with the change of season.
I practice several Ayurveda rituals in the morning: I rinse my nose with salty water to remove any buildup accumulated during the night (I live in the sub-arctic so it is super dry), I drink one glass of warm water with lemon or lime to clear out any toxins and help the liver, and I scrape my tongue. One morning when I was scraping my tongue I noticed an unusually thick white coating. I knew right away it was “Ama”.
According to Wikipedia: Ama (a Sanskrit word meaning “uncooked” or “undigested”) is used to refer to the concept of anything that exists in a state of incomplete transformation. With regards to oral hygiene, it is claimed to be a toxic by-product generated by improper or incomplete digestion] The concept has no equivalent in standard medicine.
It clicked right away I needed to eat lighter to accommodate my body needs for easier to digest foods.
During winter I make a lot of stews, mashed potatoes (both regular potatoes and sweet potatoes). I cook something fresh everyday, I like the taste of fresh food and because I know the nutritional value decreases with time, sometimes I am guilty of cooking things just because I feel like it. So I probably over indulged in something supper yummy and my body didn’t agree.
Excess ama can be caused by many different reasons, stress, heavy foods, overeating, eating processed foods, eating before you have finished digesting amongst others.
Once I realized what was happening I started my recovery protocol.
- Ate only when hungry
- Drank water with lemon, a bit of honey or maple syrup and a tiny bit of cayenne pepper to increase my “digestive fire”
- Took full spectrum digestive enzymes to help my body breakdown whatever was leftover
- Ate smaller meals more often throughout the day instead of 3 heavy meals
- Watched my protein intake, reduced it for a few days until I was back on track
What to eat for each season:
We should strive to eat 50-75% of our foods fresh and seasonal.
Spring: is the best season for mild detoxing and the transition between winter and the warmer months. This a good time to start lightening the diet from the heavy warming foods we eat in winter.
Summer: during summer our bodies crave more raw and light foods, salads, fruits. Summer is a good time to experiment a short fast for example since we require less calories to keep our bodies functioning. Have fresh berries, soaked almonds and fresh seasonal fruit.
Autumn: autumn is crucial prep time for cold season and to avoid seasonal affective disorder. Soups, beets, parsnips. Have hard squashes, legumes and more protein.
Winter: during winter we have an increased need for calories and rest. Have nice warming foods, tons of beta-carotene (anything orange with beta-carotene for antioxidant support, carrots, sweet potatoes) and brown basmati rice.