What can we drink as we move into autumn? As Vata holds strong, coming out from under Pitta’s bright light of summer, there’s more warm drinks, more focus on grounding.
Warm, moist, delicious. Vata dosha thrives on sweet, sour, and salty tastes. Sour and salty tastes also nurture the digestive fire/agni that is steadily rising (we hope) since summer.
As you can see in The Rhythm of Agni Through the Seasons, agni begins to revive its strength in fall, after being pretty droopy all summer season.
While Pitta dosha dips drastically in autumn, Kapha is inching its way slowly and steadily upward, to peak again in winter.
Right now it is mostly hidden under the guise of Vata’s predominance. What does this mean for us practically?
Consider a beverage like a spiced miso broth; it’s warm, moist, and a little salty. In my new book, Easy Healing Drinks from the Wisdom of Ayurveda, Chinese 5-spice blend is paired with the miso of your choice.
You could try chickpea miso if soy doesn’t work well for you. Experiment with a hot cleansing almond green drink, rather than a cold one. Made with chutney-like ingredients – lemon, ginger, cilantro – it’s gently sour to bring up agni and soothe Vata.
A sweet yam khir hits the spot as an after dinner dessert, and also provides valuable beta-carotenes as well as nourishment for ojas, vital immunity. Make use of papaya’s great ability to calm an uncertain gut.
Enjoy a shake made with a soaked nut or seed you don’t usually think to use, like black sesame seeds or hemp seeds. Hemp is one of the seeds richest in protein, offering 5 grams of protein per level tablespoon.
These put the emphasis back on building, after a summer of eating more lightly. How to put these together? Here’s further perspective.
A New Kind Of Warm Smoothie Or Creamy Soup
Many of us instinctively shy away from cold shakes as autumn approaches, with good reason. It’s chilly dry Vata’s season, and we need the counter balance of warmth and moisture to keep our doshic equilibrium.
Over the course of growing this new Easy Healing Drinksbook, I discovered you can make the kind of smoothies Westerners love, yet adapt them with principles from Ayurveda.
This meets the needs of the seasons and the doshas. The warm shakes featured in this seasonal drink book include foods like hot Apple Spice Smoothie and a friendly Green Basil Brew.
Let’s get specific. Plant-based foods are rich in minerals, fiber, vitamins, and color. Yet as ingredients, they need to be put together with care.
These warm smoothies/creamy soups have some distinct differences in their production and ingredients, compared to the average Western “healthy” shake.
Here are the key points to consider as you make your Ayurvedic drinks for fall.
Use easier simpler food combinations
Choose whole foods, rather than processed ones
Weave in Omega 3 rich ingredients
Indulge in generous amounts of natural fiber
Rejoice in digestion-enhancing, rejuvenating spices
In this article, let’s look at the first point. Everyone’s gut is different. Some of us can get used to digesting combinations that would never work in another’s system.
That said, a strong focus of Ayurveda is optimizing digestion for anyone.
Food combinations that are considered tough to digest and absorb include milk with yogurt, milk or yogurt with banana, milk or yogurt with fruit in general. Does this sound like your morning smoothie or cereal or what?
Adding digestive spices like cinnamon or ginger can help, yet why stress your gut first thing? If you could use something easier to digest and absorb, would you be willing to do it?
Nuts, seeds and fruit do well together. If you tolerate these, they’re great to use in smoothies. Use a nut milk instead of dairy.
Banana, spices and almond milk. Citrus with coconut. Apples, cinnamon, and nuts. Each of these is a friendly combination.
If you want to use dairy in your smoothie, try it with veggies and/or spices, rather than fruit. Get experimental. Try a beet or carrot smoothie, or one with cauliflower.
If these sound a little wild for your tastes, remember tried and true Pachak Lassi: half plain organic yogurt, half pure warm water, plus a pinch of ground cumin, all stirred together in a tea cup.
Drink it after a meal to enhance your absorption, fill in the cracks, and give yourself a little extra calcium.
As we think about what drinks to enjoy, with autumn and climate change, we need to keep flexible and open to whatever conditions Nature presents us.
While Vata is the best dosha for enhancing our flexibility, it is also the dosha that can get most disrupted by changes, small or large.
With climate change, weather patterns can persist longer in an area and be more extreme than in past decades. We may have to let go of our preconceptions about the season and our place in it.
All this particularly impacts Vata, which thrives on safety and security for grounding.
Read More: 3 Tips to Support Majja, the Nervous System and Fascia
The safety we create now may be a more inner state, as we begin to nurture “openness free of fixation”.
There is a deepening need to establish inner balance. If we can, this outward focus may go beyond the weather to include an open generosity to whatever is arising and who needs what now.
Excerpted with permission from Amadea Morningstar & Renee Lynn, Easy Healing Drinks from the Wisdom of Ayurveda (2018)