Holiday season is here! Along with the joy, there may also be stress of any kind— change in diet, sleep, and activities— which can take a toll on our bodies.
What we hear, speak, eat, and see all contributes to our overall digestion and well-being.
If there is too much hype, nervous tension, increased pressure or physical/emotional stimulation during times like this and there is not enough opportunity for the cells to regenerate, the Doshas (our energetic systems) become disturbed. Stress can move into the tissues and weaken the energetic flow, creating a physical waste substance known as Ama which agitates the Doshas.
Sensory overload interrupts cellular function, reduces Agni (digestive fire), and weakens the srotas (body channels).
Knowing this, you can make choices to keep your Agni strong and stay healthy, happy and fit during this season.
Take time to nourish the body and balance any negative energy with positive actions.
Our favorite winter sensory tips for creating holistic balance and wellness:
- Visualize the kind of holidays you’d like to experience.
- Skin is your body’s largest organ, and protecting it by regularly performing self-massage (abhyanga) is a practice that is particularly soothing and grounding in the winter.
- Doing a daily abhyanga helps to move the lymph, enliven the muscles and joints and stimulate digestion.
- Rubbing oil on the skin also eases nervous tension, relaxes muscle twitches, and stimulates the feel-great-hormone oxytocin. It restores calm and balance to a worn down immune system. A healthy immune system gives us a healthy body and mind.
- Start the day with a warm cup of water and lemon to facilitate elimination before you drink or eat anything else.
- Sip plenty of warm water through the day to help cleanse the body.
- Avoid eating heavier meals in the evening because Agni is naturally weaker at this time.
- Eat heavier meals around noon, when your metabolism is functioning the strongest.
- With this in mind, try to plan your holiday dinner for lunch or the late afternoon, and stick to light nutritious foods such as vegetable soups in the evening.
- Stock up on spices and foods to help the process of digestion and add the six necessary tastes to each meal. Add plenty of fresh ginger, cumin, coriander, fennel, and turmeric to your recipes and teas.
- Ginger: Eat fresh slices with a dab of salt and lemon juice just before a big meal to help stimulate the digestive fire.
- Turmeric: Anti-inflammatory and helps to strengthen the digestive fire (agni).
- Cayenne: helpful in eliminating mucus and flushing toxins from the body.
- Garlic: heating and supports heart health.
Here’s to savoring each meal!
A zesty turmeric vinaigrette and tart green apples complement sweet root veggies and bitter kale for a delicious holistic dish full of flavor on a wintery day.
1 cup apple cider
2 tbsp apple-cider vinegar
1⁄2 tsp cinnamon
1⁄2 tsp turmeric
1⁄2 tsp sea salt
Olive oil or coconut oil to sauté vegetables
1 1⁄2 cups turnips, parsnips and sweet potatoes, diced in 1⁄2-inch chunks
8 cups Kale, de-stemmed, cut in 1⁄4-inch ribbons
1⁄2 cup green apple, medium-diced
Heat oven to 350°F.
In a small saucepan combine cider, vinegar, and spices and bring to a boil. Immediately remove vinaigrette from heat and let cool.
On the range, heat a large oven-safe pan over medium heat. Add olive oil and root vegetables; sauté until lightly browned.
Transfer pan to oven and roast until tender, 10 minutes. Remove vegetables. Add olive oil, kale, and apples to pan. Cook on medium heat for a few minutes until kale begins to wilt.
Add root vegetables and vinaigrette to pan. Cook for around 5 minutes, stirring until kale is tender and vinaigrette is reduced by half. Season with salt, black pepper and your choice of additional Ayurvedic spices.