Harmonizing your diet based on the seasons of the year and your own body type can have a profound effect on your health and well-being.
This harmony is actually the basis of an ancient Indian medicine system known as Ayurveda. A sister science to yoga, Ayurveda means “the knowledge of life and longevity.” In Ayurveda, the body is made up of three vital energies based on Earth elements:
• Vata, which represents air and corresponds to the fall and early winter
• Pita, representing fire and related to the late spring and summer, and
• Kapha, the water and earth energy that corresponds to late winter and early spring.
A key principle in Ayurveda is that the food we eat affects our overall well-being. This goes well beyond traditional Western medicine’s standards for physical fitness and weight control/maintenance. In Ayurveda, food is a way of balancing your mind/body and spirit.
In the vata season that we are now in, some types of food and mind/body practices can help you stay balanced. The general rule is to counteract the air energy with grounding vegetable roots like sweet potatoes, as well as seasonal fruits and vegetables such as apples, pears and squash.
You’ll also want to eat warming spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves.
Mind/body practices to take up this season can include yoga, meditation and exercise that provide stability and help you remain close to the earth.
One of our favorite vata-balancing dishes is our Totally Grounding Tortilla Soup featuring grounding veggies, plus the warming and earthy flavors of chili, chipotle and cumin. Check it out below — and find more healthy plant-based recipes and tips like this one at theplantifulpantry.com.
TOTALLY GROUNDING TORTILLA SOUP
Serves 6. Cook Time 25 minutes. or 5 hours in a slow cooker
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 poblano peppers, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 t chipotle powder
1 T cumin
1 T chili powder
1 cup red lentils
4 cups vegetable broth
For garnish: fresh lime wedges, fresh cilantro, and fresh radishes, sliced
Tortilla chips to crumble into soup
1. In a large soup pot over medium heat, add onions and peppers and sauté for two to five minutes, until onion is translucent and pepper begins to soften.
2. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
3. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes or until the lentils are softened.
4. Add salt, pepper and lime to taste. Garnish with desired garnishes.
1. In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the spices in oil for about 1 minute.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and cook on low heat for 5 to 6 hours. Add the spices to the soup during the last 10 minutes of cooking.