Part of working with ayurveda is getting in touch with how our constitution goes in and out of balance, and what to do when we are out of balance. We are constantly being influenced by our environments, and registering those changes in our own body/mind following the principle that like increases like and opposites balance. For example, when the weather outside gets cold and dark, those qualities increase within us. If we are a fiery type, with an abundance of inner heat, the coolness and darker days might be refreshing, at least at first. But if we are colder by nature, the excess cold can make us colder to the point of imbalance…cold hands and feet, less digestive heat and more difficulty digesting our food and less emotional warmth are some of the ways this shows up. That’s why we use more spices in our food in the winter time and eat cooked rather than raw or cold food (steamed veggies rather than salad; porridge rather than cold cereal and milk and warm to hot water sipped between meals rather than cold) to support better digestion and more warmth overall. We also take advantage of our stronger mid-day digestive heat, and eat a larger meal then, and a smaller, easier to digest meal at night.
As with anything, YOUR BODY trumps outside advice. The ultimate aim of a system like ayurveda or yoga is to put us back in touch with our own deep body wisdom. These guidelines will get us back on track for the most part, but if you try something and it feels unintegral to your body wisdom, trust that.
Please enjoy this recipe from Margo Bachman’s book: Yoga Mama Yoga Baby, Ayurveda and Yoga for a Healthy Pregnancy and Birth. My SDE group and I tried it out on Sunday and it was delicious!
This beautiful orange soup is incredibly nurturing on a cold autumn or winter day. The squash, carrots, and sweet potatoes get their orange color from carotenoids, plant pigments that are converted to vitamin A in the body. All these veggies also give hearty doses of Vitamin C, folate, and fiber.
I often enjoy this soup topped with lightly roasted pumpkin seeds for a crunchy, nutritious addition. For a well-rounded meal, serve the soup with a whole grain or a slice of warm whole-grain bread, a protein (lentils, tofu, salmon, or chicken), and dark leafy greens.
This soup is perfect as is for Vata types. Pitta types can occasionally eat this when it’s prepared as directed, or swap out half of the carrots for another sweet potato. Kapha types can make this soup either with light coconut milk or vegetable broth instead of the regular coconut milk, and replace half of the squash with another four carrots.
Squash, Carrot, and Ginger Soup
1 medium to large butternut squash
2 medium sweet potatoes
8 cups water + extra for baking squash
8 medium carrots
3 slices of fresh ginger, 1/4-inch thick each
1 (13- or 14-ounce) can of coconut milk
1/2 tablespoon nutmeg
1/2 tablespoon coriander
1/2 tablespoon allspice
2 teaspoons sea salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds, and place it cut side down on a baking sheet.
Add 1/4 inch of water.
Clean and scrub the sweet potatoes, pierce them deeply with a fork, and place on a separate baking sheet.
Bake the squash and the sweet potatoes until soft, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
While the squash and sweet potatoes are cooking, place 8 cups of water in a large soup pot and begin heating on high.
Scrub the carrots, chop off and discard both ends, and chop into 2-inch pieces.
Add the carrots and ginger to the water and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Turn off the heat and let the carrots and ginger rest in the vegetable broth that’s been created.
When the squash and sweet potatoes are baked, remove them from the oven and let them cool.
Scoop out the flesh of the squash and add it to the soup pot.
Peel the sweet potatoes, cut them into pieces, and add them to the soup.
Add the coconut milk, spices, and salt.
Blend the mixture in a blender or in the pot with a wand mixer until smooth.