According to Ayurveda, we need to adjust our diet considering certain factors, chief of which are our own personal constitutions as well as seasonal variations. The aim of these guidelines is to balance our doshas, since an increase or decrease in our doshas can upset our body’s state of health.
Doshas during the Monsoons
Each season sees the aggravation of a certain dosha, and this makes us prone to its related illnesses. The monsoons (Varsha Rithu) sees an aggravation in the Vata dosha, the accumulation of the Pitta dosha and the pacification of the Kapha dosha.
According to Ayurveda, the food you eat can act like medicine and heal your body or it can act like poison and harm it. You need to be very mindful of what you put into your body, taking the doshas into account.
Your Body during the Monsoons
Ayurveda describes the monsoons as the period from mid-June to August, when our digestive fire (Agni) is at its weakest. All the toxins (Ama) that have accumulated in our body take their toll on it and further reduce our Agni, which again causes an increase in Ama. Reduced Agni causes digestive problems like indigestion, gastritis and diarrhea.
Due to this, the monsoon season is the best time to start a detox program and increase your immunity. Many Ayurvedic centres offer special monsoon packages, keeping this in mind.
What to Eat during the Monsoons
Considering the weakened Agni during this season, experts recommend food that is lightly cooked and spiced. Kichdi (lentils cooked with rice) tops the list of foods to eat during the monsoon season.
Detox tea is also highly advised during this season, by brewing it with ginger or cinnamon. Other recommended foods are ghee, barley and garlic.
Bitter foods are known to fight infections that make the rounds during monsoons, so include bitter gourds and herbs like fenugreek in your diet.
You can read some of the recommended recipes for the season in this post.
What Not to Eat during the Monsoons
Ayurveda advises people to stay away from raw foods, especially uncooked greens like lettuce. Monsoons are a time when many people opt for oily, fried snacks but they can upset your doshas. Opt for steamed over fried; and buttermilk over curd. In general, stay away from fermented foods.
Since the digestive fire is weak during the monsoons, try to avoid flatulence inducing food like beans and certain lentils. If you need to have them, try cooking them with some asafetida to reduce their gassy effects.
Avoid eating from outside as far as possible, and certainly not from roadside vendors with questionable hygiene. Stick to boiled and cooled water and completely avoid ice cold foods and beverages.
The ideal way to counter the effects of an aggravated dosha is to plan for it in advance. So if you are aware that the monsoons are going to bring with it an aggravated vata, you can prepare by starting to follow a vata reducing diet even before the first rains hit.
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