The Daily Takeaways from Seasonal Eating: Ritucharya
What is Ritucharya?
Ritucharya is an Ayurvedic practice. It’s literal translation means seasonal regime. In Ayurveda, Ritucharya is a means of living one’s life in the context of the seasons. This could range from obvious choices, such as wearing warmer clothes during the winter, to Ayurveda and seasonal eating for starters. The importance of Ritucharya in Ayurveda is that the principles from it can be applied daily to benefit one’s body.
Ayurveda advocates that our bodies are affected by seasonal changes. Each year consists of 6 seasons which are Shishira (winter), Vasanta (spring), Grishma (summer), Varsha (monsoon), Sharada (autumn) and Hemanta (late autumn). Keep in mind that some of these seasons may not apply to you depending on where in the world you are from, but applying these seasonal practices daily will help you lead a healthier holistic life.
For a general guideline you can use anywhere in the world, so let’s cover the four most widely known seasons: Spring, summer, autumn and winter.
The Kapha dosha starts to lessen here, with the oncoming of the summer months. It is a season of renewal and new life. You’ll notice a whole bunch of flowers this time of the year! Your digestive fire may dampen here which leads to allergies, etc.
Avoid cold substances during spring, such as curd/yogurt based drinks. Doing so is part of Ayurveda’s seasonal allergies treatment.
Consume foods that are light and easy to digest, whole grains and light cereals are a bonus here. Eating dry, gamey meats like rabbit is advised as well.
Bathe in warm water and use cooling massage therapies using herbs that cool the body like sandalwood powder. This is a great time to for detox in Ayurveda as well, and these massages will boost circulation and help you get rid of impurities naturally.
Avoid day napping (sorry)!
The Kapha dosha is completely pacified here, while the Pitta and Vata doshas are activated. Predominantly, the Pitta dosha.
Hydration and cooling here is key, and one should consume foods that are reflective of that. Consume light foods, as well as sweet and cold foods (avoid overdoing the sweet). Also consume fruits, broths and other liquids in plenty.
Avoid warm foods, as well as sour and salty foods.
Engage in light activity, and daytime naps (yay). Also, stay cool and well hydrated.
As the seasons head towards winter and the days get cooler, Pitta dosha reduces in its ferocity. The digestive strength begins to return.
Enjoy bitter and sweet foods this season. Eat light and cold foods such as wheat, gram, sugar and honey.
Avoid salty and hot foods.
You may increase your exercise intensity opposed to that of the Pitta (hot and dehydrating) months. Try some warming oil scrubs and massages!
The cold in winter causes an increase in Kapha dosha. If you need to find what your primary dosha, try our quiz here.
Consume foods that are sweet, salty and savory. Include other foods like cereals, rice and corn. Use warming spices like cinnamon and increase your consumption of healthy fats via nuts, seeds, etc.
Incorporate warming massages with hot oils like sesame and almond into your routine during winter.
The point in incorporating Ritucharya into your daily routine is to allow your body to gear towards a seasonal rhythm. This rhythm allows your body to best acclimatize with your immediate environment, avoiding illness and allergies while allowing you to live life to the fullest. You can read more about Ritucharya in our Knowledge Center.