Spring is magic. Nature is waking up and everywhere life is accelerating. After the cold, wet and dark winter comes spring, warmer, softer and liquid. The earth is warming up. Winter ice has melt. Gentle rains soak the earth, that is now moist. Life is resurfacing everywhere. The seeds germinate, the flowers bud, the insects buzz, the leaves unfold. Despite our separation from nature, we are deeply affected by this gentle agitation around us. Spring is a season of birth, renewal and growth, a time when the earth manifests latent potential in all things. Our physiology feels this natural opportunity for a new beginning, for a great cleaning of accumulated imbalances, and a rejuvenation of our tissues. We emerge from a long winter sleep with a renewed sense of joy and inspiration.
In Ayurveda, spring is a season characterized by heat (or at least less cold versus winter), moisture and softness. Moisture increases and makes us slower. Kapha in Sanskrit means "what blooms in water"; it looks like spring no? Thus, Spring tends to increase kapha. With the end of winter, a little kapha buildup is somewhat normal for most of us. Spring to crown everything can increase even more kapha. But in the same way that persistent ice and snow melt in the spring, the accumulated kapha liquefies. This process can be either a revitalizing event or trigger a number of health problems (allergies, sinusitis, cold, slow lymphatic circulation ...). With a seasonal diet and lifestyle balancing for Kapha, enhancing lightness, sharpness, dryness and warmth in our lives, we can support our physiology in its natural process of spring renewal and revitalization. However, spring is a transition season and therefore changing, so a spring routine is not meant to be rigid. Indeed, the local spring climate tends to fluctuate between a cold and dry winter weather and warmer and wetter conditions, which means that a given day could aggravate the kapha but also the vata. From mid-spring, temperatures rise, and the Pitta can also get worse. Obviously, these models vary depending on where you live and the nuances of your local climate. Adapting your daily spring routine is a great way to honor the subtle variations of the season.
5 good Ayurvedic reflexes for spring
1/ I eat light, simple and anti Kapha food
When the days warm up, your appetite diminishes and you look for more lightness in fruits, fresh vegetables and salads. It's the way your body tells you it's time for a spring cleanup. In fact, spring is a perfect time for cleaning with a monodiet or a detox. A monodiet of apple or pomegranate juice of 3 days is ideal for the season. You can also support your body's natural desire to purify smoother by promoting pungent, bitter and astringent tastes and by eating warm, light foods that are relatively easy to digest to stimulate digestive fire, maintain warmth, liquefy mucus and evacuate the excess moisture. Drink some hot drinks, with some honey in the day. Structure your diet by eating lots of fresh (but not necessarily raw) vegetables and a variety of legumes. These foods are astringent and often a bit bitter. Reduce heavy or liquid vegetables such as avocado, cucumber, olives, sweet potato, squash or zucchini. Start your day with a light breakfast of fresh fruit and tea. Light lunches and dinners of cereals and steamed vegetables and legumes are often perfect choices. Eat a lot of bitter green vegetables, cabbage family vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.), and spicy foods like green peppers. Eat the young sprouts that grow all over the countryside (spinach, purslane, lamb's quarters, yarrow, wing, bear's garlic, nettle, mallow ...) in salad or pesto! Tofu and poached or hard eggs are also suitable in the spring. Use very little oil or ghee when cooking. Minimize your consumption of dairy products, especially in the morning. Rice milk and almond milk are good substitutes. Avoid excessive oilseeds, bread or fermented foods.
2/ I say yes to novelty
Breathe in something new in our life! The goal: get rid of your Kapha winter cocoon and reboost you. How? Start a new activity. Do not hesitate to embark on a crazy adventure. Want more spirituality in your life? Get into meditation or yoga. Rather attracted to manual activity? Full of DIY possibilities exist between cooking, baking, painting, drawing, scrapbooking or knitting that is 100% destress. If you have a few days in front of you and a little money aside, spring is also a fabulous time to afford a little trip. This allows a real break after the winter to rest and come back motivated and inspired.
3/ I take time outside & connect to nature
In spring, nature teems with life, buds and young shoots come out with the sun. At the time, the pagan holidays of the spring equinox were meant to connect us to nature and drive out the winter darkness. What does it mean for you? It is not a question of organizing a Sabbath and dancing naked around a bonfire but rather to ventilate your mind by spending time outdoors. After hibernation, go out and spend time in nature. You can organize a great picnic or hike a day. Do you have a garden? So why not plant a young tree with your child? Or go for a walk together to gather young shoots for a pesto. If there is no garden, you can always plant aromatic herbs in your kitchen or on your balcony.
4/ I'm sorting!
The famous spring cleaning is totally anti kapha! You get rid of everything that does not serve you or is too used, of all your accumulation. The goal? Find space to feel lighter emotionally. Collect these surpluses and donate them to associations or resource centers, the space for you to create is a renewal for another person. Also think about airing by opening your windows a few minutes every day. A bit of fresh air to purify your home from the heaviness of winter and bring the lightness and joy of spring.
5/ I'm boosting my liver
In spring, the energy is mobile, moving upward and outward, like the flowers that stretch toward the sun. In the body it's the same. Your organization is a real power station that is going at full speed to clean everything up. But the liver is the recycling plant of the body and therefore the main actor of the detox. It purifies the blood of many substances that could be toxic to it such as nitrogenous waste, alcohol and wastes related to the catabolism of red blood cells.
In short, with all the fuss in your body, it is good to give him a little help too. Drink 3 or 4 herbal teas from ginger, rosemary, turmeric or dandelion. For the more courageous, the infusion of artichoke is very effective but its taste can discourage the most reckless!
This is the story of an encounter… between two passionate girls. Passionate about yoga, cooking, and traveling… Such a meeting could only happen in Bali, an island of discovery, exchange and surprises! As a matter of fact, none of us could have imagined that such a creative and joyful collaboration would be born one year and a half later…
When we met in Bali, in April 2014, during a yoga immersion, Majda and I were seeking for a new impulsion and inspiration in our lives. And the Island of the Gods was just the right place to be for that… With a former career in business and management, and after having spent some years in international companies, we both decided to go towards a more balanced lifestyle and search for our wellbeing. In Bali, our choices were confirmed, and new aspirations were born. After this travel, Majda decided to launch Bread & Olives –lien, and I followed a special program in Ayurveda (traditional Indian medicine) – Lien Hypertext sur blog HelloAyurveda.
One year and a half later, we met again in Paris, and so much progress has been made! A common work on cooking seemed obvious. We both like simple and generous cooking, and we see food as an essential element for wellbeing. So we naturally decided to unite our energies and inspirations to offer you ‘fusion’ recipes: Mediterranean and ayurvedic, healthy and delicious, simple and creative, and always vegetarian!
For us, local and ayurvedic food is above all about respecting products that nature offers at a certain time and the cycle of seasons. This is why we’ve decided to start this collaboration with a special recipe to help you handle the change of season with this rough beginning of autumn J
Ayurveda states that the macrocosm reflects in the microcosm and therefore influences directly our metabolism. So it recommends a seasonal life-style. It means we have to understand the characteristics of each season and adopt a special routine and diet accordingly. Every season has specific attributes and obeys to certain energies.
Autumn is generally described in Ayurveda as dry, light, humid, rough, changing and windy. All these attributes are those of Vata, one of the 3 doshas - these fundamental energies that governs psychic and physical functions in the body. Vata is therefore in excess during autumn.
An increase in Vata can lead to different disorders: stress, insomnia, fatigue, gas, constipation, joint pain, sciatic, irregular appetite, loss of memory, feeling of loneliness…
Since Ayurveda aims to find balance between the different doshas, it will therefore looks for reducing Vata influence during the fall, through a specific diet and habits.
We choose to present you a generous, savory and unique recipe, specially conceived to reduce our Vata that is going out of control at the momentJ. So we were looking for attributes that are the opposite of those of autumn: oily, warm, liquid, heavy (nutritious), soft and stable. In other words, digest, energizing, nutritive, rich and generous ingredients!
To do so, there is no better way than going to the market and start from seasonal products! When they are well combined and seasoned, these products are our best allies to struggle against fall disorders and bring us back to balance.
This squash and lentil soup will bring your body the softness it is craving for. And the candied ginger cream will give you this energy boost we all need at this moment!
Pre-heat the oven 180°C. Put the squash unpeeled, roughly cut, on a baking sheet. Lightly oil with hazelnut oil. Cook for about 40 minutes. Check with a knife if the flesh is tender enough. Remove from oven, let cool and cut in big cubes.
Cook the lentils in big volume of water, with the garlic cloves. Depending on the type of lentils you use, the cooking time will vary between 20 and 30 minutes.
In a cooking pot, heat the ghee with the spices. Add the onion and the leak, and let brown for 5 minutes. Add some water if needed. Pour the squash and the lentils; then cover with lukewarm water little by little. Cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat.
In a food processor, mix the preparation adding some water, until it is the right consistency. The result we are looking for is closer to a purée than the one of a « velouté » or a liquid soup.
To make the ginger cream, mix the ingredients in a blender until you obtain a homogenous consistency.
Serve warm in large bowls. Drizzle with the candied ginger cream.
What is Ayurveda?
Article cowritten with Majda Fahim, author of Bread & Olives.