Apr 04, 2011 06:45PM
● By By John Douillard, DC, PhD
John Douillard has been teaching Ayurvedic medicine, natural health, fitness, and nutrition for 19 years, has trained more than 2,000 Western doctors in Ayurvedic medicine, and co-directed Deepak Chopra’s Ayurvedic Center for eight years. John Douillard, PhD currently directs the LifeSpa School of Ayurveda (www.lifespa.com). His books include The 3-Season Diet and Body, Mind, and Sport, which has sold over 100,000 copies and been printed in six languages. His latest titles are Perfect Health for Kids and The Encyclopedia of Ayurvedic Massage.
With Spring upon us there are a few precautions we can take to insure a healthy and symptom free spring and summer. You may have noticed the birds are back scouting where on your home they will lease nest space. The crocuses, nature's cue to start spring, are ready to bloom. The squirrels are running out of nuts and are looking for greens so they can eat a salad. Nature seems to have everything under control when it comes to adjusting for each seasonal change, while we don't seem to do much. Maybe we take a sweater off or put one on but in nature survival depends on living in harmony with these cycles.
During winter our bodies accumulate dryness and cold. Nature provides nuts and grains for us to eat to help combat the cold and dry weather. However, many of us just ate the same as always, not recognizing that in nature the seasons dictate what foods we should eat, not a RDA.
With spring comes the rain. The earth holds onto more water in the spring making congestion a problem for many. This is why we call spring, allergy season. If the earth is holding on to more water, then so shall we. The best part is that nature provides the perfect antidote to the accumulation of water and congestion. The only food nature is making available this time of year is light green vegetables and a few berries. These foods are mucus free, fat free, and aimed at cleansing the body of all the excess fats we ate during winter.
Again, spring provides the perfect relief for the heaviness of winter. The Ayurvedic list of foods, however, are drawn from foods grown from all over the world and give us the freedom to eat certain grains and fruits which are not harvested locally, but still have the mucous free properties we need in the spring. For example, grains which are harvested in the fall to be eaten in the winter can also be eaten in the spring if properly selected. Barley, corn, millet, buckwheat and rye are okay because they have less gluten and reduce Kapha. (Kapha is one of three Doshas defined in Ayurveda.) Fruits which are typically eaten in the summer can also be beneficial in the spring if they are light and dry. For example, dried fruits like figs, prunes and apricots are light like apples and pears. In the spring you want to avoid heavier foods like dairy, nuts, red meats and shell fish. Most all vegetables are good and so are beans, which are not so good in the winter but very balancing in the spring.
The spring is weight loss season in Ayurveda. It is a fat-free and mucus-free diet used by all the weight loss gurus like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers. The difference is that Weight Watchers wants us to stay on this diet for the rest of our lives, which no one can do. Ayurveda changes with the seasons; we eat the Kapha balancing diet only in the spring and change with each season. When you go with the flow of nature, you will see it's effortless and yes, this is true for all body types.
When the seasons change it is the natural time to cleanse the body. The Native Americans always did their vision quests and fasting in the spring. It was a natural time to purify themselves from all the heavy winter meats, nuts and grains. There are many Ayurvedic approaches to seasonal cleansing. For optimum health do not let the seasons change without some sort of cleansing effort.
John Douillard will be giving a workshop on the Ayurvedic approach to anxiety and depression Saturday, April 26, from 9:30am to 4pm at the Kashi School of Yoga in Sebastian. The cost of the workshop is $85, this includes a vegetarian lunch. To register, call 772-589-1403 ext.112 or visit www.kashi.org. For more information on Ayurveda visit www.lifespa.com.