With the onset of Fall, you may notice some changes in how you feel. This year might be more dramatic than usual, perhaps because the weather went from hot summer to cool autumn virtually overnight at the Equinox. I noticed I was suddenly more thirsty than usual and my lips and nasal passages were all dried out - plus my appetite had sharply increased. Did you notice this, too? And what can we do about it?
Ayurveda has some very simple tips for easing into the Fall season through diet and self-care.
First, it is important to bring the residual heat of summer down so we don’t experience excessive dryness into the winter. Be sure to drink enough water, ideally ½ your body weight in ounces – that is, if you weigh 100 pounds, drink 50 ounces of water daily. This can help manage increased appetite, as hunger pangs may actually be a signal of dehydration. Sipping hot water throughout the day keeps your digestive tract moist and cleansed and will maintain hydration levels better than chugging whole glasses of water.
It is also apple season! Mother Nature has provided us with the perfect food for cooling down. Eat apples – yes, two or three a day – to support this transitional period. Be creative in preparation – baked apples, stewed apples, apple pie or crisp, and applesauce are delicious ways to add this moisture-rich fruit to your diet. And these are also ways to effectively consume lower grade apples. Atmadarshan and I inadvertently came home with a dozen beautiful but mealy honeycrisp apples recently. Atmadarshan was distressed but I saved the day by slicing them up with a bit of water added to a simmering pot, producing a wonderful batch of fresh applesauce in just 20 minutes!
When it comes to mealtime, particularly on the cooler days, take advantage of the fall harvest by adding root veggies and squashes to the menu as well as avocados, nuts, and seeds for their beneficial fats. Warm soups are perfect for this time of year. Their moist base is nourishing, grounding, and hydrating.
As external dryness starts increasing, Ayurveda reminds us to oil up. Daily self-massage, called abhyanga, will keep the skin soft, lubricated, and provides a protective barrier against the elements and some pathogens. For the nostrils, there is nasya oil, which is applied with a dropper to keep the nasal passages lubricated.
For those of us who want to do a bit more during this transitional period, there are herbs that can be recommended as well as the seasonal cleanse to remove accumulated ama, what Ayurveda calls the build up of toxins, in the body. Cleanses can be very short or several days in lengths, depending upon individual needs. They offer a great chance for the body to “reset” itself for the shift in weather.
Ayurveda is one of my passions and I am happy to help you if you would like to learn more. You can schedule an appointment to get personalized instruction and support. You can also keep an eye on our web page and email newsletters as I share more about the benefits of Ayurveda in upcoming articles!