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Written by Dr Ashwini Konnur,
Winter, Mother Nature’s slowest, coldest season is here. It’s not news that change of weather is a leading reason for ill-effects on the body and mind, other than irregular diet. This new seasonal regime or Ritucharya means making changes to our diet and lifestyle as the body experiences a slow and inward movement of fire to adjust to the weather outside.
The winters or Hemantha Ritu begins roughly from mid-November 15 and extends till mid-January. It is Visarga Kala or Dakshinayana Ritu, which means the Sun moves south (Southern Solastice). In Dakshinayana, the winds are not very dry fierce, moon is more powerful than the sun and the heat of earth is reduced by clouds, rain and cold wind. Unctuousness is in the atmosphere, sour, salt and sweet tastes are predominant, so the strength of person actually enhances during this period and its best season to improve ones’ immunity.
There is Prasama of pitta dosha, meaning Pitta alleviates and hence Vata and Kapha dosha undergoes chaya (mild increase) during Hemantha. Due to the cold atmosphere in Hemantha ritu, the Jataragni (digestive fire) becomes powerful and if person doesn’t consume the right food, the agni generated inside the body may lead to emaciation of body tissue (dhatu pachana) leading to aggravation of vata dosha.
Diseases like cold, cough, psoriasis, dry skin, arthritis, depression, viral fever, etc are common during winter. The body is vulnerable to these diseases when our immunity is low. As said earlier, Hemantha ritu is the time to enhance one’s immunity. Ayurveda Acharyas have outlined certain diet and lifestyles which helps to boost immunity in winter season if followed regularly.
Following these regimens keeps winter disorders at bay.
Following these diet and life style for Hemantha Ritu will help you cope with the winter. Always remember to eat at regular interval and to eat on time. Go to bed early – a minimum of 8 hrs of sleep is required and late nights are not advisable.
Soak nuts (Almond/ pista) and dried fruit (Date/ Raisin) overnight or for at least three hours in milk/water and blend till chewy. Now add cardamom powder and saffron. Though the dates are already sweet you can add sweeteners according to taste.
This drink can be consumed any time in day or night. It is a good nutrition supplement too.
A season favourite, all you need to prepare this is:1 kg fresh carrots, 1 ½ litre milk, 500 gm sugar, ¼ tsp powdered cardamom, few flakes of saffron, 1 tbsp ghee.
Peel and grate the carrots. Put milk and carrots in a heavy saucepan and boil till it gets thick. Once it starts thickening, stir continuously. Add sugar and cook till it further thickens. Add ghee, cardamom and saffron. Continuously stir on low heat till the mixture collects in a soft ball. Serve hot.
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