AYURVEDIC FOOD – LATE WINTER & EARLY SPRING SEASON
SHISHIR RITU (LATE WINTER)
The cold is still more severe in Shishir than in Hemant (early winter) and accumulation
of Kapha starts during this period.
Though it is the starting season of Adankal, still the body-strength is good and other
doshas are in balanced condition (samyavastha). The agni is still optimum, but one
should take cognizance of severe cold in the atmosphere.
Most dietary advices remain the same as that for Hemant Ritu, the only change in the
selection should be about the potency of food items. Instead of cold potency, the food
products of hot potency (heat generating) should be selected, to counteract the
excessive cold. These include stuffed brinjals (bharta), rice with moong dal and
chapatti’s stuffed with jaggery and sesame seeds. The bhakris made of bajra with large
amounts of butter or ghee are ideal at this time. Jaggery and sesame (Tila) are
unctuous (snigdha) and hot (ushna) in attributes. The non-vegetarians should enjoy and
relish with mutton, eggs and meat. In general, diet should be heavy (guru), unctuous
and hot in attributes.
Hot water bath is preferred and drinking water should also be hot. One should protect
with warm clothing, room-heaters and should practice heavy exercises.
VASANTA RITU (SPRING)
Uttarayana already sets in with Shishir, and in Vasanta, the day becomes longer than
night. Obviously, gradually the strong sun-shine begins to liquefy the accumulated
kapha which then starts its work of vitiating the digestive power of its host. The
atmosphere becomes full of fragrance, with the blossoming of various flowers.
Heavy foods like eggs, chicken, sweetmeats and milk, bananas & dry fruits now should
be avoided. To avoid kapha, instead of rice, wheat should be consumed more. The
grains aggravate kapha and cause blockades in the channels (srotasas),
hence bitter, pungent and astringent tastes should be added, to curb the effect of
kapha. Incorporation of ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, garlic, asafoetida, chilly and
mustard in daily diet will be beneficial to stoke agni and alleviate kapha. Oils should be
preferred over ghee. Buttermilk and milk will be better than curds. Intake of honey is
advisable. Therapeutic fasting is recommended in this season. Boiled and then cooled
water should be used for drinking. Optimum amount of mild wines (Drakshasava) are
beneficial. In general, moderate amount of diet, avoiding sleep during the day and
practicing moderate exercise is recommended.
Asthma, influenza, sinusitis, cough and cold like kapha disorders are commonly sought
during this season. At the onset of Vasant ritu, prophylactic emesis (vaman), one of the
procedures of panchakarma is advocated to get rid of kapha, Nasal administration
Nasya of Vacha taila is recommended to keep the sinuses clean.