Winter has settled in; the pleasant cool of autumn is now icy and frosty for many of us. Winter means a shorter daytime, scanty sun, frosty trees and snow all over. Without following Ayurvedic principles, winter can give us a dull, colorless, sad mood. There is even a disease called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), commonly known as the winter blues that’s associated with depression. Animals find a way to keep warm and tackle this atmosphere in many different ways: hibernation, growing thicker fur or migrating to warmer places. So what do we do?
We change our lifestyle and our diet, put on warm clothes and tend toward warm comfort foods and drinks like hot chocolate, which may taste good but isn't great for many constitutions.
Ayurveda says that it’s especially important during Hemanta ritu, winter, to eat food high in nutrition. One can indulge in food that is heavier on the digestion like sweet food and dairy products because Agni is at its strongest in the winter. Stronger Agni means more appetite which means eating more than the typical three meals. You should use this extra appetite and digestive strength to give the body what it needs: warmth, hydration and comfort.
Spices and herbs provide warmth, liquids hydrate and your favorite flavors bring you comfort and joy. Here are some delicious, healthy, Ayurvedic drink recipes you can try this winter!
Cardamom, cinnamon and ginger combined in warm milk offers a combination of warmth and nourishment to tackle Vata aggravation in the winter. Personally, I simply love saffron in the cold months. With its golden-yellow hue and delicious aroma, it reminds me of the kind of bright sunny morning that I always miss on a gray winter day.
- 5-6 threads of saffron
- 8-10 cardamom seeds crushed
- 1 pinch of cinnamon powder
- ¼ tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
- 3/4 cup of milk
- 1/4 cup of water
- Mix the milk, water, ginger and cinnamon together in a pot on the stove
- Heat the mixture on a medium flame
- Let it boil gently for about 3 minutes
- Turn off the heat and add the crushed cardamom seeds and saffron threads
- Add 2 - 3 teaspoons of maple syrup (optional)
Flavor Tip: Soak the saffron and cardamom in 3 teaspoons of milk for half an hour before boiling for an even richer flavor.
This drink is ideal for those who are prone to respiratory ailments like colds, coughs and asthma. You can count on this to cleanse your lungs and sinuses any day! Mint, basil and lemongrass all work together to heal the respiratory system and boost immunity through balancing all three Doshas. Holy basil strengthens your Prana and balances your Satva Guna, which relieves mood swings. This recipe is highly recommended for Pitta types.
- 5 - 6 fresh mint leaves
- 5 - 6 holy basil leaves
- 4 - 5 lemongrass stalks about 6 inches long
- 1 cup of water
- Salt or sugar as preferred
- Boil water over medium heat
- Let it boil gently for about one minute
- Put the mint, basil leaves and roughly chopped lemongrass in a glass
- Add 3 teaspoons of salt or raw sugar
- Pour boiling water slowly into the glass
- Cover and let it seep for five minutes
This recipe is inspired by a medicinal recipe mentioned in the Sharngdhara sanhita, a treatise on Ayurvedic pharmaceuticals. Ginger and pepper provides the warmth and pacifies Kapha. Rock salt and asafetida balance the flow of Vata.
- Rice -10 gms
- Water -200 ml
- 1 pinch of ginger powder of 1/4 teaspoon of freshly chopped ginger
- 2 kernels of black pepper
- 1 kernel of long pepper
- 1 pinch of rock salt
- 1 pinch of asafoetida
- 1 teaspoon of Sesame oil
- Crush both peppers with a mortar and pestle
- Heat the sesame oil in a medium pot on a low heat
- Then add the asafoetida, ginger and both peppers to the oil and sauté for about 2 minutes
- Rinse the rice with water and add to the spices and water
- Sauté rice for about one minute
- Add the water and let it all boil on a medium heat
- When the rice is cooked through, take the pot off of the heat and add rock salt
- Let the drink sit for a couple of minutes in the pot
- Strain through a cheesecloth and collect clear liquid in a glass
May you have a warm winter with Ayurveda,