In this very special guest feature, Eminé Ali Rushton – Beauty and Wellbeing Director at Psychologies Magazine – uncovers some of the simple ways to integrate Ayurvedic practices, for a more balanced body this Spring.
Ayurveda calls spring the ‘king of all seasons,’ because it is when most change and transition occurs.
We are coming out of damp, dark winter, and so our bodies are still harbouring cold and damp energy (which we call kapha), which they are then naturally inclined to expel – which is why SO many people get chest infections and colds as the season’s change.
If you eat Ayurvedically all year, you’ll actually prevent these spring coughs and colds, as you’ll be eating foods that keep kapha at bay, and keep the body warm and nourished to boot. If you’re not, then your ideal spring diet will be filled with foods that naturally spring-clean the digestive system and promote energy and vitality.
An Ayurvedic diet is wholly seasonal, so only purchase ingredients that are being produced in season, and ideally, as local to you as possible. A veg box scheme, or farmer’s market, is very helpful here. To kick-start metabolism and better digestion start being more inventive with spice and herbs – adding fresh mint, parsley, coriander, turmeric, ginger, nigella seeds, paprika, cumin and cinnamon to drinks, teas and meals (the latter 6 of which also add gentle warming heat to food, which is ideal for shifting winter’s kapha build-up), will also promote internal health in early spring.
As we hit May, and spring warms up even more, our internal fire, or pitta, increases, which is when we need to shift the onus to foods that contain more naturally cooling ingredients. Doing so will soothe skin, prevent heat rashes, lower acidity and reflux… like placing a cold damp cloth on a hot forehead, cooling you down quickly and effectively, from the inside, out. Ideal cooling foods are limes, coriander and coconut (in all of its forms) – so try to add these to meals and drinks as often as you can.
The more ‘bitter’ and ‘astringent’ foods (two of the 6 Ayurvedic Tastes) really lower both our pitta and kapha too. Think, artichokes, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, broccoli, asparagus and celery.
While I am not a fan of too much raw food (it takes a lot of digestive energy to break down, which can overtax the spleen) you can eat more raw food as the weather warms up, and if you are already ‘balanced’ you should feel your body start to crave salads more too. Salads for lunch on a warm day are better than dinner (when a lighter coconut-based soup or lentil curry make great simple suppers), as you’ll have time to digest them properly. Chicken and white freshwater fish are all good in spring too, as is dry white or light rose wine. Moderation with the latter, of course, but it’s always nice to toast this beautiful new season!
In Eminé’s brand new book, The Body Balance Diet Plan – which is now available to purchase, she draws on ancient Ayurvedic principles to help you simply and practically translate your body’s individual needs and help you beat cravings, lose weight and feel energised.
Currently Beauty & Wellbeing Director at thinking woman’s monthly, Psychologies, Eminé has spent 12 years in the industry, debunking and demystifying health fads and beauty science. Determined to live as balanced a life as possible (in the midst of a very busy home and career), Eminé is also a trained holistic facialist, a Natural Beauty Ambassador for Burt’s Bees, and a consultant for some of the UK’s leading wellbeing brands. She draws upon Ayurvedic principles on a daily basis (even more so when feeling tired, run down or stressed) – and is passionate about bringing this often misunderstood ancient healing science to a completely new audience.