this time of year brings cooler days and darker mornings. most mornings i want to stay cuddled up in the blankets until the sun decides to wake and shine it’s bright warm light through my bedroom windows. my dosha according to the science of aryuveda is vata. the main qualities of vata are dry, light, cool, rough, subtle, and mobile the qualities of our doshas express themselves throughout our mental, emotional, and physical make up. for instance, with my primary dosha being vata, my nails and hair tend to be dry and brittle, i tend to feel cold more frequently and easily and crave warmth all of the time. i am constantly mobile, doing, moving, going and multi-tasking. i am more subtle socially, more introverted. my digestive system is also more subtle and it tends to have less agni or fire. my physical makeup of my body is light and petite. although a person most often has more than one dosha constitution, there is often one that is more dominant. you can get an idea of your dosha constitutions here.
knowing your dosha is helpful information in understanding how to stay in balance, physically, emotionally and mentally. you’ve heard of the phrase “like attracts like”. the same can be said about ourselves and our dosha constitutions. an example would be my attraction to vinyasa yoga classes. because a quality of my vata constitution is mobile, i was attracted to more mobile forms of yoga, moving from one pose to the next vigorously, without much stillness. this year has been a lesson in balance. i’m learning that a more restorative practice balances my vata energy. if i only do vinyasa it’s like adding fuel to the flame. my nervous system goes into overdrive and i experience dis-ease in my body. when i incorporate a slower, more restorative practice, holding poses longer, grounding my vata energy, i bring balance into my body and my nervous system. even though i tend to be cold, especially in the fall and winter months, i still crave uncooked salads and raw vegetables. my digestive system is cooler and tends to have less agni or fire. in order to balance the cool quality of my vata dosha, it’s important to eat warmer foods, soups, stews, cooked vegetables and so on. warmer foods help stimulate and fire up my digestive system.
i like to start my mornings of in the fall and winter months by eating a breakfast that warms my body and gives my digestive system a kick start right of the bat. one of my staple breakfast choices is oatmeal. i eat a gluten free diet so i am very careful to find a brand of oatmeal that is guaranteed gluten free. i found this brand bob’s red mill at my local organic store. you can read more about their product here. steel cut oats are the way to go. they’re delicious, nutritious and have the best texture.
oatmeal is perfect for my vata constitution and keeps me satisfied until my late afternoon snack or lunch.
i love oatmeal. here’s why you should love oatmeal too.
- it’s rich in dietary fiber, mainly soluble fiber which can lower cholesterol and decrease coronary heart disease
- it has a low glycemic index and may help lower risk of diabetes
- it helps lower blood pressure
- the beta-glucan found in oats strengthens the immune system and its response to infection
- it’s rich in fiber which can reduce the risk of breast cancer
gluten free steel cuts oats are the bomb, i admit, but they’re the type of food that tastes better with a little added flavor and texture. what better choice than asian pears.
when i saw these asian pears at the market the other day i scooped them right up. they’re such an interesting fruit. what i love most about them is how they’re covered in spots. they remind me of freckles. i read a book when i was young called freckle juice by judy blume. it was about a boy who deperately wanted freckles and a boy who wished his freckles would just go away. the freckle-envying boy believed that by drinking a concoction of freckle juice he would get freckles. a queezy and upset stomach later he found out the hard way that some of us are meant to have freckles and some of us aren’t. wouldn’t it be nice if we all stopped wishing to be something different, comparing ourselves to others and loved ourselves just the way we are.
i love asian pears for their colors, their freckles, their crisp texture and unique flavor. they’re the perfect fruit for balancing the vata dosha.
here’s why you should love them too.
- theyr’e high in dietary fiber which is essential for intestinal health
- helps to promote healthy blood cholesterol
- high in potassium which helps lower blood pressure
- rich in vitamin k which supports healthy and strong bones
- rich in copper, which is essential to the production of energy, red blood cells and collagen
- high in vitamin c to support a healthy immune system
now since vata dosha constitution is cool, adding warming spices to my diet helps with firing up my digestive system and bringing it into a more balanced state. what better warming, soothing and delicious spice than organic cinnamon.
i love cinnamon. there are so many health benefits to this wonder spice. here’s why you should love cinnamon too.
i just happened upon these interesting looking walnuts at the farmers market. they’re red walnuts. since i had never heard of them, i decided to give them a try. they have a delicious nutty flavor that’s a bit more subtle than the brown walnuts and how about that color? there is such a variety of colors to choose from when it comes to food. the more colorfully diverse, and i mean color that comes naturally, the more nutritionally diverse. isn’t it amazing that the world is filled with so many colors?
i love red walnuts. here’s why you should love them too
- natural anti-inflammatory
- supports healthy bones
- treatment for diabetes
- anti-cancer effects
you might remember my last recipe that involved cinnamon and walnuts here.
organic coconut milk. this delicious beverage not only has amazing health benefits…being rich in fiber, vitamins c, e, b1, b3, b5 and b6 and minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous.
it’s also a great dairy free alternative for those who are lactose intolerant. i like to buy the light organic coconut milk in the can that has no added ingredients…only coconut milk. i love coconut anything. the coconut flavor adds a bit of flare and creaminess to any dish.
add these all together and you’ve got
steel cut cinnamon coconut oatmeal with warm asian pairs and red walnuts
here’s how the recipe goes
- 1 cup gluten free steel cut oats.
- 1/2 teaspoon ground organic cinnamon
- 2 organic asian pears
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup organic coconut milk
- organic coconut oil
- pink himalayan sea salt
- organic, cultured ghee
chop asian pears into small pieces
cook oatmeal as specified on package (20 minutes)
saute asian pears in pan on low heat with coconut oil until soft and cooked. check out the benefits of this amazing oil here. the aroma of cooked asian pears in coconut oil is truly a gift to the senses. try it…you’ll smell what i’m talking about.
once oatmeal is cooked add a dab of ghee. since vata constitution is light, adding healthy fats to a vata diet is a great way to bring balance. ghee is one of the healthiest fats around. years ago when i was a teenager the word fat and the idea of eating anything with fat would make me cringe. i developed a good dose of disordered eating in my teens. i call it disordered eating rather than an “eating disorder” because i believe that labels just convince us we have a disease that will always be with us, that we have to live with, when it’s not about the label or the surface of the problems but the symptoms underneath. my disordered eating came from low self-esteem, the feeling of chaos in my life and wanting to have control over something, anything. i went years without eating any fat in my diet and was unhealthy and unhappy. when we can get to the root of the disordered thinking and living, we can change those patterns, turn disordered behaviors into healthy behaviors.it starts with changing our perceptions about ourselves first. i’ve worked on developing a love for the food i eat and a love for myself. finding gratitude for the nourishment it gives to my body. finding gratitude for my own body. being present and connected to the food i eat. when i care for my body it cares for me. when i eat good food it makes me feel good. it’s a freeing feeling to let go of control, to let go of restriction, to let go of dieting. my eating has become a lifestyle. i choose to eat foods that bring balance and wellness into my body. these days i love healthy fats. there are so many delicious and healthy fats out there to choose from. ghee is at the top of my list.
i love ghee. here’s a bunch of reasons why you should love ghee too. it truly is a powerfood!
add a bit of coconut milk and cooked asian pears, sprinkle with cinnamon
top with chopped red walnuts
because i have a busy schedule i prepare this meal in advance so all i have to do is warm it up in the morning. we have the time, we just have to commit to taking the time.
“a body that is in balance craves that which keeps it in balance. a body that is out of balance moves it further away from balance. thus we cannot listen to the predictable wail of our cravings, but we have to feel, seek guidance from within or from someone who knows better”. ~ aadil palkhivala author of fire of love
eat. be well. take time to feel. to truly listen to your body. move more towards balance. be kind to yourself. love your freckles. be ok without freckles – you have something about you that makes you special and unique. let go of envy. be grateful for your body and all it gives to you. eat foods that nourish your body and warm your soul. love yourself. what’s not to love?
much love, Shawnee