Qualities of the Seasons
In contrast to the sweetness of spring, fall is a bittersweet time of year. The warmth of summer passes into the alluring colors of fall foliage, while chill north winds warn of snowy, bitter-cold days ahead.
Soon enough we will be longing for the return of spring when Nature will renew herself. In the process, she will dramatically shift from one style of functioning to its opposite. The barren, dry, and windy times of winter will give way to the calm and comfort of spring’s abundance. Hibernating animals will re-emerge from their burrows. The earth will become fertile along with its inhabitants.
In turn, spring leads to summer sun, heat and humidity. We enjoy the fruit of the earth and the long hours of daylight that nourish it. We find comfort in being out in Nature, though not necessarily in the intense glare of the midday sun.
Our Physiology Mirrors Nature’s Changes
Our physiology mirrors these cyclical changes in Nature, regardless of how much time we spend indoors. Ayurveda helps us understand the implications.
Recall that our body is a machine for converting food to consciousness. To function well, it needs to maintain stability despite environmental change. The annual cycle of seasons has a major influence. In general, imbalances that accumulate during one season should not be allowed to carry forward to the next lest they disturb health.
Throughout most of North America, we experience 3 major seasonal changes: late fall-winter to spring; spring to summer-early fall; and back again. Of these, spring to summer is the least disruptive. The other two junctions demand our attention.
In early spring, it’s as if the impurities that were frozen into our physiology over the course of winter thaw out and start to move. In the fall, the heat accumulated over the summer and mobilized by chill winds commonly erupts as febrile illness. Thus, these changes of season are the ideal time to promote the elimination of imbalances and digestive toxins.
Lighten Your Diet for a Smoother Transition
The simplest way to detoxify is to lighten the diet in quality and quantity for a period of 2-4 weeks. A light diet is easier to digest and frees bodily resources to manage the work of self-purification. To lighten the diet, take less heavy food and use less oil in the cooking. Heavy foods include animal flesh (especially red meats), fried food, rich desserts, eggs, cheese, yogurt, sour cream, ice cream, nuts, avocado, banana, and root vegetables (except carrots).
Heavy foods are harder to digest. They need strong digestion for proper assimilation. Our digestive fire, mirroring the path of the sun across the sky, reaches its peak at noon. For this reason, when taken in the morning or evening, heavy foods are more likely to give rise to digestive toxins (Ama). So, if you are still drawn to heavy foods, take smaller portions—at lunch instead of dinner—and favor soups and stews in the evening.
You could also take this time to gently shift from the style of eating that the prior season favored to that more suitable to the new one—or at least to establish the habit of taking your main meal at noon. Next time will begin to explore dietary choices in more detail. Meanwhile, listen to your spontaneous desires and pay attention to how you feel in relation to the food you choose to eat.
We’ve just scratched the surface of what can be done for seasonal detoxification. If you want to learn more, visit my website: https://qatoqi.com/ayurveda/detox.htm.