Acharya Shunya

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Nourish Your Body With These Wintertime Foods

 

Nature: In general, Ayurveda declares winter (November 15th – March 14th) as the healthiest season. However, the body’s natural intelligence copes with the external cold by automatically increasing the agni in the belly (a physiological response), resulting in increased inner warmth. Naturally, appetite and hunger also increase in parallel. Hence, if we fast in this season or eat a lot of cold and light foods, like salads, vata dosha can go up due to increased quality of lightness and coldness (the principle of “like increases like” at work). So eating nutritious fatty food at the right time (in winter) is a precautionary measure.

Goal: We make the best use of a naturally increased agni in winter and make every meal count. We can eat nourishing foods (see “Preferred Winter Food List” that follows) to proactively build health and immunity for the entire year ahead.

Flavors: Increase intake of sweet, sour, and salty; reduce intake of sour, pungent, and bitter.

Qualities: Prefer heavy over light, and fatty over dry foods.

Specifics: Hearty meat and vegetable soups with added ghee fortify the body. A midday drink of Ayurvedic buttermilk is recommended every day. Eat 1 tablespoon raw honey daily if possible (especially in the morning).

 

Preferred Winter Food List

  • Cereals: Unfermented wheat products (bran, cereal, chapatis, cookies, cream of wheat, crepes, dumplings, pudding, tortillas), white or brown rice, rice pudding. In moderation: quinoa, millet, oats.
  • Legumes and beans: Black gram, black beans, kidney beans, mung.
  • Vegetables: Asparagus, beets, cabbage, carrots, cilantro, eggplant, fennel root (anise), garlic, green beans, green peas, leeks, okra (in early winter only), onions (cooked), parsnips, pumpkin, radish, rutabaga, spaghetti squash, spinach, sweet potatoes, turnips, winter melon, winter squash.
  • Fruits: Amalaki (a nutritious fruit supplement; available online), almonds, apples, dates, figs, grapefruit, guavas, lemon, lime, mandarins, oranges, pears, plums, pomegranate, tangerines.
  • Meat: Chicken, deer, goat, pig, rabbit, seafood soup, turkey.
  • Alcohol: Aged wine is ideal.
  • Seeds: Sesame.
  • Dried fruits and nuts: Almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, raisins, walnuts.
  • Dairy: Sweet butter, Ayurvedic buttermilk (takra), sweet cream, milk (boiled), yogurt, (never frozen or with fruit, always eat with added raw honey or crushed back pepper).
  • Water: Drink boiled water reduced to warm, drinkable temperature.
  • Fat: Ghee is best; all other natural cooking oils are also fine (except mustard oil).
  • Other: Honey, chyawanprash (Ayurvedic supplement), vinegar in moderation.

 

Avoid in Winter

  • Fasting and skipping meals
  • Eating salads and raw foods
  • Consuming chilled foods like ice cream, chilled water, frozen foods

 

Looking for more great reads?

 

Excerpt from Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom by Acharya Shunya.

Acharya Shunya is the founder of Vedika Global, a spiritual foundation dedicated to elevating consciousness, building community, and serving humanity by illuminating India’s Vedic spiritual traditions of Ayurveda, yoga, and Vedanta. In association with its graduates, Vedika Global offers courses at Stanford University’s Health Improvement program. In 2015, she was recognized as a Top 100 teacher of Ayurveda and Yoga by Spirituality & Health Magazine and was invited to represent Ayurveda in the U.S. by India’s Ministry of AYUSH (Health) and Overseas Affairs. She is president of the California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine. For more information, visit vedikaglobal.org or acharyashunya.com.

Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom

Dear Wisdom Seekers,

I am writing to tell you that anything is possible.

You have the potential to change your state of health for the better—permanently. Thanks to Ayurveda, the profound 5,000-year-old health awakening wisdom from India, I have successfully overcome a genetic challenge that wanted to restrict me to a wheelchair. Today, I walk happily, even run, and live my life to its fullest.

In my new book, Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom, I share real-life journeys of transformation from people with conditions such as ulcerative colitis, multiple sclerosis, depression, and chronic obesity. Indeed, this wisdom is ancient, but ever so relevant to our modern epidemic of lifestyle disorders.

In addition to its restorative principles, Ayurveda is preventative, eco-friendly, and cost effective. You literally construct your health in your own kitchen and backyard. Perhaps this explains its rising popularity all over the world. Countless people are laying claim to this joy-bearing health by implementing a nature-inspired, seasonal lifestyle from the art, science, and spirituality of Ayurveda that sheds a beautiful light on the three pillars of health – sleep, sex, and food!

In a sense, my book is a vehicle to document the experiential and spiritually charged instruction of my formative years. You see, I grew up in India in a tiny riverside town, resplendent with golden sunshine and the call of peacocks dancing in the monsoons. The mystic Himalayas gifted my soul with an immense river, the Sarayu, on whose serene banks I conversed, contemplated, and meditated as a young student with my teacher—a renowned yogi and healer, who was also my kind-hearted grandfather.

Every morning, I learned not only to cup my palms to reach out for the beautiful river water and splash it on my face with glee, but I also learned to recapture handfuls of hope. When we beautify each day with a scared lifestyle, we connect our mundane existence with something sublime and potent within us.

This is how I learned Ayurveda’s secrets, heart to heart, soul to soul, by journeying first within myself to explore my own infinite potential. And this is how I share them with you in Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom—step by step and from my heart.

I believe my book will awaken something invisible within—a powerful presence and an inner knowingness. Remember, a well-lived day is medicine unto itself.

PS- “Acharya” is my traditional title in Sanskrit, which means “master teacher.” Shunya is my name. And you can always go to acharyashunya.com to read more about the book and my journey.

 

Radiantly yours,

Shunya

 

 

 

Acharya Shunya: An Infinity Mindset and its Implicatio...

Acharya Shunya is a renowned expert in Ayurvedic lifestyle medicine and the founder of Vedika Global, a school of Ayurvedic study based in California. With Sounds True, she has released the new book Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom: A Complete Prescription to Optimize Your Health, Prevent Disease, and Live with Vitality and Joy. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks to Shunya about the Ayurvedic legacy she teaches and embodies—including its baseline concepts, history, and modern attitudes. Tami and Shunya also talk about Ayurveda’s repudiation of the concept of health as a commodity. Finally, Shunya discusses the universality of Vedic teachings and how an “infinity mindset” is a necessary cure for the foundational problem of hopelessness. (69 minutes)

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