April 11, 2008

Ayurveda Q&A with Dr. John Douillard: Is It Possible to Eat Local During the Winter Months?

Our farmers’ market customers want to keep supporting local farmers and eating locally through the winter, and food preservation is becoming a lost art. Ayurveda focuses on seasonal eating as a pillar of health. Since it can be difficult to find fresh fruits and vegetables in the wintertime, what balance do you recommend to eating completely seasonally?
~Mark Menagh, director of the Boulder County Farmers’ Market.

Eating with the seasons and reconnecting with the local farmer are key principles in the Ayurvedic food plan. But only eating locally grown foods can be pretty austere in the winter and spring.

Ayurveda teaches how to classify foods from around the world into a seasonal eating plan. Bananas and avocados, for example, do not grow in Colorado in the winter but they are both warming foods that grow in the winter in warmer climates. They are not nearly as heating as a nut, but their heavy and warming properties still work well to round out a winter diet. Other winter harvested foods like papayas, oranges and tangerines don’t grow in the north, but still provide a warming benefit in the cold winter months.

Beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squashes, figs, dates, most grains, nuts and dairy are harvested in the late fall and winter, making them perfect antidotes to the cold and dry days of winter. Understanding that foods from around the world can still be enjoyed, yet adhering to seasonal eating principles makes Ayurveda a simple and practical approach to eating.

In my The 3-Season Diet you will find an expanded version of the Winter, Summer and Spring grocery lists. They can also be downloaded from my web site, free, at lifespa.com.

Dr. John Douillard is an author and practitioner of Ayurveda and Chiropractic wisdom at the LifeSpa in Boulder, Colorado, where he lives with his wife and six children.

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