Autumn has finally fully arrived, better late than never. As a huge Autumnophile I love everything Autumn offers; the celebrations, the food, the change of pace, the clothes even the darkness.
Ayurveda and Yoga compliment each other in so many ways. So I have used the Ayurveda Dosha Vata in our practice this month.
Vata is all about ether, space, light, movement, cooling dryness. Not only is this visible in Autumn nature it also governs all movement long and processes in the mind and body. Including processes like blood flow, elimination, breathing and the movement of thoughts through the mind.
With so much Vata around us we need to balance it out.
We do this naturally by wearing darker shades of warmer clothes and shoes.
Drinking and eating hearty, warming food and drinks
We close the curtains, cosy up and snuggle under blankets
Keep the skin from drying out by massaging the body, using natural warmed oils such as olive oil or jojoba
Your Yoga practice should be grounding and warming
Here is a favourite Vata recipe. Hearty, warming grounding and very satiable.
Ginger Sweet Potato Coconut Milk Stew with Lentils & Kale
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 medium yellow onion, small dice
½-1 teaspoon dried chili flakes
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 ½ lbs (690 grams) sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1-inch pieces
½ cup brown lentils, picked over
4 cups vegetable stock
13.5 oz (400 ml) can full fat coconut milk
1 small bunch kale, stems removed and leaves chopped (about 4 cups chopped kale)
To garnish: chopped cilantro, extra chili flakes, lime wedges, nigella seeds
Coconut milk is naturally sweet and so are sweet potatoes (obviously). I like to go in with a lot of dried chili to balance things out, but of course add as much as you feel comfortable with.
Chard or mustard greens would also be delicious in place of the kale.
Heat a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add the coconut oil to the pot and let it melt. Add the onions to the pot and stir. Saute the onions, stirring occasionally, until translucent and quite soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chili flakes, coriander, cumin, and turmeric. Saute spices until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the ginger and garlic to the pot and cook for another minute. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
Add the sweet potatoes to the pot and stir to coat in the spices. Add the lentils to the pot and stir once more. Season everything liberally with salt and pepper. Add the vegetable stock and stir, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Place the lid on top of the pot and bring to a boil.
Once the stew is boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and set the lid slightly askew on top of the pot so that there’s a couple inches available for steam to escape. Simmer until the sweet potatoes are almost falling apart and the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. The liquid should also be reduced by almost a third.
Add the coconut milk and kale to the pot and stir. Place the lid on top and continue to simmer the stew until the kale is wilted and bright green, about 3-4 minutes. Season the sweet potato and coconut milk stew again with salt and pepper. Bring the stew back up to a strong simmer and check for seasoning. Adjust with more salt, pepper, chili etc. if necessary.
Serve the sweet potato and coconut milk stew hot with chopped cilantro, extra chili flakes, lime wedges, and Nigella seeds (if using).
This is my Vata drink remedy to support the immune system.
I keep it in a sealed bottle and dilute it in a mug of boiling water.
Sorry I don't have any measurements. I put it all in a saucepan until the honey has melted. Then you can blend it together or seive out the bits or keep the bits in.
• Lots of lemons
• Ginger ( I like lots)
• Big tablespoon of honey (Manuka is the best)
• A pipette of Propolis, optional (Holland and Barrett)
• Turmeric fresh or ground
• Apple Cider Vinegar just a splash