Fall is here and according to Ayurveda, the ancient Indian philosophy of life, health and healing, this is a time when the force of the Vata dosha, i.e. wind/air or space is at it’s highest. To understand the quality of Vata, consider the quickness and coolness of autumn wind, the drying out quality of Fall, the leaves start to lose their green vitality and prepare for a winter of quiet slumber. You can also feel it in swift temperature changes throughout the day. Vata is changeable and erratic and exciting.
This is a time, when we both need to detoxify our bodies and minds by following a routine of gentle sustained, exercise, healthful, whole foods and a regular sleep schedule. The more routine we can establish, the easier it will be for our bodies and minds to regulate and sustain our immunity as we make way for the cooler months to come.
Here’s a simple recipe containing three ingredients that act together to support liver detoxification. According to traditional chinese medicine, the liver is most active between 1 and 3 a.m. and so it’s beneficial to drink this tea before bedtime. Turmeric is known as both an anti-carcinogen and an anti-inflammatory; and works closely with black pepper which stimulates digestion and cleanses the body of excess kapha dosha (the watery/heaviness that can cause colds). Ginger with its pungent kick is wonderful for improving circulation and warming the body.
I got this recipe from Get it Ripe, a wonderful vegan cookbook by Toronto/Montreal based holistic nutritionist Jae Steele. My lovely friend Jen from Centre Luna Yoga in Montreal, shared the book with me and it is definitely one of my kitchen staples. This recipe is common in Ayurvedic cuisine. Turmeric, black pepper and ginger are essential ingredients in any Indian/ Ayurvedic kitchen!
1 tsp grated turmeric root or 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp grated ginger root or 1/2 tsp dried ground ginger
2 – 3 twists of black pepper (from a pepper mill)
1 1/2 cups filtered water
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tsp maple syrup or to taste
Combine turmeric, ginger pepper and water in a saucepan on medium-high heat to simmer for 5 – 10 minutes; be careful not to boil.
Strain and pour into a mug, add lemon juice and maple syrup to taste, stir and enjoy.
* As Jae points out, turmeric stains a bright yellow so be careful with your countertops, clothing, dishtowels etc. In fact it is also used as a natural dye, you get the picture. If you have a glass saucepan, and a glass mug, now is the optimal time to use them.
** Be sure to use organic ingredients and non-irradiated spices.