Dr Zaida Rivene Chiropractor, Naturopath, Gerson Practitioner

The Winter Foods and Balance

by Jim Montrose, Ayurvedic Specialist

July/August 2022
Jim Montrose, Ayurvedic Counselor

Winter Routine for the Doshas

The Winter Dosha (Vata Body Constitution)

The Vata body tends to have lots of ideas (thoughts) and energy (like to move – may have trouble standing still), are colder, are thin and light and have a hard time digesting. Winter is particularly challenging for Vata’s and winter characteristics are mostly the same and aggravate the Vata characteristics. The Vata and most body types in winter benefit by staying warm, following a set routine, staying calm by reducing excessive thoughts (meditation can help) and eating cooked heavier foods.

As fall ends and early winter signals the cold and dry part of the Vata season with more dryness and more nervous disorders often known as cabin fever. In winter everything slows down and plants and many animals become dormant or sluggish. This is the season affecting all doshas and, peaking in July or August. Winter drying and cold affects both Vata and Kapha with aggravations like allergies, colds, and congestion to all. The Vata eating and care routine is used for all doshas with changes to adopt them to the dosha.

The quiet solitude of winter makes it the perfect months for deep thought, deep rest, hibernation and contemplation an antidote to the fast paced mobility of summer and fall. As the earth becomes cold and frozen solid (in snow regions) the winter solstice brings the shortest day of the year. Enjoy resting and hibernating, but avoid complete isolation. Gather family and friends together for more intimate connection and good food.

Winter is the ideal time to let go of the past and direct your attention inward.  Establish new habits and focus on spiritual growth, physical health, anything you want to create and own. Begin by making a journal of your thoughts, revelations, and intentions for the coming spring. Consider self-inquiry  to transform more of the unwanted and start Spring with new aspirations and freedom. Consider the ideas that come to you and create a list of purging, rejuvenation and actions you wish to make as you move towards Spring (natures New Year) and your new goals.

Read on to learn how to counter winters effects, eat to support your body, and stay healthy with winter in balance routines for your dosha.

To learn more about your own dosha take our constitution self-quiz  to get a rough idea of your dosha. For help with a health issue or to get a clearer picture of your innate constitution and the current state you are displaying, schedule a constitution pulse exam with Jim, call 071 959 0786 now.

Nature’s Winter Wisdom

In nature, winter is a season of rejuvenation. A great season to go to bed earlier and this extra winter rest boosts the body’s immune reserves, and it can help reset the connection between your biological clocks and nature’s circadian rhythms a critical health connection to immunity and longevity. Life is based on cycles of rest and activity. Without balance between these two, regardless of the season, we pay dearly in terms of health, happiness, and longevity.

Winter  Foods and Routines for Balance.

General guidelines for balancing Vata year round and the other doshas in winter:

  • Keep warm
  • Keep calm avoid stress and excessive thinking
  • Avoid cold, frozen or raw foods
  • Avoid extreme cold
  • Eat warm foods and spices
  • Keep a regular routine
  • Get plenty of rest

Vata Balancing Routines and Practices

Winter is associated with the qualities of ‘Vata’ which are cold, airy, dry, and light. To stay balanced, focus on foods and activities that are warm, moist, heavy, and oily.

Follow a regular schedule of sleep, exercise, mealtimes, and rest. Avoid dryness – oil and humidify if needed.

Eat more foods that are sweet, sour, and salty or slight modifications to meet your dosha; heavy, oily, hot, well cooked, and moist like soups, stews, steamed and baked (drying so add sauces or soup to moisten) vegetables with more fat and protein yet aim for easy digestion. Reduce pungent, bitter, astringent, dry, cold, and light.

Eating more cooked foods and heavier foods like nuts, root vegetables, beets (blood cleansing), bean soups, rich fulfilling dishes (helps you get through winter but needs to be balanced in late winter with the need to let go of accumulated reserves and detoxify).

Daily Routines (Lifestyle patterns to ease you through the Winter)

  • Start the day with warm lemon water and the daily Lifestyle Routine (link)
  • Get outside and try to get sunlight for 15-30 minutes if possible.
  • Self-massage with warm sesame or coconut oil to balance your nervous system and detoxify your lymphatic system.
  • Practice meditation and breath-work to help cope with stress, anxiety, and depression. The still, silent, solitude when we turn inward connects us to our essential nature. Integrating activity and rest into a state of balance and releasing mental patterns. Healing happens when you expand your awareness and meditation (link) and tapping (link) is an ideal way to start this and rounds out your winter routine.
  • Lubricate and protect dry sinuses by performing Neti (gentle saline irrigation) of the nose, followed by Nasya (oil in the nostril): sesame or coconut oil. Helps clear lungs and nose.
  • Hibernate, reflect, and dream. Engage in creative activity.
  • Good sleep is important, finish eating by sun down. Winter is naturally a time for more sleep and the brain actually cleans out physical and mental debris at night, probably the most important kind of detoxification. Sleep also reduces inflammation, helping with heart disease and hypertension to obesity and diabetes. Try to get to sleep before 10 pm.
  • Follow scheduled times for waking, sleeping, eating (don’t skip meals especially for Vata’s) to reduce anxiety and balance the Vata nature of this time of year. Follow your Lifestyle/Eating plan with winter modifications suggested here.
  • Practice Solar Breathing – Inhale through the right nostril and exhale through the left. Perform for ten breaths minimum up to 10 minutes maximum as you get used to it. Benefits: Heating and warming breath to balance Vata. Also doing the complete belly and chest breathing with ujijae (success breath) will invigorate, rejuvenate and drive the cabin fever away.

In winter we continue the building routines of fall, where we store fat to insulate us from the cold and dry, see the Fall Balancing article. We continue with a warming, heavier and unctuous or oily diet and the fall lifestyle choices. In late winter it generally becomes damper and signals that spring is coming. The bitter cold of winter turns watery and spring is around the corner. You may see shoots pushing up from underground. As the temperatures bottom out and begin to rise, your body shifts its strategy from building insulating fats to releasing them. The body releases fat to cleanse and prepare for the warmer weather ahead. Late winter and early spring are thus ideal seasons to start a new diet and lose weight in spring (see Spring Foods article coming in September).

Winter is a time when the crops hibernate and rest until spring reawakens them, and the body does well with rest and slowing down.

You may notice the slowing of your life, a feeling of fullness and sedentary impulses until the end of winter. Mentally, you may feel quiet and introspective wanting to hibernate, contemplate and rest. It is a restorative time to rebuild tissues, rest, and reflect inward before you spring back into action in September.

Don’t worry if your appetite decreases—this is a natural tendency in winter and helps you let go of the winter fat before spring.

Heating and stimulating exercises like aerobics and aerobic exercises are useful when done according to your doshas capacity (Vata light, Pitta medium and Kapha the most). Utilize oil massages and tonic foods, unless you experience fall rains where you would need to adopt more of a spring routine. In late winter balance to lighter winter foods or eat less to let go of accumulated reserves and detoxify for Spring.

Some General food guidelines that favor warmth, rest, rejuvenation, letting go, and flexibility for your winter foods and routine are:

  • Keep hydrated
  • Experiment with various herbs and spices
  • Try adding small amounts of sour fermented foods, traditionally used in winter in many

cultures, and are useful during the winter.

  • Try a warming tea of equal parts ginger and cinnamon; and a pinch of clove.
  • Warm, bitter root vegetables such as turnips, rutabaga, or parsnips have a heartiness for

winter satisfaction and gently coax your body into the natural cleansing cycle.

  • Ginger, turmeric, bay leaf, cloves and black pepper will keep you warm and mobilize

fluids. Cinnamon assists in maintaining good circulation and a healthy blood

sugar balance. Hing, fenugreek, and black cumin are all hot bitter spices ideal for Vata and Kapha in winter. Cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and black pepper all

relieve congestion.

  • For dessert, try warm/cooked apples with cinnamon, Kapha can enjoy lighter options

such as baked pears with cardamom.

  • Reduce inflammatory foods – Low-level chronic inflammation comes with sugar, junk

food, and demanding schedules that induce tension and stress. Make an anti-inflammation lifestyle, and benefit in how you age, whether you get sick or not, and almost every other aspect of your well-being. Try on some of these options looking for less tension and more rest in your day: Reduce or eliminate fat and sugar; Eat organic natural foods; Avoid toxins in stale cooking oil and leftovers; Don’t use tobacco or alcohol; Avoid packaged food, junk food, and fast food; Reduce everyday stress; Practice yoga and meditate daily; and avoid situations that trigger toxicity like anger and anxiety.

Specific ways to bring about balance for your Dosha

Vata Balance 

Vata dosha is associated with dryness and cold. Hence, you can balance it by bringing more warmth and lubrication into your life. Therefore, you need to eat foods that are warmer, rich in oils and heartier and have tastes of sweet, sour, and salty. Other options are staying warm at all times and taking more warm milk, cream, butter, warm soups, stews, hot cereals, freshly baked bread, raw nuts, and nut butter. Herbal tea and fruits are great to balance Vata dosha. Avoid foods like popcorn, salads, iced drinks/food, raw vegetables, and caffeine.

Pitta Balance

Modify to meet your dosha’s characteristics (sweet, bitter, astringent, cool, oily, heavy). So the Vata winter food meets the needs for heartiness and should be served warm not hot. Favor sweet, bitter and astringent flavor even in the winter while using less sour and salty. The Pitta body will be more resilient against the cold and will not have to pay as much attention to staying warm within reason.

Kapha Balance

The Kapha body likes warmth, enjoys the dryness of winter but may be disturb if it gets windy. Like a Vata stay warm and comfy out of the elements. The kapha tastes are pungent, bitter, and astringent and does better with lighter food, dry and warm and needs to eat less than Pitta or Vata’s. Use less oil when cooking, watch the tendency to eat a lot and to eat heavier foods in the winter or you will put on more weight than needed. Add pungent spices to your foods and like the Pitta enjoy bitter and astringent flavors more. Avoid cold drinks and food like the Vata.

Winter Foods for the Season

winter smorgasbord

There are numerous benefits from eating food that is local and seasonal including:

In-season produce is fresher and tastes better, as it has been naturally ripened and harvested at the right time. Buying seasonal avoids long periods of chilling or of artificial ripening in hot houses which results in more flavor and nutrition.

When farmers have an abundant harvest due to the crop being in season, the cost of produce goes down. Locally sourced, in-season produce reduces production costs that are then passed onto the consumer. This also helps to support local farmers and businesses in your community.

By cutting the demand for out-of-season produce, this environmentally friendly diet contributes little to carbon emissions through less transportation, refrigeration and hot houses, and also eliminates the need for irradiation of produce.

Eating with the seasons creates a well-rounded and balanced diet. It supports your body’s natural nutritional needs for each season, e.g. winter vegetables for healthy soups, and sweet fruits in summer to boost energy and provide carotenoids to protect against sun damage. Nature has a tendency to provide the nutrients we need in each season and is now part of circadian rhythm science as research shows how important this Ayurvedic principle is to adjusting to the season and keeping us healthy. See the Seasonal Food chart below.

Winter Foods to make you happy

Fruits – Choose sweet, sour, heavy serve them warm

Dairy—fits better in winter especially when served warm (preferably raw or VAT pasteurized).

Root vegetables are generally tonic and support immune function and feeling full and satisfied in winter.

Grains often work better in winter for most people (some can even eat more wheat)

Nuts and Seeds are a great source of winter protein and fats which we crave more in winter.

Hot and warm beverage are good for winter (avoid caffeine though)

Warming and calming teas are good (cardamom, chamomile, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, orange peel)

 How to use the Ayurvedic Food lists and recommendations

The dosha food list is a good starting point for experimenting with foods. Don’t think it is a magic formula of what works and doesn’t; your particular food needs are unique. Use it to experiment and access your innate, natural food impulses to find what truly works for you. They are not a treatment plan that can be applied mechanically. The art of Ayurveda (art/science of living) is refined through actual life experience and your understanding of your reaction to the various foods. The actual balance is a dynamic moment by moment optimum balancing of your dosha, daily, lunar, seasonal, and life cycle rhythms (what modern science has recently discovered are so important for optimum health – circadian rhythms – Nobel prize in medicine 2017).

The Vata, Pitta, & Kapha food lists are meant to be suggestive areas for explorations; start by picking your favorite foods on the list of your primary body type and try them out. How do they make you feel? Chances are many will feel great (maybe 1/3) and the remainder will have minimal affect positive or negative. Some foods on the list make not work for you at all (making you feel worse). That’s normal.

Seasonal Winter Foods available in South Africa

(June, July, August southern Hemisphere; Dec, Jan, Feb northern Hemisphere)

Winter tastes are sweet, sour, salty foods with all three tastes are superior winter foods; any two are OK.  Classified by dosha type (vata-v,pitta-p,kapha-k, sattvic tri-dosha-s),* use occasionally, ** rarely, +unrated – experiment and see what you get:

Apples (v-cooked,p,k) , avocados (v,p), dates(v,p), grapefruit(v,k), kiwi (v), kumquats(v), lemons(v, k), limes(v, k), loquats+, melon(p), naartjies(v,p), oranges(v,p), pawpaws or papayas(v,p –small amount, k), pears(v,p,k,s), pineapples(v,p), gooseberries+, guavas(v), granadillas+, tomatoes(v,p).

Fruit available all year: bananas(v, k), pineapples (v,p), dried mango (s),dried figs (s), dried peaches (s)

Asparagus(p,k), artichokes (v,p,k), beetroot (v, k), broad (fava) beans (p,k)) , broccoli (v,p,k), brussel sprouts (v,p,k), cabbage (v*,p,k), carrots (v,p,k), cauliflower (v*,p,k), celeriac +, celery (p,k), cucumber (v,p), endive, fennel (v,p,k), garlic (v,p,k), horseradish (v**,p,k), Jerusalem artichokes (v,p,k), Kale (v,p,k), kohlrabi (v,p**,k), mushrooms (v,p,k), parsnips (v,p,k**), peas (v cooked,p,k), peppers (v,p,k), potatoes (v,p,k), pumpkin (v,p,k), radishes (v cooked,p cooked,k), rhubarb (v,p,k), spinach (v cooked,p cooked ** p raw,k), spring onion +, squash (v,p,k,s), sweet potatoes (v,p,k,s), swiss chard (p,k) , turnips (v,p,k), waterblommetjies +, watercress (v,p*,k).

Vegetables available throughout the year: butternut (v,p), carrots (v*,p,k), cucumber (v,p), gem squash (v,p,k,s), lettuce (v*,p,k), onion (v raw, v cooked*,p,k), potato (v,p,k), pumpkin (v,p,k), radish (v cooked,p cooked,k), sweet potato (v,p,k,s)

Sattvic Legumes: mung, yellow lentils, kidney beans, lima beans

Sattvic Dairy: unpasteurized raw milk, homemade yogurt and cheese

South African Winter Foods for the Season © Jim Montrose 2022, Living Wholeness Ayurveda, 071 959 0786

Excellent Winter foods for each Dosha

Vata Pitta Kapha
  • Nuts and seeds high in fat and protein, provide insulation in winter. High in omega-3 fatty acids and minerals.
  • Beets have constituents (like betaine) that boost bile flow and digestive enzyme production. Rich in the fiber to escort toxic bile to the toilet.
  • Mung beans  have fiber to escort toxic bile to the toilet, keep blood sugar and sugar cravings stable. “Anti-flatulence factors,” for digestive ease and do not cause gas.
  • Olive oil full of antioxidant polyphenols, support healthy cardiovascular function and also act as a great winter insulator for vata body types.
  • Artichokes with fiber, support liver function, increase bile production and help the body become a better fat burner.
  • Pumpkin seeds with zinc and magnesium, are easier to digest and lighter than nuts. High in vitamin E, for cardiovascular health and circulation.
  • Avocados are about 85% fat making them the perfect winter fruit. They are high in omega-3 fatty acids as well as carotenoids, which are powerful and natural antioxidants.
  • Kale is a nutrient-dense food high in fiber and micronutrients to support liver function and detoxification. Cook it well to break down the fiber content.
  • Brussels sprouts with anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. High in vitamins C and K, which support vascular health and circulation. Fiber leads toxic bile to the toilet.
  •  Ghee’s primary fat is butyric acid. This fat is the primary fuel for colon cells, driving im-munity, feeds good microbes throughout the intestines.
  • Apples are high in fiber, helps escort toxic bile to the toilet. High levels of malic acid, opens up bile ducts and flushes bile out of the liver and gallbladder. Eat cooked in winter.
  • Grapefruits rich in vitamin C, boosts immunity/circulation. Pink grapefruit helps prostate health. Its Pith supports vascular function and microcirculation, reducing cellulite/weak veins.
  • Licorice + Cinnamon Tea lubricates the intestinal wall, boosts circulation, and warms up the cold hands and feet.
  • Coconut oil  a cooling oil, counters dryness and heat. Rich in lauric acid, scrubs out bad bacteria. Alternate fuel supply to sugar.  Absorbs quickly in blood and fuels the brain. This is good for post-meal cravings!
  • Ginger is warming, boosts circulation, strengthens digestion, and is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory –  boosting circulation and stimulation.
  • Ashwagandha is harvested in fall and is heavy, sweet, and warm—the perfect antidote to winter. It also boosts endurance, stamina, immunity, and a stable mood, which are all needed in winter.
  • Chamomile tea is cooling and is also somewhat demulcent, helping lubricate the lining of the intestines, which has a tendency to get dry in winter.
  • Brahmi (Centella asiatica)  a nerve tonic calms the nervous system and helps with stress.
  • Turmeric is a warming spice that liquefies mucus. Reducing congestion from dryness of winter.

V – Winter foods for vata will provide more healthy fats to combat stress and support intestinal function.

P – If there is enough fiber in your diet, it will attach to the toxic bile and escort it to the toilet. But without enough fiber, up to 95% of toxic bile is recirculated back to the liver, with all the toxins in tow.

K – Kapha types are generally heavy in nature and the harvest in winter is also heavy, so kapha types have to be careful to not eat too many heavy and rich foods in winter. Kapha types also have a slow metabolism, so if they eat too much heavy food, they can gain weight and become lethargic.

Preparing  Winter Foods

Food is most welcomed during the winter time when it is moist, oily, heavy or warm. Stir fries with olive oil (Vata), coconut oil (Pitta), and minimum oil (use Hippocrates soup for Kapha) work well. A nice sauce added to dryer dishes or vegetables can really help the appeal in the winter time. Think about adding creamy sauces, corn starch glazes, Hippocrates soup, etc. and make sure to serve them hot.

Choose foods that are in season (local when possible), that you like, and are compatible with your dosha as much as possible.

Reduce and avoid dry roasting (unless you serve it with a rich sauce), air popping, air frying,  raw foods, etc. If you have a salad consider a nice creamy dressing or blended vegetable dressing or avocado dressing.

Foods Corresponding to the Six Tastes

This list provides for a variety of examples for each taste.

SWEET:  sugar, honey, fruit, saffron, ghee, allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, saffron, and coriander.

SOUR: sour cream, yogurt, vinegar, cheese, sour fruits, fermented foods, pickles, wine, tamarind, lemon, tomato, grated lemon rind, dried pomegranate, yoghurt, tamarind

SALTY: salts, seaweed, celery, kelp, cumin, cayenne, paprika, black pepper, oregano, lemon peel, garlic and onion powder, and rubbed sage.

PUNGENT: onion, radish, chili peppers, black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic, asafoetida, wasabi, horseradish, radish, cardamom, cloves, ginger, hing, paprika, mustard

BITTER: bitter melon, coffee, neem, sandalwood, bitter greens such as dandelion, dark leafy greens, bitter herbs such as goldenseal & gentian, fenugreek, tonic water, caffeine

horseradish, parsley, coriander, mugwort, chamomile, mint, horehound, endive, Bay Leaves, Black Cumin Seed, Celery Seed, Fenugreek Seeds, Greek Oregano, Horseradish Root Powder, Lavender, Mace, Marjoram Leaf, Mediterranean Thyme, Mustard, Turmeric.

ASTRINGENT: turmeric, black tea, lettuce, apple, pomegranate, okra, unripe banana, chick peas, split yellow peas, alfalfa sprouts and other sprouts, lentils, leafy greens, pomegranate, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, spinach, Basil, bay leaf, caraway, coriander, dill, fennel, marjoram, nutmeg, oregano, parsley, poppy seeds, rosemary, saffron, turmeric, vanilla

Triphpala, amalaki, haritaki, arjuna, and manjistha.

“When you eat standing up, death looks over your shoulder.”  Ayurvedic recommendation for eating relaxed and calm.

Churna’s an easy way to get the six tastes in your winter foods

Use a churna to learn the tastes of your dosha and simplify cooking. It is an Ayurvedic spice mixes designed to balance one’s doshas. It helps to regulate and keep the body in balance and harmony physically and mentally. By providing family and friends the three doshas you can make simple sattvic food and give them their dosha’s churna so they can customize it for their body type.

A simple churna (make sure you include the other three tastes in the meal) can be made by adding the predominate spices for the dosha taste when you don’t have Jim’s churna or something similar.

Vata (sweet, sour and salty tastes careful with pungent, bitter, and astringent) fennel for balance, ginger for digestion, turmeric to detoxify, cumin for digestion, fenugreek to flush toxins

Pitta (sweet, bitter, astringent, care with sour, salty and pungent) Coriander is a cooling spice and digestion, fennel (a primary balancer of Pitta in combination with coriander and cumin)nourishing digestion and digestion, turmeric to detoxify liver, support digestion and immunity, cumin for digestion and flush toxins away.

Kapha (pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes careful with sweet, sour, and salty) Ginger to and aid digestion, Pepper for cleansing and antioxidant properties and stimulate the appetite, Turmeric to detoxify liver and reduce cholesterol, Cinnamon warming spice balance digestion and nourish.

Try Jim’s Churna blends available at the office or from the website. Read more about churna’s here.

Some Winter Food Soup Recipes

The two I just did with options for maintenance, detox, and relaxed. Take about the template idea for each and include Hippocrates soup.

  1. Hippocrates Soup (the basic cleansing soup)

Template:        Root Vegetable          potato

                            Greens                        leeks, parsley, celery

                            Fruit/Vegetable         tomatoes

                            Onion                          onion, leek

                            Spices              parsley, garlic


500 g potatoes

750 g tomatoes

Several cloves of garlic

3-4 branches of celery sliced in 1 cm pieces

1 large or 2 small leeks sliced in 1 cm pieces

A little parsley chopped finely

2 med. Onions

Cover the items with water and bring to a boil. Immediately turn down to low heat and cook for 1-1.5 hours until soft. Blend to a creamy and thick texture and serve. This soup is marvelously alkalizing and helps with the cleansing in addition to the juices we serve at the ranch during the retreats. This soup can be used for cleansing with all three doshas.

Doshic variations for rejuvenation and thriving maintenance

  1. Add in Doshic balancing vegetable and seasonal vegetables and spices to make this compatible with your body type. Below I have used the winter vegetable lists picking a few vegetables from each and any that are on the excellent winter food list to create a more flavorful and rich soup. Pick what interests you and experiment. Use you intuition as to quantity and what to add, if the taste doesn’t come through put in more next time, experiment to find what you like.


Vata                                                       Pitta                                                       Kapha

Kale                                                    Beets                                                    Brussel Sprouts

Carrot                                                 Kale                                                     Beets

Fresh Fennel Bulbs                         Artichokes (fresh)                            Carrots

fenugreek                                           Coriander                                            Ginger

ginger                                                  Fennel                                     Turmeric

turmeric                                             cumin

cumin                                                 turmeric

2. Add some of the excellent foods of the season for a thriving version. In this case I choose a garnish or fat or more rich ingredients (avocado) to add to the dish, a little more fat is acceptable in the maintaining thriving stage (kapha must be careful and not add too much). A little salt is useful in maintenance but don’t go overboard.


Little salt optional                   Little salt optional                   Little salt opt.

Avocado garnish on top          coconut oil to fry spices          pumpkin seed garnish

So what is our recipe for a thriving version of the Pitta soup? We use the basic recipe or  template above; add the doshic vegetables and spices from 1; and add the thriving options from 2. So our Recipe becomes

Winter Potato, Beet, Kale, Artichoke Soup

Ingredients:       500 g potatoes

750 g tomatoes

1-2 Beets,

5 leaves Kale

2-3 Artichoke (fresh) peel and remove heart and put in main pot, cook leaves and scrape meat off leaves

Several cloves of garlic

3-4 branches of celery sliced in 1 cm pieces

1 large or 2 small leeks sliced in 1 cm pieces

A little parsley chopped finely

2 med. Onions

1-2 tbs coconut oil

1-2 tbs each cumin, coriander, fennel

1 tsp turmeric

Cover the items, except spices and garlic, with water and bring to a boil. Immediately turn down to low heat and cook for 1-1.5 hours until soft. In a separate pan fry the spices to bring out the flavor in 1-2 tbs coconut oil and add to the soup before blending. Add any artichoke leaf meat that you have, Blend to a creamy and thick texture and serve. This soup is marvelously alkalizing and cleansing base with extra taste and richness with the oil.

Below are two additional soup recipes, see if you can figure out the template for the bean soup and come up with you own version that meets your dosha. Share your versions with me and the website. Get some examples in my new book “Happy Foods – Balanced in body type and season. Eat food for cleansing, rejuvenation and maintaining thriving!” Read more about it here.

  1. Winter Fennel Ginger Carrot Soup

2 small bulbs fennel

½ inch (1.25 cm) piece of ginger

4 med-large carrots

1 potato (med)

1 leek

1 small-med onion

½ tsp garlic chili sauce


Root Vegetables – carrot, potatoes

Onions, etc. – onion, leek

Spices – fresh fennel, garlic-chili sauce, ginger

Preparation: combine all ingredients and cover with water, cook at low heat until soft approx. 45 mintues. Blend and serve, garnish with diced parsley.

  1. Winter Bean Soup – Aduki Bean Soup

1 cup aduki beans, soaked overnight discard soak water and boil for 15-20 minutes add cumin and more watr and turn off letting soak some mre.

Cook at simmer until soft.

Add in a little coconut oil clove, mustard powder, fresh ginger, diced onions and diced garlic stir fry until flavors is released. Add to blended beans and salt to taste.

Template: choose a bean appropriate to the season and dosha or use a sattvic choice for everyone and give them a churna or spices (six tastes) to adjust to their own taste.

Ayurvedic Diet Changes for Late Winter/Spring

Late winter as your body transitions out of winter foods and into spring foods that balance both spring days and winter days are needed. On winter days continue to favor Vata diet and hearty ingredients – Potatoes, turnips, rutabaga, and carrots are great whenever the temperature dips. To these hearty ingredients, add sour tasting and bitter foods to gently cleanse the liver. On warmer Spring days, the Kapha dosha becomes the most pronounced. So our diet and lifestyle should incorporate the opposite qualities of lighter, dry, liquid, hot, soft, quick, and clear to avoid illness and disease in our late winter routine.

In terms of grains, buckwheat and rye are ideal. Both provide the warmth and body needed for winter, and are diuretic and drying during Spring detox. You may have an aversion to grains, meat, and the sweet taste in general as your body is seeking to release fats instead of building them. In fact, food seems to lose its appeal altogether as Spring approaches. It’s generally a time to begin a Kapha pacifying diet.

Pungent tastes increase your circulation for cleansing. So spice it up as Spring days arrive – add more kick to your meals. This is an ideal time of year to turn up the heat (hot Indian food, Mexican food, etc.). Pungent spices boost metabolism and clear out congestion. Cumin is an ideal spice offering natural warmth and dryness. Kapha and Vata types can break out the cayenne and chilis to fire up digestion and shake off any remaining winter sluggishness. Turmeric also tops the list for the late winter/spring. Its warming and cleansing properties are a perfect fit for the turn of season. Turmeric improves circulation and thins the blood, cleansing the lymphatic system as well as all the vessels and tissues. Its ability to move the blood dries dampness and increases heat.

While most bitters are cold, fenugreek is a hot bitter. Fenugreek stokes the fire, driving out cold and damp. This makes it perfect for winter’s end. You can simply add it to your cooking, teas, or to your herbal formula. Fresh ginger is a mild detoxicant and digestive that’s sure to break up your winter congestion and keep your blood moving.

Beets, beans & greens are good additions and are wonderful for the late winter season. Beets are the ideal food for late winter sustenance and cleansing. Light yet hearty, beets are cholagogues, which means they flush the liver and gallbladder of bile. They offer a healthy remedy to a congested spring liver.  Chickpeas and black beans make especially good choices for late winter/spring as their fiber-rich content encourages healthy elimination. Eat your greens – kale, collards, spinach, and chard are all mild bitters that are hearty enough for winter but cleansing enough for early spring. Broccoli is also a good vegetable choice.

Pickled garlic is a good addition to your menu, and one way to get both sourness and pungency. The sourness of vinegar cleanses the liver while garlic moves stagnant blood. Lemons are another great cholagogue for August/February. Add them on top of your dishes to promote spring detoxing. Another way to encourage purification is to do the kitchiri mini cleanse.

Minimize fats and sweets – you likely won’t want them anyway (at least when your body’s natural guidance kicks in as you restore balance).

Diving Deeper

Find out more about cooking for each season in my upcoming book “Happy Foods – Balanced in body type and season. Eat food for cleansing, rejuvenation and maintaining thriving!”   With recipes for 7 days of eating at the ranch in Spring, Summer and Fall/Winter. Each recipe has ideas for using it as a template to make meals that match your doshas, the season, creating cleansing meals, maintenance meals, and liberated (thriving) meals. Read more and get an advance purchase discount now!

Eat Winter Foods for Health!

Put this information to use immediately by choosing the foods that balance you this winter to make your winter routine. No matter what dosha you are – stay with fresh, local and in-season foods which naturally provide the nutrients your body needs for the season you are in. If you are a Vata or Kapha follow the general guidelines and Pitta follow the guidelines avoiding too heating of food and spices. Continue to use heavier, warming and oily foods to strengthen your body for winter and stay warm, but watch the weight gain (especially Kaphas) and do not overdo.

This winter focus on renewal and re-energizing winter foods. Choose one or two new habits and pay attention to how your mind and body feel. By paying attention to your daily rhythms and staying grounded and in touch with nature, you can emerge refreshed and renewed with a positive perspective come spring!

Keep warm, eat well and calmly this winter,

Jim Montrose, Ayurvedic Specialist

Living Wholeness and Ayurveda, 071 959 0786


P.S. Make an appointment for your individualized Winter Detox Plan Now or an overall assessment and Ayurvedic balancing, email or call Jim at 071 959 0786. Consider our On-Line Ayurvedic Balancing course to master your balance.

P.P.S. – For further help – Check out the free resources and articles on wellness based beliefs and purpose and other topics.

P.P.P.S. sign in and make a comment about the recipes and join the VIP Happy Food List for monthly tips.

Copyright July/August  2022

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© Copyright - Dr Zaida Rivene

From the N2 (Cape Town towards George) Take the first Swellendam exit (left). This is the R60. Proceed (1km+) through the 4 way stop and continue approximately 2-3 km and look for a sign for the Hermitage. Make a hard right (270 degrees). After the turn continue about 200 meters and turn left at first road (dirt). Proceed 300 meters and turn left into Red Roan Ranch and go to bottom of hill (the main house).

(Coming from George to Cape Town) Take the third exit (R60) right. Proceed (1km+) through the 4 way stop and continue approximately 2-3 km and look for a sign for the Hermitage. Make a hard right (270 degrees). After the turn continue about 200 meters and turn left at first road (dirt).  Proceed 300 meters and turn left into Red Roan Ranch and go to bottom of hill (the main house).

GPS:  S34 degrees 01.367 minutes, E020 degrees 25.193 minutes. Note most GPS units (Garmin, etc.) have the wrong coordinates for Red Roan Ranch.

Call if you have trouble 071 959 0786 or 083 290 1283