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Nourishing your Body with the Seasons by Hope Owens-Henry

With the massive amount of information available today, the process of deciding what to eat can be overwhelming. Every time you turn on the television, read an article, search the web, or go into a bookstore, you are bombarded with diets and a new way to eat. How are you to choose what is right for you? The answer can be found by looking outside of your window. Nature teaches us about balance. It is time to get out of the computer and technological world and return to what is natural. We must re-learn all that we have been taught. We must incorporate all of our vital macronutrients into our diet. Our bodies depend on carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, each of which has a distinct purpose. Restricting foods or depriving ourselves will eventually lead to cravings and bingeing on high calorie sugary and salty snacks.

Embracing Ayurveda

Ayurveda is a 5000-year-old science from India. It is translated as “The Science of Life.” Ayurveda teaches us to connect and tune into nature. The five elements of air, space, fire, water, and earth are believed to exist within the cellular make-up of the body. The world has an abundant variety of people in different sizes, shapes and mental temperaments. Ayurveda acknowledges all differences by teaching us to eat with the seasons and balance our doshas (metabolic type). This ancient science can be just as confusing to understand as it is to pronounce. The simplest way to create an understanding is to embrace its principles.

Sometimes the principles expand the meaning behind a practice. Take yoga for example; many believe yoga is just holding poses to create balance and flexibility. However, the practice of yoga encompasses principles that go far beyond poses. It is a deeper connection of the mind, body and the spirit. It is a way of living both on and off the mat. So, too, is Ayurveda. It is a complete way of living, which achieves health from nature. Ayurveda is not just about the food. Optimal health and disease prevention can be obtained through a complete holistic approach.

This holistic approach to well-being includes:

• Natural, whole food based nutrition

• Optimal behavior and thoughts

• Yoga based movements and heart strengthening activities

• Relaxed and restorative breathing and meditation

• Social, moral and honest connections

Nature works in cycles as does all living organisms. We all have developmental, sleep, aging and hormonal cycles. We are intended to change while creating and maintaining balance. The cycles of nature are called seasons. Each season brings with it certain weather conditions. Understanding these cycles will create a well-balanced approach to living.

Winter–It is important to consume foods that are warm and nourishing. These foods consist of nuts, lean protein and healthy fats.

Spring–This is the season to detoxify by cleansing the mucus and toxins that have built up from the prior season. Enjoy beets, sprouts and leafy greens.

Summer–During this hot and dry season it is imperative to eat cooling and nourishing foods. Eat juicy fruits, salads and greens.

Fall–It is important to detoxify the body with foods that will remove the extra heat stored in the body during the prior season. Enjoy clearing fruits like apples and pomegranates.

If this process is followed, balance can be restored and maintained in the body. Additionally, eating foods in their natural and unprocessed form help keep this balance. It is important to consume healthy fats such as monounsaturated fats and omega-3s from fish and plants. Proteins should come from lean, lowfat cuts of meat as well as plant sources from beans, soy, nuts, and whole grains.

Enjoy eating with nature and view each season as a natural cycle of life. Not just for the trees, flowers and animals but for our physical and mental state. Remember, Ayurveda has been around for over 5000 years. It can be used and embraced by everyone. It is nature’s natural order.

Ayurveda is a lifestyle that can restore vitality, generate energy and help to maintain a healthy weight. This balanced approach will create wholeness, joy and self-fulfillment in our physical, spiritual and creative life.

Hope Owens-Henry is available for nutrition counseling at The Healing Arts Studios, 75 Broadway, Newburgh where she offers Eating for Energy workshops and Kripalu yoga dance. For more information, visit Hope2Health.com or TheStudiosAt75Broadway.com.

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