Antidotes for Holiday Health

In our Ayurvedic nutrition course recently our teacher gave out some useful tips on how to “antidote” certain foods that we all enjoy eating but which, especially during this season of the year, winter, can be particularly challenging to our digestive system.
According to Ayurveda Winter is the season when the Kapha principle manifests. Think of winter and thoughts of cold weather, nature slowing down, a certain heaviness, which can produce dullness but also stability. The food we eat/want to eat at this time reflects our body and mind’s desire to find balance. We tend to go for more warming foods which are well seasoned with heating herbs and spices. Good examples would be baked dishes or slow cooked dishes.

To manage the heaviness of this season get in the habit of adding warming spices and herbs such as ginger, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, cumin, fenugreek, saffron, thyme, parsley to your dishes. It is the time also to avoid fatty, greasy and fried foods, and eat more seasonal local vegetables, especially leafy greens.

But it’s the holiday season and we want to have fun. So I’m going to share with you FIVE antidotes my teacher shared with me to keep your digestion on track if you eat the following foods IN MODERATION during the holidays.

  • Holiday Antidote 1: You enjoy ice-cream – sprinkle a mixture of clove, cinnamon and cardamom powder on it
  • Holiday Antidote 2: You are making a milky pudding – add saffron
  • Holiday Antidote 3: Cheese is served at the end of the meal – add black pepper
  • Holiday Antidote 4: You are serving avocado with the meal – add lemon juice and black pepper to it.
  • Holiday Antidote 5: You are baking biscuits/cookies or pies – add dry ginger to the wheat flour.

And here’s a quick sweet recipe to get you in the festive mood.

Date & Seed Balls ( for 10-15 generous portions)
Preparation time: 10 – 15 minutes
1/2 cup dates
1/3 cup seeds (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds)
pinch of salt
½ teaspoon cardamom powder
2 tablespoons honey
4 -5 tablespoons dessicated coconut
Finely chop the dates and the nuts/seeds.
Place in a bowl with the salt and cardamom powder.
Mix well.
Add the honey and mix well.
Put the coconut onto a plate.
Use your hands to make balls with the mixture and roll them in the coconut.
Serve straightaway or chill then store in an airtight container.

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