Kapha season usually runs from about early March until June. This is the time when the cold, dry, heaviness of the winter begins to thaw and the warm, damp climate of spring appears, leading the way for the growth and rejuvenation. This can be seen as the days get longer and flowers begin to emerge.
These seasonal transitions can be hard on the body and therefore are the ideal time to partake in gentle Ayurvedic cleanses to help the body adjust to the new phase of the year, shed accumulated toxins and support proper digestion and immunity.
The characteristics of kapha dosha are cool, wet, heavy, cloudy, oily and inert. Our bodies naturally take on these characteristics during the winter, which is vata season, in order to pacify vata dosha. This is why we also tend to eat heavier, richer foods during this time of year and much of nature hibernates. This perfectly exemplifies the Ayurvedic principle of opposites as vata is light, dry, rough and mobile.
However, too much kapha qualities in the foods we eat during the spring can lead to kapha aggravation and symptoms such as allergies, congestion, digestion issues and lethargy. It’s important to note also that those with kapha dosha dominance will be more likely to experience some of these symptoms during this time of year.
The 6 Tastes
In Ayurveda, all foods can be described in terms of the six tastes and their effect on the body. These are sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent and pungent. In order to keep kapha dosha in balance during the spring, it’s best to favor foods that are bitter, pungent and astringent. Foods that are sweet, sour and salty are ideal for pacifying vata dosha during the vata season of winter, but not ideal now.
Kapha Pacifying Diet
Avoiding or reducing heavy, cool foods such as ice cream, yogurt, cheese, refined sugars, fatty meats and fried foods is important during this time. Instead, favor dark leafy greens, vegetables such as radishes, asparagus, eggplant, beets, broccoli, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery and sprouts, moderate amounts of whole grains, small amounts of honey, fruits such as apples, pears, pomegranates, cranberries, persimmons and if eating meat, small amounts of chicken and turkey are ideal.
Make sure your biggest meal of the day is during lunch, when digestion and metabolism are at their peak. Try to continue emphasizing cooked foods as raw foods may be difficult on digestion right now. Kapha tends to dominate in the early morning and evening so you don’t want to overload your digestive system with too much food at these times.
To support digestion, you can make a simple ginger tonic to have about 10 minutes before your meal. Simply juice some fresh ginger until you have about 1-2 tsp of ginger juice. Add a pinch of sea salt and a squeeze of lime and drink. Alternatively, you can just slice a piece of ginger into small bits (about a teaspoon) and sprinkle with salt and lime and eat.
This is also the ideal time to eat spicier foods and add some more spices such as turmeric and ginger to your meals. You can try this simple Kapha Churna spice mix and using when cooking vegetables:
- 1 Tbsp fenugreek seeds
- 2 Tbsp whole coriander seeds
- 1 Tbsp ground ginger
- 1 Tbsp whole cumin seeds
- 1 Tbsp ground turmeric
- 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp dried sage leaves
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper or chili powder
- Put all ingredients in an electric grinder or spice mill and grind them.
- Store in an airtight container such as a glass jar.
- To use, heat a little bit of oil or ghee in a pan and sauté spices for 30 seconds or so before adding vegetables.
In addition, getting outdoors and partaking in regular walks and hikes is a great way to support the body in detoxifying any accumulated kapha from the winter and prevent lethargy which is common with aggravated kapha dosha.