The short answer to this is not really! But let me get into why.
In the eyes of Ayurveda, everything is made up of qualities. These qualities tell us how it will interact with anything it meets. For example, if you add an ice cube to a glass of water, it will make it cold. Or if you put oil on your skin, it will take away the dryness by moisturising it.
With this in mind, there are four things you should be aware of when thinking of what to eat when!
- Your constitution: this is a shortcut to knowing what we are made up of qualitatively. Made even easier by having doshas as delineators. Vata is dry, cold, erratic, changeable; pitta is fiery, hot, penetrating, light, transforms but gets aggravated; kapha is cold, heavy, stable, dependable, unwavering and a little lazy.
- The effect qualities have on each other: in Ayurveda, like increases like and opposites counteract one another. You add heat to something cold, it warms it up.
- What is going on moment to moment in the outside world. Just as we have an interior constitution, so do our environments and surroundings. Each season, for example, is made up of different qualities. Winter is cold, damp as well as windy and dry (think kapha with a little vata), summer is hot, penetrating and sharp (pitta dosha!), whereas autumn is windy, changeable, erratic, light, dry, cool (vata dosha).
- We want to give our digestive system and agni (digestive fire) as easy a time as possible, so it can do its job. This is why Ayurveda loves cooked food: it’s digestive process has already begun by being cooked.
I say all this to illustrate the graceful dance we should enjoy being a part of: moment to moment, day to day, season to season. We want to make sure we are keeping our insides in tune with what’s going on outside.
So yes: salads in winter are not super healthy. It’s cold outside, meaning we want warmth in our bodies, so the vata and kapha don’t get disturbed and cause problems. I do though think its fine to occasionally have salad on the side of a warmer more substantial meal in winter. I mean, I love a little crunchy freshness alongside a vegetable lasagne.
All in all, it’s about understanding ourself, and discerning what we need at any any given moment, in the context of our environment and surroundings. This is the essence of Ayurveda: elevating our awareness and having the confidence to know what is best for us.
By Selina Van Orden