Nothing warms the cockles of the heart on a bitterly cold winter day like a hearty bowl of soup. Ayurveda recommends healthy soups year round for the lighter evening meal, as well as for children and convalescents. Fresh seasonal vegetables, grains, pasta, beans and dhals, and herbs and spices can all make flavorful additions to the soup pot. All you need to accompany a rich soup is some bread, preferably freshly made and eaten according to one’s constitution.1
Soup is particularly a mainstay for Vatas and Kaphas, who need warm support to ignite their digestive fires (agni). In addition, they represent an easy way to get vegetables and protein in your diet, and most of us need to consume a greater quantity and variety of vegetables.
Since fall to early winter is the Vata season and late winter through spring is the Kapha season, the warmth of soups is especially supportive November through March. Both Vatas and Kaphas tends to be cold, so warm foods are balancing for them, as are pungent vegetables like onions or chilies. Vatas (and Pittas) do better with root vegetables, which are usually heavier and more nutritive in energy2. Kaphas and Pittas benefit from leafy or green vegetables, which are usually lighter and drying and often possess blood-cleansing properties. Nightshades3, like tomatoes or potatoes, can provoke food allergies in Vata or Pitta types. If you have issues with nightshades, cooking them will reduce some of the negative side effects, although frying can make the effect worse.
Winter soups tend to include more root vegetables like potatoes, carrots and beets, reminiscent of a typical Vata food plan. Adding leafy greens or cabbage or any kind of legume can make them better for Kaphas, particularly as we head into spring, the cleansing season.
Here are several great soups you might add to your meal planning this Winter. Enjoy!
2 Dr. David Frawley, Ayurvedic Healing for Healthcare Professionals, Vol. 2, P. 45
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