If you’ve ever tried to curb your sweet tooth during the holidays and failed, I have good news for you: your cravings are not coming from some malicious marketing scheme or a fissure in your self-control; rather they’re powerful and essential messages from Mother Nature herself that you should 100 percent heed! When it comes to diet, Ayurveda recommends turning to foods that are warm, pungent/spicy, sour, salty, heavy, grounding, and, you guessed it, sweet during fall and winter to counter the prevailing air and space elements in our environment. In other words, we turn to those denser, more appetizing meals as a survival mechanism to help us get through a season of scarcity and latency in the plant kingdom. But sweetness does more than just satisfy the body: it feeds our emotional hunger, too, offering a sense of calm, comfort, and connection because of the water and earth elements it comprises. It’s no wonder that baking has become a top quarantine activity!
Knowing when to feed ourselves with food or with company is an important distinction to make, but this year especially, as the latter might be scarce, we should feel permission to turn to sweetness in the kitchen. That doesn’t always mean “sugar” in the traditional sense but includes foods like root vegetables, grains and wheat, stewed fruits, nuts, and even meat in moderation (if you consume animal products), all of which are part of a balanced and wholesome diet.
This recipe for Ayurvedic Baked Pears meets all those requirements, making it an ideal food to incorporate into your weekly meals and bring that holiday feel to any day of the week. In addition to the overall balancing qualities mentioned above, foods with white flesh (pears, apples, potatoes, radishes, celery root, cauliflower, garlic, mushrooms, tofu, etc.) are excellent for supporting the immune system. The combination of spices is also particular for boosting body and mind: all the herbs, including the perhaps surprising sprigs of rosemary, support mental clarity and heart-opening, as well as offer antimicrobial and antiviral support.
Get the recipe at Breathe Together Yoga Online (published January 9, 2021)