November is a time to gather with family around tables and light fires, roast turkey, and bake pumpkin and apple pie. A time to enjoy the change in weather with a refreshing walk outside or a quiet night inside with a Christmas Romance movie and cozy blanket. The days shorten as our clocks fall back and Winter begins to show its face as a chill sets in the air. But how does the change in weather and sunlight affect our bodies and minds? How should we prepare and what should we be eating to best suit our Doshas for the Winter? Lets find out.
Thanksgiving’s feast in November is timed just right for Vata and Pitta Dosha. Both Doshas benefit from the additional fat generated by holiday food and will be craving fats like butter, olive oil and nuts. Nourishing, heavy foods like wheat and dairy help to insulate the body during the harshness of winter. During this time it is ok to treat oneself to soft cheeses, yogurt and spiced milks.
Kapha Dosha should be mindful of overdoing it during November. Too much dairy and sweets leads to ripe conditions for mucus during early December. As Kapha Dosha is prone to storing fat, they must eat all hearty foods in moderation.
AFFECTS ON THE BODY
November’s cold air will chill your body making your muscles tense, your pores and hair follicles close, and the blood recirculate to your core. It is during this time of year that our bodies store fat in order to stave off the cold weather and the lowered immune systems that abound this time of year.
For Kapha Dosha the chilly weather is refreshing. The only downfall for them during this time of year is that they may suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder and will need to schedule time outside while the sun is out so that they are not negatively affected by the change in time.
Pitta Dosha should dress in layers to accommodate the chilly weather and remember to consume heartier foods than they are accustomed to in order to stay hydrated. They should avoid strenuous exercise during this time of the year and instead opt for gentle stretches.
It is imperative that Vata Dosha stay hydrated and bundle up during the cold weather months as their Dosha is not prepared for the cold weather. Sudden drops in temperature leave the body vulnerable to lack of immunity which leads to dry skin, constipation, a tight neck, dry mucus and dry cough. Hearty stews made with quality oils and animal proteins will nourish the body to be better prepared for the Winter.
BRAISED SHORT RIB STEW
yield: SERVES 4 total time: 3 HOURS
8 beef short ribs (about 3 to 4 pounds)
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup dry red wine (I used cabernet)
12 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 sweet onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 large yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 cups low-sodium beef stock
2 cups cold water
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup sliced carrots
chopped fresh parsley
Season the short ribs with the salt and pepper.
Heat a large pot over medium-high heat and add the olive oil.
Once it’s hot, add the short ribs and sear them until deeply golden, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Add in 2/3 cup red wine and let cook for 1 to 2 minutes, the reduce the heat to low and cover.
Cook the short ribs for 2 hours, checking on them occasionally. If the liquid cooks off, add more in the form of wine, beef stock or water just so there is a thin layer on the bottom of the pot.
After 2 hours, remove the ribs from the pot and place them in a bowl. There should be a bit of liquid left in the pot (if there seems to be a lot, drain some).
Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add in the onions and garlic, stirring to toss. Cook for 5 minutes.
Add the remaining wine and cook for 2 minutes more.
Remove the beef from the ribs, discarding any large chunks of fat or gristle.
Add the beef, beef stock and potatoes to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil then cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes just soften.
Place the cold water in a shaker bottle. Add the flour to the water and cover the bottle (or jar) and shake for 30 seconds to make a slurry.
Add the carrots and the slurry to the stew and stir well.
Increase the heat a bit until the stew is simmering. Let it cook for 30 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are softened.
Taste and season additionally with salt and pepper if needed – this will depend on the sodium level of your stock.
Serve with freshly chopped parsley on top.
Jessica, “Braised Short Rib Beef Stew” www.howsweeteats.com, January 16, 2014, https://www.howsweeteats.com/2014/01/braised-short-rib-beef-stew/
So, whether you’re staying in for cozy nights or going on long walks to soak up the sun while she’s out, remember to enjoy the day and be mindful about your body. Take care of your self. Winter is just arriving, and we need to keep our bodies and minds in good condition for Spring which will be here in no time.