What the Hell Should We Eat Anyway?

ayurvedic-meal-plan_four-season-trees_imageIt seems we never run out of new diets in America. Ten years ago when I wrote The 3-Season Diet, I listed the many crazy, yoyo, unsustainable diets we have endured over the years.

Today, while one would have thought that we would have exhausted all possible dietary choices, we are faced with even more dietary choices than ever. Do we eat low carb, raw food, paleo, vegetarian, meat, fermented foods, cooked or not cooked – to name a few.

Perhaps most surprisingly, I don’t understand why we haven’t settled on the simplest, most logical diet of all: the diet centered on each season’s special harvest. It seems impossible to dispute that nature has fed us for millions of years so why not eat more of what nature provides when nature provides it?

In brief, let me share with you an Ayurvedic meal plan based on the logic of nature. In short: think about what to eat more of rather than what not to eat!

For example, it makes sense to eat a higher fat and higher protein diet in the cold winter because these warming foods are most abundant at that time of year.

Eat a lower fat diet in the spring to help detox the body because those are the foods available in the spring.

In the summer, pig out on a high carbohydrate fruit and veggie diet because these cooling foods are nature’s medicine for the heat of summer.

It seems hard to dispute that logic. Here are some more dietary tips:

1. Foods that are in season are nature’s medicines. Find simple grocery lists for winter, spring, and summer on my site.

2. In every season, emphasize seasonal vegetables; try to make 1/2-2/3 of your plate veggies.

3. Eat 1/6-1/4 of your plate whole grain starches or starchy veggies.

4. Eat 1/6-1/4 of your plate healthy proteins.

5. Try to include small portions of probiotic foods at every meal such as: raw cheese, kefir, buttermilk, yogurt, fermented fruits, fermented veggies, pickled foods, kimchi, fermented soy, dosas, idlis or paneer.

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* Please Note: We cannot effectively or legally answer personal health questions here, for further assistance please consider a personalized Ayurvedic Consultation.

  • Lora

    John, How do you think this changes according to where people live and their local climate/microclimate? I’m in the San Francisco area, for instance, where the summer months are often cloudy and chilly. I find myself craving soups and grains more than raw vegetables and fruits, even though it’s August! Perhaps it’s finding the overlap among the current weather pattern, seasonal availability and in-season peak foods?

    • http://lifespa.com/about-lifespa/clinic/#lifestyleconsults Tauna Houghton

      Hi Lora, Great question! Exactly – you want to find the overlap between the current weather pattern, seasonal availability and in-season peak foods. For example, if it is a chilly and grey June, favor warm, moist foods but ones that are seasonal. Always look to balance the environment where you are located. The dates in the seasonal grocery lists and tips are guidelines. Hope that helps, Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant at LifeSpa.

  • Judi Harmon Purdy

    Brilliant yet simple connection you have made. Well written content, I live in Costa Rica where we have 2 seasons, wet and dry. I can see applying this here. Easier, too, because they don’t commercially/artificially produce food nor import a lot of food. I love this new “diet”.

  • http://www.artfulpublications.com/ Meg Sylvia

    So simple, yet so sensible! How simple it would be to follow a simply dietary guideline like this; eating moderate portions of foods that nourish us enough that we don’t need to overeat or count calories. Thanks for your work!

  • suzanne sanger

    how does the fermented foods work with a pitta person? i’m always confused about this