All About Eating Seasonal and Sustainable; Read To Know Why

As per Indian Ayurveda, eating with the seasons is one of the most important principles. Foods that are naturally available during a given season help to maintain internal harmony and digestive efficiency. It's commonly held that seasonal meals are superior because they're more nutrient- and antioxidant-rich, plus easier to digest. In addition to boosting our immunity and protecting us from seasonal illnesses, they assist us in adjusting to the ever-shifting weather patterns. By adjusting our eating habits to coincide with the seasons, we may stay in tune with nature and boost our health and vitality. Sangeeta Khanna, a food consultant recently took to her Instagram and shared her seasonal veggies plate.  

She captioned” Sharing another loaded thali from past weeks along with the #seasonaleating #wisdom of the regional cuisine of North Indian plains. 

The kahawat in Awadhi dialect of Hindi goes like this  

चैते गुड़ बैसाखे तेल 

जेठे पंथ असाढें बेल 

सावन साग ना भादो दधि 

क्वार करेला कार्तिक महि 

अगहन जीरा पूसे धना 

माघे मिसरी फागुन चना 

एई बारह जो देई बचाय 

ओहि घर वैद कबहुँ न जाय 

She explains the poem, “The first month of the year is Chaitra (March-April) for which jaggery is restricted, in the 2nd month Baisakh (April-May) oil is restricted. To be honest, I haven’t been able to find any logic about these 2 restrictions.  

3rd month is Jeth (May-June) when पंथ (meaning road or going out) is restricted which makes huge sense for the Loo (extremely hot wind) inflicted central and North Indian plains where heatstrokes can kill. But 4 th month Ashadh (June-July) restricts Bel (fruit) feels odd. Possibly because of pitta inducing property of the fruit which may cause loose motions for many in this season, yet I find it hugely reductionist at this point.  

The 3rd line is about avoiding saag (leafy greens in this dialect) in Sawan month (June-July) and dahi in Bhado (july-August). 

I have already explained it in my first post of this series that eating leafy greens in the rainy season causes bloating and joint pains, my scientific understanding of this has been explained in that post. But since in other geographical regions there are a lot of foraged leafy green vegetables are consumed in this season, like the fiddlehead ferns all over the mountain ranges and even kalmi saag (kang-kong) in North Indian plains, you know it is not a blanket ban on greens but to restrict quantities. 

No dahi in badho makes sense because if you make your own dahi at home by culturing it, you would know the dahi changes and becomes slimy during this season. The slimy nature of dahi is because of streptococci profusion in the lactobacilli prominent culture of dahi and it changes the qualities, definitely translating into a change in gut microbiome and how it should be working in the season. I haven’t done or come across any study on this topic but the changing nature of dahi is the basis of this restriction for sure. Note that dahi becomes really tasty and sets well once winter approaches. 

Line 4 says no karela in Kwar (august-September) and no buttermilk in Kartik (September 

-October). Kerala being restricted in kwar I don’t understand yet apart from the fact that it is the end of karela season in traditional cropping pattern. But buttermilk in winter is restricted because of its cooling tendency. All buttermilk in homes is utilised for making kadhi or other dishes or even mathhe ke alu, mathhe ka raita etc but buttermilk as a plain salted drink is a NO." 

According to Ayurveda, our bodies and minds react differently depending on the time of year. Eating seasonal meals helps maintain our bodies' natural equilibrium and improves our resistance to the effects of seasonal fluctuations. Some people believe that the nutrients, freshness, and digestibility of seasonal foods are higher. They're brimming with seasonal nutrients and characteristics our bodies crave at particular seasons of the year. Eating in accordance with the seasons also helps us feel connected to the earth and its cycles. By observing the teachings of Ayurveda and eating in accordance with the seasons, we can improve our health, stay in tune with nature, and live in peace with ourselves.