Keeping warm in the winter seems like a perpetual struggle, from finding the perfect fuzzy throw to getting your fireplace in order. But did you know that what you eat can also make a difference to how you feel in the winter?
Ayurveda, an ancient Indian medicine, works according to one’s dosha or energy, which is present in each individual in different amounts. Your dosha is what governs the way you should approach wellness, as each dosha has a different ruling element that determines mood, energy, and weight. “Vata is ruled by air, pitta by fire and water, and kapha by water and earth,” explains Laura Coburn, Director of Serenity at The Inns of Aurora in upstate New York.
As a general rule, vatas tend to do better with warming foods and have a hard time during the winter, while pittas have a fire-like energy and need foods that cool their spirit. As kaphas tend to be slow-moving and gain weight easily, they often get cold, and should avoid sweeter foods that add to their low energy levels.
To see what dosha you are, Coburn recommends taking the quiz at Banyan Botanicals, and you can see your complete dosha guide here. Below, she elaborates on the best breakfast for each dosha for the winter—along with a recipe for each. Consider this your personalized wellness prescription.
Minted Fingerling Potato Frittata
“Egg yolks have a warming energy, and are best for vata,” explains Coburn. “Pitta and kapha can eat them in moderation, but accompanied with a cooling salad or steamed greens.”
- 5 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
- 2 tbsp ghee, butter, or extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups thinly-sliced fingerling potatoes (unpeeled)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp crushed black pepper
- ½ cup thinly-sliced, trimmed asparagus
- 3 tbsp finely chopped green onion
- In a blender, combine eggs and lemon zest. Beat until frothy. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine parsley and mint. Set aside.
- In a cast-iron skillet, heat ghee over medium heat.
- Add potatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until edges of potatoes begin to brown. Add asparagus and green onion. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
- Add the egg mixture, and sprinkle the herb mixture on top. As the eggs set, slide a spatula around the edge of the skillet, lifting the eggs so the uncooked liquid flows underneath.
- When the eggs begin to firm and the bottom begins to brown (but the top is still moist), about 3 minutes, transfer skillet to a pre-heated broiler and brown the top, about 1 minute. Slice into quarters. Serve hot.
Nutty Quick Oats
“Dried fruit has a different energy than raw fruit, so while the ‘rule’ is to eat fruit alone, the exception is when the fruit is dried. Dried fruits work well with oatmeal and porridge; bananas and juicy fruits do not,” says Coburn.
In this recipe, cooling maple syrup and yogurt offset the warming oats (and heating pitta energy). In addition, the recipe can be made in bulk and stored in the fridge to be served cold at a later date.
- 1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
- 2 tbsp slivered almonds, toasted
- 1 tbsp raisins
- 1 tbsp dried cranberries, chopped
- 1 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 to 1/2 cups boiling water
- 3 tbsp unsweetened plain yogurt
- 1 tsp pure maple syrup
- In a serving bowl, combine oats, almonds, raisins, cranberries, coconut, cinnamon, and cardamom. Stir in boiling water to desired consistency, and let stand for 1 minute. The oats will absorb the water and become the consistency of a thick porridge. Adjust the water until you achieve the consistency you desire.
- Top with yogurt and maple syrup.
Baked Apples with Cranberries and Cloves
“Baked apples with a sweet, spicy filling make a simple, yet classic breakfast,” says Coburn. The warming honey and fruits will satisfy kapha’s urge for sweet without refined sugar, and the fiber will help fill them up.
- 4 large apples, any variety, cores removed
- ¼ cup cranberries or dried blueberries
- ½ cup raisins
- 4 dried figs, finely chopped
- 2 dried apricots, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon ginger powder
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 cup apricot or peach juice
- 6 whole cloves
- 4 teaspoons honey
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove the core from each apple, without cutting all the way through the skin on the bottom.
- Place the cranberries, raisins, figs, and apricots in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle in the ginger and cinnamon, and pour in the apricot juice. Mix the ingredients thoroughly, and then fill the apples with the fruit mixture, allowing some to sit on top of the apples.
- Place the apples in a baking dish, and pour any remaining fruit mixture over them.
- Pierce each apple with four cloves.
- Bake for 25 minutes, or until the apples are tender. Remove from the oven and place on individual serving plates. Drizzle with honey if desired.
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