Diwali the festival of Lights which falls in the Hemant Rutu is around. All the kitchens in the town are busy cooking delicacies to celebrate this festival. While I am sure some may be still confused whether to indulge in these delicacies or not. Let’s have a bird eye view on the science underlying the diet and lifestyle adopted while celebrating the Festival of Lights which falls in the Hemant Rutu.
Ayurveda classifies the entire year into Six Rutus. Diwali falls in the Hemant Rutu, which is considered a strengthening season. The Hemant Rutu (early winter) begins with the end of the Sharad Poornima which marks the cooling down of the Earth and provides an opportunity for energy restoration and rejuvenation and lasts up to the end of December.
The human body is a miniature of the Universe. The changes that occur in the environment are similar to the changes that occur in the human body. Therefore, each season brings with it a typical diet and lifestyle. The Hemant Rutu brings in dryness and cold weather causing dryness in the body which is a Vata attribute.
The strength of an individual, his digestive capacity and the overall physiological functions are in a complete balance in this particular Hemant Rutu. The Hemant Rutu calls for consumption of food which is heavy to digest, a little more than the quantity of food an individual would normally consume, sweet, sour and salty to taste due to the increased digestive capacity of an individual. Well, when we talk about such kinds of food, we recall the chaklis, laddu’s, fried items like shev and various types of sweets that form a part of the traditional delicacies of this season. If we fail to provide the body with fuel for the increased digestive capacity it would cause emaciation of the body tissues and weakness.
A diet comprising of warm, well cooked food with oil, ghee (essentially cow’s ghee), wheat, sugar, milk, pulses which include green gram, black gram, moth beans, chana is advisable to combat cold and fuel the digestive fire. Starchy products like potatoes, sweet potatoes, fried products are heavy to digest and provide the required nutrition for this particular Hemant Rutu.
On the other hand, it is not only the diet that is to be concentrated on; but the seasonal lifestyle regime is important as well. One should wake up early in the morning and adopt a moderate exercise regime daily. A warm oil massage (preferably sesame oil) after exercise ensures relaxation of the muscles, moisturizes and tones the body; followed by rubbing the body with powders of fragrant herbs like Amla, Chandan etc. to remove the excess oil from the body; followed by a soothing hot bath is an ideal rejuvenation routine to enhance strength and boost immunity.
The Snehana (oil massage) followed by Swedana (fomentation/hot water bath) keep Vata (the kinetic component of the body) in balance keeping all the aches and pains away.
This regime should be followed not only during Diwali but the entire season to maintain equilibrium of the body and rejuvenate oneself. The Hemant Rutu is an ideal time for tissue rejuvenation and restoration.
Wishing you a nutritious, healthy, tasty, guilt free DIWALI.
Dr Sneha Kulkarni MD (Ayu) YIC