Sweet, Sour and Salty – These are the Tastes of Winter.
These are the tastes our bodies need more of now. These are the tastes that help ground and soothe.
According to the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, the medical arm of yoga, there are six primary tastes. They are Bitter, Salty, Sour, Pungent, Astringent and Sweet. While these unique tastes may not always be noticeable upon first bite, the Science of Ayurveda tells us that the food we eat breaks down into one or more of these tastes as we digest it. And the tastes combine in ways that influence us differently. Some tastes are heating, some are cooling; some are grounding, some can energize us; and of course, the way this happens is not as straightforward as you might think. Along these lines, as the seasons change, so does our physiological requirement for certain tastes.
Even though the tastes associated with the winter season are sweet, sour and salty, I’m not going to encourage you to suck on lemons, eat more candy or add salt to your fries… I will invite you to become more mindful of what you eat, however, and to begin paying more attention to how it tastes.
How do we do this? By slowing down... Savor each bite of food you eat, each sip of a beverage. Do you notice the subtle qualities? Begin by taking a moment to gaze upon a well prepared dish, and then take time to notice the flavors as you put the food into your mouth. Chew it. Chew it well. Once you’ve swallowed it, pause before taking another bite… Becoming more mindful about how we eat leads us down a path to becoming more mindful about how our food choices affect our overall health.
By learning to eat more slowly – taking our time and refining our senses - we nourish our bodies. In this way, taste not only nourishes our bodies. According to the science of Ayurveda, also known as the Science of Life (ayur – science; veda – life), what we taste has an influence on our minds and emotions, as well.
If you find this interesting, like I do, you may read more about the science of life and how the six tastes influence us… by clicking here.
And... if you're curious about some of the foods that offer the Tastes of Winter, here's a brief list:
Sweet (earth and water elements, cooling) - Root Vegetables, Breads, Dairy, Rice, Dates, Peppermint
Sour (earth and fire elements, heating) - Yogurt, Cheese, Lemon, Hibiscus, Rose Hips, Tamarind
Salty (water and fire elements) - Sea Salt, Rock Salt, Kelp and other Sea Vegetables
Thank you for reading. Feel free to leave a comment.
May you be warm, happy, healthy and satiated this winter – in body, mind, heart and breath!
Sharon Harvey Alexander