Favorite Fall Foods

Picture of Jean Keese

Jean Keese

Fall is a time for us to restore and rejuvenate for the winter ahead. It’s also a time to nourish. In Ayurvedic terms, fall is a season of Vata – the “air and ether” dosha that brings us the qualities of cold, light, and dry. The key to health in the fall is to keep Vata balanced. To do this, we incorporate the qualities of warm, heavy, and moist. To optimize our health, we eat in harmony with the seasons.

In Ayurveda, food is always the best medicine. Because the nature of fall is “drying” we should focus on foods that hydrate us. In general, consume hot soup, cooked vegetables, nuts, seeds, and easily digested beans and grains. Foods to avoid are dry, airy foods like chips, raw or dried fruits and vegetables, and granola. So it is completely natural – and healthy – to crave warm soups, roasted vegetables, and bread right out of the oven with lots of butter!

Following is a list of my personal favorite fall “super” foods:

Mung beans

Mung beans are the key ingredient in Kitchari – the famous Ayurvedic healing and cleanse food. These beans are tri-doshic (bring balance to everyone) and don’t create the embarrassing gas that their sister beans are guilty of. This little bean is packed with potassium, magnesium, iron, folate, fiber, and B6. The best part? These beans cook faster than most other beans, and can create a one-pot meal in less than an hour! Mung beans are the key ingredient in Kitchari – the ayurvedic cleanse staple. Not all grocery stores carry mung beans, but you can purchase them directly from my favorite Ayurvedic supplier Banyan Botanicals.

Sweet Potatoes and Yams

Sweet potatoes are basically a dessert that is good for you. And, by dessert, I mean without the added marshmallow. These delicious root vegetables are rich in Vitamin A and help to remove toxins from the body. They support kidney function, which helps our bodies manage dryness and inflammation. They are easy to prepare, and I personally love to slice them and bake with butter, cinnamon, and cardamom.


Have you ever wondered why we have the phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”? In Ayurveda, we know that disease begins in the gut. Apples help to keep our gut healthy and are known to be a remedy for indigestion. The malic and tartaric acid in apples inhibit the growth of disease-producing bacteria in the digestive tract. Pectin in apples is known to remove cholesterol, toxic metals, and residues of radiation. They are easily packable, and you can eat them raw, stewed, or baked. Like yams, I love them baked with butter and spice!


If I had to pick one food, Avocado would be it! Unfortunately, I can’t grow them in Idaho. Avocados bring balance to the liver, and moisture to the lungs and intestines – balancing Vata. A natural source of lecithin, avocados are excellent brain food and a healthy source of fat.


Beets are an excellent tonic for the blood and liver, provide moisture for the intestines making them an excellent remedy for constipation. Beets are an excellent “cleanse” food because they help to stimulate the lymphatic system. They can be eaten raw, boiled, baked, or roasted. I love to bake them with oil, and rosemary. Simple foods are often the best!


A well-known Ayurvedic self-care ritual is to drink lemon in warm water in the morning, before consuming anything else. This helps to stimulate your digestive fire. Lemon destroys unhealthy bacteria in the mouth and the intestine and can be used to freshen the breath (another reason to drink first thing in the morning). Lemon has been known to support the healing of colds, flu, coughs, and more. Lemon also increases the production of fluids in the body and calms the nerves. If you don’t have fresh lemon, you can substitute by adding a few drops of Lemon Essential Oil to warm water.

Other foods to add to your shopping list during Fall are leeks, peppers, winter squash, and root vegetables. Lemon, every morning in warm water. Walnuts, garlic, onions.

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