If you live in the northern half of the United States, you may find yourself in some weird limbo between winter and spring. Weather oscillating from fiercely windy and cold, to epic blue skies and blissfully warm days. I don’t know about you, but my body is a little confused, as is my wardrobe.
In Ayurveda, this transition period is called the sandhi, or joint, between Vata and Kapha season. Vata season is late-fall and early winter and is defined by the cold, light, dry, mobile qualities that prevail. Spring is an earthy, muddy time of year. Spring is cool, dense, heavy, stable and sticky – think of the mud that cakes your shoes after going on a jaunt with your pup. It is recommended that one eats in a manner that balances the qualities outside – with opposites. In the winter, it’s beneficial to steady the cold, light, dry qualities with warm, heavy, unctuous, and dense foods. As the snow melts and spring begins, the diet shifts dramatically to light, dry, astringent, and heating foods. You may notice that the only quality that is similar between Winter and Spring is cool – thus a cooked, heating, well spiced diet is in order.
Gosh, how do I balance the two diametrically opposing seasons during this sandhi?! Transition from winter to spring with Apple Cranberry Crisp. Apples are harvested in the fall and store well all winter. When baked, or stewed, with some oil and spices they work to lubricate the body as well as ground the nervous system. Wheat and oats are also gathered in the fall and are best consumed in the winter. Both wheat and oats possess heavy, warming, lubricating, building qualities that work as an antidote to those bone chilling nights. Pair this with whole fresh cranberries, a kapha superfood, and you’ve got a hybrid breakfast.
Cranberries are astringent superstars. Astringent foods basically suck the moisture out of your mouth when eaten- think unripe bananas, black tea, pomegranate seeds, spinach, etc. In the spring, we want to increase the astringent, bitter, and pungent tastes to help balance the excess moisture that is being released in the environment, and in-turn, in our body. In this crisp, the oil, sugar and extra fiber are all derived from the beloved coconut. The lighter quality of the coconut oil/sugar/fiber (say compared to butter, brown sugar and oats respectively) coalesce to counter some of the heaviness of the wheat and oats. Finally, a heaping of cinnamon is a boon for balancing blood sugar, increasing circulation and helps keep our digestive fire, and immunity robust. Breakfast is served, New England style!
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Blend in a deep baking dish:
· 5 apples- unpeeled and chopped
· 1 cup of whole fresh cranberries
· Juice of 1/2 lemon
· 1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
Crumb, blend in a medium bowl:
· 1 cup rolled oats
· 1 cup einkorn flour (or almond flour)
· 1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
· 3 Tablespoons coconut sugar
· 1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
· 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
Add crumb atop the prepared apples. Sprinkle with an additional 1/4 tsp of salt. Bake covered, or with foil, at 375 degrees for 50 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 more minutes, until the crumb is golden brown.