Autumn is synonymous with cool and crisp mornings, soft breezes that float crimson leaves through the air, and a chill that sets in as the months progress towards winter. In Ayurvedic terms, the season of fall is a time of Vata dosha, a combination of the elements of air and ether, with qualities of lightness, dryness, and mobility. As the weather cools and becomes more dynamic, it’s important to support the body through this transition by nourishing it with warming foods that stoke the digestive fire and offer grounding amidst the cooling qualities of this time of year.
One of my favorite ways to do so is by integrating warming spices and seasonal flavors. Smoothies are a convenient, nourishing and easy way to pack a nutritive punch. However, when it’s cold, they can dampen or weaken the digestive fire and the body’s ability to assimilate nutrients. For this pumpkin-spice inspired shake, I suggest using a room temperature milk, or gently warming it prior to combining all ingredients. By doing so, you automatically increase the body’s capacity to digest and nourish the dhatus (bodily tissues) via rasa dhatu (plasma and cytoplasm that provides energy to all tissues and organs). Adding coconut oil allows for better absorption of turmeric and the addition of collagen supports asthi dhatu which comprises the bones and cartilage. Pumpkin seeds high in zinc, magnesium, iron and fiber are the perfect addition for an autumnal concoction. Another way in which to ensure maximum uptake of nutrients and easy digestibility is to ensure that the pumpkin seed butter or pumpkin seeds are sprouted, as raw seeds and nuts can be much more difficult to digest, especially in cooler months.
This recipe can be adjusted based on personal taste and constitution — include what sounds good, and leave out what your body is not calling for. Most importantly, pour the shake into your favorite mug and enjoy with gratitude for the body and all the ways in which it serves you and transforms food into energy!
Warming Pumpkin Spice Shake Recipe
- 1 – 1 1/2 c. (more for a thinner shake) macadamia nut milk or almond milk – gently warmed or room temperature. You could also substitute hemp or coconut milk depending on preference, but for winter months almond or macadamia is more appropriate, as hemp and coconut are cooling in nature.
- 2 tsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1/4 tsp dried ginger powder
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract or 1/8 tsp fresh vanilla bean
- 2 tbsp sprouted pumpkin seed butter or sprouted pumpkin seeds
Pinch of sea salt
- 1-2 tsp raw honey, to taste, local if possible
- 1 tbsp collagen powder (optional)
- Bonus: roasted or steamed pumpkin or sweet winter squash (butternut, kabocha, etc. great for leftovers, and adds a nice sweetness and thickening effect)
- 1/2 banana for additional sweetness/thickness (Kapha and Pitta dosha can omit, most beneficial for Vata doshas)
Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.