Ayurveda, and the ayruvedic diet is one of the most respected holistic mind body health systems that developed in India thousands of years ago.
The Ayurvedic Guide to Diet & Weight Loss: The Sattva Program
It aims to bring the mind, body and spirit together as one healthy unit.
The main priniciple of ayurveda and the ayurvedic diet are that your body and mind are connected and that your mind is more important than anything when it comes to healing or changing the body. It is believed that it is more important to promote good health than to try to cure or fight diseases. It places emphasis on prevention rather than taking medicine after you get sick.
The Ayurvedic Diet Categorizes Food in 4 Ways:
- the 5 Elements
- the 3 Doshas
- the 6 Tastes
- the 3 Grades or Gunas
The Five Elements
The five elements of the Ayurvedic diet aren’t on the periodic table of elements. Instead, they’re the conceptual elements, Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, and Ether.
Earth, or Prthvi, is the principle of inertia. It represents solidity, matter, and physical constitution.It connects to the sense of smell, bones, teeth, and tissues. In tandem with water, it forms the Kapha Dosha.
Water, or Ap, is the principle of cohesion. It represents change and instability, being responsible for the metabolism and bodily fluids.Connected to taste and the tongue, Water is the dominant element of the Kapha Dosha.
Fire, or Tejas, is the principle of radiance. It represents the lack of substance and the power to transfer the state of a substance. Responsible for digestion andperception, Fire is the dominant element in the Pitta Dosha.
Wind, or Vayu, is the principle of vibration. Relating to touch and responsible for the respiratory system, it represents mobility or dynamic. Required for fire to burn, Wind is the dominant element in the Vata Dosha.
Ether, or Akasa, is the principle of pervasiveness.Ether is the space in which everything exists. Relating to the pores and ears, Ether is the perception of sound. Together with air, Ether forms the Vata Dosha.
The Doshas – Best Foods For Each Type
Doshas are the three energies of the Ayurvedic diet, and the aim of the diet is to keep all three in balance. Doshas are the driving force behind a person’s mental and physical characteristics, and an imbalance causes disease and sickness. Each person usually only has one or two dominant doshas. Different proportions of Dosha define a person’s likes and dislikes.
Vatas are generally quick to learn and excitable, while Kaphas are deliberate and compassionate, and Pittas are assertive natural leaders.
Vata is the Dosha of Air and Ether, related directly to movement, Vata is defined by light, cold, dry, mobile, subtle, and rough descriptors. When in balance, the
Vata Dosha brings creativity and life. When imbalanced, it brings fear and anxiety.
The ten best foods for Vata are clarified butter, fresh ginger, warm milk with ginger and cardamom, cream of rice, warm soups and stews with beets or carrots, almonds rinsed in boiling water and roasted in ghee, sweet fruits, spiced root vegetables, kichari with ghee and root vegetables, and chicken broth. Vata foods are pungent, bitter, light, and astringent, and to balance excessive vata, one should consume sweet, sour, salty, heavy foods. These are the teaching so The Ayurvedic diet.
Pitta is the Dosha of Fire and Water, related directly to energy. Pitta is defined by light, hot, greasy, sharp, and fluid descriptors. When in balance, it leads to intelligence and happiness. When imbalanced, it brings anger and stress symptoms like ulcers.
The ten best foods for Pitta are clarified butter, milk with cardamom,sunflower seeds, steamed broccoli, lassi, cucumber, salads, cold cereals such as oats, kichari with cumin and fresh cilantro, and legumes. To lower one’s Pitta, one should consume sweet, bitter, and astringent foods. Hot, light, and dry foods, like chips and spicy salsa, increase pitta. Cold, heavy, oily foods like ice cream decrease it.
Kapha is the Dosha of Water and Earth, related directly to structure and form. Kapha is defined as heavy, cold, greasy, stable, and softening descriptors. When in balance it brings love and forgiveness. When imbalanced, it leads to insecurity and envy.
Considered the ‘heavy’ Dosha, the the ten best foods for Kapha are hot water with fresh ginger, warm buckwheat, spicy kichari with ginger, pomegranates, leafy greens, artichokes, sprouts, soy milk, legumes, and brussel sprouts. To balance Kapha, a person should be sure to eat lots of pungent, bitter, astringent foods, and steer away from sour, sweet, and salty foods.
Every person contains all three Doshas. Where the Vata provides your heartbeat, the Pitta provides the blood to do so, and the Kapha provides the heart itself.
The Ayurvedic Diet -The Six Tastes
The Ayurvedic diet categorizes food further by six tastes. The importance of having all of them in your daily diet is stressed, even to children; sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent, each food category is known to have different uses in holistic medicine, and a diet missing any of the flavors in a meal is taught to be unhealthy. Another component of Ayurveda is eating the colors of the rainbow in every meal.
Ayurveda believes that the body’s digestion is defined by a person’s Agni, or Digestive Fire, which allows you to eat whatever you wish when it’s strong. When it’s weakened however, digestion fails and the body produces toxins.
The Three Gunas
The ayurvedic diet final categorization is the Gunas, or Grades. The three Gunas are the qualities for all material things. From best to worst, they are Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas.
If the foods were a food pyramid, the base would be the required Sattva foods, the Rajasic foods would the be middle ‘only if needed’ foods, and the Tamasic foods would be reduced as far as possible.
Sattvic foods are are the ‘good’ foods, relating to happiness and peace. A neutral force of balance, Sattvic foods promote a clear mind, being fresh vegetarian fare
made with love. This food grade includes legumes, vegetables, ghee, fruit, and milk.
Rajasic foods are passionate, considered the positive force. The Rajasic state is all about passion and ferocity. Seen as almost the Yang energy of Chinese Medicine,
Rajasic foods include caffeine, garlic, chili, chocolate, eggs, meat, and any foods made in anger, overcooked, or fried.
Tamasic foods are resistant, considered the negative, cool force, akin to Yin energy in Chinese Medicine. The Tamasic energies are considered lethargic, depressed,
hateful, and suicidal. Tamasic foods are grounding, requiring lots of energy to digest, and often dulling the mind. Onions, mushrooms, meats, leftovers, microwaved
and frozen foods, and alcohol fall under this category.
The Ayurvedic diet – 9 Healthy Eating Habits
Ayurveda and the ayurvedic diet teaches that HOW one eats their food is more important than what they’re eating, creating 9 rules to teach a dieter to be mindful.
1. Make eating a sacred ritual, beginning meals by taking 5 deep breaths with the eyes closed. this is the The Ayurvedic diet way.
2. Only eat food prepared with love. Don’t eat in restaurants, as we eat not only the food, but the emotions of the chef.
3. Eat in an environment free of television or radio, don’t read or have excessive or intense conversations when on The Ayurvedic diet
4. Chew food until it feels even to properly absorb and digest it.
5. Eat only until you are ¾ of the way full. Eat until you feel satisfied, but not heavy or hungry. Overeating makes it difficult to digest foods.
6. Drink ½ cup of room-temperature water with foods, no more. Chips may require more, soups require none. Drink only room temperature drinks as cold drinks destroy
the digestive fire and slow digestion.
7. Wait 15-20 minutes after each meal for the food to digest, relaxing and engaging in light conversation.
8. Allow 3 hours between meals for food to digest.
9. Eat the biggest meal at lunch and the smallest meal at dinner.
The Ayurvedic diet states we should eat as many Sattvic foods as we can, avoiding the others or taking them in moderation. By eating the flavors best for our Doshas and supporting our Agni, we can fine-tune our body to digest correctly, pulling it back into balance. By bringing harmony to our lives and our diet, Ayurveda shows the dieter a new path.
Kichari, the famous Ayurvedic diet dish used during or after illness, is perfectly balanced for all three Doshas, created to harmonize the mind and regulate the body. Subtle tweaks can be made to the recipe to lean it more towards one Dosha or another, giving it the power to heal anything required.
The Ayurvedic diet – Kichari
- 1-2 tbsp clarified butter, known as ghee
- 1 cup mung beans (split beans are best; they are yellow; can also use the whole mung beans, which are green)
- ½ cup white basmati rice
- 1 tsp each of cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, and mustard seeds
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/8 tsp of hing or asafoetida (could be omitted if you cannot find it)
- 1-3 tsp fresh grated ginger
- Mixed Veggies, such as ½ cup yam
- 2 cups chopped kale
- 1 teaspoon dried burdock
- 6-8 cups water
The Ayurvedic diet note:
Rinse mung beans and rice 3 times before cooking. Soak mung beans for 1-8 hours before cooking. Overnight is good, but not longer than 8 hours
(soaking helps to eliminate the formation of gas).
• Melt 1 tablespoon ghee or other cooking oil in deep pot over low to medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of cumin, fenugreek, and mustard seeds and the grated ginger. Saute until slightly brown, careful not to burn.
• Add rice and mung beans and saute for 30 seconds or so. Turn down heat.
• Add turmeric, coriander, and hing powders and saute for another 30 seconds or so. Do not burn.
• Add 6-8 cups of water (depends on how long you soaked the beans but Kichadi should be soupy; add more water if needed)
• Add root veggies at this time. Cover and cook for 20-30 minutes
• Add leafy greens at this time. Cover and cook for another 20 minutes
You can put Bragg’s seasoning on top if a little salt is desired.
The Ayurvedic diet Recipe adapted from ayurveda-holistic-medicine
The Ayurvedic Guide to Diet & Weight Loss: The Sattva Program
Follow The Ayurvedic diet and its teachings and you can live a long and happy life.
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