Have you ever wondered if you should eat and live in a specific way? That there might be a specific method of living your life based on a profile that will enable you to maximize your activities, your food intake, and your health? If you have, then you should definitely read on and learn about the Ayurvedic Diet.
Ayurveda is an ancient practice that follows the showing of respect towards life and what it has to offer. Ayurveda is made up of two Sanskrit words, Ayur (life) and Veda (science), which aims to promote a holistically well-rounded lifestyle where a person eats a diet that recognizes and lives by the dosha or internal constitution of a person.
The dosha is the prominent characteristic of a person that affects his or her life. The three doshas are Vata, Kapha, and Pitta, and they are ruled by different elements of the earth. The diet also emphasizes eating principles that recognize the roles that different flavors have in your meal and in having an awareness of the body and what it needs and what it is telling you. It allows a person to take charge of their body and to know what it needs in order to stay healthy and to maximize the activities and food that is most beneficial to their dosha.
Although weight loss is not the primary focus of following the Ayurvedic diet, it does come naturally because the diet is composed of whole, unprocessed food and it encourages preparing your own meals. When you prepare your own meals, you see what goes into your food and you are able to learn for yourself how much you can and should eat, and you are also able to recognize the importance of procuring good quality ingredients for your dishes.
The Ayurvedic Diet encourages you to have self awareness.
People who are in this category are often described as people who have light and flexible bodies, and those who do not gain weight easily. They lean towards drier seasons because they have little fat in their body to keep them warm, and they also love to move around and make use of their physical energy. They have a tendency to be more creative and imaginative than other dosha types, and they are also the ones who are most welcoming to change. Vata is also considered as the energy of movement, the one that is responsible for all the activities within the physical body.
The vatta dosha is characterized with air and space elements.
Because of the natural inclination of Vatas to want warmth, their type also prefers food that gives them warmth and an overall feeling of comfort. They prefer food that are rich in spices and those that aid in digestion. It is generally suggested that you eat food that are moist, moderately sweet, and easy to digest. Meat such as beef, chicken, and duck, as well as fish and other types of seafood are considered as a great source of protein and a source of grounding and strengthening energies for those who fall under this category. They are also highly encouraged to drink herbal teas and to include dairy in their diet.
An imbalance in the Vata usually tends to show through constipation or excessive flatulence, weight loss, and an increase in feelings of restlessness and anxiety. Vata encourages regular meal times, spending a considerable amount of time in taking care of one’s self, and in eating food that are preferably cooked as cooking helps in breaking down the food more easily.
People who are viewed as having a Pitta dosha are often characterized as those who are medium-built and who have a nice proportion. They tend to sweat easily, and they also generally do not enjoy hot and humid climates. Pittas also have a general inclination towards order and logical patterns, and they have great leadership characteristics. They are often contemplative and meticulous about details concerning every aspect of their life. Pitta is also considered as the energy of metabolism in the body and is the one that’s responsible for the biochemical changes in the body, particularly in regulating the body’s temperature and in nutrient absorption. Pitta types are also more easily affected by environment and external stimuli.
Pitas are encouraged to eat soothing and cooling food options that keeps the body regulated. While it is important to feel true hunger before eating, Pitas need to be more aware of their body’s signals as they also have a greater tendency to suffer from low blood sugar levels that can lead to lightheadedness and dizzy spells. It is also recommended that they include cooling herbs such as mint, cilantro, dill, and basil in their diet to help keep their bodies cool, and to avoid sour and spicy dishes. They should also go for protein rich food that are moderately easy to digest such as fish, chicken, turkey, and venison, and even these should be eaten in moderation. They are encouraged to include green leafy vegetables in their diet and avoid acidic produce.
The pitta dosha is associated with elements of fire and water.
A pitta imbalance is usually manifested through recurring viral infections and/or inflammations, diarrhea, and a general feeling of irritability. They are also encouraged to include calming exercises such as yoga in their daily routine to maintain their balance both physically and psychologically.
Those who are categorized as Kapha are often described as having a sturdy and strong build. Among the dosha types, they are the ones who enjoy sleeping the most and have a strong appetite. However, they are also the ones who have the slowest metabolism among the three doshas and are the ones who gain weight easily. Although they are naturally athletic and has great strength and stamina, they prefer a more relaxed environment especially during the colder seasons where it feels good to stay warm and cosy. They enjoy routine and in organizing things to make sure that everything is running smoothly. Kapha is also considered the energy of stability in the body which is responsible for maintaining the body’s immune system, controlling emotions, and in keeping all body functions intact.
The kapha dosha is connected to elements of eart and water.
Kaphas are encouraged to make their meals light and more frequent than other dosha types. They should enjoy dry, hot and stimulating dishes that are rich in pungent spices that really tickle the taste buds. It is also suggested for kaphas to avoid dairy, raw vegetables, sweet, salty, and sour dishes as these may cause an imbalance. Fresh and sweet fruit juices, and black tea are highly recommended for kaphas, whereas hard spirits, wine, and caffeinated beverages are best avoided.
A kapha imbalance is usually characterized by a general feeling of being unwell, mucus congestion, sluggish and slow digestion, obesity and fluid retention, and sleeping for extended period of times. Kaphas need to include regular, moderate workouts in their routine to help them maintain a healthy and active lifestyle that would feel more like a recreation than a chore.
In determining your dosha, you can consult with an Ayurvedic physician who can help in identifying your prominent dosha. There are instances where more than one dosha is present in a person and therefore, an Ayurvedic physician can help in accurately determining a diet plan that will work best for you. You can also take an online test to help in determining your dosha. This can serve as a guideline for your diet as you will generally feel more attracted to certain choices naturally and these also tend to be your true dosha inclination.
Because the Ayurvedic Diet encourages an awareness of yourself and of your surroundings, seasonal changes may also affect how you go about your diet. Find the food that will help retain your balance no matter if you have a singular dosha, or you have dual or tri-dosha. Always work with your predominant dosha at any given time no matter what the season is in order to maintain your balance. Doing meditation also helps in retaining and maintaining your balance even when sudden changes take place.
Meditative yoga is very helpful in retaining and maintaining your dosha's balance.
Because the intention of the Ayurvedic Diet is on promoting healthy lifestyle choices, it goes without saying that it also promotes healthy eating practices. It encourages that you sit down and focus on your meal without much talking and distractions, and to simply be thankful for the meal that you have before you. You should also eat slowly enough to savor all the different flavors that are present in each dish but still fast enough to prevent the food from becoming too cold and not enjoyable to eat.
Food appreciation and recognizing true hunger are essential aspects of the ayurvedic diet.
Because the diet is a practice on mindfulness and awareness, it also encourages that a person should learn to recognize the body’s cues for true hunger. True hunger is when your body sends signals that you need to eat food, and they are usually accompanied by a feeling of lightheadedness and dizziness when you are not able to eat when the signal arrives. It is worth noting that having healthy food choices when your body cues for true hunger is very important because depriving your body when it has already sent signals to your brain for needing food may lead to poor food choices when the body becomes overly hungry.
You should also know when you have had enough food and should discontinue eating. This means recognizing your body’s cues when it has had its fill and would no longer need to eat until the next time that it would need food. Because food can easily fill the gaps of boredom, dissatisfaction, emotional triggers, and the like, finding other ways of filling these gaps can help in avoiding mindless, unhealthy, and unnecessary eating habits. The Ayurvedic diet promotes eating only when you have already digested your food because it wants you to know when to nourish your body in as much as it wants you to know what to nourish it with.
The decision to go on the Ayurvedic diet is easier than most diets because it is not as restrictive and is more inclined on promoting healthy eating habits that is based on the awareness and mindfulness of the body and of its needs. It is a great addition to an already healthy and active lifestyle because it allows a more holistic approach on health and wellness, and it recognizes that food and activities go hand in hand in making the body healthy and strong.
Being mindful of what you feed and do to your body is the best way of living because we only have one body and who can better take care of it than us? As we say at Lark Ellen Farm, feed your body, feed your soul. When you nourish your body in a way that shows it the respect that it deserves, it will give back to you in ways that you can not imagine. Your body is amazing and it deserves all the respect and care that you can give it. This is what the Ayurvedic Diet promotes and this is also something that we at Lark Ellen Farm believes in.
Being mindful of your choices is always the best way to go.