Features of Ayurvedic Nutrition
Food is Medicine
Ayurveda teaches that ‘Food is Medicine,’ and is our first line of defense whenever anything in mind or body has gone awry.
There are fundamental dietary practices that we all share such as eating at regular times and favoring a seasonal diet. There are also individual dietary practices that are dictated by our doshic constitution.
Below find 7 Ayurvedic Dietary Practices that make up the fundamentals of ayurvedic diet that we all share together.
1. Eat Seasonally.
Ayurveda teaches that eating seasonally increases inner contentment, satisfaction, and joy. Frequent your farmers markets, support your local economy, know where your food comes from.
2. Favor a Sattvic Diet.
Sattvic food is defined as vegetarian, fresh, and wholesome—consisting of mainly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and small amounts of diary, such as whole raw milk, yogurt, paneer (an Indian cheese akin to cottage cheese), and ghee (clarified butter).
Ayurveda is not a vegetarian or vegan system, but emphasis on a plant based diet is generally believed to be more conducive to health and a peaceful state of mind.
3. Individual Constitution.
If there is an imbalance, eating seasonally may need to be augmented. This may mean minor augmentations for reducing vata, pitta, or kapha. If digestion is severely compromised additional precautionary measures may be required. For example, legumes and grains are frequently provoking to many modern diseases. In these cases, it important to heal digestion and identify provoking foods before adopting what is traditionally defined as ayurvedic diet.
4. Eat mindfully.
It does not matter if you are eating Twinkies or a salad if you are eating it on-the-run or while frantic. At least once a day, sit down and eat your meal with awareness: no TV, no radio, and no distractions.
5. Organic, free range, antibiotic free & hormone free.
Make sure milk, meat, eggs, yogurt, paneer, butter, and ghee are from high quality sources: organic, grass fed, antibiotic- and hormone-free, and respectfully produced.
6. Include a diversity of tastes.
Ayurveda uses the tastes medicinally. It teaches that by including all of the tastes (sweet, sour, bitter, salty, pungent and astringent) we satisfy our physical body and mind.
7. Don’t flush the evidence.
If your unsure of your diet in anyway simply observe how you are digesting your food. Ayurvedic medicine teaches that our digestion is the epicenter of our immune system. Ayurvedic nutrition works by addressing negative digestive tendencies native to each constitution. Vata types are taught to eat at regular times to reduce irregularities in their digestion. Pitta types are taught to avoid spicy foods to reduce tendencies toward acidity. Kapha types are taught to favor spices to increase digestive strength. If you are unsure of how you are digesting your food, observe your bowel movement each morning (yes, ayurveda teaches to eliminate once each morning). Your bowel movement should be 6-12 inches in length, banana shaped, and come out with ease. There should be little strain and very little odor. If there are chronic variances (constipation, strain, loose bowel, dry bowel) you should look at your diet and strongly consider altering it.