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).
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. Avoid Yeast
Yeast provokes all doshas. Flat breads or sprouted breads are better options.
7. 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.
Eventually one will wonder about her food portions. Especially if she is coming from a dietetic background that engaged in counting, measuring, and weighing in order to calculate the correct proportion of food intake relative to her caloric needs. Ayurveda suggests a simple to remember but usually more difficult to master equation: Only eat until the stomach is one-third full; save one-third for liquid; and leave one-third for space, so that there is enough room to churn food contents in the stomach and properly digest them.
The measure of proper food proportion is self-guided, determined by when one feels appeased but not full from the amount of food she has consumed. This will vary according to individual digestive strength, season, and activity level. One must stop if there is any discomfort at all in the sides or low stomach. It should be comfortable to remain in conversation or to go for a walk. An athlete training for a marathon will need more food and should not fight herself to eat less. The amount of food should sustain her until the next meal, and she should avoid discomfort from hunger. If she does feel hunger chronically, it can contribute to disease and weaken her mind and her body.
Chronic hunger can indicate self-neglect, fear, or an inner struggle to control life through food. Because food is an expression of the divine, how we eat can reveal a great deal about how we feel about life. Food is frequently a form of self-reward and self-punishment. Some people eat excessively when they have accomplished a goal; others eat excessively to punish themselves when they think that they have failed. Those who struggle with giving and receiving often refuse food, deliberately eat small quantities of it, or purchase elaborate desserts only to leave them untouched in plain view for several days.
Abundant kapha types love to eat, share food, show love for others in feeding them, and feed their blues sweet things when they are sad or hurt. Kaphas with disordered eating punish themselves with food, become binge eaters, lose control, and divide into two personalities: one who punishes by forced feeding, and one who suffers in guilt as she eats it. These kapha types are often on diets, do not eat much in front of others, and verbally state they do not know why they are so overweight. Binging, nighttime eating when others are sleeping, and eating small amounts constantly throughout the day are common contributors of weight gain in these types. Kaphas with this distorted eating pattern primarily accumulate excess weight as a consequence of resentments held against the misdeeds of others. They store betrayals in their fat cells and in how they metabolize energy. They are literally weighted down by the past.
Kapha types who have disordered eating patterns like this often endured a significant betrayal from one or both of their parents as children. Because they are earth oriented, their emotional well being strongly influences the physical structure of their bodies. If they attempt to rectify these issues from the level of mind, they most likely will experience a merry go round of thoughts and confused feelings. Years of self-analysis only go so far. They chronically find themselves in similar situations, and confess an overall feeling of being ‘stuck.’ Kaphas like this benefit from ceremony, ritual, breathwork, and rites of passage that outwardly declare the release of patterns and traumas. For them, approaching release is most supported by involving the body. Dance, pottery, digging in the ground, writing, reading, stomping, breathing, rocking, massaging, burning totems of the past, are all mechanisms to get into the tissues and pull out the structural memories that bind self-negating patterns.
Pitta types who are hot with competitiveness, driven to succeed, and deny themselves rest and nurturance are prone to eat excessive amounts on the run or between appointments. These types barely chew, swallow whole pieces, and suffer from ulcerations, burning, and belching. They may be driven to give or succeed, but they are often in a hurry and struggle with receiving. Food is the divine gift of life, one of the most precious we have. Enjoying food requires the tongue, the mouth, the lips, and the taste buds to receive its tastes, textures, and gifts. Pitta types who feel uneasy with receiving from a source that is not themselves, or getting something that they did not ‘earn,’ eat fast to sidetrack the awareness of this uncomfortable and hard to understand feeling. Pitta types like this can benefit from acknowledging gifts that came at no price to them, meditating on the thank-yous, and withholding response aversions to indebtedness that ‘pay back’ the gift.
Pitta types who are concerned with perfectionism, ego, and appearance can deny food and fall into anorexia. Thinness is a trophy to these types, a characteristic of inner strength and outward discipline. They idolize the thinness they observe in others, and feel accomplished when they acquire it themselves. Thinness is a personality characteristic that represents success, beauty, control, and will. Obesity is viewed harshly as the epitome of gluttony, weakness, lack of self-control, disgust, and vileness. These pitta types have gone to great lengths to disown their natural freedom, pride themselves on their servitude, and of being the ‘perfect’ wife, daughter, mother, and employee. They live for an invisible eye, an idea of the ultimate person, who may or may not be an accurate expression of who they truly are.
Pitta types with disordered eating often have pleasing personalities and want to be accepted. They often had one or both parents try to control their behavior and inhibit natural growth stages of rebellion and/or independence. Often, they do not know what they truly want but strive for social conformity and status, because they believe it will bring them acceptance and public approval. It is most devastating for these types to have their public image tarnished in any way. The fear of such an outcome is one of the primary motivators in their decision-making. It would be helpful for these types to forgive their own imperfections, celebrate, and relish them. Identifying their personal needs and allowing them to come forth through their unique personality can also help align their identity with their lifestyle. Engaging in a rite of passage, regardless of their current age, can help reduce energetic binds that continue to drive life choices that may or may not be authentically theirs. The rite may acknowledge the entry into adulthood, the dissolution of parental ties, letting go of the desire for parental approval, or moving from a child into a self-actualizing person.
Vata types with disordered eating patterns frequently forget to eat, feel too nervous to eat, skip meals intentionally, and crave sugars for energy. When vatas are consumed with fear, they become prone to eating disorders, especially bulimia with long purgation durations that include excessive running, cardiovascular workouts, fasting, and laxative abuse. Vata types like this have often endured abuse as children, and were either forced or chose to adopt an externally happy personification in spite of it. They developed coping mechanisms to internalize the overwhelming fear of their own emotions, hurt, despair, and rage. In so doing, split in personality, they project a happy, pleasing face to the external world. Denying a great need for security, disguising their real needs, and disassociating from their own anxieties, they present to the world that they are okay. This causes a rift of inner conflict.
Nervousness, anxiety attacks, and social phobias are common and difficult for them to understand. Consequently, these patterns are often recreated through destructive relationships that perpetuate a state of insecurity. They may choose infidel life partners or create undue financial burdens. These types can also fall into patterns of chronic illness, where others must take care of them. This allows them to receive a distorted version of the nurturance and security that they desperately want but do not believe they can create for themselves. These types greatly benefit by developing self-confidence through completing tasks from start to finish, educating themselves on financial matters, and cultivating independence. It is important for these types to have a secure home, even if it is an area, a room, or a chair, and for them to know it is their own. This will empower them to continue to expand into wider spaces of who they truly are.
Female vata types with this disposition often fear their own femininity. In order to masculinize their body, they go to great lengths to stay thin, flat chested, and hipless. They refrain from food and fats in order to induce amenorrhea and avoid the cycle of menstruation—the ultimate symbol of all that is feminine. Many of these types feel disgusted by the menstruation process and idolize the male form. It is not uncommon for them to forcefully admit that they do not want to menstruate because they do not want children, and cannot see the point to it. They may wear boyish clothing and carry themselves in a masculinized manner. These types may exercise excessively, be very protective of and private about their diet and at the slightest indication, will separate themselves from anyone who challenges or questions them. These types are often extremely disconnected from their emotions, and skilled at avoiding anything or anyone who may bring their attention toward their real feelings and thoughts. For them, it will take receptivity to hear and value an outside perspective on their current state or an awareness of their place, and a desire to change. Because of the level of self-rejection and renouncing of their own identity, this type can be the most difficult to restore.
In ayurveda, it is generally advised to eat twice during the day, and to not snack. One morning meal and one late afternoon meal should be physically sufficient. Most of us have been entrained quite differently than this dietary pattern. America encourages three large meals a day with one or two snacks between. The idea of going from this standard to two meals a day and no snacks can be daunting at best. Do not force yourself to go to two meals. Forcing oneself to eat this way will only last as long as willpower does, and it will feel like chronic self-suppression. Instead, begin by eating three healthy meals and a snack. Avoid eating before the previous meal has been digested because it can create systemic toxicity. One should eat with confidence that her food will nourish her. She should avoid condemning, speaking, or thinking poorly about her food when she eats it.
Learn about ayurveda, the seasons, enhancing digestion, and regular detoxification. The desire to eat will naturally balance itself over time. Your body will let you know when and how much. Trust yourself. And enjoy. You are already perfect.
Hamsa is a detoxification and rejuvenation center rooted in ayurveda and yoga. Their specialty is creating programs individually tailored and customized for each client. Here are three ways that you can utilize their services to powerfully detoxify your body, mind, & spirit.
1. 3-Day Udvartana Program
Raw Juice Fast, Udvartana, Steam, Month-Long Program
$950.00 Value for $725.00
A short but powerfully effective program consisting of a 3-day series of udvartana, steam, and a juice fast, as well as a a month long regiment of internal herbs and ayurvedic diet. When our lymphatic system is not working properly, toxins and other wastes accumulate in the tissues, and can cause weight gain.Udvartana is a traditional ayurvedic treatment, applied by two therapists, that assists with lymphatic drainage, weight loss, and detoxification. Ayurvedic technicians use specific herbs and strokes over a period of an hour that help to rebalance the lymphatic system, and complete the treatment in a steam infused witch specific herbs. Clients are provided a fasting regiment of all raw fresh pressed fruit and vegetable juices and herbal elixirs. Begin your series with a complimentary 2 hour assessment where Monica tailors a month long lifestyle program and herbal regiment (normally $225.00). Pick up 5 raw juices and fresh pressed herbal elixirs lovingly made by “Healing Earth Cafe.” 3-Day Program includes: treatments, herbs, juices, and assessment. Learn more by following this link…
2. 4-Week Detox Class, $280.00
Includes All Herbal Supplements & Oils ($78.00 Value)
A 4-Week Detox Class focused on self-development and empowerment. Participants implement lifestyle practices that form the foundation of ayurvedic lifestyle, and learn powerful detoxification practices that include: self-massage, skin brushing, steaming, enemas, fasting, etc.
Clients meet once a week for four, consecutive weeks in a small, classroom setting, and learn step-by-step how to utilize practices of self-empowerment in order to rejuvenate and detoxify the system. Included in each series: Detailed Manual and Course Handouts
Beautiful Ayurvedic Lifestyle Starter Pack (Thailam, Nasya, Triphala, Churna, Tongue Scraper, Ubtan) and 20% off additional services at Hamsa. Learn more by following this link…
Next session starts May 6th 6:30-8:30
3. Home Based Cleanse, $425.00
(Includes all Herbal Supplements Hand Crafted for You! $225.00 Value)
The home based cleanse is tailored for each client and is best for someone looking for a moderate level cleanse. Intensity varies according to several important key areas in client’s life including: current stress load, time constraints, and current health status.
The home based cleanse includes a 1-hour initial consultation and two 30-minute follow-up consultations. During an initial consultation Monica gathers the appropriate information to construct the cleanse itself. She uses this information to hand select, craft, and blend each of her client’s herbal supplements to fulfill her client’s needs. No two cleanses are ever alike.
Additional treatments can be integrated into one’s program, making an affective alternative for ‘panchakarma.’ Learn more by following this link…
Read five reasons why ayurveda, an ancient medical system from India, teaches that eating at the same time every day and in the right quantities is one of the most health beneficial things we can do for ourselves.
1. Eating at the same time every day maintains our circadian rhythms.
Our sleep cycle and our exposure to light are the most powerful effectors on our circadian rhythms. When we eat, however, is also a powerful entrainment method. Studies indicate that when we eat directly affects the circadian rhythms of our most important functions in the liver, kidney, heart, lung, and pancreas.
2. Disease Prevention
Researchers theorize that irregularities in eating schedules are more influential on disease pathogenesis than staying up through the night is. Night shift workers, who move to a regular daytime activity lifestyle a few days a week, keep their circadian rhythms in constant desynchronization.[iii] Changes in feeding time can lead to uncoupling of peripheral oscillators from the SCN. Interestingly, not eating has no effect on circadian rhythms. It is only through eating that we effectively influence circadian rhythm.[iv] Irregular eating times can cause desynchronization, which has a detrimental effect of physiologic function.
3. Weight Maintenance
Restricting food to a particular time of day effectively influences physiologic function. Studies indicate that by eating in accordance to correct timing, we can affect weight loss or gain. Mice, which are normally nocturnal, entrained to eat and be active during the day, gain significantly more weight than mice fed at night even with an exact diet. In humans, glucose tolerance and insulin responses to glucose and meals are higher in the morning than at night, and peak midday between noon and 6:00 P.M[MSOffice1] . This indicates that we should be eating during these times.
4. Blood Sugar Balance
Ayurveda teaches that breakfast should be higher in carbohydrates than our other meals are. Fruit salad in the spring and summer and cooked grain cereals in the fall and winter are easy to digest and provide energy to begin the day. Studies by the Stanford University Medical Center show fluctuations in powerful hormones called “glucocorticoids” are largely influenced by diet. Blood sugar regulation and the biological clock are entwined. Glucocorticoids, a class of steroid hormones, are primarily responsible for blood sugar metabolism and inflammation reduction. They directly synchronize the biological clock as an integral part of regulating blood sugar and maintain healthy metabolism.
Chronobiology studies show the highest insulin requirements are expected midday and the lowest, during late night hours.[ix] The natural increase in insulin resistance that occurs in the evening can contribute to an excess blood sugar and weight gain if we eat excessively at this time. Because favoring a small dinner is encouraged for most types in ayurveda, eating a moderate size breakfast, and the largest meal of the day as close to 2:00 as possible is generally better tolerated. Eating the largest meal at, or just before, 2:00 helps to increase satiety into the evening, so that the smallest meal of the day happens with less effort or self-repression.
5. Enhances Life Span
Ayurvedically, routine is one of the most important dictators of health. Ideally, we eat our meals at relatively the same times every day. It is ideal to rise with the sun, eat a moderate breakfast, and eat the largest meal midday between 10:00 and 2:00 and our smallest meal for dinner, if we have dinner at all. Generally, ayurveda favors eating lightly. With time, and the incorporation of more healthy foods and behaviors, the desire to eat less will occur naturally.Calorie restriction has longevity and rejuvenating influences on life span and health, reducing the risk for atherosclerosis, improving cognitive ability and memory, and inhibiting normal and cancer cell growth.[v]
Caution is advised against practicing ongoing calorie restriction or light diet prematurely. Doing so has shown to contribute to disordered eating for many individuals.[vi] If one is ready to eat lightly the body will naturally favor this lifestyle. For short duration to assist in systemic detoxification, calorie restriction can powerfully assist the body in cleansing and age remediation. Eating less for the sake of weight loss generally proves to be counterproductive long-term. If we are able to consistently apply the lifestyle practices in ayurveda, the call to eat what is genuinely needed will naturally awaken and create a more permanent and pleasant experience. Meanwhile, regular eating times can hasten this process by synchronizing our circadian rhythms, harmonizing fluctuations in blood sugar and cortisol, and reducing cravings for carbohydrates and energy.
Curious about Hamsa’s Detox Course? Take a peak of each week!
Shodhana & Dinacharya
The next four weeks are broken into two primary categories chosen to promote a more ayurvedic lifestyle and detoxification: dinacharya and shodhana. These are two words that you will become very familiar with over the next four weeks.
Dinacharya includes all of ayurveda’s daily lifestyle practices. We use these primarily as a way of maintaining health, and to reduce specific doshic influences.
Shodhana refers to all of ayurveda’s stronger detoxification methods (specifically panchakarma), that are not typically part of every day lifestyle, and are reserved for special times of the year when detoxification is required.
You will begin to implement dinacharya practices immediately, and through the course of the next four weeks. These are very powerful practices that form the foundation of ayurvedic lifestyle. They work to develop your self-awareness, enhance intuition, knowledge of your body, digestive strength, immunity and endurance.
The shodhana practices require more planning. They require more involvement and preparation in your process. Shodhana practices include: self-massage, skin brushing, steaming, enemas, fasting, etc. You are not required to do all of these things. Depending on your constitution and lifestyle demands some of them may even be contraindicated. Through the process at Hamsa, we will better be able to determine which of the shodhana practices are best for you at this time.
Week At A Glance
Each week we will have a different theme during the four weeks. Half of the class will be spent focusing on lifestyle, and the other half of the class will be spent discussing detoxification.
Week 1: The Corner Stones of Ayurvedic Lifestyle
Detoxify the Liver, Blood, and Small Intestine through lifestyle changes & optional deeper cleansing therapies.
Week 1 starts with introductions to the cleanse itself and ayurvedic lifestyle. Each person will need to confirm that she or he understands which excess dosha she is working with as this will determine many of the dinacharya practices she chooses.
Topics of ayurvedic theory: Constitution, dinacharya, detoxing in ayurveda, meditation practice, snehana & virechana.
Dinacharya Practices: Sattvic diet, regular eating times, regular sleeping times, tongue scraping, ghee.
Shodhana Practices: Triphala & mahasudarshan, harataki & licorice
Week 2: Learn The Fundamentals of Ayurvedic Diet
Detoxify the colon through lifestyle changes & optional deeper cleansing therapies.
Topics of ayurvedic theory: The tastes & the doshas, fasting & nourishment
Dinacharya: Including every taste in each meal.
Shodhana Practices: Fasting
*Option to begin 10-14 day shodhana procedure that implements snehana, virechana, abhyanga, swedana & fasting.
Week 3: Spices & Seasons
Detoxify the Lymph, Stomach, and Lungs through lifestyle changes & optional deeper cleansing therapies.
Topics of ayurvedic theory: Spices and benefits, seasonal influences & lifestyle augmentations.
Dinacharya: Spring ritucharya practices (skin brushing, lymph brew, emotional release)
Shodhana Practices: Enemas
Week 4: Rejuvenate the immune system through lifestyle changes & optional deeper nourishing therapies.
Topics of ayurvedic theory: Ojas, nourishing diet, self-care
Dinacharya: Systemic Rest Practice
Rejuvenating practices (pitchu, champi, essential oils)