HOW TO FOLLOW AN AYURVEDIC DIET
Ayurveda is firmly rooted in the belief that overall health and wellbeing all starts with good digestion. Digestive health is an indicator of how the body is functioning, and 3000 years of this science have shown time and again that a good diet is the best way to a healthy life. Vedic texts even state that the right food is medicine when consumed correctly.
All human bodies are not the same. Ayurveda classifies people’s bodies based on the 3 doshas. Depending on certain key characteristics, people may be predominantly Vata, Kapha or Pitta dosha. Some people might be a combination of 2 of the doshas as well. This is a major factor to take into consideration when planning meals. Depending on your dosha, a diet conducive to appeasing it is the best way to overall fitness, strength and lifelong health. Below are some factors to consider:
- According to Ayurveda, every meal must have all 6 tastes : salty, sweet, sour, bitter, astringent and pungent. This does not mean the meals should be overpoweringly flavored, but rather that there should be a balance between the components which create a filling, yet healthy meal.
- Natural, organic food is always advisable. Because preservatives, GMO’s, etc. cause accumulation of toxins in the body, they can not only affect digestion, but will invariably slow down metabolism, reducing immunity in the long run.
- Meals which are rich in fruits and vegetables is one of the key aspects of an ayurvedic diet. Steamed, sautéed or cooked vegetables are preferable as these are easily digestible when compared to raw, uncooked vegetables. This is particularly important for the morning and night meals. Lunch can include a salad with fresh vegetables, as the digestive fire or agni is at its peak during noon time, promoting faster digestion.
- Ayurveda makes use of herbs and spices in various medicines, all of which are natural and holistic cures for numerous diseases. These spices can be added to regular diet as well to boost immunity, increase digestive health and regulate body functions.
- Drinking habits play an important role in maintaining health. Ayurveda recommends drinking warm water or room temperature water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Cool water is not advisable unless you have a Kapha dosha body. Similarly, regular intake of warm, hearty soups; enriched herbal teas can all help ease the load on the stomach during digestion and bring regularity to your daily life. Fruit juices are also good, however consume in moderation as most fruits contain natural sugars.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine and smoking. These are responsible for bad digestive health and simply by cutting them out of your lifestyle, you will experience lightness and better health from day 1.
- An ayurvedic diet is wholesome, and nutritious without cutting any corners. Ayurveda does not recommend any fad weight loss diets, or diets heavy in one particular nutrient, proteins, carbohydrates and so on. These might produce immediate results, like reducing bloating, or helping lose water weight but might cause detrimental effects to the digestive system over time.
- Ayurveda approaches health by understanding the balance of mind, body and soul. If the mind is in turmoil or under stress, this can cause disruption in the body’s functioning as well. So always be mindful when eating, and chew slowly. Avoid usage of electronic devices during meals and be fully conscious of what you are consuming. This will ensure your body accepts the food and processes it.
By following the above tips, it is easy to improve your life, simply by changing your eating habits. An ayurvedic diet will open your eyes to a number of organic food choices which you may have otherwise avoided due to over indulgence in snacks, fast food, fried food and more. This type of eating will refresh your body from the inside out, healing your digestive system, and protecting you from infections, toxins, and disease. Once you try this, and experience the medicinal and therapeutic effects of the same, there’s every chance that you will stick with it for the long run.