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The Ayurvedic Diet: Why There is No Such Thing as a Bad Food

Hema

Posted on Oct 9, 2021 #undefined

Ayurvedic medicine has existed for literally thousands of years. If you’re not familiar with it, Ayurveda medicine is a whole-body, holistic practice that encourages a balance between body and mind. 

Ayurveda uses diet, yogic breathing, and herbal treatments to accomplish a healthy, balanced body. This Hindu-derived practice enforces the idea that all diseases are caused by an imbalance in the physical body and stress in a person’s consciousness.

The Ayurvedic diet promotes better physical, mental, and spiritual health. And unlike many other diets, the Ayurvedic diet gives personalized recommendations on what the best foods are to eat for your body type.

That’s not to say there are any bad foods. It just means there are some foods that meet your body’s needs better than others!

And we’re going to talk about it all here!

If you read this and want more guidance or information on how to integrate Ayurvedic medicine and eating into your life, check out my class on MyYogaTeacher, Ayurvedic Concept of Diet! We’d love to have you, and I’m happy to answer any questions you may have about this lifestyle.

Not a member of MyYogaTeacher yet? Get your free 2-week trial here and check it out! No credit card required and you get access to all 35+ group classes taught by expert teachers from India.

What is the Ayurvedic diet?

The basis for Ayurvedic medicine is that there are five elements that make up the universe — air, water, space, fire, and earth.

These elements create different forms of energy called doshas, and each dosha has its own unique responsibilities within the body. There are three of them:

  1. Vata - Also known as “king of the doshas,” Vata is responsible for all movement processes at a microcellular and macroscopic level. It’s also responsible for circulation, respiration and the nervous system. Vata combines the space and air elements.
  2. Pitta - This dosha is in charge of digestion and metabolism in the body. It is located in the small intestines, stomach, liver, spleen, and pancreas. Pitta is responsible for all the processes that involve conversion and transformation throughout the mind and body.
  3. Kapha - Water energy. Kapha aids in lubricating the joints and provides the body with its physical form. Kapha also helps the tissues in the body move smoothly.

The Ayurvedic diet is a component of Ayurvedic medicine that teaches you to eat the foods that promote balance between all of your doshas.

In doing so, you not only eat the foods that are best for your body specifically, but you also create and maintain a healthier mind, body and spirit.

How the Ayurvedic diet works

While some may feel like eating according to Ayurvedic diet guidelines seems somewhat restrictive, the opposite is really true. 

No food is a bad food.

But some foods are better for you than others and are perfect for your dosha, or body type.

Here are some of the main characteristics of each dosha so you can get an idea of which one matches you the best!

Pitta Dosha (Fire energy)

Medium height

Slender frame

Good metabolism

Competitive

Good leadership skills

Very intelligent

Short temper

May suffer from indigestion

May have high blood pressure

Governed by emotions

Vata Dosha (Wind energy)

Creative

Energetic

Lively

Thin, light frame

Prominent joints/bones

Flat-chested

Little/no willpower

Nervous

Fearful

Short term memory issues

Kapha Dosha (Water Energy)

Easy-going/relaxed

Tolerant, compassionate

Loyal

Have weight issues

Larger frame

Prone to diabetes

Forgiving

Peaceful

Good stamina

Generally happy


Your dosha determines which foods you should eat to promote inner balance. For instance, here are some Ayurvedic diet food recommendations to go with your dosha:

Pitta: Wheat, white rice, oats, barley. Fruits like grapes, mango, pineapple, oranges, melon, coconut, avocado, and plums help balance the Pitta dosha. Stay away from sour foods, salty, or pungent foods like garlic and onions.

Vata: Hot stews and soups are great for balancing the Vata dosha. Also, eating moist foods like yogurt, melon, berries, zucchini, squash. Seeds and nuts, ghee, ginger, turmeric, and cinnamon are also great!

Kapha: Spicy, acidic, filling foods and most fruits and vegetables are good for keeping Kapha bodies in balance. Also unprocessed meats, grains, eggs, and low fat cheeses. Kaphas should avoid heavy foods like oils, fats, nuts, and seeds.

I really want to stress that this way of eating is not about restriction. It’s about eating for your body type!

Which means there are tons of options and opportunities for you to eat and be full. We’re not about being hungry here at MYT!

Benefits of eating an Ayurvedic diet

Besides helping you feel and be your healthiest, most amazing self, there are lots of science-backed benefits of participating in an Ayurvedic eating plan or adopting the entire Ayurvedic holistic wellness lifestyle.

Ayurvedic eating prevents disease

Because the Ayurvedic lifestyle promotes the consumption of whole foods and the reduction or complete elimination of processed foods, there is a huge component of eating in this way that addresses disease prevention.

Studies show that eating processed foods and foods high in refined sugar or high levels of salt are associated with inflammation, chronic and acute diseases, higher risk for cancer, and even death.

Eating whole foods high in fiber, vitamins and minerals can prevent and, in some cases, even reverse disease.

Ayurvedic eating promotes weight loss

Seeing as the Ayurvedic diet focuses on nutrient-rich foods, studies show that eating for your dosha (particularly pitta or kapha) assists with weight loss. It can also help stave off cravings and prevent overeating.

Mindful eating is a huge part of Ayurvedic medicine. This means people who adopt this lifestyle eat more conscientiously and become more aware of their body’s needs. Mindful eating helps people with issues like emotional or stress eating.

Another benefit to mindful eating is enhanced self-control and the development of a healthier relationship with food.

The gut biome and Ayurvedic diet

We’ve discussed some of the health benefits of Ayurvedic eating, but I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t talk about how this lifestyle affects your gut!

If you don’t know how your gut biome affects your mental, physical, and even emotional health, join my class and let’s talk about it! Your gut biome is the primary location for healthy bacteria, immune function and even the primary source of the feel good chemicals that our body and brains crave!

Because an Ayurvedic diet improves your gut health, you also get:

  • Improved digestion
  • Better metabolic processes

  • Enhanced detoxification

  • Improved fertility and sexual health

All while still eating foods you love! 

While the Ayurvedic diet is customized for each dosha, this doesn’t mean you will never eat some of the foods that may be listed for you to avoid. It simply means you may want to limit those foods and eat more of the foods that help harmonize your body, mind, and spirit!

The goal of my class, Ayurvedic Concept of Diet, is to help you discover the right combination of foods to eat for your body. You’ll learn all about Ahara, the best way to prepare and serve certain dishes, and the proper time to eat various foods. I invite you to join us on this Ayurvedic eating journey!

MyYogaTeacher is a great platform to learn about many different forms of yoga. There are many expert and highly experienced yoga instructors from the birthplace of yoga, India, who really care about their students’ health and well-being! Whether you’re brand new to yoga or consider yourself an advanced yogi, there’s a class that’s a perfect fit for you! Get your 2-week free trial here and try it out!

Namaste.

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