Ayurveda is one of the oldest natural-healing medicines in the world originating in India over 1,000 years ago. Taken from the Sanskrit words for life and knowledge, Ayurveda roughly translates to knowledge of life and has become a holistic form of medicine practiced across the globe.
Ayurveda is centered around the belief that illness and disease can be prevented and treated by balancing one’s life, thought, diet, and lifestyle. It teaches the importance of understanding how to create balance within the body, mind, spirit, and environment using natural therapies. Forms of therapy include massage, meditation, yoga, natural remedies, and diet.
Just as your fingerprint is specific to you, so is your pattern of energy. Ayurveda focuses on using the three basic types of energy, or doshas, found within every living thing to guide their practice. With Ayurveda, illness and disease are thought to be due to an imbalance in one of the three energies.
Everyone has qualities of all three doshas, but we often tend to use one more than the other two and this dosha then becomes your guiding star for Ayurveda. It is a good idea when beginning your journey to consult with an Ayurveda practitioner as your dominant dosha will be used to guide your Ayurveda treatment and lifestyle.
The three different types of doshas are:
- Vata is the energy of movement and composed by the elements of space and air. These types tend to be creative, intense, and expressive. Attributes include dry, light, cold, and rough.
- Pitta is the energy of metabolism and digestion and made of the elements of fire and water. Those who are governed by the dosha Pitta are considered intelligent, joyful, and driven. Their attributes include sharp, hot, liquid, and mobile.
- Kapha is the energy of structure and lubrication and formed by the elements of earth and water. Kapha types are calm, loving, and lethargic with the attributes of moist, heavy, soft, and static.
As mentioned above, one of the factors used in Ayurveda to help you to realign your spirit and find balance in your diet. The primary characteristic of the diet is that you eat according to your dosha so you can create meals that will nourish your body and balance your energy. For each dosha, there are foods that you should eat and those that you should avoid.
Some of the basic eating practices of an Ayurvedic diet regardless of dosha include:
- Each meal should have foods that are sweet, salty, bitter, pungent, sour, and astringent. The recommended order is sweet, salty, sour and then to finish your meal with pungent, astringent and bitter foods for a balanced meal.
- Eat mindfully to enjoy your meal and avoid talking or any other distractions so that you can fully appreciate the meal
- Eat slowly enough that you can savor your food, but fast enough that it does not grow cold
- Pay attention to hunger signals or signs of overeating
- You should eat within three hours of your last meal or snack and should not go without food for more than six hours. Ayurvedic practitioners also recommend eating a modest breakfast, large lunch, and base dinner off your hunger levels.
The Ayurvedic diet has been practiced by millions for thousands of years with great success in achieving optimal health and wellness. For more information about Ayurveda or an Ayurvedic diet, please contact The Ayurvedic & Naturopathic Medical Clinic today.