According to this ancient Eastern science, each product gives us not only a certain number of calories but also more subtle vital energy – Prana. Ayurveda represents the care of the physical body as the initial step of spiritual perfection of a person.
Ayurveda is older than Christ and Buddha: the Sanskrit words Ayus, which means life and Veda (knowledge), united in one several thousand years ago. This science is not just about health, but about life itself. It views a person as a multidimensional system consisting of body, soul, and vital energy called Prana. Ayurveda represents the care of the physical body as the initial step of spiritual perfection of a person.
Nutrition, according to Ayurveda, determines not only physical health but also affects our mental well-being. Among the many popular modern nutrition systems that offer to benefit from it exclusively for your body, Ayurveda offers a special way of integrity and harmony with yourself.
Find your element.
The basis of the Ayurvedic diet is the notion that all people are different, but belong to several constitutional types called Doshas. There are three of them: Kapha, Pitta, and Vata. You can describe them as three types of different energy. They are present in every person at the same time but, as a rule, one prevails: it is determined at conception, and it cannot be changed. Keeping ayurvedic health is the preservation of the dosha ratio inherent in a person from birth. Each has its strengths and weaknesses.
Kapha is mucus. People of this type are well built. They have a wide chest, thick skin, thick and soft hair. They are distinguished by their slow movement, good composure, and peacefulness. But with an imbalance, Kapha disposes to some passivity, and on a physical level to weight gain.
Pitta is fire. The people of this constitution are slim, proportionally folded, different in medium height and not too abundant musculature. They have an active metabolism and a good appetite, reddish, copper or yellow complexion, thin silky hair of red shades, soft nails. They bring it to the end, they are adventurous, but with an excess of fire they are too hot-tempered and suffer from diseases of the stomach and liver.
Vata is the wind dosha. People of such a constitution have a thin-boned body. They have clearly visible veins, tendons, and joints. Growth is either very tall or very short. They are slim build with thin hair and a cold look. They are active, walk and speak quickly, but they get tired easily. They easily perceive everything new, but with an imbalance, they can hardly concentrate on one thing.
To each his own.
What does proper nutrition mean from the Ayurveda’s point of view? In short – choose a list of products that match your constitutional type.
Each product feeds us not only due to the calories it contains. According to Ayurveda, the most valuable is the natural energy component that fills it. it is called Prana. Here you can literally rely on your own feelings, namely taste. In the classification of Ayurveda, there are only six flavors: sweet, sour, salty, spicy, astringent and bitter. Each constitutional type is recommended to use food of a certain taste or to avoid them.
Thus, bitter, astringent and spicy tastes harmonize Kapha, but sweet taste is contraindicated to it. Kapha-type people should pay attention to brown rice, legumes, tofu (soy cheese), do not neglect spices, especially ginger. The list of undesirable components is distressingly long: almost all sweet, except for a small amount of natural honey, beef, chicken, duck, millet, wheat, and white rice, as well as most dairy products, excluding goat milk. The people of the Kapha constitution are the only ones who are advised to drink small amounts of coffee. Vegetables and greens should make up a large part of the nutrition of people of this type; exceptions are cucumbers, tomatoes, as well as sweet and juicy vegetables and fruits.
Some foods can be neutral for us, others can be eaten in moderation.
Pitta’s heightened fire will lower sweet, bitter and astringent tastes. Ayurveda recommends them grain and legumes (especially wheat and mung beans), as well as dairy products (except kefir, sour cream, and salted cheeses). People of the Pitta constitution will benefit from cauliflower, celery, asparagus, alfalfa, and sunflower sprouts. If you want fruit, then you can use apples, pomegranates, and sweet grapes. Dill, cinnamon, mint, coriander are recommended as a seasoning, but ginger, pepper, horseradish, rosemary, and sage should be avoided. Peanuts (including peanut butter), almonds, chocolate, honey, and raw onions are considered harmful food. It is also better to abandon red meat, and it is desirable to reduce salt consumption.
Tastes like sweet, sour and salty will help to find a balance for over-excited Vata. Their diet should be rice, buckwheat, wheat, meat (except rabbit meat and beef); nuts are very useful as well as dates and dairy products including refined (ghee) butter. Spices such as asafoetida, cardamom, nutmeg are particularly favorable. It is not recommended to use a lot of black pepper and tarragon. It is recommended to avoid soybeans, raw apples, cranberries, melons, and raw vegetables and refrain from legumes.
In most cases, the constitution of a person is determined by a more or less equal ratio of two or even all three doshas. For example, Vata-Pitta or Pitta-Vata, Pitta-Kapha or even Vata-Kapha. This means that some foods can be neutral for us, others can be consumed in moderation. Sometimes it is quite difficult to determine your constitutional type. In such cases, an ayurvedic specialist will ask you many leading questions to find out your addictions, reactions to different situations, and then give you recommendations on nutrition.
The ratio of doshas may slightly vary. For example, frequent travels can easily take the Vata out of balance, and the hot sun can do the same to pitta. Doshas are always affected by the season. For example, summer is the time of pitta’s activity. At the beginning of spring, Kapha predominates more. Winter is the time for Vata. The predominance of doshas can be divided by gender. So, men are more prone to the types of Vata and Pitta, while women are more prone to Pitta and Kapha.
There are many misconceptions around Ayurveda. We associate the Ayurvedic diet with Indian cuisine and vegetarianism, while all this is a completely different concept. On the one hand, this science is closely related to yoga, which recommends vegetarianism. On the other hand, a competent Ayurvedist will choose different rations, say, for Himalayan yoga and for a socially active resident of a megacity.
With all the variety of possible individual recommendations in Ayurveda, there are general, basic rules regarding nutrition:
- Food should not be heated repeatedly.
- It is better to refuse semi-finished products.
- Spices are used more like medicine. They help to achieve a balance of six tastes, thanks to which a person feels satisfaction from food.
- Dairy products should preferably be consumed not too often, with sugar, but in no way cold or overnight.
- It is better to refrain from eating in the evening: it is better to eat something dubious at lunch than to eat well at night.
- Ideally, food should be taken in a relaxed atmosphere, sitting necessarily, chewing thoroughly and eating only about three-quarters of the possibilities you feel.
Does this diet help you lose weight? Yes and no. For example, if a person by nature belongs to the Kapha constitution, then, in pursuit of fashion for a lean body, he risks losing health. Following the Ayurvedic recommendations, he will allow his body to take on its natural form. Ayurveda teaches us to be in harmony with ourselves, our body, mind and the world around us.