Welcome to my new article where I write about a healthier lifestyle using an ancient concept from India called Ayurveda.
If you are not familiarized with this term, Ayurveda is an ancient diet to keep health throughout the year by adapting meals and ingredients on any season. Ayurvedic diet was initiated in ancient India and now is largely known worldwide.
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda focuses on promoting physical, mental and spiritual health from a holistic perspective. Meaning that body and soul are together in this journey of seeking balance and focus.
Ayurveda has been practiced as an integral component of the Hindu, Buddhist and Jain religions for over 5,000 years.
A person's dosha (term for energy) is determined by the dominant type of vata, pitta or kapha.
- Vata-person has a lot of energy and they are very mobile. They have a lot of movement of people.
- Kapha-person is very calm and peaceful and they need a lot more fat than other types of people.
- Pitta: Fire elementSupports digestion and immunity by eating light, hot, dry foods.
Healthy food and Ayurveda
The first step to embarking on an balanced pure Ayurvedic diet for a beginner is identifying your dosha. A dosha is one of the three primary elements and energies that exist in the body. As seen previously, the doshas are called:
- Vata (air)
- Pitta (fire)
- Kapha (water + earth)
While each dosha merits its own exploration, the idea that you have a unique blend of mental, emotional, and physical characteristics thought to exist in balance encapsulates the holistic nature of Ayurveda. Mind, body, and spirit all have to function for all three to function together.
The ancient health science of Ayurveda is centered on the five elements of ether, air, fire, water, and earth. Using these elements in conjunction with each other come to make up the doshas or constitutions—vata, pitta, and kapha. Testing for the perfect ayurvedic chemical formulation comes down to determining one's yuti or dosha. Each dosha contains qualities that are expressed in mental attitudes as well as physical withdrawal symptoms like digestion issues. One's yuti dictates how their body responds physically to diet components like ether, air, fire etc.
KNOWING YOUR DOSHA
Knowing your dosha is vital to adapt your diet to your own needs.
Vata (air) - made up of the elements space and air
Usually slim with bony limbs and straight body shapes, Vata types gain weight in the middle. Their skin is fine and dry, they feel the cold more than others and have difficulty sweating. They have an irregular and erratic appetite. Vata types are prone to feeling ‘wired’ and stressed, and may feel tired come late afternoon. They are creative, enthusiastic, active, alert and restless, jumping from one idea to the next.
Despite not having a great memory, Vata types are quick to learn, spiritually perceptive and are happiest when in contact with nature and the outdoors. They have a heightened sense of touch and an appreciation for beauty. You might recognize them as having their head in the clouds and talking at a million miles per hour.
The ‘qualities’ or characteristics of Vata are light, dry, rough, clear, active, cold and mobile, and pungent, bitter and astringent in taste. Therefore, choosing more of the qualities or characteristics in food and lifestyle choices which have the opposite effect such as heavy, moist, smooth, sticky, slow, warm, stable, salty, sour and sweet helps to maintain balance or bring excess Vata back into equilibrium.
Pitta types are determined, competitive, ambitious and highly intelligent, with good insight and keen discrimination. They like to be in control and at the centre of attention, they are highly focused innovators with energy levels to match and can be likened to a 'Type A' personality.
Those with a predominance of the Pitta principle have a fiery nature that manifests in both body and mind.
Physical Characteristics: Pittas are usually of medium size and weight. They sometimes have bright red hair, but early graying, baldness or thinning hair is also common in a Pitta. They have excellent digestion, which sometimes leads them to believe they can eat anything. They have a warm body temperature. They sleep soundly for short periods of time and have a strong sex drive. When in balance, Pittas have a lustrous complexion, perfect digestion, abundant energy, and a strong appetite. When out of balance, Pittas may suffer from skin rashes, burning sensations, peptic ulcers, excessive body heat, heartburn, and indigestion.
Kapha type person
The qualities of Kapha are: heavy, slow, steady, solid, cold, soft and oily
Physical characteristics: Kapha types have a strong build and excellent stamina. Large, soft eyes; smooth, radiant skin; and thick hair are also typical Kapha characteristics. Those who are predominantly Kapha sleep soundly and have regular digestion. But when Kapha builds to excess, weight gain, fluid retention, and allergies manifest in the body. When they’re out of balance, Kapha types may become overweight, sleep excessively, and suffer from asthma, hayfever, diabetes, and depression.
Emotional Characteristics: Kaphas are naturally calm, thoughtful, caring and loving. They have an inherent ability to enjoy life and are comfortable with a routine. When in balance, Kaphas are strong, loyal, patient, steady, and supportive. People with an excess of Kapha tend to hold on to things, jobs, and relationships long after they are no longer nourishing or necessary. Excess Kapha in the mind manifests as a resistance to change and stubbornness. In the face of stress, the typical Kapha response is “I don’t want to deal with it.”
Healthy food in Ayurveda
Ayurveda is not only about hard meals, is also about Herbal Teas. Now knowing that food is a key element when practicing Ayurveda, let's get into it a little bit more.
Since balance and eating times are big part of it, Herbal Teas help reduce need for food longer and enhances a better digestion keeping you warm.
One of the ways of food classification in Ayurveda is based on rasa. There are six major tastes according to Ayurveda, viz., sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent.
There are primary and secondary qualities (guna) that increase the properties of a material. The Ayurvedic classification called rasa, guna, virya, vipaka, and karma is not just applicable to foods but to all materials as well.
This scientific method is dealt with under Dravya Guna sastra (the science of material properties)
Another interesting taxonomy of foods is based on their effect on psychological dispositions of individuals.
According to Ayurveda, there is a subtle relationship between your illness and the six psychological states, such as lust, anger, greed, desire, attachment, and ego.
These psychological states are closely linked to foods. In terms of three internal states, this connection is furthered by discussing the state of being in a contented state, with high energy levels, or in an excitable/energized state, with a distracted disposition.
When practicing Ayurveda , there is a strange word that pops-up: Sattvic. Sattvic stands for Fire and Space elements-promotes digestion by eating at least one meal a day after fasting.
What is sattvic diet
Sattvic diet is a diet based on foods that contain one of the three yogic qualities (guna) known as sattva. In this system of dietary classification, foods that decrease the energy of the body are considered tamasic, while those that increase the energy of the body are considered rajasic. A sattvic diet is sometimes referred to as a yogic diet in modern literature.
A sattvic diet shares the qualities of sattva, some of which include "pure, essential, natural, vital, energy-containing, clean, conscious, true, honest, wise".
A sattvic diet can also exemplify Ahimsa, the principle of not causing harm to other living beings. This is one reason yogis often follow a vegetarian diet.
A sattvic diet is a regimen that places emphasis on seasonal foods, fruits if one has no sugar problems, nuts, seeds, oils, ripe vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and non-meat based proteins. Dairy products are recommended when the cow is fed and milked appropriately.
Ayurveda and Healthy Food
Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medical system, is a set of principles which promote health and well-being.
Ayurvedic food is traditionally vegetarian in nature and focuses on the balance of the three doshas or vata, pitta and kapha.
Some of the essentials of ayurvedic diet are grains, vegetables and fruits.
GRAINS IN AYURVEDA
The whole grains are known as Prasadam in Ayurveda. It is the major food in the daily diet and is recommended during the course of a day. It is also described as the food that best helps in maintaining the life-force and energy levels. can help you to maintain weight, lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
Rice is the most important grain in Ayurveda because it has a high calorific value (100 calories per cup). Rice is a great source of carbohydrates and proteins, which help in building muscles. It also helps to maintain the body weight as it slows down the rate.
VEGETABLES IN AYURVEDA
1. Bitter melon (karela)
2. Turnip greens (mooli/sevai sabzi)
3. Amaranth leaves, stems, and flowers (Amaranth)
4. Cilantro leaves, stems, and roots
5. Beet greens (beetroot leaf or beetroot stem)
FRUITS IN AYURVEDA
Ayurveda strongly stands against eating any fruit after having your meals at any time of the day. The basic reason behind this is that eating fruits can directly disrupt the ongoing digestion of the food eaten.
The best time to eat a fruit is in the morning, and the most inappropriate time is in the evening; all fruits such as bananas, apples, peaches, pears, apricots, mango, kiwi except citrus are recommended for breakfast on an empty stomach.
Citruses such as lemon, grapefruit, pomegranate, mandarin can be eaten between 10 AM and 3 PM. The watermelon is eaten separately between 11 AM and 5 PM. Melon is also eaten separately between 9 AM and 4 PM.
All kinds of berries such as cherries, grapes, blueberries, raspberries, except strawberries, for example, can be eaten in the morning, but cannot be served in the evening, except for grapes. Between 10 AM and 4 PM in the afternoon is the time for eating strawberries.
Dried fruits such as raisins, figs, apricots, prunes, dates are also a good option but are only recommended for breakfast and during the cold season. They can be eaten in combination with nuts and seeds, but not with fresh fruit. People with Pitta constitution can eat fresh fruit in every season, as they have more digestive fire Agni.
We just have to eat fresh fruit as a snack, after which it will take a few hours before our next meal.
What are eating timings in Ayurvedic diet?
Here is an Ayurvedic recommendation for meals: eating timings.
This concept is a base of this diet. Keeping your meals spaced to bring a better lifestyle and let your body take advantage of all meals.
Breakfast moderately, lunch well, and eat dinner very sparingly.
To repeat: Eat a moderate breakfast, a good lunch and a sparing dinner .
Any fruits, or in-between meal snacks should ONLY be eaten if there is good hunger and appetite. Do NOT eat because you have read that eating 6 small meals is healthy or that it is good for you "to graze". Grazing animals have a completely different digestive system – we cannot follow their method of eating through the day.
Ideally all meals should be freshly made and hot as per Ayurveda. However, because both our breakfast and dinner is eaten during a Kapha surge, please eat food that is freshly cooked and hot .
At these meals, the body's ability to digest stale meals is impaired. Stale meals are higher in "gurutva" as per Ayurveda, so they are more difficult to breakdown and can quickly aggravate Kapha.
During breakfast and dinner, Kapha rich foods like sweets, cakes, desserts, sweet fruits, meats and foods like curd should be avoided .
Any manner of cold / refrigerated food , cold drinks should also be reduced / avoided. If leftover rice is being used from the morning, we advise that you re-wash and re-steam the rice to remove some of its "gurutva" (heaviness).
Avoid difficult to digest food like raw food, highly complex cereals, and heavy lentils like Rajma, Channa, etc, for Dinner. They can be eaten in very small quantities occasionally at Breakfast, only if Digestive fire is good and activity level is high.
Benefits of Ayurveda
Ayuveda is an ancient Indian system of medicine that originated more than 5,000 years ago. It combines both Eastern and Western medical practices into a holistic approach to healing the mind, body, emotions and spirit.
Ayurveda sees the whole person as being made up of body, mind, and spirit. Its core philosophy is that health comes from within each individual rather than from an outside source. Ayurveda has been used for centuries to promote long and healthy lives.
Weight loss is an additional benefit as eating balanced meals gives this outcome. Is not a surprise to discover that Ayurveda enthusiasts tend to show a very fit body shape and. a great sense of balanced mood as is not only about eating, is a lifestyle as well.
If weight loss is one of your concerns, then Ayurveda is here to inspire healthy and flavory meals.
Did you know that hair care is also concerned when eating healthy? Yes, balanced diets bring also better hair and skin as this holistic meals bring benefits everywhere. Don'T be surprised if after the firsts weeks of practicing ayurveda, your hair, your skin and your nails start looking better.
Ayurveda offers extensive therapies and remedies for the young, old, sick, healthy, and everyone in between.
This 5,000 year old medicine system that originated in India has many life-altering benefits. Here are some of the primary benefits that one can achieve with consistent use of Ayurveda.
1. Weight Loss and Maintenance
A healthy diet and modification in lifestyle habits through Ayurvedic treatments help shed excess body fat. In Ayurveda, weight is not a major concern but eating habits are. By allowing the body to detox through correct dietary restrictions, it is possible to achieve a toned body.
Consult a practitioner to determine the best diet that will suit your nutritional needs and work with your dosha type.
2. Healthy and Glowing Skin and Hair
Need a perfect glow and shiny hair? Ayurveda claims that you can ditch the expensive clinical treatments and go for the organic and natural ways to achieve a glow without spending too much money.
A balanced meal, toning exercises, and Ayurvedic supplements are enough to promote a healthy skin and scalp.
General ayurvedic guidelines goes around eating fresh food taking into account your dosha type, medical history, regional produce, customs, and traditions.
The focus is more on high-antioxidant foods, herbs, teas, vegetables, protein, and healthy fats.
3. Say Goodbye to Stress
With a crazy fast-paced lifestyle that leaves no chance for relaxation, Ayurveda approach offers reduction in stress and anxiety.
Regular practice of yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, massages, and herbal treatments allow the body to calm down, detoxify, and rejuvenate, doesn't sound like a great thing to do?.
Yoga improves the autonomic nervous system making your mind alert, so you can focus well and stay energized throughout the day.
Breathing exercises keep infections at bay and allow abundant oxygen supply to the cells to create a sense of awareness. Depression and anxiety can be treated with Shirodhara, Abhyangam, Shiroabhyangam, and Padabhyangam.
There is another aspect about ayurveda enthusiasts which is minimalism. People focused on healthy balanced lifestyle tend to live minimalistic lives, which means keeping what is important and meaningful and not to keep non-essentials items at home.
4. Reduce Inflammation
Lack of balanced diet, unhealthy eating habits, insufficient sleep hours, irregular sleep troubles, and bad digestion tends to lead to inflammation. The root cause of neurological diseases, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular problems, pulmonary diseases, arthritis, and many others.
As you begin to eat according to your dosha type, the digestive system begins to strengthen. Consumption of certain foods at the right times reduces toxins in the blood and digestive tract. A consequent result of this is increased vitality, high energy, and an overall decrease in lethargy and mood swings.
Popular knowledge says that Ayurvedic treatments are known for cancer prevention as well. The best example of an herbal Ayurvedic formulation would be a combination of turmeric with black pepper.
5. Cleanse the Body
Panchakarma in Ayurveda is the practice of eliminating bodily toxins through enemas, oil massages, blood letting, purgation, and other oral administration.
By administering these components in the human body, this allows to the elimination of food and toxins that interfere with efficient bodily functions.
A cleansed body in turn aids for improved overall health. Suitable home remedies that are vastly used in Ayurvedic herbal medicines are cumin, cardamom, fennel, and ginger which cure indigestion in the body and prevent bloating.
6. Lower Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, and Symptoms of Illness and Diseases
Researchers suggest that Ayurvedic diets and relaxation techniques help reduce plaque buildup. Plaque is a result of the formation of cholesterol and fats in the inner lining of the arteries. This condition is called atherosclerosis and is the root cause of heart attacks and strokes.
Ayurvedic medicine offers a multitude of herbs, vitamins, minerals, and proteins. These are mixed together at an appropriate dosage and administered at an optimal time to prevent and combat immunity related disorders.
Ayurvedic herbs and essential oils help increase blood flow, compliment blood circulation, and draws out toxins from the body through the skin.
“Abhyanga massage” with herbal oils is highly used for massages.
Ayurveda Improves the Quality of Your Daily Life
- Ayurveda is a choice of lifestyle, which when adopted in its entirety, brings a wave of general well-being to your daily life.
- Exercising, having an active lifestyle, adequate sun exposure, appropriate treatments and emotional well-being help to cleanse the mind and spirit. This leaves you with a healthy mind and glowing skin.
- Ayurveda works in perfect harmony with alternative medicine so it is practical for everyday use.
- Ayurveda helps reclaim health with balanced dietary guidelines, effective sleep patterns, home remedies, daily and seasonal routines, yoga, and exercise patterns.
- Heightened concentration levels through yoga, meditation, herbal intake, and adequate sleep helps re-calibrate mental and goal-based settings in your daily life.
- Ayurvedic treatments improve digestion and increase appetite and immunity.
- The basic principles of Ayurveda constitute the following disciplines – don’t skip breakfast, eat a light dinner, avoid sleeping and waking up late, drink water, eat organic produce, avoid smoking and drinking, and maintain an active lifestyle.
Why to cook on clay cookware?
Clay cookware is a type of pottery that is used to cook food. It absorbs moisture, which means it can trap flavors and infuse them into the food. This makes clay cookware a great addition to your kitchen. Clay cook pots are safe and inexpensive and food taste better since the fibers are not burnt but just heated, in opposition as cooking on metal pots and pans.
When planning to cook healing foods, nothing is better than dong it on handmade non glazed clay cookware, as it protects ingredients from burning and keeps original flavors. Also weigh loss as in clay cookware, one no ned to add extra oil (fat) as the convection prevents food from sticking to the cooking pot.
Uses Of Clay Pots
- Cooling: Store water in a clay pot and it remains cool throughout the day. Water from the refrigerator disturbs the tri-doshic balance.
- Baking: As clay cookware distributes heat evenly, it’s easier to bake desserts in it.
- Planting: If your clay pot breaks then you can seed plants in it.
- Storage: You can also store food in earthen pots since it remains fresh for long.
Clay Pot Cooking Benefits
1. Clay Pots Are Non-Stick
Clay pot cooking requires less oil as it’s your very own inexpensive non-stick. Cooking in such pots provides enough moisture for the food to absorb each flavor. This decreases the risk of high blood pressure or cholesterol.
2. Earthen Utensils Counter Reactions
Metal pots sometimes release harmful chemicals as a reaction to heat. These gradually affect your health. However, clay cookware is non-toxic and it prevents poisoning or any related ailments.
3. Clay Cookware Balances pH Levels
Clay pot cooking benefits to reduce the acidic nature of the food. Since clay is alkaline it helps neutralize the body’s pH balance. This inhibits the development of diseases like cancer.
4. Clay Pot Cooking Is Environment-Friendly
Earthen utensils are both pocket as well as environment-friendly. They are bio-degradable which means no harm to the surroundings. They even last longer when maintained well.
5. Flavors Are Intense
Clay pot cooking is beneficial because of the strong flavors it infuses in the vegetables. The food always smells and tastes fresh. Yogurt made in these tastes delicious.
6. Food Remains Hot
Ayurveda condemns reheating food or eating leftovers. Therefore, an appreciated quality of clay cookware is that it evenly heats the contents. This makes the food stay hot for long as compared to metallic utensils.
7. Nutrition Isn’t Lost
Studies have shown that cooking food in earthen utensils retains most of the micronutrients. However, food in metalware become poisonous.
Why to eat on pure clay dish?
There are many reasons to eat on a pure clay dish. First, it can provide a non-toxic and more eco-friendly way of eating. In addition, the natural properties of clay can help to prevent the growth of bacteria and viruses.
The clay used in making dishes is also much better for the environment than other materials like plastic, which can leach toxic chemicals into our food. Also, eating on handmade plates adds a unique rustic decor to any home, being minimalistic and pottery has a sense of art.
Best books for practicing Ayurveda
Some of the best books about Ayurveda include: "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Ayurveda," "Ayurveda: The Science and Practice," and "Ayurveda: A Life of Balance."
I selected the following books for you, find more info by clicking on each image:
Last Word About The Benefits of Practicing Ayurveda
Ayurveda is a type of lifestyle which you can benefit in multiple levels. Eating healthy is just a piece of this interesting lifestyle.
This diet brings more healthy food to the table and variety, since meals vary during seasons and can be a great window to discover new flavors.
It does not simply mean chanting, yoga, applying packs and massaging with oils, but branches deep into the psychological aspect of eliminating the root cause of health problems, preventing their apparition.
Ayurveda is based on the principle that to achieve and maintain health over the course of your life, you must improve diet, re-balance emotions, practice yoga and “pranayama” (breathing exercises), and make lifestyle adjustments to enhance the benefit of a focused calm life.
Thanks for reading
Disclaimer: this article is based on opinions with the sole intention to entertain and do not represent by any mean a science or any kind of health related advice. If you feel sick, please visit a doctor. To create this article I searched information in valuable sources.