Nutrition and Diet

Now that you have a general idea of Ayurvedic medicine and you know your dosha or constitution, you are probably curious as to how you can apply this to your life. One of the most fundamental aspects of Ayurvedic medicine is nutrition and diet and eating the right foods to heal and prevent illness.

Since each personʼs constitution is different, their diet is also going to be different, and the way they respond to food is different. For example if you are a Pitta type you are more likely to be aggravated by hot, spicy foods with heating qualities or if you are a Vaata you are more likely to be aggravated by dry and cold foods. As mentioned earlier in the first article these food qualities are also the same qualities of the dosha so it follows the principle that "like increases like", so given that Pitta types have a hot constitution, foods that are also hot will likely unbalance the Pitta type. Therefore, if someone with a Pitta constitution is unbalanced or ill they need to follow a cool diet plan, such as salads. Not only is it important to learn what foods are best for balancing your constitution, but also what foods are best for aiding in digestion. Our bodies are fine tuned machines and we want to keep them running optimally, this means reducing toxin buildup in our systems by eating a "clean" diet. What it means to be "clean" is to avoid foods that hinder and slow digestion and increase toxin accumulation. For example, we should avoid fast foods due to many factors, but namely the oils, grease, and salt content, stay away from stale food, highly processed foods (ie chips, soda, TV dinners), foods with additives and preservatives, late night eating, and eating in a hurry. Furthermore, if you go into more detail with Ayurvedic medicine you will find that there are combinations of foods that should be avoided, you should not eat when emotionally upset, and also you need to eat small amounts of food. Below you will find some principles on Ayurvedic eating.

I am sure in this list you see many points that are similar to what we are taught about healthy eating and there may be some on the list that were surprising to you, such as making lunch and not breakfast your biggest meal. What is always most important to remember is to eat a balanced meal that is minimally processed in order to receive maximum nutrients to keep our bodies running healthy and to prevent illness. To learn more about eating an Ayurvedic diet you can read the book Ayuveda Wisdom by Cybele Tomlinson. She does a great job of describing constitutions and how food, seasons, tastes, and atmosphere are work together for optimal health.