Understanding the Ayurvedic Diet

The ayurvedic diet has gained attention due to the trend of seeking natural health remedies. DESIblitz explores it and the foods to eat.

Understanding the Ayurvedic Diet f

food is a constituent of five universal energies.

Have you ever wondered where drinks like turmeric latte or ginger tea come from? Yes, you guessed it right, they are part of the ayurvedic diet!

An age-old system of eating, it stems from the renowned medical tradition of Ayurveda.

A combination of two Sanskrit words, ayur (life) and veda (science), Ayurveda literally means the ‘science of life’.

It is based on the notion that every being is made up of different kinds of energy. And, that diseases are simply the result of an imbalance in one’s energies.

This 5,000-year-old medical practice focuses on the mind, body and spirit as a whole to heal.

Unlike modern medicine, it emphasises prevention by incorporating lifestyle changes and natural treatments.

Of all the lifestyle factors that Ayurveda speaks of, diet forms a principal aspect in the process of healing.

One thing to note is that an ayurvedic diet is not just another ‘diet’. It is a holistic approach that states what to eat, when to eat, and how to eat.

This extends to mindful eating to ensure your being is in sync with nature. Therefore, allowing you to enhance your health and longevity.

Let’s delve deeper into the subject to understand this conventional system of food and nutrition.

Ayurvedic Diet and the Tridoshas

“When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.”

This famous proverb from Ayurveda clearly highlights the importance of having the right foods. But, how do you know about the foods that are good for you and those that you should avoid?

As mentioned before, the ayurvedic diet is nothing like new-age diets. This extensive concept is a way of life that offers solutions tailored to your body type.

To comprehend a suitable plate for yourself, you need to first know your dominant energy type.

In Ayurveda, food is a constituent of five universal energies. These are air, fire, water, earth and space.

Likewise, your body is an amalgamation of three doshas (tridoshas) or energies. They are called Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.

Every one of these doshas carries varied attributes, from physical to mental. And, all of them are vital to keeping you healthy and fit.

What you eat can either knock these energies out of balance or benefit them. Determining an ayurvedic diet requires you to understand these doshas, especially the category you fall into.

Vata Dosha

Understanding the Ayurvedic Diet - vata

Comprising the qualities of air and space, Vata is associated with the movement of the body and mind.

This type of energy provides the necessary motion for physical processes like breathing and elimination.

Vata’s influence on the mind is such that one is emotionally high on energy, creative and flexible.

Typically, this dosha is considered to be cold, light, dry, rough and always on the move. When in excess it can induce digestive issues, joint pains, dry skin, anxiety, restlessness, and fatigue to name a few.

In an ayurvedic diet, it is recommended to eat foods that are warm, hydrating, dense, and loaded with healthy fats.

Foods to Eat

In order to stabilise your Vata, incorporate these foods into your diet plan:

  • Milk
  • Cream
  • Ghee
  • Nut butter
  • Nuts
  • Eggs
  • Beef
  • Black pepper
  • Ginger
  • Cloves
  • Cinnamon
  • Garlic
  • Cumin
  • Grains
  • Sweet fruits

Foods to Avoid

When it comes to foods to avoid, it is best to avoid foods that are cold and contain saturated fat:

  • Salads
  • Iced drinks
  • Raw vegetables
  • Yoghurt
  • Potatoes
  • Turkey
  • Lamb
  • Corn
  • Foods containing caffeine
  • Sweets

Essential Tips to keep Vata in Balance

  • Stay warm
  • Stick to a daily routine
  • Get sufficient rest
  • Avoid extreme cold, windy and dry weather
  • Take part in relaxing activities

Pitta Dosha

Understanding the Ayurvedic Diet - pitta

Pitta represents fire and those with a dominant Pitta tend to be deep, intelligent, alert. They tend to have strong ideas and great comprehensive powers.

Physically, their bodies are warm with a fast metabolic rate and large appetites. Yes, they love to eat!

The core of Pitta is hot with some level of humidity. Hence, a cold, sweet, bitter, and astringent diet is ideal for this type.

An ayurvedic diet recommends eating fresh, whole foods to stabilise Pitta dosha.

Moreover, Ayurveda recommends vegetarianism for those with this dosha as meat can increase heat levels in the body.

Following dietary considerations tailored to this dosha can help combat Pitta issues such as inflammation, agitation, aggression and skin rashes.

Foods to Eat

It is recommended to incorporate these foods into your diet:

  • Dairy products
  • Sweet fruits
  • Vegetables such as cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower
  • Peppermint
  • Salads
  • Apple tea
  • Chickpeas
  • Black beans
  • Whole grains like wheat, barley, rice and oats
  • Egg whites
  • Coconut oil
  • Sunflower oil

Foods to Avoid

Avoid eating these types of food. If you cannot, try to limit your intake:

  • Acidic fruits
  • Fermented foods
  • Sour cream
  • Pungent vegetables such as onions, tomatoes, garlic and chillies
  • Brown rice
  • Nuts
  • Egg yolk
  • Honey
  • Coffee
  • Oily and salty foods

Essential Tips to keep Pitta in Balance

  • Keep cool
  • Exercise when the temperature is cooler
  • Stay hydrated

Kapha Dosha

Understanding the Ayurvedic Diet - kapha

Kapha dosha incorporates elements of earth and water.

Those characterised by Kapha are generally well-built with high endurance and radiant skin.

However, they experience slow metabolism.

If Kapha becomes imbalanced in a person, they can be prone to problems such as obesity, fluid retention, diabetes and asthma.

They can even suffer depression.

As a result, this ayurvedic diet recommends different cooking styles. This includes baking, grilling and roasting.

Foods to Eat

Include these foods in your diet to ensure that Kapha remains balanced.

  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Apricots, cranberries and peaches
  • Black beans
  • Mung beans
  • Lentils
  • Spices
  • Buttermilk
  • Buckwheat
  • Millet
  • Honey
  • Eggs

Foods to Avoid

Limit your consumption of these foods to prevent Kapha imbalance:

  • Acidic fruits
  • Sweet vegetables
  • Deep-fried foods
  • Nuts
  • Dairy products (Consume ghee in moderation)
  • Sweets
  • Tofu
  • Kidney beans
  • Rice

Essential Tips to keep Kapha in Balance

  • Regularly exercise
  • Avoid sleeping during the day
  • Engage in activities that increase metabolism
  • Welcome changes and challenges in life

Once you understand the three tridoshas, you can determine your dominant dosha.

After which, you can make the necessary dietary changes according to your specific type of ayurvedic diet.

An important aspect to remember is that not everyone has a single dominant dosha. Some might even have two dominant doshas or have mixed doshas.

Additional factors like climate, your immediate environment and your lifestyle can affect your prominent dosha type. It is advisable to consult an ayurvedic specialist or practitioner to make sure you are on the right path.

Ayurveda or ayurvedic diet is a comprehensive philosophy to self-healing.

Not being a one-stop solution, it rarely specifies rules and recommendations that fit all. Instead, it is designed to find solutions that work best for your system.

Furthermore, it does not end at eating or limiting recommended foods.

An ayurvedic diet is a constant process of introspection; a dialogue between you and your body to enhance your wellbeing at every step.

After all, it is often referred to as the ‘mother of all healing’.

A writer, Miralee seeks to create waves of impact through words. An old soul at heart, intellectual conversations, books, nature, and dance excite her. She is a mental health advocate and her motto is ‘live and let live’.