Ayurveda And Food
How many of you reading this identify as a foodie? Most of us have a special place in our hearts for comfort food. Whether that is your beloved childhood dishes, your guilty pleasures or your Netflix companions, food is a big part of each one of our lives. Wouldn't you agree that this warrants more attention and care? Going back 5000 years, Ayurveda has approached food in a spiritual way, where it is observed as medicine. Followers of Ayurveda have simple, nourishing diets with fresh nutrient-loaded foods. It is believed that consuming certain foods, prepared in a certain way and at a certain time and place helps equilibrate the Doshas in the body. This is said to reduce the risk of ailments and fuel your life force to create a healthier, happier way of life.
The three Doshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha are the forms of energy that drive various physiological and psychological functions in the body. They are formed by the combination of the elements of space, air, earth, water and fire. Every person has a unique combination of the Doshas that affects every aspect of their lives. These energies are largely affected by our relationship with ourselves and our environment. Any irregularities in factors like sleep patterns, physical activity and food could shift our Doshas out of balance and create turmoil within our systems. Ayurvedic solutions like chyawanprash and products with tulsi, kesar and haldi are effective to balance all three Doshas.
We can walk you through the guidelines for what you should be eating for your dosha:
How To Follow A Vata Diet Plan:
If you have a dominant Vata, simpler, freshly prepared foods are better received. Since this Dosha is characterized by cool, light and airy features, when these are in excessive concentration in the body, warmer foods and beverages may be useful. Spicy and thick dishes like soups, stews are good for Vata. As are wholesome sources of healthy fats. Beans are generally not consumed, except black and mung beans.
Fruits and vegetables: Giloy, avocados, strawberries, bananas, fresh figs and dates, cherries, grapes, citrus fruits, raisins, plums, zucchini, radish, sweet potatoes, beetroot, carrots, asparagus, celery, cooked spinach and garlic.
Fruits and vegetables to avoid: Cranberries, dried fruits, watermelon, pomegranates and pears, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, olives, white potatoes, cooked tomatoes, celery, peas (raw), radish, kale, eggplant, squash.
Grains: Cooked oats, wheat and brown rice.
Grains to avoid: Barley, cereals, corn, tapioca, buckwheat, granola, oats (dry) and pasta.
Animal products: White meat like fish and chicken as well as eggs are supposed to benefit Vata. Milk and its byproducts like paneer and ghee are favourable.
Dairy and meat to avoid: Butter, cheese, sour cream, yoghurt, egg yolk and dark meat like beef.
Sugar substitutes: To counteract the injurious effects of refined sugars, jaggery and brown sugar can be consumed.
Snacks: All nuts are great for this Dosha but seeds like popcorn should be avoided.
How To Follow A Pitta Diet Plan:
Since Pitta stems from the element of fire, imbalances in this dosha can be reformed by using cooling foods. People with a dominant pitta should not consume foods with preservatives or chemicals. Dense food should be replaced in a pitta diet. Fresh fruit juices are more suitable than alcoholic or caffeinated beverages. Most beans are beneficial for this Dosha except soy products.
Fruits and vegetables: Sweet fruits like berries, avocado, mango, melon, pomegranate, coconut, dried fruits, papaya and citrus fruits. Vegetables like broccoli, zucchini, wheatgrass, pumpkin, radishes, cucumber, cauliflower, green beans, artichoke.
Fruits and vegetables to avoid: Sour fruits like apricots, kiwi, lime, cherries and pineapple. Vegetables such as garlic, onion, cooked spinach, tomatoes and hot peppers should be minimal.
Grains: Pasta, rice, cereals, oats, quinoa, granola.
Grains to avoid: Rye, bread with yeast and buckwheat.
Animal products: Milk, Unsalted butter, soft cheese, paneer, fresh yoghurt, ghee, buffalo, chicken, egg whites, turkey, and freshwater fish are some healthy foods.
Dairy and meats to avoid: Duck, egg yolk, lamb, pork, beef and dark meat. Dairy like buttermilk, hard cheese and some yoghurts.
Sugar substitutes: Brown sugar and honey.
Snacks: Nuts are not suitable for this dosha. Almonds and coconut are beneficial.
Snacks like flax seeds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds can be eaten.
How To Follow A Kapha Diet Plan:
Warming, lighter foods are recommended for Kapha. A predominance in this dosha can be triggered by heavier, oil-loaded and spicy foods. Most beans are agreeable for this energy except soy products.
Fruits and vegetables: Cranberries, citrus fruits, strawberries, grapes and dry fruits. Vegetables that are pungent and bitter like onions, garlic, brussels, carrots, cilantro, broccoli, spinach, kale, mushrooms, mustard, squash and wheatgrass.
Fruits and vegetables to avoid: Bananas, dates, very sweet and very sour fruits. Vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, cucumbers and squash should be avoided.
Grains: Couscous, basmati rice, rye, and cereal.
Grains to avoid: Wheat, pasta, oats, bread with yeast and rice.
Animal products: Goat's cheese, paneer, buttermilk, skim yoghurt, eggs, chicken, shrimp and freshwater fish.
Dairy and meats to avoid: All dark meat, butter, sour cream, and regular cheese.
Snacks: Nuts are not favourable for this dosha. Seeds are a good alternative and chia, sunflower and pumpkin seeds may provide great advantages.