Ayurveda has a different vision of diet and nutrition.
The latest trend advocates eating constantly throughout the day. This is a fast track to accumulating toxins and shortening your life span. This fad overworks the digestive system not allowing it to rest. This will tax the digestive organs and they will become imbalanced. Toxins and the beginning of disease will follow.
Agni ( Digestive Fire) is the most important factor in Ayurvedic nutrition. Thus, the first consideration of nutrition in Ayurveda begins, not with what you are eating, but with what you have the ability to digest. You may be eating the best organic food available and still feel tired and have low energy. This is because your agni is not enough for the foods that you are consuming. Low agni is behind many dietary and metabolic problems. It can lead to a breakdown of the digestive process. It can also create symptoms like obesity, arthritis, acid reflux, bloating and diabetes. It is behind all forms of nutrient deficiencies and allergies. So, before anything check the status of your agni and then begin to make changes in your diet.
The second consideration is balancing your constitution with food. Ayurveda uses a method of understanding the five elements in both the body and food. The food you choose either raises or lowers a particular dosha. Each food can be broken down into elements. According to the predominating element, it will either cause imbalance or health. Ayurveda calls this “The Six Taste theory” and I will go over it.
The six tastes are unique to the Ayurvedic system. Ayurvedic nutrition focuses more in the six tastes. It does not focus on whether the food is a protein, fat, carbohydrate, or oil. The system does not count calories. It is a common sense system. The six tastes are: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent. Our bodies are formed by the elemental nature of our intake, which increases or decreases the doshic balance.
Sweet Taste includes:
Sugar, Honey, Maple Syrup Starches, Grains, Roots
Salty Taste includes:
Salt Seaweeds, Mineral Salts as Found in Foods
Sour Taste includes:
Alcohol, Vinegar Yogurt, Pickled Vegetables, Sauerkraut, Citrus Fruit
Pungent Taste includes:
Hot Spices, Cayenne, Chile, Mustard, Horseradish Mild Spices
Bitter Taste includes:
Strong Bitter Herbs, Aloe Skin, Gentian, Golden seal, Barberry Bark Aloe Gel, Green Vegetables
Astringent Taste includes:
Tannins, Oak Bark, Astringent Herbs Beans, Alfalfa, Potatoes
The next staple of an Ayurvedic nutrition program is allowing food to be completely digested. When food has not left the stomach and you pile on more food, then the acids that break down the food will get taxed. Eventually your body will weaken its acid production and food will not digest completely. This leads to bacterial overgrowth and the start of many problems. So give yourself enough time to digest so the food leaves your stomach as fast as it can.
Ayurveda nutrition is simple and has been proven over thousands of years. By following the principles laid out here you will see improvements in your health right away. Get a dosha test online or go to an Ayurvedic practitioner to find out what Doshic constitution you are and what imbalances you have. From there you will know what foods are good for you and which ones are detrimental. This will be a good start to a vital and healthy life.