What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda, which is derived from Sanskrit words, is considered one of the oldest healing therapies. Originating in India over 5000 years ago, ‘Ayur’ means life, and ‘Veda’ means science or knowledge, so Ayurveda means the science of life, or alternately referred to as the mother of all healing.
Ayurvedic therapy emphasises the prevention of diseases and promotes balance through the mind, diet, lifestyle, and the use of herbs.
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Ayurveda identifies the basic types of energy that are present in everyone and everything. There are no words in English that convey the concepts, so the original Sanskrit words are used to define them: Vata, Pitta and Kapha, which are referred to as doshas.
- Vata is the energy of movement.
- Pitta is the energy of digestion or metabolism.
- Kapha is the energy of lubrication and structure.
All people have the qualities of all three, however, one is most dominant, then there is a secondary dosha, and lastly, the least prominent dosha.
What is the Ayurvedic diet?
The Ayurvedic diet is based on the principles of Ayurvedic medicine, which focuses on internal balance and energy, and promotes a better body and mind. It provides recommendations based on what foods you should eat, according to your Ayurvedic body type.
The Ayurvedic diet determines your dominant dosha and encourages eating foods that will, in turn, balance all three doshas.
Red meat, artificial sweeteners and processed ingredients are limited for all three doshas, and eating healthy whole foods is always preferred.
What are the benefits of the Ayurvedic diet?
1. The Ayurvedic diet encourages the consumption of whole foods.
2. It can promote weight loss.
3. It promotes mindfulness.
How to eat for different types of dosha?
Food for Vata dosha body type
Vata dosha types are normally more attracted to raw foods, including salads and vegetables, however, they achieve balance by consuming warm, cooked foods, especially those with a sweet, sour or salty taste. Better digestion will be experienced if raw foods are limited.
Vata dosha diet
When consuming fruits, ripe and juicy fruits tend to balance a Vata type, but dried fruits should be avoided. Fruits should be consumed on an empty stomach.
If a Vata type is exposed to cold foods or liquids, it can normally cause an unbalance in the body, as the body responds well to warmer, moist foods, that can be slightly heavy, and contain nutritious oils too. Nutritious foods like legumes can be difficult to digest, but they can still be consumed in the diet, however, the split types which have been soaked are generally recommended.
If you are a Vata type, you should consume smaller meals approximately three-four times per day, and snack throughout the day, trying to maintain a two-hour gap between snacks and meals. This routine is very important to a Vata dosha type.
Food for Pitta dosha body type
Unlike a Vata type, a Pitta type is often balanced by a vegetarian diet, consisting of raw fruits and vegetables. Cooling energising foods are great to achieve balance.
Pitta dosha diet
Any spices, nuts and seeds should be limited in the diet, along with foods that are sour, salty, or have a very sharp smell. This includes fruits like lemons and limes, chilli, and even garlic.
Legumes should be included in the diet, especially black lentils and chickpeas.
Dairy, especially sweeter dairy products like yoghurts, can also help a Pitta achieve balance.
Coffee, tobacco and alcohol should be completely avoided, and black tea should be consumed in moderation.
Food for Kapha dosha body type
Kapha types are most balanced by bitter, strong-smelling foods, but attracted to sweeter, salty, oily foods. Fats tend to unbalance a Kapha type, so heavier foods containing nuts, seeds and oils should be limited. Spices like ginger and garlic, which are best, can be included in the diet, except for salt.
Kapha dosha diet
Above-ground vegetables are good for Kapha balancing. It is best to avoid sweet, sour or juicy vegetables, and fruits such as apples, apricots, mangos, peaches, and pears should be included in the diet instead. Steamed or stir-fried vegetables are better to digest, although raw vegetables can also be consumed.
When consuming animal by-products, although this should not be often, it is better if they are baked or roasted. Dairy products should be avoided.
While it is necessary to include grains in the diet, legumes, however, should be limited, and over-eating is discouraged to avoid unbalancing a Kapha.
There is no need to consume alcohol in the Kapha diet, and a Kapha type is hardly affected by liquor. Occasionally, black coffee and tea may be consumed. The only sweetener that should be utilised is honey, and processed sugars should be avoided.
Everyday factors can disturb the body’s internal as well as external balance, which results in unbalance. Getting to the root of these factors allows you to minimise them or eliminate the causes, bringing the body back into balance.
While balance is defined as a natural order, an imbalance is a disorder. When your health is in order, your body is balanced; when your body experiences disease, it results in an imbalance. As the body is always trying to achieve order or balance, consuming a diet based on your dosha type can help to assist in achieving balance and wellness in your body, although you should consult a doctor or nutritionist before embarking on a new diet plan.
For you to balance the body through an Ayurvedic diet, you need to determine your dosha type. To explore this further, as well as a whole lot more about Ayurvedic healing, why not join Shaw Academy’s online Alternate Therapies course today?