Five Ways to Approach Food in Ayurveda
What makes an Ayurvedic diet different from other diets? After all, Ayurveda originated five thousand years ago so it’s definitely not a fad; here today gone tomorrow approach. We are all familiar with some of those and perhaps have tried a few over the years.
Ayurveda’s approach is consistent with nature; your own nature ( dosha) and nature surrounding you; your environment. A person who lives in a cold climate year round such as Alaska is not going to eat the same food as someone who lives in a tropical climate like the Bahamas. It’s common sense. Perhaps that’s why the knowledge is so sustainable because it’s practical and earth based.
These are five ways Ayurveda recommends approaching food:
1. Choose foods that are “satvic” . Satvic is a sanskrit word that means, “pure essence”. Satvic foods are thought to promote longevity, bring about happiness, feeling of calm, peace and mental clarity. Some examples are : whole grains such as buckwheat, barley, quinoa, basmati rice; split mung beans, legumes, fruits and vegetables in season, ghee, cow’s milk ( heated). Satvic foods are cooked at home with the energy of the person who made it.
The Sattvic diet is a high fiber, low fat vegetarian diet followed by many yogi’s.
2.Eat food that is local to the region you live in. Farmers’ markets have signs above the fruits and vegetables that describe where the food originated. Why? The main health benefit of locally grown food is that it’s fresher. Fruits and vegetables begin to lose their nutrients within 24 hours of being picked, so fresher produce is more nutritious. In addition, locally grown food is picked at its peak ripeness, when it’s most dense with nutrients.
3. Eat foods in season. In summer nature provides fresh berries, sprouts, cucumbers, watermelon and cooling foods to balance the heat outside. Fall with it’s apples, pears, squashes detoxes some of the summer heat and gets us ready for winter where stews, and soups keep us warm. Spring brings dandelion, bitter greens again to detox and cleanse the liver of the heavy winter foods. In this way one also naturally loses weight.
4. When to eat? From sunrise to sundown. Intermittent fasting didn’t appear out of nowhere. It actually was derived from Ayurveda. principles. The “sun” rules digestion so when the sun is at it’s peak at lunchtime we should aim for the largest meal. Dinner, close to when the sun sets can be lighter such as soup, grains and vegetables. The only food Ayurveda recommends eating after sunset is hot milk before bedtime as it helps bring about sound sleep. Adding turmeric and ghee ( golden milk) is ideal.
5. Chew your food slowly and eat in a peaceful environment. Scarfing down food in front of a TV or computer or with your cell phone at eye’s length is not advised. Eating slowly allows you to feel fuller sooner and predigest food in the mouth. Eat until the food is mush in your mouth. In other words, eat with awareness.
There are many other Ayurvedic tips related to food that you can read about in my book ” Enough Drugs! I Am A Woman and Can Heal Naturally. A Practical Guide to Feeling Your Best.”