How To Eat According To Ayurveda
Unlike a variety of diets, an Ayurvedic diet gives you personalized recommendations on which foods to eat and which to avoid based on your Prakriti or body type. It’s also well-known because it’s said that it encourages not only physical but also mental health. Ayurveda is an Indian form of holistic medicine that focuses on encouraging body-mind balance. The universe is made up of five elements, according to Ayurveda: Air (Vayu), Water (Jal), Space (Akash), Fire (Teja), and Prithvi (Earth). These elements are thought to combine to form three distinct doshas, which are types of life force that move within the human body. Each dosha is in charge of different physiological functions. The Ayurvedic diet is an Ayurvedic component that has been practiced for hundreds of thousands of years. It is based on identifying your dominant dosha and consuming specific foods which encourage balance among the three doshas.
Before changing the food a patient eats, it’s critical to deal with a few issues in clinical practice. This is a list of the things that are more significant than food because they affect how your dosha and agni digest it. The first and most crucial factor is the way you think. In the end, though, they are all equally capable of interfering with the process of digestion by either causing dosha vriddhi or altering Agni’s natural function.The full list of things to think about is as follows:
- Mental Attitude
- Environment Issues
- State of Food
- Order of eating Food
- Food Combinations
- Quantity of Food
- Act of Eating
Let’s discuss each point one by one in this article!!!
1. MENTAL ATTITUDE
According to Ayurveda, your attitude towards food determines how well you digest and absorb nutrients from food. Do you enjoy food or detest it? Is eating an unavoidable evil? Does it occupy your time, time that might be better spent on something else? Do you frequently consider food? Do you generally have a negative, positive, or impartial attitude towards food?
According to Ayurveda, we should savor our meals. Eating constitutes one of life’s pleasures and shouldn’t be treated with either excessive importance or disregard. Although both sides are disruptive, enjoyment is crucial. According to Ayurveda, eating the best, healthiest food just because it’s healthy can interfere with digestion and the metabolism. The best aid for the digestive system is enjoyment in a balanced sense.
2. ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
Environmental Issues basically include food quality. Let’s see how! Insecticides and fertilizers derived from petroleum are found throughout the food chain. It primarily affects humans by lowering fertility rates. What is the Ayurvedic perspective? According to Ayurveda, both men and women are prone to toxic substance accumulation in the reproductive system. According to Ayurveda, the body is a progressive development of tissues, with each one nourishing the next. This process begins with food as a source of nutrition and ends with the reproductive system or fertility as a result of food transmutation. According to this viewpoint, any foreign matter, such as petrochemicals, would accumulate in the reproductive tissues and cause infertility, among other things.
One more thing of petrochemicals which affect especially the women’s reproductive system is the chemicals which act like estrogen. The chemicals when ingested into the body, the body responds to them as they respond towards estrogen, which leads to too much production of estrogen in the body. What are the consequences of having too much estrogen in the body? Any brochure for an estrogenic product such as (ERT) and paper will indicate that these are potential risks-
- Breast Cancer
- Cancer of Uterus
- Abnormal Blood Clotting
- Gallbladder Disease
Side effects of too much estrogen on the body:
- Enlargement of benign tumors
- Retention of fluids
- Enlargement of fibroids
- Breast enlargement
- Breast tenderness
In Men the high levels of estrogen leads to reduce the levels of testosterone in the body of men, which leads to following problems:
- Water retention
- Weight gain
- Prostate enlargement
- Lower sperm count
- Enlargement of tumors
- Enlargement of fatty tissue of breast
What Is The Solution For Eliminating Environmental Issues
As we studied earlier, the starting of the bad impact of environmental issues is the food we eat. So the solution to eliminate the bad effects of environmental issues is to change your food. Start eating organic, but from the market that provides you organic. You can also eat animal products but Ayurveda only considers the best diet that is only plant based. The diet you can take includes following food items:
- Soy products
- Green leafy vegetables
- Various whole grain foods like corn, barley, rice, wheat, etc.
According to Ayurveda, foods should be obtained from your local environment and during their natural season. This is especially important for critically ill patients suffering from cancer or other chronic diseases such as hepatitis, tuberculosis, or AIDS. Even if you are normally healthy, you can consume a small amount of food from other places. However, if a client exhibits any signs of weakened immunity, allergies, digestive problems, weight problems, or one of the diseases listed above, only consume locally grown foods which are available in that particular season.
3. STATE OF FOOD
Before delving deeper into various categories of food and the way they affect different types of people, we must consider the form of the food, such as whether it is cooked or uncooked, solid or liquid. Each state of food has a different effect on the metabolism of people with different constitutions. Let’s look at how food quality affects metabolism.
Raw fruits are ideal for Vata and Pitta prakriti people. Fruits frequently have a cooling and cleansing effect. However, the Pitta type cannot eat only raw fruits for breakfast because they will become irritable, and fruit alone is insufficient. Fruit can also cause too much acidity in pitta people. Fruits’ moistening action makes them ideal for the Vata type, which tends to be dry, rather than the Kapha type, which tends to be too watery or congestive. But it is not like that vata prakriti can take lots of raw items because the cleansing property of fruits can lead to undernourishment, the large quantity can be better for Kapha prakriti because it can lead to cleansing.
According to Ayurveda, cooked food is better for everyone because it is easier to digest and assimilate. For any of the types, there are no real contraindications to eating cooked food. Cooking is the antidote because it improves the quality of many foods that would otherwise be unpalatable. However, some foods, such as honey and oils, should not be cooked. While some people argue that cooking destroys enzymes and some vitamin content, Ayurveda says that cooking is still preferable. This is because cooking allows whatever nutrients are left to be easily absorbed. They claim that if the food is not cooked, the same amount of nutrients are absorbed because the body expends more calories to digest it. Furthermore, the body is frequently unable to break down a food as completely as cooking does, releasing more nutrients.
Over time, liquid food becomes quite problematic. The human colon requires solid matter to preserve its tone; a liquid diet for an extended period of time may result in colon prolapse. The colon, according to Ayurveda, is also a major sight of micro nutrients absorption. A liquid diet does not give the colon enough time to absorb all available nutrients prior to elimination. However, according to Ayurveda, liquid diets generally suppress the digestive fire (agni). It causes many problems for Kapha prakriti individuals who already have a low digestive fire. Pitta types do well with either fruits or vegetables, while Vata types do better with a combination of liquid and solid foods.
Solid foods should be the foundation of everyone’s diet. The digestive organs can collapse in the absence of solid food. If a yogi wants to eat only fruits or liquids, there are special exercises that prevent this from happening. This, however, necessitates specialised training and isn’t applicable to the majority of people. Cooked food is an essential component of life for the average person.
4. ORDER TO EAT FOODS AS PER AN INDIVIDUAL
One of the most overlooked, yet crucial, aspects of nutrition is the sequence in which we consume our food. This is based on the logic that whatever enters first will either be digested first or will obstruct the digestion of other foods. The general consensus is that foods should be consumed in the order in which the body digests them. The sequence in which foods must be consumed varies from person to person.
It is generally as follows for pitta and kapha prakriti:
- Green salads
- Whole grains
- Cooked vegetables
- Raw vegetables
- Dairy products
- Fish and poultry
- Red meat
The list differs slightly for Vata types:
- Whole Grains
- Cooked vegetables
- Milk products
- Poultry and fish
- Raw vegetables
- Red meat
Fruits should be consumed alone, not with other meals, according to the basic rules. Before eating cooked veggies or grains, the Vata type should avoid eating any foods that are raw. Without changing their diet, everyone should start eating this way because it makes it simpler for the different digestive enzymes to function on the foods to which they are related. This is especially true for fruits, which require a unique set of enzymes not found in other foods. This method maintains the balanced state of Agni.
5. FOOD COMBINATIONS
It is important to note that liquids generally bypass solid foods in the stomach and proceed directly to the small intestine. As a result, the liquid you drink has the ability to either enhance or suppress your digestive system. Liquids must be consumed in small quantities to help lubricate the gastrointestinal tract and liquify the meals in the stomach. The enzymes that break down food are completely suppressed when the fluids are cold. If they’re too hot or mixed with the incorrect food, they can over stimulate digestion and cause acidity.
Certain food groups should not be mixed together in order when eating. The following food combinations should never be combined:
- Ice cold drinks: Not mixed with anything
- Fruits: Cheese, Fish, Milk
- Honey: Ghee
- Hot liquids: Fish, Dairy, Meat
- Lemon: Milk, Yogurt, Tomatoes, Cucumber
- Melons: Anything
- Milk: Fish, Eggs, Yoghurt, Sour Foods
QUANTITY OF FOOD
Another important aspect of Ayurvedic nutrition is the amount of food consumed by the individual. The simplest way to begin any type of dietary plan is to simply eat less. The amount of food consumed by many people is staggering, and it is the primary cause of the disease. The stomach is a muscle that can be extended or contracted through exercise. If you regularly overeat, you are pushing your stomach to extend itself out. You can train your stomach to shrink to its normal size by eating less.
According to Ayurveda, your stomach should be occupied by 1/3 solid foods, 1/3 fluids, and 1/3 empty spaces. This is the ideal stomach proportion for it to do its job, which is to mix everything you’ve chewed with stomach acids. If this mixture is not properly prepared, the food and acids enter the small intestine in a half-baked state. This process cannot take place if the stomach is too full. The best way to lose weight is to eat less of everything, not just one type of food. A well-balanced diet includes a variety of foods in sufficient quantities.
THE ACT OF EATING
Finally, we arrive at the act of eating itself. Eating should be enjoyable, as stated at the outset of this article. Chewing our food thoroughly is essential for getting a good taste and enjoyment from it. Chewing additionally enables saliva to combine with the food, preparing it for digestion. According to Ayurveda, each mouthful should be chewed a total of 32 times prior to swallowing.
After eating, you shouldn’t lie down or engage in strenuous physical activity for at least an hour. A short, casual walk of 10 to 15 minutes after eating can be very beneficial in stimulating digestion. According to Ayurveda, the body requires no more than three meals per day. This varies slightly depending on the individual. Vata people should eat at least three meals per day, but if they are imbalanced or disturbed, they may require a snack within the late afternoon. The pItta type only requires three meals per day. The Kapha type should avoid snacking, especially after dinner.
Unlike a variety of diets, an Ayurvedic diet gives you personalised recommendations on which foods to eat and which to avoid based on your Prakriti or body type. Before changing the food a patient eats, it’s critical to deal with a few issues in clinical practice. These issues include Mental attitude, Environment Issues, State of food, Order of eating food, Food combinations, Quantity of food and Act of eating. All of these are mentioned according to Ayurveda. So eat according to Ayurveda as mentioned in this article to live a healthy and disease free life.
Dr. Vikram Chauhan
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