Eating an Ayurvedic diet is one where we eat with the seasons, eat freshly prepared organic foods, eat for our Vata-Pitta-Kapha constitution, and eat in a peaceful way. Food consumed in this way, becomes healing for the body. Ayurvedic cooking views food from nature as containing prana or life-giving force. So, when we take in wholesome food, we are enhancing our own Life Force or Prana.
Amazingly, Nature provides the right foods at exactly the right time. Eating with the seasons promotes the most vibrant health and digestion. Not eating with the seasons can cause Vata-Pitta-Kapha to go out of balance. See your ayurvedic practitioner, Mary Bruck to determine your doshic type is, and if you have an imbalance. You may also take the quick quiz What is My Ayurvedic Body Type?
Consider that in fall and early winter which is the Vata season, the fields produce root vegetables, grains, legumes, apples, pears, dates, figs, nuts, cranberries and the cows produce milk for our consumption. When these foods are prepared correctly, they are very pacifying for Vata types. Vata needs more grounding during this time of the year and these types of foods provide that grounding.
In late winter and early spring which is the Kapha season, the fields produce greens like watercress or arugula or mustard greens, asparagus, radishes, scallions, and peas. These foods are immensely balancing and cleansing for the Kapha types. Milk is not part of a spring time diet, as it tends to cause congestion. Generally, milk is not available in spring because the baby cows need all the milk. In springtime, we are looking to shed bulk, lethargy and toxins. We also want to recharge the digestive system with a lighter diet and a cleanse. Ayurveda is the only system that offers a unique cleansing and rejuvenation regimen called Panchakarma. In Spring and Fall, the doshas get stirred up and so these transitional seasons are ideas for getting rid of the excess doshas that have accumulated.
In Late Spring and summer which is the Pitta season, fresh foods abound. Potatoes, green beans, zucchini, squash, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, greens like dandelion greens, berries, apricots, cherries, lettuce, herbs, legumes, flowers, avocado, coconuts, banana, pineapple, mango, and grains are wonderful for balancing Pitta types. Milk is again available as calves are weaning off. Properly spiced milk drinks are very Pitta balancing.
There are 6 tastes in Ayurveda and foods can contain any of those tastes. Ideally, when we cook ayurvedic meals, we are preparing a meal that will feature all 6 tastes to stimulate the whole tongue and GI tract for proper digestion. Eating a meal that contains all 6 tastes will cause the satiety center in the brain to register complete contentment and fullness from the meal. The American Diet provides an over-abundance of the sweet-sour-salty tastes which cause us to overeat.
- Sweet = grains, ghee, nuts, non-fermented dairy
- Sour = lemon/lime juice, yogurt, tempeh
- Salty = salt, seaweed, kelp
- Pungent = chili peppers, black pepper, cayenne, ginger
- Bitter = leafy greens
- Astringent = beans, cranberries, pomegranate
- http://www.joyfulbelly.com/ is a wonderful place to get recipes and understand the tastes and doshas
The secret to Ayurvedic eating is to eat meals with all 6 tastes, eat until your first SOFT burp, prepare meals with love, and to eat in a peaceful, quiet environment. Adhering to an Ayurveda diet and lifestyle will ensure that we are always at a proper weight, have no cravings, and are content with food. And when we are content, we naturally invite those experiences that are balancing for us.
Next Month – how the 6 tastes affect the different parts of the GI tract, affect our digestive power, which bodily tissues benefit from each taste, and which tastes benefit each dosha.