The Ayurvedic eating principles are part of the ancient practice of the Ayurvedic diet. The Ayurvedic diet has been around for centuries but is still a popular practice in modern life too! But what are the Ayurvedic eating principles?
Based on ancient and holistic medicine, the Ayurvedic diet provides you with an eating plan that balances the energies within your body and mind. For some, it is a complex diet to follow, however, it is said to provide many health benefits if used correctly.
What makes the Ayurvedic diet unique is that the eating plan is based on each individual person’s body and energy type – their dosha!
So, what are the Ayurvedic eating principles? And what are the benefits of following this ancient eating practice?
Well, we’re going to take a closer look at the Ayurvedic diet! Yes, we’re going to tell you what the Ayurvedic eating principles are, and how they will benefit your body!
What Is the Ayurvedic Diet?
The Ayurvedic diet is an eating plan that is based around your individual energy and body type. A complex eating practice, the diet gives you guidelines on which foods to eat, when to eat them and also how to eat them!
But where does the Ayurvedic diet come from?
Well, the Ayurvedic diet and eating principles are centuries old, and originate in India. In fact, the diet has been around for roughly 5,000 years! The word Ayurveda is translated to ‘Science of life’ – ayur meaning science and veda meaning life.
The Ayurvedic diet focuses on eating primarily whole and low-processed foods. It is built on the principles that what you eat will balance the energies within your body, and also your mind.
So, how does it do that?
Well, in Ayurveda medicine, the belief is that the universe is made up of five elements. These elements are:
- Vayu – air
- Teja – fire
- Prithvi – earth
- Akash – space
- Jala – water
These five elements come together to form three energy forms – also known as doshas. The three doshas are present within our bodies and form our energy cycles.
So, the thinking behind the Ayurvedic diet is that first, you identify your dominant dosha. Secondly, you use the recommended foods and eating practices for your dosha. This will then keep your energy centre balanced and improve health and wellness too!
The question is, what is your dosha?
Well, let’s find out!
So, before we look at the Ayurvedic eating principles, let’s find out a bit more about the doshas.
We know the doshas are based on the five elements of the universe: fire, water, earth, air, and space. We also know they are the unique forms of energy that circulate our bodies and influence our health and mind.
Let’s take a look at the three doshas and find out which resonates most with you!
- Vata (air and space) – this dosha is associated with slim body types. You may have troubles with anxiety, digestive issues, or tiredness when your dosha is out of balance. Vata is often dominant with people who are creative, impulsive, and energetic!
- Pitta (fire and water) – Pitta dosha is associated with those of a medium build, who are intelligent, decisive, and joyful. When out of balance, Pitta types may suffer from high blood pressure and indigestion.
- Kapha (earth and water) – these dosha types are usually calm, centred, and loyal people. Associated with large body types, kaphas can suffer from depression, weight gain, or asthma when energies are out of balance.
So, there we have the three doshas that are the focus point of the Ayurvedic diet!
It is important to know which is your dominant dosha. This way, you can follow the recommended guidelines of food types, to keep your inner dosha balanced!
An example of this, Vata doshas do well to eat foods such as fish, red lentils, and grains. Pitta doshas should avoid sweet wines, pungent vegetables, and sour fruits. Kapha doshas are recommended foods such as polenta, bitter vegetables, and seafood.
Of course, there is much more to learn about the Ayurveda doshas and how to keep your inner energy balanced!
Whilst the doshas are a key part of the Ayurvedic diet, the Ayurvedic eating principles are also an incredibly important part of this practice.
But what are the Ayurvedic eating principles?
Well, read on and we’ll tell you!
Ayurvedic Eating Principles
Once you know which dosha is your dominant dosha (although you may be influenced by two), you can start to think more about the Ayurvedic eating principles.
There are seven key Ayurvedic eating principles. All of which aim to promote a healthier relationship with eating and food.
So, let’s take a look at them!
Focus on Six Rasas (Tastes)
The six tastes are key to the Ayurvedic diet, and so each meal should contain these six important tastes! Ideally, this is done using the recommended food guidelines for your dosha.
What does this mean?
Well, try to include one food source that is salty, sour, sweet, bitter, astringent, and pungent! Yes, this is where some people find the Ayurvedic diet quite complex.
Of course, it isn’t always possible to fit these tastes into every meal. However, the aim is to try rather than to be perfect! A good basis is to start your meal with something sweet, such as fruit. Next, eat something salty, such as nuts or fish. Lastly, finish your meal with something pungent, such as celery; or astringent, such as apple or grapefruit!
A key Ayurvedic eating principle, is the length of time it takes you to eat your meal.
Do you tend to inhale your food without a breath? Well, don’t. Do you have a habit of picking at your food until it ends up cold? Well, stop!
The key is to eat your food slowly enough so that you can taste and enjoy your meal. But, quick enough so that you enjoy the entire meal whilst it’s still warm.
Mindfulness is huge at the moment, but it is particularly important in the Ayurvedic eating principles.
Yes, when eating your food, be mindful of what you are doing. Focus on the texture, taste, and smells of your meal. Concentrate on chewing your food properly, and really experience the meal you are eating! It will not only help you appreciate your food more, but it will aid your digestion too!
Also, key to mindfulness eating is to concentrate. That means no TV, chatting or reading. Focus on your meal times!
Don’t Eat Before You Have Digested Your Last Meal
A key eating principle in the Ayurvedic diet is to wait until your last meal has been fully digested. The rough guidelines here are don’t eat less than three hours after your last meal. But also, don’t wait longer than six hours between meals!
Breakfast and Lunch Are Key
In the guidelines of the Ayurvedic eating principles, breakfast and lunch are important meals.
So, you might want to have a small to medium size breakfast, followed by a bigger lunch. The reason for this? Well, having a heavy meal at night can lie heavy on you, and cause heartburn and indigestion. Having larger meals earlier in the day gives your body time to digest the food.
If you’re not hungry at dinner after a large lunch, well – that takes us to our final eating principle!
The final Ayurvedic eating principle is to listen to your body and the signals it sends.
That means, if you’re feeling full, stop eating! I know, it can be hard if you’re enjoying your meal, but the key is to pay attention to these signals. But on the other hand, if you have hunger pains, you should eat!
So, we now know the basic Ayurvedic eating principles that will help to balance our doshas.
But why is the Ayurvedic diet so popular? What are the benefits to this eating practice?
Well, let’s take a look at the benefits of the Ayurvedic diet!
Ayurvedic Diet: What Are the Benefits to the Principles?
If the Ayurvedic diet has been around for over 5,000 years, then there must be some benefits, right?
Well, there are! Of course, any eating plan that focuses not only on basic health, but also on mind and body wellness, will certainly bring some benefits.
But what are they?
Focus on Health Foods
The Ayurvedic food guidelines for all doshas focuses on whole foods and minimal processed foods. Naturally, this is a good and healthy diet to follow!
Traditional Ayurvedic practices focus on only eating locally grown foods, but this isn’t always possible – or practical – for everyone. However, the idea is to aim for natural and whole foods as much as possible.
Potential Weight Loss
The Ayurvedic diet is not aimed at those wanting to lose weight. In fact, it is more of a lifestyle choice than a diet as such.
However, an unintentional benefit of the Ayurvedic diet can be weight loss. This is due to the lack of sugars and processed food recommended in the diet. In addition to that, listening to when your body is full, and eating slower can also aid weight loss.
Whilst the Ayurvedic eating principles focuses on mindful eating, rather than mindfulness as a whole, it is still beneficial in many ways.
Practicing mindfulness, whether eating or not, helps us slow down and be more present. This in itself can reduce stress, anxiety and allow us to become more free in our minds and bodies.
So, we now know the Ayurvedic eating principles, and the potential benefits.
For such an ancient practice the Ayurvedic diet certainly seems to resonate with a lot of people. Much like the Ayurvedic diet, natural remedies are becoming more popular as time goes on. This is true, not only for beauty products, but even for natural sleep remedies too!
Have you tried the Ayurvedic diet? Tell us in the comments below!