Diet trends don’t come and go, they go and come back. Its 2.0 version of the same diet. It’s the old cold coffee but with social media it became Dalgona. Something like this happened to the Ayurvedic diet as well. Ayurveda comes from Hindu sacred texts called Vedas. It balances different types of energy inside our bodies. Keto diet and vegan diet are new trends but they take some inspiration from a 5000-year-old ayurvedic diet.
According to Ayurveda, five components form the universe – air, water, space, fire, and earth. And these five are believed to form three types of energy called doshas. These doshas have their specific roles in the human body. The first one is called Pitta dosha which controls our hunger and digestion. Then there is Vata dosha which controls our movement and energy. And lastly, there is Kapha dosha which controls the lubrication and structure of the joints. The ayurvedic diet promotes eating specific foods to maintain a balance between the three doshas.
If you are beginner, follow these guidelines to start your Ayurvedic Diet
1. Eat the Rainbow
Eating different fruits is better to bet any day. Color your plate yellow, pink, red, green, and orange. Fruits are rich in fiber, antioxidants, and nutrients that help in boosting immunity. Fiber is one nutrient in your food which is essential to prevent constipation and regularise digestion. We should eat fruits when our liver store is empty. Eat them first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, not with your breakfast. Its nutrients work only when eaten as a meal.
2. Eat your heaviest meal at noon
Ayurveda tells us that a day has 4 parts of 4 hours each. Each of these parts is connected to the sun and its movement. There is a slow rise, peaking, and then falling off a particular dosha in our body. In order to get benefits from these movements, Ayurveda tells us to follow a few rules.
Pitta dosha is responsible for hunger and digestion. It is also connected to the sun as it is one of the elements that form pitta dosha. When the sun is at its peak around noon, pitta dosha is on peak too. It is advised to eat your heaviest meal at this time. There is the highest chance for food to be well digested and proper absorption of nutrients.
3. Eat Ghee without Guilt
Ghee is lipolytic. It’s a fat that breaks down other fats. It allows you to de-stress, sleep better, and wake up fresher. And the addition of ghee to meals reduces their glycaemic index. This regulates the blood sugar level. Ensure that you eat 3-6 tsp ghee per day. But make it adds the flavor to your meal not mask it.
4. Feel your food
We are more attentive to our hunger signals when only focusing on that. Eating in a distractive manner will lead to overeating. Take time to appreciate the smell, the colors in your plate, and the taste of your food. Use your hands to eat your meal. Your fingers release digestive juices when your hands come in contact with food. According to Vedas, this practice directly affects our chakras. As we place the food in our mouth with fingers, they form a yogic mudra. This wakes up the sensory organs to maintain the prana. Using your hands for eating also increases the blood circulation in the body.
5. Eat from the stove
Always eat fresh food prepared at home. When you prepare your meal, you control the recipe. It helps you decide the portion of your meal, ingredients to use, and what time to eat. When you are in charge, you think healthier. Homemade food is also consumed immediately which allows food enzymes to work better.
6. Eat local and seasonal
Local food takes little time to reach your plate from the farm. The nutrient value also remains high. And the chain of supply is limited which makes your food less contaminated. Ayurveda diet suggests local organic food for better digestion and intake of more nutrients. They contain enzymes necessary for the assimilation of food. They are rich in nutrients that take care of normal cellular construction.
7. Sit cross-legged while eating
Sitting cross-legged is called Sukhasana in the yoga language. Sukhasana enables blood to reach the stomach. This leads to better digestion and absorption of nutrients. The body posture straightens the spine and every time you sit cross-legged. This increases your focus on what you are eating and how. Ayurved advises adding this habit to your dincharya ( daily routine ).
8. Drink up and not just water
Stay hydrated with seasonal drinks throughout the day. Always change what you eat and drink with seasons. Try adding coconut water, buttermilk, or lemonade to your daily meals. This will allow you to get different tastes every time. Sometimes tangy, sometimes sweet and sometimes sour. It will help in reducing acidity and get rid of bloating. It will also relieve chronic body pains.
9. Spice – up
Indian dishes are famous for spices used in them. Turmeric, cumin, coriander, black pepper, powdered ginger, etc, are among the ayurvedic spices. They help in digestion and boosting metabolism. They also cleanse toxins from the body and prevent gas and bloating. They can be added to different food and drink recipes for better taste. But use them to a limit to avoid an upset stomach.
10. Balance is everything
A simple algorithm for this is to include the six Ayurvedic Ras ( taste ) in every meal. They are – Sweet ( fruits ), sour ( citrus ), salty ( veggie ), bitter ( grains ), pungent( chilly ), and astringent ( legumes ). It is believed that including all six tastes will lead to a balanced meal and a feeling of satisfaction. This will also make sure that you get different nutrients from different ingredients.
The guideline mentioned above asks you to include local, and cultural foods. They are asking you to follow time tested eating practices. Along with these, you can follow 3 S of eating right – sit, silence and senses.
Each of the Ayurvedic diet guidelines will help you remain healthy. And don’t forget to appreciate and enjoy your meals. Learning to be grateful for the food you eat is what basic Ayurveda rule is.
But remember that these guidelines are very generic. They will variate according to your location, appetite, food choices, etc. this is a make it or break it deal. This will decide your long-lasting fitness and lifestyle.