When it comes to choosing the right diet to maintain optimum health and wellness, what is the right way? Look online and you will find many different types of diet claiming to the “ultimate way of eating” but the truth is, very few delivers the result it promises.
That’s where the Ayurvedic Diet fills in the gap.
Is the Ayurvedic Diet Different?
Let’s start at the basic first. With an origin dating back to 4000 years which makes it one of the oldest forms of wellness known, Ayurveda simply means “knowledge of life”. “The Ayurvedic diet focuses on balance and well-being”, says Dr Shrinath Pandya, B.A.M.S. “And when you attain balance, your mind and body will perform at its peak capacity”, he adds.
Ayurveda at its core believes that there are 3 basic body types, or doshas – Vata, pitta and Kapha. Even though everybody consists of all 3 energies, there are always 1-2 doshas which overpower. To follow an ayurvedic diet effectively, first and foremost, you need to know your dosha which an Ayurvedic doctor can determine.
“But even if you don’t know your dosha yet, you can follow the Ayurvedic diet princes to attain optimum health, says Dr Shrinath.
Here are the rules you need to follow:
Eat Only Natural Foods
This is the most crucial rule Ayurvedic diet always focusses on fresh, natural and locally sourced foods only. Simply because we must stay connected with the ways of the universe and in sync with nature to be healthy and happy. Also, our bodies have the innate intelligence to prefer foods that are closest to nature that’s why avoiding processed, coloured or artificial foods are the first step.
Spices don’t just add flavour but they have intense therapeutic value as well so it’s important to use them wisely and effectively. An ideal Ayurvedic meal should consist of all 6 flavours so to feel fully satiated and they are: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent, and pungent. So go ahead and bring out the spice box! Checkout this beautiful pink spice box from Jaypore.
Drink the Good Stuff
Avoid coffee, sugar teas, alcohol and aerated beverages as they upset the doshas which result in you feeling weak and lethargic. Eg: remember you last post-caffeine crash? Yup. Instead, stick to room temperate water which will help you detox. Also, avoid drinking ice cold water since its upsets the digestive fire.
Develop Good Eating Habits
Unlike many other diets, the Ayurvedic diet allows you to be flexible with what you eat. Feel like eating a burger? Sure! Go ahead but don’t add an aerated beverage or fries on the side. But one rule is important; eating three regular meals at the same time every day, while ensuring that lunch is the heaviest of them all. Why? Because Ayurvedic cycle is linked closely to the cycle of nature so eating at the same time every day will sync your body with nature. Also, the digestive fire or Agni is the strongest between 1-4 pm and weakest after 6 pm. So eating a heavy dinner might disrupt your sleep and burden the digestive track.
Sample Meal Plan
In case you are keen to try the Ayurvedic diet, Dr Shrinath has shared a simple and easy to follow the meal plan to help you get started.
Start with 6 soaked and peeled almonds and one banana. You can also have boiled eggs, poha, upma, idli or upma. Bread is not recommended since white flour will make you lethargic.
Brown rice cooked in 1 teaspoon of ghee, with any vegetable of your choice, one bowl of dal and you can finish the meal with a piece of jaggery. Avoid greasy and cheesy food items.
Simple vegetable soup cooked in olive oil
At the end, no matter what you eat, just remember how it impacts your health and mood and make changes accordingly. Lots of things which are good for you are also tasty, so go ahead and indulge.