Basic Ayurveda diet principles can be applied to any
cuisine, be it Mediterranean, Asian, European, or whichever one you prefer.
The most important principle in the Ayurvedic Diet is
that your food is fresh (without pesticides, additives and other chemicals),
seasonal, and as often as possible local. Fresh doesn’t, however, mean raw. The
best are freshly cooked, whole meals.
The Importance of
Six Tastes in Ayurvedic Diet
Ayurveda recognizes six tastes and it’s quite important
to have all of these 6 tastes in your diet every day. The six tastes are:
These six tastes are listed in the order they are
digested in your body. Sweet gets digested first, that’s why it’s not a good
idea to have a dessert at the end of the meal, which is typical in our culture,
but rather at the beginning. Salad, on the other hand, is perfect at the end of
Ayurvedic meal with all 6 tastes included in your diet
contributes to feeling satisfied at the end of a meal. Cravings are often
caused by not having all of the six tastes in your daily diet. Many people
often omit the bitter and astringent tastes (don’t be one of them!). When you
have something bitter or astringent at the end of a meal, it actually reduces
your desire for sweets.
Concept of Agni in
“Agni is the main source of life. Without agni, life
is not possible.” -Dr.Vasant Lad, Textbook of Ayurveda
Agni, which translates as Fire (in our case Digestive
Fire) is most important concept in Ayurvedic diet. When your Agni is healthy
and strong, you can digest whatever you eat. On the other hand, when your
digestive fire is weakened, you cannot digest the food you take and your body
produces toxins. To balance your agni, follow the Healthy Eating Habits and try
to eat lightly. Kichari is a great choice. You can also include a fresh ginger
tea in your diet (just cut about ¼ inch of fresh ginger, peel it and grate
it; cover with hot water and let sit for 5 minutes; sip throughout the day).
How to Eat Out
One of the most important things to remember while eating
out is to always asking for room temperature or warm water instead of ice cold
water. There is nothing that kills the digestive fire (agni) faster than an ice
cold water on an empty stomach.
Knowing your body well and understanding which tastes
& qualities of foods are balancing for Ayurveda body type will help you to
make the right decisions.
For example, If your dosha is Vata then a bowl of warm soup
is a better choice than an ice cold salad since Vata gets balanced with warm quality
and aggravated with cold, raw food. On the other hand, if you have a
predominant Pitta dosha, you will do much better with raw food and often salad
bars, as well as vegetarian dishes, are great option for you.
If Kapha is your dominant dosha, you will do best with
light choices, lightly steamed/cooked veggies, as well as light vegetarian
dishes, are a great choice for you.
So next time you want to eat out, keep these
little tips in mind so you know how to order the right food for your body.