Intro to Ayurveda
What is Ayurveda?
First things first, let’s start with this.
the traditional Hindu system of medicine, which is based on the idea of balance in bodily systems and uses diet, herbal treatment, and yogic breathing.
from Sanskrit āyus ‘life’ + veda ‘(sacred) knowledge’
Ayurveda is actually the lesser known sister science to yoga, believing that TRUE health is attained by a delicate balance of mind, body and spirit. It’s the science of life, aiming to attain mind-body balance, encompassing spiritual, psychological, philosophical and medical components to promote lifelong wellness.
Ayurveda is the worlds OLDEST medical system, dating back over 5,000 years or even longer.
In Ayurvedic medicine, there are three energy types that are believed to circulate and govern physiological activity.
Energy Types - Doshas
Vata (qualities reflecting space and air)
Pitta (qualities reflecting fire and water)
Kapha (qualities reflecting water and earth)
There are three doshic states:
Balanced: All three doshas are present in their natural proportions; also referred to as “equilibrium.”
Increased: A particular dosha is present in a greater-than-normal proportion; also referred to as an “aggravated” or “excess state.”
Decreased: A particular dosha is present in a less-than-normal proportion; also referred to as a “reduced” or “depleted state.”
You are probably wondering which dosha you fall under. Well, there is a dosha that you were born with and there is a dosha that you grow into and become; this dosha can change throughout your lifetime just as you grow and evolve. These two together, create your doshic constitution. (Vata-Kapha, Kapha-Pitta, etc.)
My personal favorite quiz to discover your dosha is from Deepak Chopra, so click here to discover your doshic constitution.
A lot of this might be overwhelming, but in short - Ayurveda is about taking care of your body as a whole, from the inside out, including energetically. It’s about learning about the kinds of foods that are best for YOU and your dosha, how to use food as medicine and just thrive.
To be honest, you are probably already incorporating Ayurvedic practices in your life without knowing it. Much of the systems we have today are derived from Ayurveda.
Do you use oils in your food, on your body or in your hair?
Do you buy your foods based off what is thriving and in season?
Do you drink herbal teas?
What about a morning routine that might include yoga, meditation, journaling, etc?
All of those things are ayurvedic practices, and it’s nowhere near as overwhelming as it may seem.
It’s about living consciously.
SO, now that you know your dosha types (and probably read up on it from Deepak Chopra’s site) and you have an understanding of how simple Ayurveda can be - I made you a little cheat sheet on an Ayurvedic summer diet.
FOODS TO AVOID:
Pungent – Foods that are sharp or spicy such as ginger, garlic, radishes, chilies, and spicy seasonings.
Salty – Anything that may have excess salt or is naturally salty such as seaweed.
Sour – Foods that make the mouth pucker or are fermented such as lemons, grapefruit, hard cheese, and sour cream.
Hot – Go for room temperature over warm, and mildly seasoned over spicy.
Oily and dense – Foods that are deep-fried or very rich.
FOODS TO FAVOR:
Sweet – Those which are naturally sweet such as fruits, vegetables, grains, and ghee (clarified butter).
Bitter – Greens such as kale, collards, and dandelion, also bitter spices like fenugreek.
Astringent – Foods that make the mouth feel chalky such as spinach, turmeric, beans, apples, coriander, and dill.
Cooling – Anything that has a cooling post-digestive effect such as cucumber, watermelon, fruit juices, fennel, dill, and coriander. However, avoid ice or foods straight from the fridge.
Light – Foods that don’t overburden the digestive fire.