An Ayurvedic diet
One of the first things people ask me when I tell them about my Ayurvedic journey is, what do I
Ayurveda. The elements and the doshas
eat? Now, my diet seems very normal but I have to confess that when I was first given my food advice from my Ayurvedic Practitioner I was somewhat distraught. There were none of my familiar favourites, my comfort foods, my quick stand by’s. I didn’t know what I was going to eat and I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to enjoy it! (Good positive attitude always helpful 🙂 )
I was in quite a bad way when I first started Ayurvedic treatment, so I had to make some really drastic changes to my diet and lifestyle, starting with a rather austere 2 week cleanse. I also want to point out that I ate previously, was what I thought was a healthy diet – plenty of fruit, even better if it was teamed with Greek yoghurt, plenty of veg (lots of lovely roasted tomatoes, aubergines and peppers), salads, brown rice, wholemeal bread, beans and pulses. To be told then that just about everything I was eating was wrong for my dosha, contributing to my illness was quite shocking. I stuck to my new eating plan though, and the results were amazing. My advice then is to have an open mind when you are looking at Ayurveda!
As you know Ayurveda works on the individual, so we would not all be given the same diet, but there are many simple rules that we can all follow that will make a big difference to your digestive function. Here are 5 Ayurveda rules for everyone’s healthy digestion.
FRUIT. The rule with fruit is eat it alone or leave it alone. It takes around 2 hours for food to go through the first part of your digestive system. Fruit though digests very quickly, so if you’ve eaten it with other foods, particularly dairy, it can’t move further along until the rest of the meal has been digested, so it just sits there, fermenting and causing a build up of Ama (Ayurvedic term for toxins and subject of a future blog). Don’t eat anything for 2 hours either side of fruit. Interestingly, as part of my diet I am only allowed 1 piece of fruit a day, which I really thought I would miss, but happily not so.
VEGETABLES. I had to stop eating all the nightshade family (tomatoes, aubergines, peppers, white potatoes) because they cause inflammation in just about everyone. If you have any kind of inflammatory condition you might want to consider giving this group of vegetables up, particularly tomatoes.
PORTION SIZE. Avoid overeating or under eating. A way to gauge the correct amount for you is to cup your hands together, and imagine the food you are eating in this cup. Eat one handful for breakfast, 2 for lunch and 1 for dinner. An Ayurvedic diet is not big on snacking either, your body needs time to digest the food properly and then rest.
CHEW YOUR FOOD PROPERLY. This helps the digestive process (your stomach doesn’t have teeth). Don’t eat your next meal until you’ve properly digested the last one.
EAT WITH AWARENESS. Pay attention to your meal, turn off the TV / electronic devices. Try to be relaxed when you are both eating and preparing your food. Sit down to eat and don’t rush. This helps us to notice when we are full, prevents overeating, and allows our digestive system to do its job.
Try them out and see what happens. There are also tips on food choices for each of the doshas, which are worth looking in to too. Next time I’ll be looking at yoga for the doshas.
Eat well, be well. Ix