Ayurveda states that certain tastes can either raise of lower a dosha. For instance if you are a hot person it is beneficial to eat cooling foods. Certain foods can stimulate your digestive fire (agni) and others can cool your agni.
Foods also have an after taste or affect that can be different from the initial taste, often not what you would expect. For instance yoghurt is sweet but the after affect is heating, so therefore not advisable for a Pita constitution as it increases heat.
Depending on your imbalance you are either wanting to raise or lower your dosha. Most commonly you need to lower your dosha to bring your body back into balance.
Nutrition from an Ayurvedic perspective
The ancients offered principles about a healthy diet and how it is to be eaten.
- Food needs to be hot (usually cooked)
- Food needs to be tasty and easy to digest
- Food needs to be eaten in the proper amounts, not too much or too little
- Food needs to be eaten on an empty stomach, after your last mean has been digested, not before
- Combining foods need to work together and not contradict one another in their actions
- Foods need to be eaten in pleasant surroundings
- Eating should not be rushed or a long drawn out affair
- It is best to focus on your food while eating and limit talking to prevent air intake (gas)
- Only eat food that is nourishing to your particular constitution and suits your mental and emotional temperament
Improper eating habits
- Eating soon again after a full meal
- Too much water or no water during a meal
- Drinking very chilled water during a meal, or indeed anytime
- Eating when constipated
- Eating at the wrong time of day-either too early or too late
- Eating an imbalance of heavy food or light food
- Drinking fruit juice or eating fruit with a meal
- Eating without real hunger
- Emotional eating
- Eating incompatible food combinations
- Snacking in between meals
Time of the Day
In order to maintain balance and health, we need to live in harmony with natures daily cycle. There are times of the day that are more suitable than others for our regular daily activities such as walking, eating, exercising, relaxing, and of course sleeping.
The three doshas have a close relationship with the daily cycle – each of the doshas is most active at a certain time of day and night and the energy associated with that dosha will affect us. If we become aware of the natural cycles according to Ayurveda we can experience better health and become more in-tune with our bodies.
The time of maximum activity of Kapha is during early morning and early evening, 6 am to 10 am and 6 am to 10 pm.
The Pita period is during midday and midnight, 10 am to 2 am and 10 pm to 2 am.
Vata hours are dawn and dust, 2 to 6 am and 2 to 6 am.
Thus a Pita-type disease, like ulcers, may cause the most discomfort late at night in the Pita time. The reverse is also true, in the sense that experiencing a sharp pain in the stomach region late at night may signify ulcers or another Pitta type aggravation.
Every act you perform around food should be in a loving honouring and sacred manner. Whether you are growing the food, selecting it in the supermarket or preparing it for cooking, the amount of loving awareness and respect you give transfers exactly to the food and to the hungry stomachs.
Food that is prepared in a loving manner can bring truly healing results to everyone.
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