Ayurveda Diet—Healthy Eating Habits
Ayurveda is derived from the Sanskrit word "ayur," which means life, and "veda," meaning knowledge, and is considered by many to be the oldest healing science. It is the holistic approach to health and is meant to provide a healthy and well balanced life. While India has been practicing these methods for over 5,000 years, western cultures are just recently beginning to pick it up and see the benefits. The goal of this practice is to treat and prevent illness by maintaining balance in your consciousness, mind and body. This is achieved through your way of life, your diet, and herbal remedies. Two different kinds of Ayurveda are practiced, traditional or maharishi. While both believe that illnesses are caused by an imbalance in the energy of a person and use herbal remedies for treatment, maharishi also adds meditation to connect with the universe.
Diet is one of the most important tools for Ayurveda followers to achieve their balance. Some foods are believed to support your dosha, while others may aggravate it. Although each person’s dosha, or energies, are different, the same basic ideas are present when it comes to the diet. The first rule is to include all six tastes with every meal. All foods are classified into six different categories: sour, sweet, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent. It is ideal to choose foods from each category to achieve balance in your meals. Along with the six tastes, you should also include foods with different physical attributes. These range from solid or liquid, warm or cold and heavy or light. Sattvic foods, believed to have influence of the mind and sense, should also be included. Some examples would be rice, almonds, fresh fruits and any easy to digest leafy greens. Sattvic foods include those food items which are uncontaminated, healthy, purifying, and clean. Eating fresh whole foods is extremely important. It is preferable to eat the foods in their natural state unless preparation or cooking enhances the nutritional value.
When the body is getting low on energy, those who follow Ayurveda will choose to eat something healthy, such as a fruit or whole grain. Fresh fruits and vegetables are full of “chetna,” the healing and nurturing influence of nature. Being so alive with this healing power prevents the toxins that cause fatigue from developing within the body.