Just for Women
Home      |      Editor’s Note      |      Events      |      Careers      |      About Us      |      Contact Us      |      Sign In with Jfw      |      Gallery
Nature’s basket > Eating the Ayurvedic Way
Back to previous page

You have known of Ayurveda as a holistic school of medicine, one that offers relief and cure through myriad herbs and brews. However, another vital aspect, albeit a little lesser known one perhaps, is that food plays a significant role in the Ayurvedic practice. The right kind in the right amount is the key to leading a well-balanced life, writes Oishee Mukhopadhyay Talwar

It is possible you may have noticed how those who tend to eat seriously spicy food are many times restless by nature? Or those who are generally calm have a nutritious balanced diet with a lot of fresh veggies and fruits? It is interesting to understand the effect of food on one’s body and mind. Understanding it the Ayurvedic way gives you a truly personalized diet plan.
The Basics

Ayurveda, or the science of life, incorporates in its tradition all that is needed to lead a wholesome, healthy lifestyle. Compiled into various texts such as Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita, it outlines the effects of the five elements on the body and mind.

Each element has a certain impact on a person. Some are more profound than others. And this affects everything, from temperament to body make-up. For instance, in persons where the fire element is more dominant, it is natural for the individual to be prone to anger or suffer from issues like acidity.

Accordingly, the body has three kinds of natural constituency- Vata (air), Pitta (fire) and Kapha (earth and water). And most people have a combination of two of these with one being more dominant. The Ayurvedic food tradition involves balancing the constituency through right quality and quantity of food.

It is an ancient science with proven benefits which are certainly worth incorporating in everyday life.

Decoding the Diet
Ayurveda classifies food into three simple categories- sattvic, rajsic and tamsic- based on the three gunas or qualities of sattva, rajas and tamas.

Think fresh fruits, luscious vegetables, high energy greens, easy on the stomach meals and you will begin to understand the satvic diet. The more of such items you include in your routine, the more satva or purity enhances in your life. There is clarity in perception, calmness of being and a general feeling of contentment that naturally filters into every aspect of living. Add to it a little yoga and you have got the quick route to positive thinking.

Rajas is a state of over-activity. And foods that lead us right to this state constitute the rajsic diet; in other words, fried junk and spicy treats. It is not too difficult to find examples of such persons in our midst. And although a little hard to do, limiting the intake will guarantee more benefits than just losing those extra kilos.

Tamas is a lingering state of inertia. The feeling of lethargy and inactiveness induced by overindulgence in heavy food items like meat or processed food or food that is low on energy such as onion, garlic and chillies. This diet is considered the unhealthiest not only for the body but also the mind.

Ayurvedic cooking is nothing but balancing your food habits so that you move towards the satva in your life.

Work that Diet

So how do you go about making it a part of your lifestyle? First, consult an Ayurvedic practitioner to know your body constituency. Stick to the diet prescribed and add to it accordingly.

Following a few simple dos and don’ts not only makes the cooking process enjoyable but vastly enhances the quality of your food.

Be cheerful when you are cooking the meal. Chant mantras or sing a happy tune and you will be surprised at how gourmet a simple dish can taste. By the ancient Ayurvedic principle, the emotion with which the food is cooked is also digested along with it. So the next time you feel a little uneasy, think back to whether or not you were in a positive frame of mind while cooking the meal. Or, while eating it.
Organic food is the best.
Remember that famous quote you learnt in school, ‘Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper’? Well, there is a reason behind that. So try giving it a shot.
Don’t stuff yourself. It is not advisable to eat to your stomach’s fill. One needs to leave a little room for water and air.
Drink water an hour before and after your meals. Avoid it while you are eating. Cold water in particular, dilutes the digestive juices.
Don’t run from ghee. It is healthier than butter and provides joint lubrication. However, be sure you have it with something hot.
When our ancestors told us to eat before sundown, it was with good reason. Digestion is linked with the sun and hence meals are best had between sunrise and sunset.
Eating involves your senses. So take in the fragrance, look at the food with interest, feel the texture, taste it slowly and the dining experience will certainly be more elevated.

It helps to honour the food that will nourish the body. After all, it plays a much bigger role than satisfying the taste buds. It is nourishment for not only the body but also the mind and emotions. A little interest, a little added knowledge, just a following a few simple rules can make all the difference to your day.

Go to Top
Current Magazine
Current Magazine
Share your cherished memories, inspiring experiences, short fiction or your favourite recipes with our readers.
Write In