The Ayurvedic Diet

July 30, 2016

Today, we’ll take a closer look at the Ayurvedic diet, seasonal eating and how that can help us to prevent cancer.

Most of us change some aspect of our day-to-day lives according to the seasons.  In winter, the heavy jackets come out of the closet while in summer in most parts of the world, it’s time for shorts and flip flops.  Wouldn’t it make practical sense, then, that our eating habits should also change according to the seasons?

Ayurvedic seasonal eating means eating food that is in alignment (both physically and energetically) with a particular time of year.  The majority of the world has adopted the Standard American Diet with devastating results, including off-the-charts rates of diabetes, heart disease, neurological disorders and cancer.

So, the question remains, could Ayurvedic seasonal eating provide an answer for disease-free living and better overall health?

Discover the “the science of life” within Ayurvedic medicine

Ayurveda is based on preventative health and is concerned with harmonizing all aspects of a person’s mind, body and spirit, not just the physical body. It sees the body as consisting of natural elements: fire, water, air, earth and ether (space).

The way these elements express themselves are called Doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha.  In Ayurveda, each individual is unique and will express the Doshas differently.  At the same time, each Dosha also corresponds to specific functions in the body.

The Pitta Dosha is connected to water and fire as well as to metabolism (including cellular metabolism). Kapha is ruled by water and earth and is responsible for the health of the spinal and cerebral fluid, the growth of new tissue and the mucosal lining of the stomach. Vata is associated with the air and ether so it governs all movement within the body, including nerve impulses, respiration, elimination and circulation.

Understanding your Dosha type brings deeper meaning to life

Imbalanced Doshas can lead to disease while balanced Doshas lead to health and vibrancy.  Ayurvedic Ritucharya is a systematic way to balance the Doshas through eating habits designed to be in alignment with the rhythms of nature (which are also our own natural rhythms).

In Ritucharya, each season corresponds to the Dakshinayana, or the gradual movement of the earth around the sun, and seasonal changes correspond to particular tastes and changes in the Doshas. The summer months, for example, involve an “accumulation” and then an “aggrevation” of Pitta, which can lead to common summertime aggravations such as skin rashes, inflammation and fevers.

In response, Ayurvedic Ritucharya recommends eating Pitta-calming foods during the hot summer months, such as fruits and vegetables, ghee (which Ayurveda considers as “tridoshic”), sweet foods, and astringent and bitter tastes, such as lemon and coconut water.

Is the Ayurvedic diet being destroyed by ‘modern’ lifestyle habits?

Even in the birthplace of Ayurveda, the S.A.D. diet is taking its toll.  According to an August 2011 report published in AYU, the international quarterly journal for research in Ayurveda: “The World Health Organization has identified India as one of the nations that is going to have most of the lifestyle disorders in the near future,” especially for people younger than 40 who have adopted Western lifestyles.

Young members of urban Indian society have one of the fastest growing rates of diabetes and pre-diabetic conditions on the planet. The report, like many others, is a call to action away from this trend.  Yet, you don’t have to learn an ancient system of healing to reap the benefits of seasonal food.

Whether or not you practice Ayurvedic Ritucharya, changing your eating habits to focus on what’s fresh and in season just makes practical sense!

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