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With all the contradictions within the media, deciding what to eat can be incredibly confusing. Some say that carbs are the root of all evil, while others claim they’re the key to longevity; many maintain that protein is necessary in high quantities, while others suggest that it causes cancer; this week eggs and soy are fantastic, but next week, they might be poison; the list goes on.
Despite these disparate claims, in reality, there is no one-size-fits-all diet. This is something that India’s ancient system of health care, Ayurveda (a Sanskrit word meaning “the science of life”), has known for thousands of years. Using this ancient wisdom, you can find a diet designed uniquely for you that will invite balance and health into all areas of your life.
The first step towards starting an Ayurvedic lifestyle is determining your Ayurvedic body type, also known as your dosha. While there are many online quizzes to help you determine this, it’s best to be evaluated by an Ayurvedic physician.
Ayurveda recognizes three main doshas, known as kapha, vata, and pitta. In general, kapha people tend to be more heavy-set, vata people are typically thinner, and pitta types are naturally muscular. However, these doshas don’t just affect your body, but your mind as well. For example, as far as mental health is concerned, kapha types are prone to depression, vata dominant people experience more anxiety, and pittas become angry more easily.
After uncovering your unique constitution, your ayurvedic physician will prescribe you a diet that will keep your body balanced.
The Ayurvedic diet
In general, no matter your body type, Ayurveda recommends eating organic, seasonal, and locally-grown foods. This emphasis already makes the Ayurvedic approach healthier than many diets. Here are some examples of how and what you should eat based on your dominant dosha:
Sweet, salty, and sour foods
Mostly cooked foods
Warm water and tea
Avoid raw and cold foods
Sweet, bitter, and astringent foods
Cooling fruits and vegetables
Avoid oily and fried foods
Avoid sour and spicy foods
Grains such as oats, wheat, and barley
Pungent, bitter, and astringent foods
Legumes and grains
Eat fewer, smaller meals
Avoid oils and fats
However, in the same way that life is dynamic, our diets should be dynamic too. During different seasons, different doshas predominate; fall and early winter are dominated by vata, late winter and spring are dominated by kapha, and summer is dominated by pitta. As the seasons shift, so should our diets to accommodate the rhythms of nature.
The Benefits of Eating Ayurvedically
As we bring our bodies into balance with proper foods, our minds naturally find equilibrium as well. Psychological states such as anger, lust, greed, attachment, ego, and desire all fade as we finally find the stillness we crave. Furthermore, our energy increases and our immune systems are strengthened, allowing us to become the most efficient versions of ourselves and manifest long-term health.
Another health benefit of the Ayurvedic diet is that if you currently struggle with any health problems, this diet can improve the effectiveness of herbal remedies and treatments.
Finally, perhaps the best benefit of this diet is that after you bring your body and mind into balance, progressing spiritually will become far easier. You will no longer be pulled towards excesses of lethargy, indulgence, or work. Rather, as you become centered, your spirit will bloom to experience life in its purest form.
Ayurveda doesn’t just heal your body, but your mind and spirit as well. It’s a complete system of health and wellness, designed to help you thrive!
Want to learn more about the kind of retreats the Art of Living Retreat Center offers? Check out our calendar, or feel free to give us a call at 800-392-6870. We’re looking forward to chatting with you!