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Top 3 Reasons to Follow Ayurvedic Guidelines for Healthy & Sustainable Eating
I first discovered Ayurveda whilst researching for my first Yoga Teacher Training back in 2013. I then started following some basic Ayurvedic guidelines for eating by including Kitchari in my weekly packed lunch and using Dosha balancing spices in my cooking.
If you are new to Ayurveda, you might be thinking that following an Ayurvedic diet or lifestyle means restriction, and becoming a vegetarian or vegan. This is not true at all!
I want to clarify one thing here – there is no such a thing as an Ayurvedic food or dish. It’s about selecting the best ingredients for the dish and how you vary these when your Dosha is out of balance.
I believe that we can all enjoy any food in moderation when you are in balance. However, when the Dosha becomes aggravated or out of balance, that is when you want to become more aware of what ingredients you have in your dish when cooking. This doesn’t mean you need to become a vegetarian or vegan or go on an extreme fad diet.
Ayurveda is not a restriction. It’s about educating yourself and becoming more aware of your balanced and unbalanced state so that you can adjust your food and lifestyle accordingly when you are out of balance and bring yourself back to a balanced state.
Still not convinced? Read on to discover my top 3 reasons to follow Ayurvedic guidelines for a healthier happier life!
#1 It will help improve your digestion
Ayurveda focuses on digestion and maintaining a balanced ‘Agni’, a digestive fire.
‘Agni’ is a Sanskrit word for ‘fire’.
‘Agni’ is a digestive fire or transformative energy that governs metabolism. It controls the function of the digestive enzymes and metabolic processes and helps break down, digest, absorb and assimilate our food.
By starting to eat foods that are recommended for your Dosha, (especially when it’s out of balance) and eating at the right time according to the Ayurvedic circadian rhythm, (for example having the main meal at noon when the digestive fire is at a strongest), you will help strengthen your digestive system. This will help reduce an accumulation of toxins in the body which are called ‘Ama’ in Sanskrit.
‘Ama’ are metabolic toxins resulting from undigested food and emotions and in Ayurveda, it is believed that ‘Ama’ is the bedrock for all the diseases in the body and mind. Therefore preventing and eliminating accumulated toxins from the body regularly is important for our optimal health.
‘Ama’ can be built up in the body by a poor diet regime, such as irregular meal times, eating highly processed or sugary food, overeating and improper food combination. For example not eating correctly for your Dosha (mind-body type) can aggravate this, such as eating too much cold or raw food when you are Vata or experiencing Vata imbalances.
Having a healthy digestion will help you have higher levels of energy throughout the day and help improve your moods. It will also help you maintain a healthy weight and help with your cravings.
#2 You will become more in tune with nature
Ayurveda encourages you to eat food that is in season and that is locally produced. Nature provides us with foods that are best eaten in that season – for example cooling qualities and bitter taste of cucumber which grow in summer (Pitta season) is perfect for a hot environment as it helps cool your body down.
The root vegetables that grow in autumn/winter such as sweet potatoes and squash are sweet in taste and they are grounding which is perfect for a dry, windy autumn and winter season.
If you are following a recipe that includes ingredients that are not in season for your country or not locally available then just substitute them for those that are in season. By learning the basic requirements for balancing your Dosha you will learn what substitutions you can make – be creative!
#3 It will help you lead a more sustainable life
I mentioned ‘Ama’ earlier. We accumulate toxins through a poor diet regime, overeating and improper food combination but we also accumulate toxins from the environment we live in, even just living in your own home where we are exposed to toxic chemicals in furniture, paint and so on.
In order to reduce toxins entering our body, Ayurveda encourages choosing organic and non-toxic food and products.
As you lead more Ayurvedic lifestyle, you will start choosing food that is kind to your body and the environment. I did mention earlier that following an Ayurvedic lifestyle is not about becoming a vegetarian or vegan, but I believe you will naturally start eating less meat ( I definitely did!).