September 6th, 2007 by sanju
Publication: The Garden Island
Author: Pam Woolway
Date: September 06. 2007
In Ayurveda, organically grown whole foods prepared and eaten with a loving attitude are fundamentals of a meal. Traditionally, Ayurvedic cooking was also a vegetarian, Indian cuisine. However, the principles can be applied as easily to meat.
Incorporating Ayurvedic cooking into your life is said to restore your body to optimum health. It may also help you find and maintain optimum weight.
Designing the right meal plan, however, takes some preparation. According to Ayurveda, each of us inherits three mind/body types called “doshas.” The three doshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha. One of the three is likely to predominate, although all of these exist in each person.
Knowing your dosha will guide you to foods that support your metabolism and ease digestion. (See the accompanying Mind/Body Descriptions to identify your dosha.)
Pitta is governed by the element of fire, and such personalities are tempestuous by nature. Pitta people tend to be medium in height and weight, with red or sandy hair, and have an ardent sex drive.
Intellectual, direct and courageous are words used to describe the Pitta dosha. They need cooling foods to keep them in balance and are best to avoid hot peppers and other warming spices, which only exacerbate their tempers.
Vata is the dosha governed by air. Vatas tend to be thin and delicate and feel cold, even in warm temperatures. Vivacious and imaginative, they also have a tendency to worry and do well with warming sweet foods. Novelist Anne Lamott is a prototypical Vata.
Earth ruled Kapha, the well-grounded dosha. Relaxed and graceful, Kaphas have a tendency to put on weight and require plenty of exercise and ample sleep. Loyal and strong, a balanced Kapha personality is exemplified by Hillary Clinton.
The second principle of Ayurveda holds that the six tastes — sweet, salty, sour, bitter, pungent and astringent — should be present at every meal. Each is supposed to have a subtle effect on mood.
In balance, sweetness promotes happiness. Out of balance, sweetness created inertia (what is often called the sugar blues).
The right amount of saltiness can be grounding. Too much salt can promote a rigid mind. Sour tastes promote digestion and stimulate circulation. Bitter tastes, such as ginger and dark greens, are lacking in most North American diets. Pungency, in chili peppers, garlic and onion, enlivens passion but can lead to recklessness.
Finally, there is the elusive quality of astringency found in many grains, beans and vegetables, which Ayurvedic healers believe promote a no-nonsense approach to life.
One common way to get all six tastes in one meal is to serve dal, a simple lentil soup.
To Westerners who think health equals fat-free, an Ayurvedic diet seems rich. Ghee, a stable, clarified butter can be found in most Ayurvedic meals. Ghee is easy to prepare but is just as easily bought at a health-food market.
It is true that weight loss is not the goal of Ayurveda; wellness is. A side effect of following these principles, though, is that detoxifying the body often leads to the loss of unwanted pounds.
By following an Ayurvedic approach to health you can restore your body to its highest level of performance and feel more satisfied after eating and very likely it will help you find you optimum weight.
“In Ayurveda, we use diet to promote health and prevent progression of disease,” Harkey said.
“I am very interested in Ayurvedic treatments of diabetes. A lot of chronic illnesses can be brought back into balance through diet, lifestyle and medicinal herbs.”
As well as an array of therapists on staff, the Wellness Center employs a part-time naturopathic doctor, a medical doctor, as well as an Ayurvedic physician.
While eating the practice advocates a few more simple observations: Don’t sit down to eat while still working, reading or watching TV. Peaceful surroundings will make it easier to listen to your body.
It is the alchemy of food and awareness that awaken you to your inner healer.
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