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Does Ayurveda say 'NO' to most foods?

~Sonia Velarsan, RD

An oft-heard comment about Ayurveda treatment is that it places too many restrictions on the type of foods one can consume. Indeed, if you are ill, your Ayurveda vaidya will give you a list of foods to avoid, as this approach will complement your recovery.

But what if you are healthy?

Ayurveda does not say no to most foods. In fact, Ayurveda recognizes that food is an essential part of maintaining health and well-being; one of three pillars (the other being sleep and self-discipline) that is required to support good health. What is unique, however, is its emphasis on choosing the right foods for one's individual constitution and needs. The Ayurveda framework describes an individual along three axes (or regulatory functional factors) that govern all aspects of our physical, mental, and emotional health. The three axes (doshas in Sanskrit) are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, and each person has a unique combination of these factors.

According to Ayurveda, the foods we eat should be chosen based on our individual dosha composition and the current season, time of day, and habitat amongst 8 principles. For example, someone with a predominantly Vata constitution may benefit from warm, nourishing foods like soups and stews; while someone with a Pitta constitution may benefit from cooling, refreshing foods like fresh fruits and vegetables.

Ayurveda also recognizes the importance of eating foods that are in season and locally grown, as these foods are more likely to be fresh and contain the nutrients we need for optimal health. Additionally, Ayurveda emphasizes the importance of mindful eating and recommends taking time to savor and appreciate each bite of food.

While Ayurveda does not say no to all foods, there are certain foods that may be best avoided or minimized based on one's dosha type and other factors. For example, someone with a Pitta constitution may need to tone down spicy or acidic foods, while someone with a Kapha constitution may need to reduce heavy or oily foods.

Overall, Ayurveda emphasizes the importance of choosing the right foods for one's needs and constitution and maintaining a balanced and mindful approach to eating. By following these principles, we can promote optimal health and well-being in both body and mind.

If you are interested in learning more sign up for Ayurveda Dietetics Course.

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