Is that it has a very narrow and fragmented perspective on food and nutrition.
Many times someone has asked me why I trained as an Ayurvedic Nutrition & Lifestyle Coach rather than a nutritionist.
Even before I specialized in Ayurveda I knew that modern nutrition had a very narrow view on food, based on what is called a biochemical model.
The biochemical model looks at us as a chemical factory and dismisses the impact of our mindset and emotions. And it looks at foods as chemicals, carbs, fats, proteins, etc. and nothing more.
This unholistic model is what leads to the creation of nonsensical one-size-fits-all diets that wreak havoc on a person’s self-esteem and confidence.
But you and I know from experience that different foods affect different people differently. The problem with the modern nutritional diktats is that indirectly they make us feel wrong for being different. We feel bad for not being able to mold our bodies into unrealistic norms, like how much we should weigh regardless of our shape and tastes!
In contrast, the Ayurvedic approach to nutrition is holistic!
Ayurvedic nutrition is based on a bio-energetic model.
“Nothing is right for everyone and everything is right for someone.” ~Dr. Marc Halpern
We look at the energetics of individual tendencies. For example, we ask ourselves these questions: Does someone have a tendency towards dry skin, constipation and insomnia? Or do they have a tendency towards inflammation, indigestion and burnout? What about a tendency towards congestion, water retention and fatigue?
Then we look at the energetics of the different types of foods. Is this type of food dry, cold and light? Or is it heavy, moist and cold? Perhaps it’s hot, dry and light?
An Ayurvedic practitioner trains in the Ayurvedic Science of the Five Elements. And s(he) is capable of identifying the energetics in both the individual tendencies and foods.
In Ayurveda, we say that Like Attracts Like and the Opposite Brings Balance.
When someone has dry conditions we bring in moist, warm and heavy qualities to support their healing. In Ayurveda moist and heavy foods are root vegetables, winter squashes, nuts, seeds, oils, ghee, sweet dairy foods. We recommend cooking the foods for warmth as well as adding warm spices like cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, ginger and clove.
Though broccoli is a healthy food, because it has light and dry energetics, it wouldn’t be recommended as a staple for that person. And if that person eats it at all, it will have to be well cooked, spiced and oiled. Definitely not steamed!
When someone experiences inflammation, we bring in moist, cooling and heavy qualities to support their healing. So cooling foods like cucumbers, coconut milk, and basmati rice are added to the diet. We’d also add cooling spices like fennel, coriander and cilantro. Along with some raw, easily digested foods like sunflower sprouts and microgreens.
And when someone has congestion and excess mucus, we bring in dry, light and hot qualities to support their healing. In Ayurveda, dry, light foods are green leafy vegetables and legumes, to name a few. We heat the foods by cooking them. We also add hot spices like ginger, black pepper, and mustard seeds.
What’s missing in modern nutrition is a focus on digestion.
When my clients apply these bio-energetic principles, they start digesting their foods better. Better digestion leads to better absorption of nutrients and better elimination of waste. When their digestion improves, the weight comes off almost effortlessly! Furthermore, skin and digestive issues resolve themselves. They sleep better. And they’re less anxious. The benefits are numerous!
They’re surprised that they can eat carbs and lose weight at the same time!
Read my new article What’s an Ayurvedic Diet here.