Are you wondering what an Ayurvedic diet is?
I mean, how different or similar is it to a keto diet or a paleo diet or even a Mediterranean diet?
Well just like all of these diets, an Ayurvedic diet addresses the food we eat. But it’s not a diet.
What does that mean?
It means that Ayurveda doesn’t impose specific foods or beliefs. And it doesn’t restrict. Rather, it focuses on the unique individual needs of a person throughout their life according to their tendencies.
Unlike these diets, it’s a foundational diet.
A foundational diet encompasses sustainable and healthy individual food choices as well as lifestyle habits.
Eating the right foods for you.
In every other aspect of our lives, we recognize our differences except with diets. Most diets, including the ones I mentioned above have a one-size fits all mentality.
Yet it’s obvious that we all digest different foods differently.
“Nothing is right for everyone and everything is right for someone” ∼ Dr. Marc Halpern
Ayurveda with its unique mind-body constitutional approach helps you recognize how foods can either keep you in balance or create symptoms and understand why, so you can always make the best choices for you at any time.
For example, if you’ve been identified as a person with a Vata-dominant mind-body constitution, then you want to have small amounts of raw foods, especially cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli or kale and have more of heavier foods like whole grains, root vegetables and healthy fat. Why? Because you have a constitutional tendency towards constipation, insomnia and anxiety. And these foods will aggravate those tendencies and they will become symptoms, especially during what is called the Vata time of the year, fall-winter!
How you eat your foods is another important aspect of an Ayurvedic diet
There’s a saying in Ayurvedic Medicine, it’s better to eat the “wrong” foods appropriately than to eat the “right” foods inappropriately.
You could eat the “best” foods but if you’re not able to digest these foods properly then your body cannot absorb its nutrients.
Therefore, an Ayurvedic diet addresses your habits around eating.
Eating until 75% full.
One of the Ayurvedic eating principles is to eat until you’re 75% full.
I always give the visual of a washing machine.
If you’ve ever used a washing machine, then you know that if you overload the machine with clothes, the clothes aren’t going to be thoroughly cleaned. You need space for the clothes to move around, right?
Your stomach is like a washing machine! You need to leave some space so it can churn your food and properly break it down. And you also need a little water, about 1/4 cup of room temperature water.
Furthermore, you want to eat quietly and mindfully, so you’ll be able to notice the body’s satiation signals, when your body tells you it has had enough.
“Overeating in any one sitting weakens your digestive fire, dulls your mind, and creates an accumulation of metabolic toxins or Ama in your body.”
This is important not only for proper digestion but also for your mental clarity and immune health.
An Ayurvedic diet addresses the lifestyle factors that affect digestion
Our lifestyle also affects how we digest the foods we eat, especially factors like sleep, stress and exercise.
Here too, the long term quality of our sleep, how well we recover from stressful situations and how we move our bodies daily not only impact our digestion but also how well our body and mind function.
Ayurveda is an ancient, time-tested and holistic health care system. It sees that everything is connected. It doesn’t look at diet on one side, separate from exercise or sleep or your emotional state. Ayurveda looks at you as whole and as unique. Therefore an Ayurvedic diet is about whole health.