An Ayurvedic Diet–In Sync with Nature
By Vishnu Dass
In a June article (http://shaktionline.org/ayurveda-ancient-science-of-life/), Ayurvedic practitioner, Vishnu Dass introduced the basic tenets of the science of Ayurveda Over the next few months we will continue his series of articles exploring this healing tradition.
[dc]A[/dc]yurveda is the science of life, health and longevity. The founders of this timeless wisdom were known as rishis, or seers of truth, who lived in deep meditative states in secluded mountain retreats. They realized that all of creation is a divine manifestation of the maha bhutas, the five great elements, known as Ether (or Space), Air, Fire, Water, and Earth, and that each being is a unique expression of these elements.
According to Ayurveda, there is no separation between body, mind and consciousness.
According to Ayurveda, there is no separation between body, mind and consciousness. Therefore, the concept of health must address all of these aspects. The best preventive medicine and support of the natural healing process is a diet and lifestyle specific to the constitutional needs of the individual and in line with the seasons and cycles of nature.
Ayurveda sees food and spices as medicinal substances. Food should be as fresh and organic as possible and, if available, locally grown.
Ayurveda sees food and spices as medicinal substances. Food should be as fresh and organic as possible and, if available, locally grown. Preparation of food with love and gratitude will fill it with a healing energy. The concept of shad rasa, or six tastes, is a central point in Ayurvedic cuisine. These six tastes—sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent—should be present in balanced proportions.
Through the use of culinary medicinal spices, food is made more digestible and easier to assimilate. The most common spices used in Ayurvedic cuisine are cumin, coriander or cilantro, ginger, garam masala, hing or asafœtida, ajwan, turmeric, and fenugreek. Ingesting small quantities of them on a daily basis helps maintain the health of the digestive fire (agni) and the entire gastrointestinal tract. Toxins that accumulate from improperly digested food can be greatly reduced by introducing these spices into the diet.
Ayurveda offers basic dietary guidelines that can benefit everyone’s health. For instance, it is important to eat at the appropriate times of the day and in accordance with the body’s natural rhythm. Ayurveda discourages eating on the go and at odd hours of the day. People with a strong digestion and raging appetite can have a light snack between meals, such as fruit, juice, or nuts between meals to maintain energy. It is a good discipline to stop eating before feeling sated. A stomach gorged with food weakens the entire digestive process and causes indigestion and accumulation of ama (toxins) in the GI tract.
Because foods have different qualities and require different digestive energies, food combining is of the utmost importance in Ayurveda in order to avoid fermentation and ama.
Along with a balanced diet, integrating other healthy habits into a daily routine can prevent disease at its very root. Ayurveda refers to daily routine as dinacharya, which is the art of living in awareness with every activity of the day. A lifestyle that incorporates regular eating and sleeping habits, as well as healthy routines, will bring discipline and help maintain the harmony of the doshas, thus promoting overall good health.
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Vishnu Dass (NTS, LMT, CAyu) studied Ayurveda under the guidance of Dr. Vasant Lad, world-renowned Ayurvedic physician and teacher. He is a graduate of the New Mexico School of Natural Therapeutics in Albuquerque, MN. He had previously studied with herbalist Michael Tierra at the American School of Herbalism in Santa Cruz, CA. He is a former Board Member of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA) and was granted a Lifetime Professional Membership for his service to that Board.
Vishnu offers lectures and workshops on Ayurveda and yoga philosophy for various herb schools and yoga centers throughout the South East, and has published several articles on Ayurveda and yoga, both on local and national publications, including Light on Ayurveda Journal, New Life Journal, and Integrative Health and Healing, amongst others.He has been in clinical practice for over 12 years, treating people of all ages.
His practice, Blue Lotus Ayurveda : Natural Health & Rejuvenation is located at 822 Haywood Rd. – Asheville, North Carolina Phone: (828) 713-4266 For more information, go to his website at www.bluelotusayurveda.com