What is the Ayurvedic Diet?
If you haven’t heard of the Ayurvedic diet, it’s often used in holistic medicine to help promote a balance between both the mind and the body. This diet has been used for thousands of years, and the foods that you eat are based on your dosha (more on that later). It’s based on the Indian Ayurvedic wellness system and is used to help create a strong and balanced body.
What are The Benefits of the Ayurvedic Diet?
#1 Helps You Ditch the Artificial Foods & Stick to a Healthier More Nutritious Diet: The Ayurvedic diet takes a whole foods approach to eating. Instead of focusing on processed and artificial foods, you will be eating lots of whole and nutrient-dense options according to your dosha type.
#2 May Be a Great Whole Foods Way to Lose Weight: The whole basis behind the Ayurvedic diet is to eat according to your dosha. By doing so, it is thought to help promote overall balance. Combine a more balanced body with a whole foods approach to eating, and this can set you up for better weight loss success.
#3 The Ayurvedic Diet May Help You Eat More Mindfully: When you eat according to your dosha, you will naturally become more mindful when it comes to eating. You will quickly learn what foods help your body feel the best, and when the best time is to eat, and how much you should eat. With mindful eating comes better digestion of foods, and you may even find that you are less likely to overeat as you allow your brain to catch up to your stomach and tell you when it’s time to stop eating.
What do you eat on the Ayurvedic Diet?
Foods in the Ayurvedic diet can be grouped by doshas, helping guide you in the direction of what you should be eating. Doshas refer to your physical as well as mental constitution. We all have a predominant dosha, and these doshas are considered life energies behind how our body functions.
Eating based on your predominant dosha is thought to help balance out the other three. Depending on what your predominant dosha is, the Ayurvedic diet will be used to help you decide when, as well as how and what you should be consuming.
Let’s take a look at the different doshas and the foods you will want to eat, depending on your dosha composition.
Pitta: Those who fit into the Pitta dosha are generally described as being joyful, driven, short-tempered, and have an average, medium build. Those with a Pitta composition often complain of indigestion or suffer from things like high blood pressure.
Pitta Foods: A pitta dosha would want to focus on cooling foods and foods that promote energy while limiting nuts, seeds, and avoiding heavy spice use. Some Pitta foods include egg whites, tofu, ghee, butter, pears, pineapples, bananas, cabbage, cauliflower, zucchini, dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, black beans, barley, oats, rice, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, and cilantro.
Vata: Often describe as creative and energetic people, those with a Vata composition tend to be on the thinner side, but suffer from digestive health issues, fatigue, and anxiety.
Vata Foods: Vata’s do best with warm and moist foods and avoiding raw vegetables and bitter herbs. Some Vata foods include poultry, seafood, milk, butter, bananas, blueberries, mangoes, peaches, beets, sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans, chickpeas, lentils, cooked oats and rice, all nuts and seeds, cinnamon, ginger, basil, and cloves.
Kapha: Kaphas are usually described as being calm, loving, and grounded, but also happen to suffer from issues like weight gain, and depression.
Kapha Foods: Kapha’s should include lots of plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, and legumes while limiting heavier foods like oils, nuts, and seeds. Some Kapha foods include poultry, seafood, egg whites, goat milk, apples, blueberries, asparagus, dark leafy greens, onions, all legumes, pumpkin seeds, cumin, oregano, and thyme.
Note: Note that there are some foods that all dosha’s should steer clear of in order to promote better health. It’s important to avoid processed foods, sugar, and red meat in the Ayurvedic diet.
Basic Ayurvedic Eating Practices
Now that you know a little bit more about what the Ayurvedic diet is all about let’s take a closer look at some of the basic Ayurvedic eating practices.
- Eat Mindfully: As we talked about previously, one of the benefits of following an Ayurvedic diet is that you will focus more on mindful eating. The goal is to really just sit and be quiet and mindful while enjoying your meal. Think about the nourishment it is providing your body and really appreciate each bite.
- Slow Down: Another part of the Ayurvedic diet is about slowing down while you eat. We are all so accustomed to rushing through our meals, but this eating practice really just allows you to take the time to slow down and enjoy the flavors of every bite you take.
- Be Mindful of Hunger and Fullness Cues: Here’s another part of just being more mindful. Really tune into your hunger cues, letting you know it’s time to eat and listen to your body when it says you’ve had enough.
- Eat When Your Last Meal Has Had the Time to Digest: You also want to wait until your last meal has digested before starting your next dish. Try to not eat within three hours of your last meal, but don’t go longer than six hours without eating a nourishing meal.
- Eat Most of Your Food For Breakfast & Lunch: According to the Ayurvedic diet, you will also want to focus on getting the bulk of your food intake in for breakfast and lunch, and keep your dinner light as your body winds down for the day and prepares for rest.
The Bottom Line
The whole purpose of the Ayurvedic diet is to focus on eating foods based on your dosha composition. Doing so is thought to help promote overall balance. This diet may be a great option for you if you are looking for a way to take a holistic approach to your eating habits and take a customized approach to how you eat. It may also be a good option if you are trying to incorporate more mindful eating into your life. The Ayurvedic Diet can also help make sure that you are being more mindful about eating whole and nutrient-dense foods instead of processed and inflammatory options, commonly found in the Standard American Diet.
If you feel like you need a little more assistance on starting an Ayurvedic diet, there are also plenty of Ayurvedic practitioners that can help you get started with a customized plan that works best for you.