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Ayurveda is described as one of the oldest whole body healing systems dating back 3000 years to India. Ayur = Life Veda = Knowledge; It encompasses whole foods with balancing the mind, body and spirit. Practicing mindful eating rituals and being aware of the beauty, by way of ‘eating the rainbow’ and the benefits of what you are eating and drinking is essential in creating a robust digestive system. Incorporating the 6 tastes into each meal is an intrinsic part of the Auervedic Theory. Salty, sweet, sour, pungent, astringent and bitter are the 6 tastes that are said to cover the vital food groups and nutrients required. By following this the urge to snack between meals or over-eat is said to be reduced. The two guiding principles to Ayurveda are that the mind and body are inextricably interconnected and nothing has more power to transform and heal the body than the mind. Meditation and self-awareness are key in the Ayurveda approach to good health.
Discover your Dosha (mind/body type):
Doshas are known as mind-body types, forming the foundation for Ayurveda. Doshas combine unique blends of physical, emotional, and mental characteristics. The three doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, are derived from the five elements of nature, which are: Space (akasha), Air (vayu), Fire (tejas), Water (jala), and Earth (prithivi).
Vata – embodies the energy of movement, often associated with wind (air or vayu element). Linked to creativity and flexibility; it governs all movement, breathing, heartbeats, muscle and tissue contractions, and communication of the mind and nervous system. Naturally sweet foods such as fruits, most grains, root vegetables, milk, ghee, fresh yogurt, eggs, nuts, seeds, oils, and lean meats are best for the Vata mind/body type.
Pitta – moderate, athletic physique, Pitta mind/body types gain weight evenly or predominantly on the bottom half. They have soft, lustrous, warm skin and get hot easily. They have a strong metabolism, with a good appetite and digestive system. Pitta types enjoy a predominantly vegetarian diet with bitter vegetables. The foods should be moderately spicy, salty, or sour (cool during summer and hot throughout winter). The occasional use of stimulants like coffee or tea are recommended.
Kapha – Large eyes (especially the sclera), dark coloured eyes (deep blue or rich brown), thick, sometimes curly hair and rounded features with smooth skin. Grains like barley, buckwheat, and rye are the best for Kapha mind/body types, and such dry fruits as apples and cranberries. Minimise cultured dairy products. Kapha types can enjoy all herbs and spices but reduce salt intake.
Ayurvedic practices to strengthen your digestive system:
- Always sit down to eat (avoid eating in front of your computer, TV or while you’re driving).
- Eat in a calm and relaxed atmosphere.
- Eat only when you’re hungry.
- Dine at a moderate pace. Balance between eating too fast or too slow.
- Minimize raw foods, these are much harder to digest.
- Include all six tastes at each meal; salt sweet, astringent, sour, pungent and bitter.
- Drink hot water with root ginger throughout the day.
- Practice some form of moderate exercise on a regular basis; yoga, walking, beach walk.
- Enjoy a daily oil massage with oil infused with healing herbs that balance your mind-body type.
- Spend time in the quiet of meditation and mindfulness every day.
- Use detoxifying herbs such as guggulu, brahmi, ginger, turmeric, triphala, neem and ashwagandha.