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Guidelines for Healthy Eating

Updated: Aug 12, 2021



Let your diet be anything, but it should pass this test: it should protect health and prevent disease.” Charaka

According to Ayurveda, eating is one of the most sacred acts we perform as human beings, and how we eat our food is more important than what we eat.


From a holistic perspective, the acts surrounding the actual food we consume also impact how easily our bodies digest food.


Everything matters, from the emotions carried when food is prepared to the environment in which we eat.


In this article, we discuss the how’s of healthy eating rather than the what and, look at ways in which we can better support our bodies and minds using the food we eat.


Five Major Rules


Think of the act of eating as a sacred routine with an opening, a middle, and an ending.

When we eat our food, we take in all the atoms and molecules that have been around in different forms since the beginning of time and ask them to become part of us.


Ayurveda teaches that when we eat and prepare food with respect and awareness, the food joins easily with our bodies and eliminates gas and other digestive disturbances.



1. You can say grace or simply take 3 - 5 deep breaths while closing your eyes to prepare the body for food.


2. Eat in a calm environment. Eat in a quiet place without excessive conversation and conversation that has emotional intensity issues, and avoid reading or watching the television while eating.


3. Draw your attention to the food in your mouth. Chew your food patiently until it is an even consistency. By chewing your food slowly, you can ensure proper digestion and absorption.


4. Eat slowly to moderately until you are about 75% full (until you burp). Rather than feeling completely full, we should eat until we are satisfied. In our bodies, digestion becomes difficult when we overeat, and this is a major cause of disease.


5. After eating, give your body between 15 - 20 minutes to digest before moving on to your next activity. Take a walk, read a book, or engage in a light conversation. If you are in a hurry, take 3-5 slow breaths before completing this scared routine.



The Six Ayurvedic Tastes


In Ayurveda, each food substance has at least 1 of the following six tastes; sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent.


To fully and properly satisfy the body and mind, Ayurveda teaches us that each full meal we consume should include all 6 tastes.


Each of the 6 tastes, as with everything in nature is composed of elements such as earth, wind, fire, air and ether and contribute harmoniously or disharmoniously to our imbalanced doshas.



Sweet: Earth and Water

Cooling, heavy, oily quality.


Sweet foods include grains, ghee, pasta, bread, sugar, cheese, potatoes, carrots, beets, squash, parsnips, cucumber and most fruits.


We love this delicious Wholesome Whole-Grain Breakfast Pancake recipe!


Sour: Fire and Earth

Heating, oily and light quality.


Sour food include lemon, curd, buttermilk, tomatoes, tamarind, and sour apples



Salty: Earth and Fire

Heating and oily quality.


Salty foods include tamari and soy sauce, and rock and sea salt.



Pungent: Fire and Air

Heating, dry and light quality.


Pungent foods include black pepper, ginger, tulsi, cardamom, radish, chile.



Bitter: Air and Ether

Light, cooling and dry quality.


Bitter foods include turmeric, fenugreek, leafy green vegetables, eggplant, and fresh herbs. Sprinkling chopped green herbs on a dish provide the bitter taste


Try this Colourful Vegetable Stir Fry with Sesame Noodles Recipe now!


Astringent: Earth and Air

Dry, cooling and heavy quality.


Astringent foods include pears, legumes, tofu, and beans. The main meal should include legumes or tofu to be complete.



Additional Tips!


  • With meals, drink a half cup of room temperature water. Dry meals may require a bit more, while moist meals, like soup, require none at all.


  • Drink only room-temperature water since cold drinks suppress digestion and extinguish the digestive fire.


  • The body's natural circadian rhythm mirrors that of the universe and digestion is strongest around noon when the sun is at its peak with lighter meals in the morning and evening.


  • Allow at least 3 - 5 hours in between meals for food to digest.


  • Eat food prepared with love. The energy of the cook goes into the food itself. We don’t only eat the food but also eat the emotions of the one who prepared it.


Takeaways


While the food we eat is important, how we eat can also play a crucial role in how our food is digested. Emotions and energy are attached to the food we prepare and to us when we digest it.


Food that is eaten with a rushed or stressed mindset cannot be healthy.


In this way, Ayurveda repeats the old adage, "It's not what you do, it's how you do it."

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