What is the Ayurvedic Diet?

The Ayurvedic diet is built upon the concepts of Ayurvedic medicine, an ancient holistic health practice with roots in the Indian subcontinent.

People who follow an Ayurvedic diet select foods based on their body type, known as their dosha. Proponents of the system insist that this practice encourages mindfulness and facilitates weight loss.

The diet emphasizes whole, healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, and legumes and restricts processed low-nutrient foods. This core principle of Ayurveda makes at the very least a promising method for promoting healthy diet choices.

Although scientific evidence regarding the Ayurvedic diet is somewhat equivocal, its many successful followers insist that the diet has changed their lives.

A famous Ayurvedic proverb says, “When our diet is wrong, medicine is of no use; when our diet is correct, medicine may not be needed.” A good diet is vital to health, increasing Prana (Life Force), Ojas (Vitality), and building Vyadhi Kshmatva (Immunity). (artofliving.org)

About Ayurvedic Diets

Ayurvedic diets have been around for many centuries, over 5,000 years, to be precise. What started around 500 BCE has trickled down to modern life as we know it today.

According to Hindu mythology, Brahma, the God of Creation, taught Dhanvantari, God of Medicine, all there was to know about Ayurveda and the role it played on human bodies.

According to Brahma, human bodies are made up of five elements:

  • Earth
  • Water
  • Fire
  • Air
  • Space

Together, these five elements form three doshas, i.e., certain energies that circulate within our bodies, known as Vata, Kapha, and Pitta.

Ayurvedic principles suggest:

  • All humans are born with three doshas.
  • The distribution or combination of these doshas is unique for each individual.
  • Sometimes only one dosha is more dominant in the body.
  • Some individuals have more than one dominant dosha.
  • Sometimes, one dosha can dominate the body, and another can dominate the mind.

How Ayurvedic Diets Work

The Ayurvedic Diet suggests that one way to maintain and live a healthy life without complications is to balance these doshas.

According to the Ayurvedic Diet, an imbalance in doshas can sometimes lead to preventable health problems, as one imbalanced dosha may disturb the functions of other doshas in our bodies, whether they’re dominant or not.

Although there are other complicated ways to help balance our doshas, the most direct way is through the foods we eat.

What to Eat and Not Eat on the Ayurvedic Diet

To start eating according to the Ayurvedic diet, you'll want to start by taking a Dosha Quiz to learn about your dominant dosha(s).

Once you understand your personal balance of Vata, Kapha, and Pita, you may consider specific dosha-friendly foods and start limiting (ultimately eliminating) all foods that may cause an imbalance in your personal doshas.

  • The pitta dosha focuses on cooling, energizing foods and limits spices, nuts, and seeds. The pitta dosha diet limits spicy foods and seeds while focusing on energizing food like leafy greens and cooling foods like coconut water.
  • The kapha dosha focuses on eating light, dry foods to keep the body cool, like fresh vegetables, legumes, and fruits.
  • The vata dosha focuses on warm, moist foods like oatmeal in their diet. They might avoid bitter herbs and rely on warming spices like ginger, cinnamon, or turmeric.

The Ayurvedic diet avoids heavy foods, rejects processed food and artificial sweeteners, and limits red meat.

Instead, the Ayurveda encourages whole foods with natural sugars and plenty of raw fruits and vegetables alongside whole grains, cooked vegetables, and meat in moderation.

Ayurveda Focused Food Groups

  • Legumes
  • Mung Beans
  • Kidney Beans
  • Green Beans
  • Black Beans
  • Lima Beans
  • Pinto Beans
  • Bitter Vegetables
  • Broccoli
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Arugula
  • Collard Greens
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Watercress
  • Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Chia Seeds
  • Flax Seeds
  • Whole Grains
  • Brown Rice
  • Dairy
  • Sour Cream
  • Goats Milk
  • Soy Milk
  • Healthy Fats
  • Olive Oil
  • Avocado
  • Spices
  • Black Pepper

According to Ayurveda, you may also adjust your diet to match different seasons. For example, in the summer it is suggested that you consume cooling foods and avoid hot foods or ones that make you feel bloated.

Could Ayurveda Promote Weight Loss?

Because the Ayurvedic diet is centered on nutrient-rich whole foods, it may aid in weight loss efforts. However, there is limited research on the topic.

Ayurvedic Lifestyles and Mindfulness

With deep roots in Indian history dating back 5,000 years ago, the Ayurvedic diet is much more than a set of food restrictions and eating guidelines.

Ayurveda encourages the practice of deep breathing and meditation as part of the eating experience to cultivate greater awareness of what you are consuming and how it makes your body feel.

Followers consider it an outlook on life, one that emphasizes the importance of mindfulness in everything you do - from what you eat to how you work out to where you live.

We hope this Pantry Pal Diet Guide was able to provide some basic info about Ayurveda for those who are interested but remember, before making any significant diet changes, you should always speak with your doctor or dietitian. In this case, you may also consult an ayurvedic practitioner!

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