Ayurvedic diet is not the same as fad diets, where one size fits all, and the goal is to only lose weight by depriving yourself of essential nutrients. Instead, it is about designing your meals in a mindful way that particularly suits your body type.
You should follow an Ayurvedic diet if you want to:
- Gain energy levels
- Improve your immunity
- Balance your hormones
- Healthy and glowing skin
- Improve digestive system
- Lose extra fat from the body
- Develop a better sleep cycle
- Reduce hair damage and better hair growth
- Want to feel more happy, purposeful, and content in your life
Above all, if you want to live a long and healthy life, you can adopt an Ayurvedic diet to maintain your health and help you prevent many diseases.
What is the Ayurvedic Diet?
Ayurveda has given prime importance to digestion. If your digestion, absorption, and assimilation of food nutrients are correct, it will keep you healthy. On the contrary, weak digestion fails to digest food properly. Thus, undigested food particles lead to toxin formation inside the body, causing various diseases. For this reason, Ayurveda gives the topmost priority to a healthy diet.
Eating healthy food can help you keep your digestion at its best. On the other hand, unhealthy food and eating habits can hamper your digestion leading to further health problems.
Research also suggests that 70% of our immune cells are in our gut. So, being mindful of what you are feeding yourself helps support your immune system and keep you healthy.
Ayurvedic diet is a way of living. It guides you on what to eat, how to eat, keep your digestion on track, and follow healthy diet rituals. Following these guidelines supports your digestion and fulfills your nutritional requirements. As a result, it supports health and prevents various diseases.
What does it take following an Ayurvedic diet? It takes only your conscious effort and determination to self-heal. Ayurvedic diet considers some essential and simple practices to follow, which helps you promote your health. When you adopt the simple practices of Ayurveda, control of your health comes into your hands. Being mindful whenever you eat is what is going to help you accomplish wellness.
Written in Ayurvedic texts, BEST is my compilation for you to understand the essential practices of Ayurvedic eating.
The BEST Ayurvedic diet tips to follow in everyday life
B – Body type-based diet to feel healthy, happy, and energetic.
E – Eat consciously (maintain the portion of your meals and do not overeat)
S – Sunset time for your dinner
T – Traditional food (eat traditional food from your region a/c to different seasons)
Body type-based diet:
Have you noticed that certain foods make you feel heavy, bloated, or gassy while others make you feel fresh, energetic, and healthy? Ayurveda helps us understand how foods affect our physical and mental wellbeing.
Ayurveda explains that each one of us is unique based on our body type. According to Ayurveda, your diet, lifestyle, immunity, strength, and mental state depend upon your body type. For this reason, Ayurveda emphasizes eating according to your body type.
There are many healthy food options available in the world, but not everything is suitable for everyone. For you, taking milk products might be beneficial and nourishing. But your sibling or friend might feel heavy, bloated, or uneasy after consuming dairy products. For this reason, Ayurveda guides you to be mindful and chose your food wisely as per your body type.
Ayurvedic body type
According to Ayurveda, our body comprises three bioenergies named doshas – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Each of them performs fundamental functions inside our body. All three doshas are present inside each one of us but in different proportions.
Some people have naturally dominant Vata dosha. Hence, they are called the Vata person. Similarly, the one with high Pitta energy is a Pitta person, and one who is having dominant Kapha energy is a Kapha person. On the other hand, a person with two equally dominant doshas is a “dual dosha dominant” person like Vata-Pitta, Pitta-Kapha, and Vata-Kapha. Lastly, the ones with three equal dominant doshas inside their body are “Tridosha” people.
The dominance of these doshas in your body is also responsible for what type of person you are. Like, whether you like cold weather or hot, you like traveling or comfortable in your cozy bed, you have a dominating or submissive personality. From your personality to what kind of food you should eat, it all depends on your Ayurvedic body type.
Benefits of eating according to your body type:
Eating according to your body type makes you more energetic, healthier and benefits you from preventing various disorders. For example, Vata dosha has cold, dry, and rough qualities. Due to this, a Vata person must consume food substances opposite to Vata dosha qualities. Thus, warm, smooth, and nourishing food, like warm porridge, milk, whole wheat, ghee, or paneer, helps a Vata person maintain their health.
If you follow this Ayurvedic diet rule, you will get rid of most of the problems you face periodically. For example, a Vata person mostly suffers from constipation, dry skin, dry lips, cracked soles, anxiety, etc. Following a Vata pacifying diet will balance Vata dosha, and they will not suffer from such symptoms.
The categorization that we ayurvedic doctors use to define an individual’s body type is based on observation and should be performed by an experienced Ayurvedic doctor. Prakriti analysis forms the basis of the diet and lifestyle guidelines. You must consult an Ayurvedic physician before making any changes in their diet & lifestyle according to the body type.
Download our app from the Google play store to know your body type now! The link is given below.
To keep your health on track, you should regularly eat according to your hunger, maintain a portion of your meals and avoid overeating.
Maintain a portion of your meals
Always maintain a portion of your meals and eat in moderation and to stay healthy. It is better to listen to what your body demands from you rather than hearing the desires of your tongue and eyes.
Eyes will tell you to have that extra slice of bread, and your tongue will drool for the spread available on your dining table. No matter what your tummy is telling you, your tongue and eyes will draw your attention towards the extra food you can eat until you fill yourself up to your throat. The trick here is to stop giving importance to the cravings and start focusing on your hunger.
When you stop fulfilling the desire of your eyes & tongue, cravings will also usually go away. And when you focus only on your appetite, your body demands will be naturally fulfilled. Achieving this will allow you to complete the rule of eating in moderation.
You can support your digestion by eating your meals in moderation. It implies you should eat each of your meals in the appropriate portion only. Eating your food in moderation keeps your digestion on track, provides you wellbeing, and prevents various lifestyle diseases.
I encounter many people who are confused about how much they should eat. This confusion could be because of the countless apps and other sources available, telling people how many calories to eat in a day according to their weight and height.
I am not saying that this is an entirely wrong practice. But focusing and eating according to your hunger is better than confusing yourself by calculating calories for each meal the whole day.
I never count how many calories my meal has, but I try focusing on the qualities of the food that I consume every day. Above that, I always assess my digestive strength and make changes according to it.
When the digestive fire is naturally strong in winters, I incline toward eating paratha, panjiri, etc. Such food items satisfy my hunger and provide proper nourishment. On the other hand, I prefer more light and hydrating food items during summers, which keeps me well hydrated and maintains my digestion.
Have you ever seen a baby overeating? When babies are hungry, they start crying, but once their hunger is satisfied, they know how to deny their mothers not to feed them extra milk. From this, you can see how brilliant a tiny little human being is!
Don’t you think you also have that sense of assessing a portion of the meal according to your hunger? I think you can do this; you have to be somewhat more mindful and attentive.
If you are dependent on an app or other source telling you how much to eat, avoid doing this to yourself. Start developing the habit of assessing the portion of meals for yourself according to your digestive strength from today onwards.
Hunger & digestion
Eating in moderation and according to your hunger is the best way to stay away from various diseases. Doing this will also add value to your mental and physical health.
We always feel hungry according to our digestive strength. If your digestive power is strong, you will feel hungry at regular times every day. On the contrary, if your digestive power is weak, you will feel less or no hunger at all. In both scenarios, you need to tune in to your body’s demands to maintain your digestive system. So, give attention to your hunger, eat accordingly in moderation, and avoid overeating to live a healthy life.
Sunset time for your dinner
Eating the last meal of your day before sunset improves your health. A person who avoids eating heavy meals after sunset feels light, energetic, and happy. Many of my clients find it quite effective and love the change they observe after adopting this habit.
Along with eating your dinner before sunset, it is also essential to consume something light. You must have heard this famous adage saying – ” Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.” It means your dinner should be light so that your body can digest it easily.
Our metabolism slows down after sunset. So, if you choose to eat heavy meals after sunset, it can lead to indigestion. Such a habit for a prolonged period can further become a cause behind various diseases. For this reason, Ayurveda suggests consuming your last meal early.
Eating dinner early improves digestion. As a result, it benefits weight loss, sound sleep, hormonal balance and prevents cardiac diseases. Above all, it is beneficial for overall health.
If you are concerned about hunger pangs at night, you can drink milk before bed. If you are allergic to milk, you can consume anything light to digest, like handfuls of soaked almonds, walnuts, raisins, etc.
Ayurveda emphasizes the concept of traditional eating. It is observed that people who eat traditional food are generally healthier than those eating a modern diet of processed and packaged foods.
Traditional diets rejoice in what mother nature offers us according to the season in different regions worldwide. Culturally we all have different traditional recipes with various ﬂavors and ingredients. One thing common in traditional food worldwide is that everyone focuses more on seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Foods and recipes that are moved on from generation to generation have a long history of promoting health and wellness. Our ancestors have observed and designed the traditional recipes that suit us according to that region and season. For example, a person who belongs to a colder region will need something warm and nourishing in the cold season. On the other hand, someone from a more tropical area will require hydrating and cooling food substances.
Being from Himachal, I enjoy paratha with homemade makhan during winters, eating patrode (fried colocasia leaf recipe) during monsoons, and other recipes according to another season. When I moved to South India for 3 years, I embraced their traditional food like idli, dosa, vada, etc. These are the traditional food items of that region. They suited me well according to the season and region of that area.
Eating traditional means to eat what is available in the season in your region. To keep your health at its best, you should eat what is available in the season. Eating seasonally always fulfills the demand of your body according to that time of the year.
Due to the commercialization, most fruits and vegetables are available in all seasons across the different regions. We can see frozen vegetables and canned fruits are readily available in supermarkets. Many fresh fruits and some vegetables are picked before they get ripe. This allows them time to fully ripen during transportation. But, it means they had less time to obtain and develop a full range of vitamins, minerals, and natural antioxidants with help from the soil. So, try to fill your plate with freshly available fruits and vegetables whenever possible.
When we eat seasonal food items, it supports the needs of our body naturally. For example, in summers, our body requires hydrating and cooling food substances due to excessive heat. When we look upon nature’s trend, mother nature provides us with fruits and vegetables like watermelon, muskmelon, cucumber, and different gourds like a pointed gourd, snake gourd, and ridge gourd in summers. All these varieties are cooling and hydrating, which our body requires during hot weather.
It is essential to understand the significance of what nature provides us at the specific time of the year for wellbeing. You should stick to what is seasonally available in your region rather than eat what the supermarket offers you in packets.
Eating according to your region means eating what is grown in your local area. When the food is grown and transported locally, the chances of contamination reduce drastically, making it more beneficial for you to consume.
To sustain a healthy life, you must learn about locally grown crops, pulses, and vegetables according to different seasons.
For example, suppose you live in Himachal Pradesh (India) then eat Kachnar (Bauhinia variegata) flower sabzi in spring, Lasoda (Cordia dichotoma) in early summers, Rhododendron juice in summer, etc. These are the local food items available in some regions of Himachal Pradesh in different seasons.
You have to research locally grown food in your area and consume them according to the season. Eating regional food not only provides you more nutrient value but also supports your local farmers.
Does this mean that you should wholly prevent eating recipes that belong to other states or countries? To this, I would say that you must enjoy everything but in moderation. It is all about the balance. If you love to enjoy other recipes, there is no harm in eating them once in a while. But, always include more of your traditional meals in your everyday meals.
That’s my version of BEST Ayurvedic diet tips for you. Following these eating habits can significantly impact your health status. The best way to adopt them is by bringing them gradually into your routine. Practice them by maintaining a health journal. Write down the food choices you are making every day according to your body type, region, season, hunger, and meal timings.
Along with this, note down the symptoms you are having before commencing the BEST eating habits and later write about how you feel every day. For example, if you are constipated every day, you can write about your bowels or get a lot of acne, then journal about your skin health. Notice the change day by day. Be consistent with this practice, and you will see wonderful changes in your skin, hair, and overall health.