Updated: Jul 15, 2018
Healthy Eating tips and an introduction to Ayuveda
Ayurveda is one of the worlds oldest medical systems, traced back to over 5,000 years ago literary translated means Science of Life; ‘ayur’ life and ‘veda’ science or knowledge and it teaches us to nurture and take care of our body and mind through healthy- practices, eating and general living.
Is a completely natural healing system
Is a holistic science- causes not symptoms
Sees man as a microcosm a Universe within himself
Man and the universe are made of 5 elements
Rooted like Yoga is the Veda’s
Prevention is key like Chinese medicine
Regards diet and nutrition of primary importance to the prevention of disease and promotion of good health
Views ‘balance’ as key to good health
According to Vasant Lad a leading international teacher and doctor, the practice of Ayurveda is designed to ‘ promote human happiness, health and creative growth’
There are eight branches of Ayurveda and the branch of Ayurveda that I have concerned myself with is Nutrition.
Ayurveda has a lot of good advice to offer us about nutrition and well-being, but to understand the approach taken in Ayurveda then we must first appreciate a little bit of background information.
Background; The Five Elements in Man
Ayurveda believes that if we understand how the five cosmic elements of nature function within us then this can help us to live a healthier, more enjoyable and disease free life. The five elements are Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth.
Ether is “space” in the human body and there are many manifestations of ether for example the spaces in the mouth, nose, and abdomen. “Space” in movement is Air-the second cosmic element, the element of movement. The pulsing heart, the expansion and contraction of the lungs and the movement of gases in the body are all representations of air as movement. The entire movement of the central nervous system is governed by Air.
The third element is Fire. In the human body the source of “fire” is the metabolism. Fire works the digestive system, manifest as intelligence and activates the retina to perceive light. Body temperature, digestion and the thinking process are all functions of bodily fire. Water is the fourth element and it manifests in the body as the digestive juices, mucus and in plasma and cytoplasm. Water is vital for the functioning of the tissues and organs and the various bodily systems it is vital for life. Earth is the final element; in the body it is the solid structures, bones, nails, muscles, skin and hair.
We obviously need all five elements to function correctly and to be alive!
The Three “Dosha”
The five elements manifest as three basic principles in the body or humours known as “doshas”
Ether +Air = Vata
Fire +Water = Pitta
Water + Earth = Kapha
The tridoshas determine our natural urges, preferences how our body works and our psychological make-up too. The combination of the elements in us is determined at birth however throughout our lives external influences are brought to bear and our internal environment is continually interacting with the external environment.
The basic principle of healing in Ayurveda is that we need to create a balance in the internal forces within us/an individual and this is done by altering diet and living habits in order to counteract changes in the external environment.
Everyone has all three doshas present in their body but it is through understanding which dosha (or in some cases two doshas) dominate that gives us a better understanding of how to take care of ourselves, what type of lifestyle suits us better and how we can lead a healthier more satisfying life. Foods to avoid and foods to enjoy. Food as medicine for specific complaints.
Determining your constitution is the first step; thereafter diet and lifestyle advice are given together with a specific programme.
Good eating habits
Eat seasonal food
Fresh food rather than irritated/processed/preserved
Consider the place and atmosphere
Don’t eat when you are upset
Always sit down to eat
Eat only when you are hungry
Don’t talk while you are chewing food
Don’t talk about business/decisions etc
Wait until one meal has digested prior to eating next
All six tastes per meal
Don’t ‘stuff’ yourself, leave third to one quarter empty to aid digestion
Sit quietly for a few minutes after your meal
Look out for any workshops and retreats Im running featuring an Ayurvedic component or to book a consultation contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org