Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ayurvedic Diets


Picture courtesy: Tribuneindia

Ayurvedic diets originated from India several hundred years ago. Surprisingly most of the Indian food are cooked in Ayurvedic way. In ayurveda the diet is based on nature (prakruthi) and respective Doshas. The diets can also be based on the type of food consumed. In diets Based on doshas (vata, pitta, kapha) they are classified as vata, pitta and kapha diet respectively. There are also Bidoshic and tridoshic diet (suitable for 2 or all the 3 doshas respectively).
The diets based on the type of food consumed is classified into 3 types:
  1. Satvik diet
  2. Rajasik diet
  3. Tamasik diet
Satvik (literally means light) diet refers to simple and easy to digest food. Usually minimal cooking is done like boiling, steaming etc. and not much processing done. Raw food is not included in this diet, fresh fruits and veggies are exceptions. Milk and milk products like ghee are also included in this diet. Spices like aniseed, turmeric, coriander, ginger, Cinnamon, cardamom are included in this. Onions, garlic and other pungent and astringent spices like red chillies, black pepper are completely excluded. If a person follows such kind of diet, it balances mind, body and soul keeping all the stress and sickness away.
Rajasik (literally means royal, richness) diet refers to rich, heavy and hard to digest food. This diet is high is sugar, salt and is spicy. Meat, poultry, high protein food fried in excessive butter, with strong flavour, and very spicy food are all included in this diet. If a person follows such a diet the person will be very much materialistic and attached to this world. Thus can enjoy the worldly pleasures and also be a part of stress.
Tamasik (literally means darkness) diet refers to overcooked, stale and highly processed food. Eggs come under this category (since, eggs can harbour microorganisms). Raw meat, fast food, packed food, tinned food, pizza, pastries, ice-creams, chocolates, refined oils and fats (vansapathi), carbonated drinks, stimulants like coffee, tea, alcohol and tobacco come under this diet. If a person follows this diet the result would be a life of pain, suffering, sickness and as the name suggests complete darkness.

Its important to understand the principles of Ayurvedic diets even before we start one like
  1. Food (ahaar) should be cooked (samskar - process of enhancing or modifying properties of something)
  2. Food should be tasty and easy to digest (not raw)
  3. Food should be consumed after a thanksgiving (yajna-a ceremony to thank for the food that is made available either from plants of animals{plant or animal is sacrificed}).
  4. Food should be consumed in proper amounts (like 1/2 food, 1/4 water, 1/4 air {1/4 should remain empty for the air})
  5. Food should be consumed after the previous meal has been completely digested
  6. Food consumed should not be contradicting in nature (eg. proteins and carbs should not be consumed at the same time {Dal and rice are exceptions})
  7. Food should not be consumed in a hurry, or with other distractions (like watching TV, talking etc.)
  8. One should eat food which is suitable for their nature (Prakruthi) (eg. If one suffers from pitta dosha, food that increases pitta immensely should be avoided completely)
When the diet is based on our doshas. It is important to understand if we are vata, pitta or kapha doshic in nature. A good ayurvedic vaidya will be in a position of help us figure out our nature or prakruthi. All the 6 tastes has to be in a ayurvedic meal (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent, pungent). When Dosha type diet is followed the taste has to be based on the dosha.
Vata - Sweet, sour, salty
Pitta - Bitter, astringent, sweet
Kapha - bitter, astringent, punget

Will post some Dosha related recipes soon.

References: Ayurvedic cooking for all by Amadea morningstar.

30 comments:

  1. Nice info on Ayurvedic diets

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  2. Interesting post, very informative..

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  3. very informative...thanks for sharing this knowlegde...

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  4. Thanks Suman, My pleasure :)

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  5. Rach, that is so much info dear, thanks for this :)

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  6. thanks for the info dear and ur comments on my blog...

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  7. useful information ..thanks 4 sharing rach

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  8. Very informative and interesting post dear. thanks for sharing.

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  9. Never knew abt this rach, nice info..useful for everyone

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  10. wow, very informative. Really appreciate you. yOU HAVE DONE A VERY GOOD JOB. Currently I am in a cabbage soup diet to reduce some weight. It is some form of satvik diet I should say. Very difficult.Its my fourth day today. Three more days to go..
    So how is Abidjan doing?? Are u staying there permanently or only for the cashew season. My dad is back but my brother is still there..

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  11. Very informative . Well done for collecting this information.

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  12. Very informative article, have bookmarked for reference.

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  13. Really sorry for the delay in posting this comment, Rach..I had seen your post but didnt go through it since I had been really busy yesterday..

    Thanks a lot for sharing this informative post on ayurvedic diets. Few years ago, I had listened to an ayurvedic doctor's talk about virudha aharam (incompatible food, like how you explained in principle no:6) for eg: curd and milk, chicken and ghee, fish and milk, milk and banana, lemon pickle and fish/chicken etc..He explained that these kind of food items when combined together can cause certain reactions that can be harmful to health and that we eat a lot of incompatible foods these days like milk shakes, non-veg biriyanis with raita, fried food items with milk/yoghurt etc. I am not sure whether the food items that I have mentioned here are incompatible or not but I would love to know more about this..Could you please share some information about incompatible foods sometime? Thanks once again for this great post!! Loooking fwd to your dosha related recipes..

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  14. Thanks Yumm T :) Yes, will surely post about it sometime soon :) ( I can surely elaborate on this, as its my area of interest! )

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  15. nice info on ur blog...noticed only today...

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