Ayurveda helps enhance strengths and correct weaknesses through proper diet and lifestyle. Malli features Ayurvedic tips from our health cookbook SUKHAM AYU.
HERE IS A TRANSCRIPT OF THE ARTICLE:
We are born from a combination of the five elements that pervade the universe – earth, water, fire, air and ether. The elements predominate in pairs and give rise to the three doshas or tridosha which make up our ‘prakriti’ or constitution. A predominance of air and ether gives rise to Vata Dosha, that of fire and water to Pitta Dosha, and earth and water to Kapha Dosha. They are termed as dosha, which means flaw, simply because if not kept in balance, they are susceptible to vitiation thereby making the human body and mind vulnerable to disease. Ayurveda teaches us to live a wholesome life that will keep the doshas balanced, the body healthy and the mind strong.
Just as the elements combine to give rise to the three doshas of Vata, Pitta and Kapha, they also combine in food substances to give rise to the six essences of sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent. As we enjoy these essences in the foods we consume, little do we realize that beyond just the taste of the palate, these essences have qualities such as hot or cold, light or heavy and dry or unctuous, by which they exert their influence on us.
Here are some interesting and useful tips from Sukham ayu:
- Ayurveda teaches us that our digestive fire is at its peak around noon. So begin lunch with a sweet dish, the heaviness of which needs a strong digestive fire. It is a good idea to add spices such as cloves, cardamom and nutmeg to lighten the sweet dish. Also, try using rock sugar instead of refined, bleached sugar.
- Chewing on a teaspoonful of crushed ginger and salt before a meal stimulates digestive fire and enhances taste. It activates the taste buds so that one can enjoy all the six essences, or the shadrasas of food.
- Early morning is the time of kapha predominance, therefore a heavy breakfast is not recommended for anyone. Start the day with a herbal tea and some fruits followed by a light breakfast.
- Noon is the time of pitta predominance when digestive fire is at its highest, so a hearty lunch is recommended for all constitutions. Remember to avoid hot and pungent foods during summer, and do conclude your meal with a glass of cool buttermilk.
- An early dinner with enough time for digestion before sleep is a good habit to cultivate in life. Avoid sweets at dinner time for they are heaviest to digest.
- Ayurvedic texts state that one must take care never to eat the second meal before the first is digested. This would normally result in a 5-6 hour gap between meals. However, do not starve the stomach, and if hungry between meals, eat a fruit or a light snack to see you through to the next meal. When you remain hungry for long, vata increases and the digestive fire of pitta is suppressed, often leading to gastric problems like ulcers and acidity.
(As featured in Malli, December 2010)