7 golden ayurvedic rules for healthy eating
“What we eat affects our emotions. Restless emotions are the source of problems in the physical body and mind – thoughts. Similarly, negative thoughts can make food digestion difficult, and likewise indigestion makes our emotional state troubled.” Dr David Frawley
“You are what you eat.” is a saying which you must have already heard. It is the truth on a physical as well as on psychological level. If you eat a hamburger, you also feel in this way: restlessness, quick irritability, quick and usually rash reactions, reduced power of concentration …
What to eat for health?
The first most important rule
eat with your heart – with love and peace. Make your meal attractive for your soul, mind and body: colours, tastes, decoration. Enjoy the food and totally dedicate yourself to the meal in front of you. That is why it is not recommended to watch TV or read a newspaper while eating. A TV program or a newspaper article is not only a distraction for feeding, but it can also increase inner restlessness or affect intolerance to food, allergies, nervousness, bloating …
Let your meal become a sacred ritual, when you give your body – your home food so that it can live. In such a way you can ensure a healthy body and well-being. When you have health and well-being, you have everything you need to realise your wishes.
The second important rule in an ayurvedic diet
is to eat freshly made, natural food (without additives, pesticides, chemical and hormonal additives, genetically unmodified food, without radiation and heavy metals), seasonal and local food. It is best if it is produced at home or bought from the nearby farmers who grow food organically.
Ayurveda separates eating raw and cooked food because they have different characteristics: a different time of digestion, different temperature, a different effect on the digestive fire, different ingredients.
The third rule
is adding of spices. Spices such as ginger, turmeric powder, coriander, cumin and other ayurvedic spices improve the taste and make food fuller. These spices make food more digestible and have many healing properties.
The fourth rule in ayurveda
is to include all 6 tastes in a meal: sweet, salty, sour, spicy, bitter and astringent. When we include all 6 tastes in a meal, the body recognises more easily, when it has had enough food and releases a feeling of satisfaction. Including all 6 tastes in a meal also prevents cravings for certain food. And at last including all 6 tastes improves health.
The fifth rule
is the order of the 6 tastes:
- Sweet – rice, millet poridge, buckwheat porridge, barley, honey, milk …
- Sour – lemons, yogurt, sour cherries, dock, fermented food …
- Salty – salt, sea vegetables (for example algae, see weed …), salty dishes
- Spicy – ginger, black pepper, garlic, onion, spicy spices …
- Bitter – vegetable leaves (for example broccoli, beetroot), leafy vegetables (for example spinach, nettle), turmeric, radicchio, green salad …
- Astringent – rosehip, lentils, beans, persimmon
Food that is in the “sweet” category is most easily digestible. That is why it is not recommended to eat desserts at the end of a meal. Having something astringent and bitter at the end of a meal helps not to feel the need for something sweet.
The sixth rule
is regarding our digestive fire. “Digestive fire is the source of life. In ayurveda it is called AGNI. Without agni life is not possible.” Dr Vasant Lad
Until our agni is healthy and strong we can digest all we eat. If our agni is weak, the body does not digest food and toxins are created.
In order to keep our inner fire in excellent state it is important when we eat. Inner fire is the strongest between 11:30 and 13:30 that is why we have the biggest meal of the day at that time. Toward the evening the inner fire reduces, therefore it is recommended to eat the last meal between 6:00 and 7:00.
We only eat when we are hungry. Loading food between meals decreases inner fire or even suffocates it. Food that remains indigested In our digestive tract, starts to rot and releases toxins.
The seventh rule
drink water of room temperature or warm water. Water should not be drunk between or after meals because it reduces (extinguishes) digestive fire.
The body must warm up cold water before it can absorb it and for this it uses energy. Cold water has the worst effect on the inner fire. Cold water extinguishes or reduces inner fire (agni), therefore food becomes difficult to digest and stays in the digestive tract. Food that lies in the body starts to rot, then gases and toxins are released.
In the morning we first drink a glass of warm water (approx. 2 dcl) on an empty stomach. This is the basic hygiene of inner organs.