We have heard so many times a very popular saying “You are what you eat”. It holds true not only on the physical but also on the psychological level. The most important principle in the Ayurvedic Diet is that your food should be fresh (without pesticides, additives and other chemicals), seasonal, and possible local.

According to Ayurveda, foods and herbs are categorized by their taste, general qualities and how they affect the elemental Doshas (mind body combinations) of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Vata is made of Air and Ether. Vata is light, cold, dry, rough, clear and mobile. Pitta is made of Fire and Water. Pitta is light, hot, wet/oily, sharp, clear and mobile. Kapha is made of Water and Earth. Kapha is heavy, cool, wet, soft, dense and static. According to it, one should eat according to the doshas.

The six tastes that are recognized in Ayurveda are:-

  1. Sweet – sugar, honey, rice, pasta, milk, etc.

  2. Sour – lemons, hard cheese, yogurt, vinegar, etc.

  3. Salty – salt, any salty food

  4. Pungent – chili peppers, cayenne, ginger, any hot spice

  5. Bitter – leafy greens, turmeric, lettuce, etc.

  6. Astringent – pomegranate, beans, lentils, etc.

The ayurvedic principles of eating:-

  1. Satvic food - Food that is primarily whole foods, plant based, lightly spiced, using little oil so that you feel refreshed and charged.

  2. Six tastes of Ayurveda – Sweet, sour, salty, pungent, astringent and bitter. Meals that incorporate all these tastes are satiating and flavorful.

  3. Three constitutions in Ayurveda - When you eat according to your constitution it helps maintaining equilibrium in your body.

  4. Well-balanced – a meal should be a balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

  5. Right portion – The quantity of food we need varies a little every day based on our daily activity. Eat only as much as you are hungry and only when you are hungry. For optimum digestion it is recommended to eat a little less than you desire. Other helpful tips are eating in smaller servings rather than one big serving.

  6. Healthy variety - Meals prepared using a variety of vegetables, roots, greens, fresh herbs, whole grains, lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, dried fruits and spices all provide the complete range of nutrients.

  7. Fresh, local and organic - Eating freshly picked organic produce from the local farmer’s market helps your local economy, helps create a community and ensures that you get the best and freshest food that tastes the best that it can and is full of all the nutrients.

  8. Seasonal - Eating seasonal fruits and vegetables helps you keep in sync with the cycles of nature. Your body’s need for certain food changes according to the seasons of the year

  9. Cooking tools – It’s important to take into consideration the utensils and equipment you cook with. They have to be as natural as possible. Plastic, aluminum, non-stick, anodized cooking utensils may leech toxins into the food so using stainless steel, wood, cast iron, ceramic or glass is the safest.

  10. Avoiding tamasic or toxic Ingredients – Avoid food prepared using plastic, aluminum, non-stick and anodized steel utensils; food that is microwaved, canned or pre-made; food containing processed and refined ingredients like oils, white flour, white sugar, salt and sugar substitutes, corn syrup, preservatives, artificial flavouring, artificial colouring, packaged or stored in plastic containers or aluminum.

  11. Cooking methodCook food only to the extent to make it digestible, while retaining most of its nutritive value.

  12. A special ingredient – Preparing a meal with a positive intention, love and healing vibrations, mantras and prayers makes it even more potent and rich with healing properties.