Ayurveda diet

What we eat has a profound effect on our mind as well as the body. It is not only important as to what we eat, but it is equally important as to how we eat. Following are a few tips on diet which help in getting the best out of what we eat.
  • The diet, especially hard substances, should be properly chewed.
  • Wherever possible intake of curd or buttermilk should follow food.
  • It should neither be very hot nor absolutely cold.
  • Water should be avoided at least 15 minutes before food. The quantity of water after food should be small. Drink water often.
  • Heavy (Guru) food should be taken in a limited quantity.
  • Heavy food should not be taken at night. The proper time of night meal is two to three hours before going to bed. After night meal, it is better to go for a short walk.
  • After meals, heavy mental or physical work should be avoided. Some rest is advisable for proper digestion of food.
  • The food should be fresh, easily digestible and protein-enriched. If cooked food is kept for a long period of time, its positive qualities diminish, due to the existence of free radicles and oxidisation, and this when eaten, is harmful for our health.
  • One has to keep in mind that the acidic and alkaline contents of the foods do not exceed their upper limits. Excess of alkali is not as harmful as excessive acids in food, which might lead to acidity or other stomach related problems.
  • Avoid fried edibles.
  • Each meal must contain at least one protein-filled and one carbohydrate-filled dish. One could eat fresh vegetables, salads, fresh chutnies, pickles, papad and soup with a sprinkling of salt. Each individual should consume not more than 1/2 to 3/4 litre of oil per month.
  • Stale, tinned/ canned food and edibles that are kept in the open, cooked and uncovered or left cut and in the open are harmful in nature.

 

Improve eating habits

Ayurveda considers bananas, cold water, ice-cream, sugar all sweet edibles and fluids like sugarcane juice, `Cold'. Such foods or drinks should be avoided in cases of common cold, pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma, itching and other cough-related ailments.
Spices, meats, milk, onions, honey, wheat, millet, jaggery etc. are supposed to be `Hot'. These foods increase strength and help in the development of the body. If one suffers from problem related to bowel-movement, insomnia, gas, or even piles and sinuses, one should refrain from eating such `Hot' foods. People suffering from excessive tension and those who lose their temper very often should also avoid such edibles.
Food-stuff like sea-food (fish, shrimps and the likes), egg-yolk, edibles containing cocoa (chocolates, ice-creams, coffee), green-peas, peanut, brinjal, lady's finger and potato, often give rise to allergies or `Pitta' (Acid) related problems. If one is allergic to either of the above mentioned food-stuff, one should by all means avoid these types of food. The sort of allergies that can occur due to the consumption of such edibles are : prickly-heat, rashes, eczema, psoriasis, itching, bronchial asthma, pimples, acne and neurodermatitis (inflammation of skin). 
Eat only when you are completely famished, and never eat stomach-full. There should be a gap of at least 6 hours between two major meals. Otherwise, proper digestion is prevented and Indigestion takes place, and if one eats another major meal before the previous one is digested suitably, it leads to the formation of poisonous elements within the body, which in its turn leads to digestive disorders and acidity.
Make it a point to eat fresh fruits like bananas, apples, grapes etc. which are rich in minerals and vitamins, after meals. Fruits, when chewed properly are digested easier, as the enzyme of the saliva break up the sugar in the fruits and make it easily digestible.
Having cloves, cardamoms or aniseeds after meals, aids digestion too.
Each meal should be made up of 35% protein, 35% carbohydrates, 5% oil and 10-15% salad. This means that it is not necessary to have a number of dishes on the menu, what is important is to have a few select foods. A single protein-enriched dish, 1 or 2 dishes rich in carbohydrates, some green salad, and some fresh chutney made out of green coriander leaves, coconut and garlic, is enough.
Take one type of protein at a time. Never include two animal-proteins in the same meal. Milk and milk-products, fish, meat and eggs are also considered to be animal-proteins.
Animal-proteins such as milk and curds can be consumed with sprouted grains or vegetables, as these proteins are easily digestible.
Sprouted-food : Seeds, nuts, pulses, when soaked in very little water overnight (or for 10-12 hours), sprout. Through the process of sprouting, these edibles lose their acid-contents and become more easily digestible. Even though the proteins in these edibles are difficult to digest, digesting them becomes as simple as digesting green-vegetables, once the edibles sprout.
One should pay attention to the acidic and alkaline attributes of foods. Attention should also be paid to the question of how and what to eat, according to the changing seasons. Regular consumption of mangoes during summer can keep you strong all year.
It also helps to have rice, `dal', salad, butter-milk, lime-juice, coconut-water and sour fruits like oranges and sweet-limes during the hot season. One should refrain from or at least avoid having meats, fried and spicy foods, tea-coffee etc. during summer.
Fenugreek-candies and horse-bean dishes, if taken regularly during winter, improve the body's immune system and strengthen the body. One should however refrain from having more than 25 gms daily. Seasonal fruits (apples, cherries, strawberries etc.) are extremely good for summers.


 

Use this diet to help relieve nervous tension, cramps, pain, anxiety, insomnia, bloating, constipation, dryness.

General treatment

  1. Just eat what is appropriate for you. If you are intolerant of any food or simply do not like it then avoid it. This diet is to enhance the assimilation of nutrients which will help calm the nervous system.
  2. Emphasise foods that are warm, soupy and easy to digest.
  3. Eat at regular times.
  4. Eat to less than full.
  5. Practice relaxation.
  6. Avoid yeast, refined sugars, coffee, tea, tobacco, drugs, poor quality oils and extremely spicy foods as these aggravate the digestion and the nervous system.
  7. Favour foods that are warm, heavy, and oily as these nourish the nervous system.
  8. Reduce foods that are cold, dry, and hard as these aggravate digestion.
  9. Favour foods that are sweet (e.g. wheat, milk, rice), sour (e.g. vinegar, yogurt, umeboshi plums, citrus fruit), and salty as these are all nourishing.
  10. Reduce foods that are very spicy, bitter (e.g. coffee, chillies, green leafy vegetables), and astringent (e.g. apples, beans) as these aggravate digestion and disturb the nervous system.

Dairy

All dairy products nourish the nervous system. Always boil milk before you drink it, mix with cardamom seeds and drink it warm. Don’t take milk with a full meal or with fruit. Use organic milk. If allergic substitute with almond or rice milk. Avoid ice cream, powdered milks and soya milk.

Oils

All oils reduce dryness and nourish the nervous system. Emphasise Flax, hemp, sesame, ghee, olive, sunflower, evening primrose, borage and fish oils. Use these internally and externally.

Fruits

Favour sweet, sour, or heavy fruits, such as berries, bananas, avocados, grapes, cherries, lemons, limes, fresh figs, peaches, melons, plums, pineapples, mangoes, and papayas. Avoid dried fruits, uncooked apples, pears, pomegranates, cranberries as these can create wind.

Spices

Most of them, especially; asafoetida, cardamom, cumin, coriander, ginger, fennel, dill, cinnamon, salt, cloves, mustard seed, black pepper all help reduce gas and spasms in the digestive system.

Beans

Avoid all beans, except for marinated tofu and mung lentils and occasionally red lentils.

Sweeteners

All sweet flavours are good for nourishing the nervous system. Reduce refined white sugar. Avoid all sugars if bloating is present.

Grains

Rice (basmati, brown, wild), wheat, oats (cooked) and quinoa are very good for nourishing the nervous system. Reduce intake of barley, corn, millet, buckwheat and rye as these are a bit drying and can be difficult to digest creating wind. Avoid the rest

Vegetables

Asparagus, beets, cucumbers, carrots, and sweet potatoes are the best. Peas, green leafy vegetables, celery, summer squash, winter squash, and potatoes are best. Seaweeds are very beneficial. It’s best to avoid the Brassica family; brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. Also avoid Solanaceae family; peppers, aubergines, potatoes and tomatoes. Raw vegetables, especially onions are banned as these all create wind.

Nuts

All nuts and seeds are good in moderation, especially soaked.

Meat and fish

Chicken, turkey, eggs and seafood are fine; beef should be avoided. 

Use this diet to help clear skin inflammations, itching, joint pain, hot flushes, acidity, ulcers, anger, irritation, infections, fever, late spring

General Treatments

  1. Please just eat what is appropriate for you. If you are intolerant of any food or simply do not like it then please avoid it.
  2. Include Aloe Vera juice and rosewater daily
  3. Avoid alcohol, coffee, tea, chocolate, cheese, yogurt, and animal products. Low quality oils are a major cause of inflammation.
  4. Avoid sour, salty, and pungent foods as these aggravate inflammation.
  5. Favour foods that are cool, refreshing and liquid. Fresh organic fruits and vegetables.
  6. Favour foods that are sweet, bitter, or astringent as these reduce heat.
  7. Reduce foods that are spicy, salty or sour as these increase heat.

Dairy

Milk, butter, and ghee are good for pacifying heat. Avoid yogurt, cheese, sour cream, and cultured buttermilk; these sour tastes aggravate inflammation.

Oils

Flax, hemp, borage, evening primrose, olive, sunflower, and coconut oils are best. Reduce sesame, almond, and corn oil, all of these increase heat.

Fruits

Favour sweet fruits such as grapes, limes, cherries, melons, avocado, coconut, pomegranates, mangoes, apples, berries, sweet and fully ripened oranges, pineapples, and plums. Reduce sour fruits such as grapefruits, lemons, olives, papayas and sour, not-yet-ripened oranges, pineapples, and plums as they can increase heat and acidity.

Spices

Cinnamon, coriander, dill, aniseed, cardamom, fennel, turmeric, fresh ginger and small amounts of black pepper are good, but the following spices strongly increase heat and should be taken in moderation: Asafoetida, dry ginger, cumin, fenugreek, clove, celery seed, salt, and mustard seed. Chilli peppers and cayenne should be avoided.

Beans

Avoid all beans except for tofu and mung lentils. Especially avoid peanuts as these can create inflammation.

Sweeteners

All sweeteners are good except for honey and molasses.

Grains

Wheat, basmati rice, barley and oats are anti-inflammatory. Reduce corn, rye, millet, and brown rice as they are a little heating.

Vegetables

Favour asparagus, cucumber, cooked beetroots, sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables, pumpkins, summer squash, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, okra, lettuce, sprouted beans, peas, green beans. Avoid Solanaceae nightshade family; hot peppers, bell peppers, tomatoes, aubergines, potato (can be consumed in small portions). Also avoid Allium family; especially raw onions, garlic, radishes. Also avoid and raw beetroots, raw spinach and mustard greens as these all increase heat and acidity.

Meat and Fish

Chicken, pheasant, and turkey are preferable; but beef, seafood, and egg yolk increase inflammation.

Superfoods

Chlorella, Spirulina, Wheat grass, Barley grass, Kalamath lake algae, seaweeds all help to cool the system and clear inflammation.

Use this diet to help clear mucus, heaviness, sinus congestion, thick tongue coating, tirednesss, sluggishness, high cholesterol, oedema and during winter months

General Treatments

  1. Please just eat what is appropriate for you. If you are intolerant of any food or simply do not like it then please avoid it.
  2. Avoid yeast, salt, cheese, yoghurt, chocolate, and refined sugars and flours as these increase mucus.
  3. Avoid overeating, especially at night.
  4. Do not eat when you are not hungry. Do not eat between meals.
  5. Do not eat cold foods
  6. A primarily vegetarian diet is highly recommended.
  7. Include ginger in your daily diet: take a pinch of fresh ginger root with a few drops of lemon juice before each meal.
  8. Favour foods that are light, dry, and warm as these reduce mucus.
  9. Reduce foods that are heavy, oily, and cold as these increase weight and mucus.
  10. Favour foods that are spicy, bitter, and astringent (e.g. ginger, asparagus, tea) as these help to dry excess fluids in the body.
  11. Reduce foods that are sweet, salty, and sour (e.g. cakes, crisps, vinegar) as these increase fluids in the body.

Dairy

Low-fat milk is better. Always boil milk before you drink it (making it easier to digest) and take it warm. Do not take milk with a full meal, or with sour or salty food. Add some cardamom or ginger to whole milk before boiling it to help reduce any mucus generating properties. Use goat’s milk or water milk down 50/50. A little ghee (clarified butter) is fine. Avoid eggs, cheese, yoghurt and buffalo milk.

Sweeteners

Use a little honey (2 tsp/day) as it helps to reduce mucus. Reduce all other sugar products.

Nuts

Reduce all nuts as they are too oily.

Vegetables

 Increase asparagus, aubergine, beetroots, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, garlic, ginger, green leaves, kale, onion, potato, pumpkin, radish, sprouts. Reduce okra, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, and summer squash as these increase fluids.

Fruits

Lighter fruits, such as apples and pears, are better. Reduce sweet, heavy or sour fruits such as oranges, bananas, pineapples, figs, dates, avocados, coconuts, and melons, as these fruits increase mucus.

Beans

All beans are fine, except tofu as it is very cold.

Oils

Reduce all oils but flax, corn and sunflower is ok.

Grains

Increase barley, corn, buckwheat, quinoa and millet as these are slightly drying or warming. Avoid or do not take too much wheat, rice, or oats, as they increase heaviness and mucus.

Spices

Include all spices except for salt. Salt increases water retention and mucus whereas spices increase warmth in the body.