All of us, including me, want to look and feel amazing in this glorious weather.
So in order to tap into your natural glow and inner health I recommend you try eating ayurvedically. It is not a diet. You eat according to your body type. It is a change in mindset, a conscious choosing of what fuels your body best.
Ayurveda, which is over 5000 years old, states all health starts with what you feed your body. Now this isn’t exactly hot news. The mantra “you are, what you eat” has been around forever.
The Ayurvedic system is all about inner balance leading to optimum health and considers nourishment to be a form of medicine. Balance leads to looking and feeling amazing. I wanted a piece of the action!
Simply put, there are 3 different Doshas or body types – Vata, Pitta and Kapha. You can be predominately 1 or a combination and you should guide your life choices accordingly. This can extend to what colours you wear.
I am Pitta.
Despite eating healthily, exercising regularly and drinking a decent amount of water daily, I wouldn’t say I was totally happy with myself. Where was I going wrong?
According to my Dosha, it seems I was eating some of the wrong foods.
These include garlic, raw onions, lemons, chillis, pickles, tomatoes, fermented foods, grapefruit, olives, kohlrabi, red meat, bananas, salt, coffee and alcohol. In essence, anything sour, salty or spicy is not good for me. I have to say the idea of a mild green chicken curry with no garlic or chilli was devastating.
However it was worth looking into and now 10 days on, I have to say I feel great. My skin is fabulous plus I am definitely slimmer even though I weigh the same. Less water retention?
What have I been eating and how?
It is extremely important to remember some key rules, eat in a calm environment, eat only when hungry, do not rush your food, eat the appropriate amount and eat at similar times each day. Your body requires routine.
My new ‘diet’ is centred around water based vegetables, cooling foods and herbs such as basil and mint, white meats and fish, lots of fresh sweet fruits and surprisingly wheat is ok to consume. I must think bitter, astringent, sweet and cooling produce when I go shopping.
ON THE MENU
- Oat porridge, oat milk, pomegranates, blueberries, hemp seeds and a linseed oil plus a squeeze of maple syrup
- Egg white omelette with spinach and hemp seeds, olive oil
- Wholewheat toast, cashew butter, fresh fruits
- Fruit salad
- Pomegranate, red cabbage, mange tout, chicory and fresh mint salad with olive oil and pepper
- Cauliflower and carrot flatbreads (recipe below) with cucumber, red pepper, olive oil, fresh mint and pepper
- Chicken, fennel, cucumber, red pepper, basmati rice salad with lime juice and olive oil
- Fresh mango
- Sweet orange
- Almonds (no skin)
- Sweet strawberries and whipped coconut cream
- Spaghetti with fried onions, celery, spinach, fresh mint, olive oil and pepper
- Braised artichokes made with vegan stock, peas, carrots, shredded celery leaves and basmati rice
- Watermelon, lamb’s lettuce (mâche) and feta wraps
- Grilled white fish and courgette flowers with pea pasta
- Fresh mint tea
- Room temperature CCF Tea (Cumin, Coriander, Fennel – recipe below)
- White wine (astringent so I can just about justify!)
An overview of the 3 doshas
VATA: you are naturally slender with a tendency to dry skin and lower muscle tone. Vata types are enthusiastic and happy people but can easily become anxious. Out of balance you can struggle with insomnia and nasal irritation. Routine is good for you.
- Consume warm rather than cold foods – steamed spinach not raw in salads
- Avoid dry foods – dates or pork
- Favour oily and moist ingredients – yoghurt, ghee, seitan, salmon
KAPHA: you tend to be physically larger in build with gloriously thick hair. You are very dependable and emotionally balanced. Out of balance however you are prone to slow digestion and congestion of the body.
- Exclude sugar and salt – limit sweets and crisps
- Eat lots of high fibre rich foods – spelt bread, oats for breakfast
- You can handle spices so maximize flavour – Thai chicken curry
- Eat lighter rather than heavier foods – no hard cheeses
PITTA: you are medium build and athletic. You have lots of energy but tend to be high-strung. Out of all the doshas you possess the strongest digestive system and can eat everything however at a cost. Balance is required to counteract stress related digestive issues.
I found this guide is helping me steer my personal choices (*).
|Tastes decreasing PITTA||Foods / Herbs to Eat||Tastes increasing PITTA||Foods / Herbs to Avoid|
|Sweet||Peaches, sweet plums, grapes, melons, oranges, sweet potatoes, carrots, beets Milk, butter, rice, wheat bread, basil, licorice root, red cloves, peppermint, slippery elm, fennel. Avoid highly processed sweets such as candy bars and sugar||Pungent||Onion, radish, chili, ginger, garlic, asafoetida, cayenne pepper, black pepper, mustard|
|Bitter||Dandelion root, holy thistle, yellow dock, rhubarb, bitter melon, greens such as romaine lettuce, spinach, and chard fresh turmeric root, fenugreek, gentian root||Sour||Yogurt, vinegar, cheese, sour cream, green grapes, citrus fruits hibiscus, rose hips, tamarind, pickles, miso caraway, coriander, and cloves|
|Astringent||Unripe banana, cranberries, pomegranate, myrrh, goldenseal, turmeric, okra, beans, mace, parsley, lentils, broccoli, cabbage, saffron, basil, alum||Salty||Table salt, sea salt, rock salt, kelp, sea weeds|
Here are some interesting links:
Banyan Botanicals: a great website to guide ayurvedic choices
Live strong : another great source
Sanapur Named: the ayurvedic centre in Zurich
Food Pyramid: source of the above food table
Cumin, Coriander and Fennel tea is a simple and renowned ayurvedic remedy for problems with digestion such as bloating. It improves circulation, reduces water retention and is calming.
- 950ml water
- 1 teaspoon whole cumin seed
- 1 teaspoon whole coriander seed
- 1 teaspoon whole fennel seed
Place all the ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for fifteen minutes. Remove from heat and strain. Store the tea in a thermos or in the refrigerator, but do not drink it cooler than room temperature.
Featured image, courtesy of Simple Veda.
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