July 20, 2023

Setting Routines with Food: an Ayurvedic Perspective.

Read part one of this series here: Setting Routines to Calm the Mind’s Chaos: an Ayurvedic Perspective.

 

Through nutrition, lifestyle, and daily routines, we bring this ancient healing practice into our lives.

In the ancient language of Sanskrit—ahar, vihar, and dinacharya.

Food is medicine—for our body, mind, and spirit. What we take in can support our health, provide healing, or create a domino cascade toward dis-ease of our body, mind, senses, and spirit. We need to remember we are in control of what occurs.

What we feed ourselves is more than food and beverage; it is the environment, the company, location, distractions, mindsets, emotions, and more.

Looking at the act of eating starts in our mind. It is the thinking of our meal that gets the juices—the salivary glands started. The process continues and if we follow some basic rules, we can stoke the digestive fire of agni to create a state of balance (sattva) and maintain or achieve good health (swastha). Food broken down will work itself through our seven tissues (dhatus) to support and heal, if good food and proper eating are in place.

Ayurveda is not vegan (although you can be vegan); it considers itself as vegetarian. Meat is only used sparingly and as medicine for a short period of time. Ayurveda feels cow’s milk from ethically treated cows who are given no antibiotics, are not kept pregnant, and never separated from their calves is okay. They have a place on the farm until they die of natural causes.

Cow’s milk is considered healthy and used as milk, buttermilk, yogurt, and ghee. Ghee, clarified butter, is considered a magical potion (prabhava) that has special properties for healing (honey, triphala, and amalaki are also). Ghee’s taste is sweet, with a heavy quality; its action is cooling, and post digestive taste is also sweet. It pacifies vata and pitta but can be aggravating for kapha so use sparingly or skip it. Vegans can use a high quality organic oil.

Should you consider making it, use unsalted butter from cows noted above. I would not recommend a ghee in the grocery store unless you have thoroughly checked the source. There are ethical Ayurveda sources: Farmtrue.com, Banyan Botanicals.com, and Divyaas.com.

Here are some of the basic food rules to follow:

>> eat local, in season, pesticide-free foods whenever feasible

>> eat slowly and chew thoroughly—mastication is good for the digestion

>> incorporate all six tastes in every meal (when able): sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent

>> no one taste should be prominent; the dish should taste balanced and satisfying.

>> food combining is also critical; for example, fruit is eaten alone and some fruits completely alone. Bananas, melons, mango, and berries are some examples in that a banana is eaten without anything else, berries can be a mix of blue berries, strawberries, and black berries. Mango is eaten on its own, but melons can combine with other melons. And dairy is a no-no with any fruit. Sorry smoothie lovers—eat a piece of fruit instead.

>> let go of all ice cold beverages and foods, and repurpose the ice cube trays. Warm and hot beverages and foods are best, but room temperature can be okay. Some folks will tolerate cool or raw foods, but keep them to the heat of summer, and never in fall or winter.

The above are a great start and will help get you on the right track to a healthy gut. And a healthy gut leads to a healthy, balanced physical body, mind, and spirit.

The use of whole foods and herbs had been a way of life for thousands of years. Being at one with nature was as well.

We started to abandon the simple, and as time went by, allopathic medicine was born and started to replace the authentic with the synthetic. This discourse is not meant to trash western medicine; it certainly has its place. If you are out walking near an archery range and a misguided arrow pierces your neck, getting immediate transportation to a trauma center with a skilled team could save your life. Your acupuncturist is not needed; call her later for pain relief and stress management. And then ask your reiki healer for energy work to realign your systems.

Allopathic medicine brought in big pharma and the reliance on pills over food. The food factories ushered in antibiotic stuffed animals and slaughter. The fast food industry destroyed the prana—life force—of the food, added refined sugars, wheats, tons of salt, and unhealthy fats to lure folks to a life of chronic conditions, obesity, and an early death after a long period of poor living, and it brought high bills to the corporate money grabbers.

It is not too late to turn your autoimmune, chronic conditions back to normal, or at least halt the spread. It’s not too late to bring back a vibrant life filled with joy, good energy, and good health.

Start small. Find a local farmer’s market or community association. Grow a garden outside, inside, or within your community. Ask your grocery store to add to the organic selection of produce. Make your own meals with healthy choices—and find the joy in cooking.

Come on to the other side. It is pure bliss. Pura vida.

In the next part of this series, I’ll talk about lifestyle.

 

Read part one of this series here: Setting Routines to Calm the Mind’s Chaos: an Ayurvedic Perspective.

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