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Food For Health

An Ayurvedic Guide to Eating

The Basics
What is Ayurveda?
The 5 Elements
The 3 Energies (Doshas)
Innate and Current Constitution (Prakruti and
Vikruti)
The 3 Mental Qualities (Gunas)

Ayurveda
Science of Life
5000+ Year-Old Health-Care System
Oldest Continually Practiced Health-Care System in
the Known Universe
Primary focus is to promote health for your unique
body-mind type rather than fighting disease (though it
provides means to do that too)

By eating and living in harmony with nature and your


body-mind type, vibrant health is achieved.

The 5 Elements
All Matter is Composed of 5 Metaphoric
Elements
We Are What We Eat
Like Increases Like, Opposite Decreases
Opposite

Ether (Akasha)
Description: Essence of emptiness. Space other
elements fill.
Qualities: Clear, Light, Subtle, Soft and Immeasurable
Examples: Hollow and Light Foods Popcorn,
Wafers, Cotton Candy
Effect: Increases lightness & space, Ability to Feel
Subtlety, Creativity, Ungroundedness
Food Pacification: Moist, Heavy, Soul-Satisfying Foods

Air/Wind (Vayu)
Description: Motion and Dynamism
Qualities: Mobile, Dry, Light, Cold, Rough and Subtle
Examples: Foods that are Airy, Gaseous, Stimulating
- Bread, Apples, Beans
Effect: Increases Activity, Circulation, Pace of Mind
Pacification: Heavy, Oily, Warm, Grounding Foods

Fire (Agni)
Description: Transformation, Metabolism, Illumination
Qualities: Hot, Light, Dry, Spreading, Subtle, Flowing,
and Sharp
Examples: Chilies, Ginger, Garlic, Pepper, Yogurt,
Vinegar.
Effect: Increases Digestion, Physical & Mental Heat,
Analytical Ability
Pacification: Soothing and Cooling Spices, Foods,
Teas, etc.

Water (Apas or Jala)


Description: Cohesion, Transportation Medium.
Qualities: Cool, Liquid, Dull, Soft, Oily and Slimy.
Examples: Water (Soups, Drinks, Melons,
Cucumbers, Cooked Grains)
Effect: Transportation of Nutrients, Excretion of
Wastes, Cooling, Swelling (if excessive)
Pacification: Dry, Absorbing, Astringent Foods

Earth (Prithvi)
Description: Structure, Support, Stability, Solidity
Qualities: Heavy, Dull, Stable, Dense, Hard and
Gross.
Examples: Hard Cheese, Meat, Nuts
Effect: Increases Stability, Groundedness, Conviction
Pacification: Light and Airy Foods. Skipping meals.

The 3 Energies (Doshas)


5 Elements have a tendency towards
manifesting in pairs called Doshas
We are comprised of all three Doshas but in
varying proportions
Like Increases Like, Opposite Decreases
Opposite

Vata Dosha
Ether + Air

Qualities: Cold, Light, Dry, Irregular, Rough, Mobile,


Quick, Changeable
Function: Movement, Intake of Senses
: Energetic, Creative, Enthusiasm, Quick, Agile,
Quick to Forgive, Flexible, Inspirational, Interested
and Interesting, High Initiative, Great
Conversationalists
: Underweight, Constipated, Weak, Anxious,
Insomnia, Over-Stressed, Fearful, Pain

Pitta Dosha
Fire + Water

Qualities: Oily, Sharp, Hot, Light, Fleshy-Smelling,


Spreading and Liquid
Function: Metabolism and Transformation
: Wonderful Digestion, Lustrous Complexion, Good
Energy, Strong Appetite, Warm Body Temperature,
Great Concentration, Sharp Intellect, Funny, Witty,
Insightful, Excellent Decision Makers
: Rashes, Ulcers, Heart Burn, Indigestion,
Inflammation, Burning, Hot Temper, Anger, Overly
Argumentative, Always Right, Manipulative

Kapha Dosha
Water + Earth

Qualities: Unctuous, Cool, Heavy, Slow, Smooth, Soft


and Static
Function: Structure, Support, Insulation
: Strong, High Stamina, Beautiful Eyes and Skin,
Luxurious Hair, Sound Sleep, Calm, Loving,
Supportive, Tends to Enjoy Life, Loyal, Stable,
Empathetic, Compassionate
: Obesity, Inertia, Depression, Attachment,
Stubbornness, Dullness, Greed

Prakruti and Vikruti


Prakruti = Your in-born state of dosha
proportions
Vikruti = Your current state of dosha
proportions
A Definition of Health: Vikruti = Prakruti
Like Increases Like, Opposite Decreases
Opposite

The 3 Mental Qualities


Our minds are composed of the three mental
qualities
These mental qualities can be promoted or
demoted via food and lifestyle choices

Sattva
Purity, Right Knowledge, Truth, Light, Harmony
Aim towards a mostly Sattvic constitution
Sattvic Foods are Fresh, Pure, Vibrant, Easy to Digest,
Full of Prana
Examples:
Most fresh fruits, veggies, beans, seeds, nuts
Milk, Fresh Yogurt, Ghee

Raw Honey
Freshly, skillfully, and lovingly prepared organic
meals

Rajas
Action, Passion, Change, Movement
Rajas is Required for Action, but too much can
cause Restlessness, Hyper-Activity, Fear, Anxiety,
Agitation, Pride, Jealousy, Aggression
Rajasic Foods are Stimulating and Create Desire
Examples:
Pungent: Peppers, Garlic, Onions, Hot Spices
Sour: Lemon, Lime, Pickles, Sour Cream, Vinegar
Energetic/Stimulating: Peanuts, Eggs, Salt, Coffee,
Alcohol (in small amounts)

Tamas
Dullness, Darkness, Inertia, Lethargy

Tamas is Required for Rest, but too much can cause


Ignorance, Laziness, Apathy, Selfishness, Violence,
Immorality, Stubbornness, Lack of Will Power, Aversion to
Work, Interest Only in Sense Gratification
Tamasic Foods are Dull & Lifeless, Artificial, Processed,
Junk Food
Examples:

Meat and Fish, Margarine, Ice Cream, Refined Sugar,


White Flour, Alcohol (In Excess)
Leftover, Stale, Deep-Fried, Frozen, Microwaved,
Overcooked, and/or Over processed Foods

The Eight Factors of Diet and Eating


According to Charaka
1) The Natural qualities of foods
2) Altering the natural qualities of foods
3) Food combinations
4) Quantity of food eaten
5) The place(s) & climate where the food was grown,
prepared and eaten
6) The effects of the seasons and time of day

7) General guidance on eating habits


8) Individual differences in the consumer of the food

1) The Natural Qualities of Food


Quality

Example

Heavy

Milk, Cheese, Wheat, Brown Rice, Most Beans, Fish, Red


Meat, Sesame Oil, Papaya

Light

Mung Beans, Basmati Rice, Leafy Vegetables, Sprouts,


Chicken, Apples, Sunflower Oil, Popcorn, Caffeine

Cooling Milk, Sunflower Oil, Wheat, Apples, Ice Cream, Coconut,


/Cold Mint, Ghee
Heating Fish, Sesame Oil, Onions, Eggs, Meat, Chili Pepper,
/Hot Mustard, Ginger, Honey, Alcohol

Oily

Nuts, Fish, Eggs, Cheese, Avocado, Olive Oil, Coconut

Drying Many Vegetables, Pears, Millet, Rye, Dry Cereal, Honey

Like Increases Like, Opposite Decreases Opposite Eat


Accordingly

2) Altering the Natural


Qualities of Foods
Cooking
Raw Salads vs Steamed Veggies, Use of Spices
Subtle Influences
Best to Eat Food Cooked with Love and in a Calm
Manner
Growing, Storing, Packaging, and Distributing
Processing Lack of Prana

Select Fresh Foods That Have Been Subjected to a


Minimal Amount of Commercial Processing

3) Food Combinations
Do Not Eat Eggs with Milk, Cheese, Fish, Meat
Do Not Mix Milk with Meat or Fish
Do not Mix Milk or Yogurt with Fruits (especially
bananas), Nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes,
eggplant), Bread Containing Yeast, Meat, Fish, Eggs
Do Not Eat Raw Fruit with Other Foods.
Do Not Eat Cooked and Raw Foods in the Same Meal
Work Towards Avoiding Bad Food Combinations

4) Quantity of Food Eaten


Digestion Process is a Fire (Agni). Eat Enough to
Maintain a Healthy Agni (not too much, not too
little).
Agni Depends on Many Factors
Ones Constitution, Age, and Level of Activity.
The Season and Time of Day.
1

= Food, = Water,

= Air

1 Anjali = Meal Size

Quantity is as Important as Quality

5) The Place(s) & Climate


Where the Food was
Grown, Prepared and Eaten
Best Food Comes from Non-Polluted Places with
Fertile Soil, Grown by People who Enjoy Cultivating
and Producing Food.
Climate & Geographical Locations have Doshic
Qualities.
The Temperament and Mental Qualities of the Chef
Impact Dishes.
Support your Farmers Eat Local

6) The Effects of the Seasons and


Time of Day
Time of Day
Vata 2:00 to 6:00
Kapha 6:00 to 10:00
Pitta 10:00 to 2:00

Seasons
Vata Fall & Early Winter
Kapha Late Winter & Spring
Pitta Late Spring & Summer

Eat Your Biggest Meal for Lunch.


Vary Your Diet to Match the Season.

7) General Guidance on
Eating Habits (1 of 2)
Eat Your Meals in Peaceful Manner: No Excessive Talking,
Reading, TV, Phone, Computer
Eat Only When Your Body is Naturally Hungry
Do Not Eat Until Your Stomach has Finished Digesting the Previous
Meal
Do Not Eat When You Are Very Emotional, Angry, Worried or
Upset

Avoid Incompatible Food Combinations


Do Not Overeat or Undereat
Eat Wholesome Foods that are Pleasing to the Senses
Avoid Foods you Dont Like as They Wont Satisfy the Mind
Avoid Undercooked, Overcooked, or Burned foods

7) General Guidance on
Eating Habits (2 of 2)
Avoid Eating Leftovers, or Habitually Eating Reheated Foods as
They Will Have Little Prana
Do Not Drink Iced Water Before, During, or Immediately After a
Meal. Coldness Shocks the Body, Diminishes Agni, and Causes
Ama. Ice is not nice

Stop Eating When Your Body is Satiated


Whole Foods, Seasonal Foods, Local Foods, Organic Foods, Mostly
Vegetables, Three Meals a Day, Nothing from a Drive-Through,
Nothing in Plastic, Nothing with Artificial or Natural Flavor and/or
Coloring.

The Healthiest Spice in Any Dish is Love Cook and Eat


With Lots of It

8) Individual Differences in
the Consumer of the Food
Pitta

Vata

Kapha

YES

NO

YES

NO

YES

NO

Cooling herbs

Sour, Salty,
Spicy foods

Heavy, Oily,
Warm, Moist
foods

Raw foods

Salads

Sweet & Salty


foods

Spices

Dry foods

Warming
Spices

Dairy products

Sweet & Bitter


Alcohol, Coffee
Vegetables
Sweet Fruit
Milk, Soft
Cheeses
Sweet, Bitter,
Astringent

Red Meat
Fried Foods
Salty, Sour,
Pungent

Dairy
Regular meal
times
Sweet, Salty,
Sour

Raw Leafy
Dry, Light foods
Vegetables
Cold & Frozen
Honey
foods
Pungent, Bitter, Pungent, Bitter,
Astringent
Astringent

Fried foods
Frozen foods
Sweet, Salty,
Sour

Cultivate Awareness to See What Type of Food You Need


to be Healthy + Happy

Thank You!

Appendix: 20 Qualities
Building and Nourishing

Reducing and Lightening

Heavy

Light in Weight

Slow/Dull

Sharp/Penetrating

Cold

Hot

Oily/Unctuous

Dry

Smooth

Rough

Dense/Thick/Solid

Liquid-Like/Flowing

Soft

Hard

Static/Stable

Mobile/Unstable

Gross/Big

Subtle

Slimy/Cloudy/Sticky

Clear/Non-Slimy

These 10 pairs of opposite qualities exist in everything food, exercise,


relationships, lifestyle choices, personalities, etc.
Like Increases Like, Opposite Decreases Opposite Eat & Live Accordingly

Bibliography/More Information
Sadhana Yoga: http://www.SadhanaNJ.com/
The Ayurvedic Institute: http://www.ayurveda.com/
Banyan Botanicals: http://www.banyanbotanicals.com/
The Chopra Center: http://www.chopra.com/
California College of Ayurveda: http://www.ayurvedacollege.com/
Jiva Ayurveda: http://www.jiva.com/ayurveda/
John Douillards Lifespa: http://lifespa.com/
Hey Monica B (Ayurveda Blog): http://heymonicab.com/
The Book of Ayurveda: A Holistic Approach to Health and Longevity
by Judith H. Morrison

Eat-Taste-Heal: An Ayurvedic Cookbook for Modern Living by


Thomas Yarema, Daniel Rhoda, and Johnny Brannigan