I hear so many people talking about how no matter what diet they choose they just can’t lose the excess weight they want to lose and keep it off. Many people are troubled by tiredness and lack of energy, others by anxiety and restlessness. Truly, as humans we experience many common and chronic complaints. It boggles my mind to see the vast array of drug remedies advertised for the plethora of allergies and illnesses such as headaches, indigestion, nausea, constipation or irritable bowel syndrome, just to name just a few. Very recently I had the good fortune to be invited to attend a New York Women’s Culinary Association event addressing the very issue.
The guest speaker, Sriram Moorthy, who is an Ayurvedic practitioner and founder of Ved Living, a health and wellness company, outlined for us the precepts and practical applications of this ancient science for optimal health through diet, lifestyle and personal care. I have simplified the Ayurvedic science here for brevity. Sriram described the three archetypal bio-energies called Doshas, and their corresponding elemental influences and characteristic traits. The Doshas regulate our bodily functions. Each person has qualities of all three and is usually born with one dominant one. This is established while in the mother’s womb and remains the same throughout the person's life. A person’s unique combination of the three Doshas, hence their influence, is called the Prakruti in Sanskrit. It represents one’s physical, physiological and psychological characteristics determining the uniqueness of the individual. Because we are all so different in the way our bodies function and utilize the foods we eat, this goes a long way to explaining how fad diets do not work for everyone.
Sriram expanded on how following the Ayruvedic path enables us to customize our own diet, thereby correcting illness and promoting a healthy body, mind and spirit. The increased health through diet allows us to seek balance in our own exercise, sleep and relaxation habits. Evaluating our Prakruti, one’s exact body type combo, is the first step. Armed with this vital information and the help of eons of science and experience, identifying personal optimal food choices is a great key to success. Sriram further explained that once we know what to look for in food through taste and qualities we can choose the foods ourselves from the great variety our planet has to offer. The Ved Living mission is to “…enable people to take control of their health and wellness by guiding them on the Ayurvedic journey to wellbeing.”
The primary keys to the Ayurvedic path are defined by each of the Doshas; Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Foods are deemed to either benefit or negatively impact each Dosha. Our choices are those items that are beneficial to our Prakruti chosen from 6 taste aspects and 20 nutritive qualities.
The 6 taste aspects of foods are characterized by their predominant flavors: salty, sweet, sour, bitter, astringent, and spicy.
The 10 pairs of opposite nutritive food qualities are described as: heavy – light, cold – hot, unctuous – dry, slow – sharp, stable- mobile, soft – hard, slimy – rough, viscous – liquid, gross – subtle, and cloudy – clear.
Sriram provided a sample one-day dietary guide of foods beneficial to each Dosha.
In listening to the presentation, one thing became quite clear to me. It is certainly worth checking out the Ayurveda way of life.
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