Food is a necessary component of our existence in the material world. There are just a few people who can live without food in this world. But most of us can’t imagine our existence without food. However, each of us sees the meaning of food differently. For some of us, food is a means of life. Others perceive it as a source of pleasure, or a necessary need, reward, satisfaction, satiety, security. And for some, it is related to passion, a source of pleasure, entertainment, addiction, and even a way of self-expression.
The Creator of the Universe supplies all living beings with everything they need. However, modern people going beyond harmony with nature lost the knowledge given to them about what they should eat to maintain their bodies in balance. To help find their way back to this abandoned state of harmony, people were given Ayurveda – a science that tells us how to live harmoniously in our physical bodies, what to do and how to eat.
Ayurveda teaches us that eating food is our offering to God, to the sacred fire that glows inside our bodies. And the better the quality of the offering, the better the response of the sacred fire will be. Our health is the result of the food transformation by the power of Agni.
General Ayurvedic Eating Principles
Ayurvedic Scriptures share comprehensive knowledge about how, what, when, and how much to eat to maintain good health. Fundamental Ayurvedic principles are recommended to be followed by everyone, regardless of religion, traditions, and established habits. Food will be good for your health only if it is properly and fully assimilated, which depends not only on the quality of food but also on its quantity, time of reception, weather conditions, environment, and mental state.
The following Ayurvedic eating principles are suitable for all three doshas!
1. Eat only when you are hungry
Even if you are used to following a certain schedule and the hour of the meal has come, but there is no hunger, do not eat! You shouldn’t eat unless you are really hungry!
2. Drink only when you are thirsty
There are so many sources that recommend us to drink as much water as possible. However, Ayurveda teaches us not to overdrink. Any liquid regularly taken in excess leads to an imbalance of Pitta and Kapha, and also weakens the power of Agni (digestive fire). Heavy drinking of liquids after a meal slows down and complicates digestion. Therefore, Ayurveda recommends drinking no earlier than 48 minutes after a meal.
According to Ayurveda, those who drink before meals reduce their weight, those who drink during meals leave their weight unchanged, and those who drink after meals increase their weight.
Also, it is absolutely harmful to suppress the feeling of hunger with water as well as to seize the thirst with food. The feeling of hunger indicates the body’s need for food, and the feeling of thirst – for drinking. Reverse actions will lead to imbalances. Always listen to your body – it knows better.
3. Wash your hands, face, and feet before you start your meal
By performing these actions, you’re washing off the negative energy. It is also beneficial to brush your teeth and tongue before your meal. It not only prevents bacteria from entering the chewed food but also increases the ability to perceive the taste.
4. Don’t get distracted while eating
Put down your phone and give up the habit of reading or watching TV at the table. You should eat in a calm environment and with full concentration on your dish. Focus on its taste, aroma, and immerse yourself in the process of absorption.
5. Do not eat in a frustrated or irritated state
Otherwise, you will just eat up your emotions. Before you sit down at the table, calm your thoughts.
6. Bless your food
Before eating, bless the food. Then your food becomes not just a dish but an offering. You can read a prayer or mantra, or you can just use your own words with wishing yourself good health and saying gratitude for whatever you’re having for dinner (breakfast, lunch).
7. Balance all the flavors
According to Ayurveda, food should combine several flavors. But even better when it combines all 6 main flavors according to Ayurveda: sweet, sour, salty, spicy, bitter, astringent. These flavors should be present during each meal. This will allow the body to get all the necessary substances and avoid digestive disorders.
You should start your meal with sweet tastes since sweet foods are the most difficult to digest longer than others. The sequence of flavors should be as follows:
- sweet fruits.
- sour fruits and berries;
- fermentation products: wine, pickles, vinegar.
- any kind of salt,
- food with added salt.
Products with a spicy taste:
- Brussels sprouts;
- unripe fruit;
Kaphas should avoid excessive consumption of sweet taste. Pittas should monitor the consumption of sour-tasting products. Vatas should avoid excessive consumption of bitter-tasting products.
The Bottom Line
In the beginning, the following ayurvedic eating principles can seem difficult for modern people. However, once you turn them into your every-day habit you will discover that it’s not so complicated anymore. You will notice that you are becoming a healthier and happier person. And then when people ask you what’s your secret you will answer: “I just applied these 3 rules to my life:
- Treat your meal as a sacred ritual and offering.
- Love yourself.
- Always listen to your body!”