When there’s a pandemic raging outside your front door, it’s natural to turn to sources of comfort, many people turn to food to manage negative emotions, such as anxiety, stress, and sadness. Is it possible to eat properly while in quarantine? Ayurveda knows the answer! If you take a reasonable approach to your food and follow simple Ayurvedic quarantine tips on healthy eating, your body will get the maximum benefit even from such an ambiguous situation as self-isolation.
Ayurvedic Quarantine Tips
When you are spending most of your time at home, it is hard not to be tempted by the fridge that is just a couple of feet away from you. You need a fair amount of willpower not to start “snacking” or having high-calorie drinks. So, the first thing you should do is to commit to sticking with the following Ayurvedic quarantine tips for at least 21 days.
Now let’s take a look at the 10 Ayurvedic quarantine tips for healthy eating that you can use to improve your health during these uncertain times.
Tip #1: Avoid Snacking
One of the most important Ayurvedic quarantine tips is to stop snacking between meals!
According to Ayurvedic principles, there are three stages of digestion that must be completed after a meal. In the first hour after a meal, the Kapha energies are dominant. The body may feel full, heavy, and sedate. Two to four hours after a meal the elements of Pitta govern digestion. During this time, hydrochloric acid increases, internal heat rises, and the meal is transformed into sustenance for the body. Four to five hours after a meal the Vata energies rise. It is during this time that lightness and space return and appetite increases.
When you interrupt the digestive cycle with more food you experience incomplete digestion. Over time, incomplete digestion results in the accumulation of ama (toxins), which may present as a plethora of mild to moderate symptoms. Therefore, Ayurveda recommends three meals each day, with no snacks in between to maintain digestion and keep your stomach stress-free.
Tip #2: Eat Until Satisfied, Not Full
Not only overeating makes you gain weight but it also increases free radical production in the body, which in turn speeds the aging process. If you stop eating when you are satisfied, but not stuffed, your body receives the nourishment that it needs without the added burden of digesting and unnecessary calories.
Tip #3: Avoid High-Sodium Foods
High sodium can lead to dehydration, fatigue, dizziness, and other symptoms that are not needed during your self-isolation time. If you have no choice but to use canned food with a high sodium level, wash the legumes or vegetables before using them.
Tip #4: Use Spices And Herbs
Try to replace salt with spices and herbs such as oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, pepper, turmeric, paprika, curry. By adding different herbs and spices to your usual meals you can get a lot of different taste options. This is especially important if you have a limited budget or stock.
Moreover, spices regulate the digestive system, which determines whether food becomes nutritious or turns into toxins.
Also, you should know that spices regulate the balance of doshas. For Vata dosha, choose saffron, basil, fresh ginger, cumin, black pepper, and fennel. Pitta dosha will benefit from cinnamon, mint, coriander, turmeric, fennel, fresh coriander, and cardamom. And for Kapha dosha, it is better to choose cloves, turmeric, black pepper, mustard seeds, chili pepper, and fenugreek.
If you feel that you are at risk of gaining weight during quarantine time, use spices that help you lose weight, such as turmeric, Cayenne pepper, ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, mustard, and cumin.
Tip #5: Select Foods for Your Dosha Type
As you already know, according to Ayurveda, each person has a unique mind-body constitution, known as a dosha. Ayurveda teaches us to select and prepare foods according to your individual dosha. If you still don’t know what your dosha is, take our Ayurvedic Body Type Quiz!
Here are some recommendations of food selection for each dosha.
The Vata dosha is cool, dry, light, and rough by its nature. Eating foods that counteract those characteristics creates balance.
If you have excess Vata energy, choose foods that are warm (in terms of both temperature and spice), hydrating (such as soups and stews), full of healthy fats (like olive oil, avocados), and grounding (healthy comfort foods). These foods will help you to restore balance.
The Pitta dosha is hot, oily, light, and sharp. Therefore, eating foods that are cool (like peppermint, cucumber, cilantro, and parsley), astringent (beans, legumes, pomegranate, and green tea), substantial, and mild will help to restore Pitta balance.
The Kapha dosha is heavy, cool, oily, and smooth. Eating foods that are light, warm, dry (like beans and popcorn), and rough will help to balance Kapha.
Tip #6: Include all six tastes at every meal
According to Ayurveda, there are six tastes, each of which has a unique combination of energy and information to the physiology. When you start incorporating each of the six tastes into every meal, your body receives a bio-diverse energetic palate. This energetic palate supplies the body’s cells with instructions specific to one of the taste categories. In general, the six tastes inform the body with the following cellular information:
- The sweet taste is responsible for grounding, strengthening, nourishing;
- The sour taste – for cleansing and purifying;
- The salty taste – for balancing and regulating;
- The bitter taste – for detoxifying and mineralizing;
- The astringent taste – for anti-inflammatory and cooling;
- The pungent taste – for warming and stimulating.
Try to include a small amount of each taste into every meal. It may be only a pinch of salt, or a squeeze of lemon, or a slice of pepper but as long as the taste is present, the energetic puzzle will be complete.
Tip #7: Don’t distract yourself from eating
Eating while watching TV became a culture of modern society. Checking your social media or emails during breakfast is a habit almost everyone has. Returning phone calls while eating is a normal thing for us.
However, according to Ayurveda, mealtime is an opportunity to connect with the inherent energy and information of the food you consume. See the colors, taste the flavors, and bring awareness to the sunshine, soil, and earth that have collaborated to create the bundles of the energy that food contains.
Unfortunately, eating with deep awareness is new for most of us. If you are not an exception, and you have no idea how to stop this harmful habit, begin by taking just one meal a day in silence and focusing on each of your senses for a few minutes at a time.
Tip #8: Reduce ice-cold foods and beverages
Agni (the digestive fire) is the digestive power of the physical and energetic body. When it’s functioning well, it is hot, bright, and able to digest food, thoughts, emotions, and experiences. Ice-cold foods and beverages stoke one’s inner fire and dim Agni’s intensity. The Agni of all doshas can be harmfully affected by the consumption of cold foods or drinks. Vata and Kapha doshas, in particular, should lean toward warm foods and beverages while Pitta dosha may enjoy cool (but not ice-cold) beverages and foods. In this way, your digestive power will remain strong.
Tip #9: Eat your largest meal of the day at lunchtime
Your digestive fire (Agni) is strongest when the sun is highest. By consuming the largest meal of the day at lunchtime, your body is able to use its powerful inner fire to breakdown and assimilate nutrients with less energetic output than at other times of the day.
The noontime is the best time of the day to integrate heavier or difficult-to-digest foods. In this way, your body remains well supplied with energy throughout the afternoon hours.
Tip #10: Don’t eat late in the evening
Ayurveda suggests stopping eating three hours before bedtime. During sleep, the body heals and restores while the mind digests thoughts, emotions, and experiences from the day. If your whole energy is spent on physical digestion, the physical healing and mental digestive processes are halted. Therefore, Ayurveda recommends that the last meal of the day should be light and completed three hours before bedtime to avoid imbalance. In this way, your body will have enough energy to heal and repair itself during sleep.
The Bottom Line
Eating healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic can be challenging. However, if you try to apply the above Ayurvedic quarantine tips you will be able to return to your normal life with a healthy stomach and without extra pounds!