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General Diet Tips Based on Ayurvedic Principles

Over the past decade of our operations we have seen many diet fads come and go. Our Doctors have often found that these extreme diet fads lack balance and a deeper understanding of the nature of food beyond molecules.

The scientific wisdom of Ayurveda, whose roots date back thousands of years not only looks at food in terms of its molecular nature but also takes into consideration the inter-relation of the five elements namely earth, water, fire, air and ether in the food.

Ayurveda is not about excluding certain foods and including others, it is more about understanding your constitution and eating wisely since food is medicine. Ayurveda classifies food into 6 tastes, which include sweet, salty, pungent, sour, bitter and astringent and recommends including all the 6 tastes for a wholesome diet.

Ayurveda explains that every being is made up of a combination of 3 fundamental energies (doshas)-Vata (wind), Pitta(fire) and Kapha (earth) and depending on your predominant energy; some foods will be highly beneficial whereas other may create imbalances in your body. To know more about your dominating dosha refer to our Prakruti analysis chart here

Just as a human body is made up of fundamental energies, food also has its own taste, heating or cooling energy and a post –digestive effect and this brings us to an important concept of food combinations.

Combining foods that have opposite effects on your body leads to an overload on your digestive fire resulting in toxin production, indigestion, putrefaction, gas formation etc.

In order to help you understand bad food combinations we’ve compiled a list of common diet fallacies. Our vision however is always one of moderation, balance and freedom and therefore we request that you treat these diet recommendations as general guidelines to be incorporated into your life as opposed to hard and fast rules that limit your freedom. Believe it or not, we have actually seen cases of diet creators and authors suffer from the constrictions they have placed on their diet and life.  Hard and fast rules essentially create mental and emotional barriers, which ultimately disturb the flow of life within the body mind continuum.

As a general rule, eat the following food items alone rather than combining them with other food items

  1. Milk (except with rice, oats, almonds and dates)
  2. Fruits (except foods with similar qualities, eg- all citrus foods, apples with pears, an assortment of all berries etc)
  3. Melons ( don’t combine them with any other fruit)

Other popular incompatible combinations include[1]

Food Incompatible with
Milk Cheese, eggs , fruits  especially bananas, melons, citrus fruits, and sour fruits , meat, yogurt
Eggs Milk, cheese, yogurt, fruit , beans, potatoes, meat ,fish
Cheese Fruit, eggs, beans, milk, yogurt, hot drinks, potatoes, tomatoes, pepper
Beans Fruit, eggs, fish, milk, meat, yogurt, cheese
Potatoes, Tomatoes Melons, cucumber, dairy products
Butter and ghee (clarified Butter) Ghee is more compatible than butter
Yogurt Fruit, cheese, eggs, fish, milk, meat, hot drinks

 

You may find certain incompatible combinations hard to accept, however this list is just a helpful guide and not exhaustive. Moreover, we’d advise you to move slowly and implement one change at a time to understand the differences in your energy levels and general well being.  Moreover, what may work for you may not suit another member of your family owing to your unique constitution. So, it is best to listen to your body and accordingly make changes that will help you remain healthy and full of life.

A strong digestive fire is a blessing as it can help you deal with incompatible food combinations effectively.
Some useful tips to increase your belly fire and improve your digestion include:

1. Consuming ½ tsp of freshly grated ginger with a pinch of rock salt at the beginning of a meal can help stimulate the digestive fire.
2. Ghee (clarified butter) stimulates the fire and aids in digestion.
3. Sipping on warm water between meals improves digestion and enhances absorption. On the other hand, iced water makes your metabolism sluggish.
4. Chewing your food properly aids digestion rather than swallowing it hastily as it doesn’t mix well with the saliva.
5. Eat only when you’re hungry and not when you’re only plain thirsty. Try understanding the needs of your body.
6. Eat and drink till you are 75% full. Do not overeat as it stifles the digestive fire.

Our body has a unique quality of adaptation and we may have therefore not observed any untoward effect whilst eating wrong combinations earlier. Moreover, indulging in incompatible foods occasionally does not adversely affect the digestive fire. However, it is important that we eat mindfully because as the adage goes- You are what you Eat.

1. Lad, Usha and Dr. Vasant Lad. Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing. 2nd ed. Albuquerque: The Ayurvedic Press, 2006. Print. 45-48.

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