In the ayurvedic tradition the taking in of food is considered a sacred act, an act in which the food that is consumed literally becomes the body that you inhabit. Hence the phrase “you are what you eat”.
So according to Ayurveda, to prevent illness, it is essential to practice proper food preparations when cooking and mindful eating habits when consuming your food. In this article I have composed a list of 8 ayurvedic food tips to practice in order to nourish your whole body and mind. Here they are:
1. Shop and eat local as much as possible.
The ayurvedic diet suggests eating foods that are available during their natural season of growth. Visit your local farmers market for your selection of whole foods and choose organic if possible. Local foods are grown and suited to the environment in which we live and thus filled with life force needed to sustain us.
2. Shop at food stores that specialize in organic foods or have a natural and organic section.
Ayurveda suggests eating foods in their purest form. This is because food is considered to be a form of medicine. A popular ayurvedic proverb states “when diet is wrong medicine is of no use. When diet is correct medicine is of no need.” Therefore, choosing foods that haven’t been treated with pesticides, herbicides, synthetic preservatives and hormones are best. The chemicals and food additives used are often unnatural and contain toxins that can lead to various diseases.
3. Reduce the amount of meat you consume.
The ayurveda diet is often best as a vegetarian diet and promotes the absence of meat altogether except for some extreme case where meat, poultry or fish is needed to treat a condition. If you are a meat eater and new to the ayurvedic diet, you can start slowly and reduce the amount of meat you eat so your body can adjust to a vegetarian diet. Science and tests have proven that eating meat can cause many serious health conditions and diseases. Also, in Ayurveda it is believed that animals slaughtered under stressful conditions contain many negative emotions which are then passed on to the one who eats the animal.
4. Don’t keep your cooked foods or left overs for over 24 hours.
Once cooked, leftovers begin to loose their nutritional value as time passes. Ayurveda says that any food that is reheated or eaten after 24 hours is devoid of nutrition and life force known as “Chi” or “Prana”. As a result, they are not able to give your organism vitality and strength. Try not to reheat your food but rather keep left overs out and sealed for a few hours between meals. If you are refrigerating left overs, take them out and leave them on your kitchen counter for an hour or so before eating- if possible. Vegetarian meals won’t generally spoil if they are left out at room temperature for a few hours.
5. Cook in the simplest and purest way possible.
If you can cook using a fire such as a gas heated stove, this is optimal. If not use an electric stove. Never use a microwave as it will destroy the vital energy or life force (prana) of the food. Avoid using any unnatural chemicals in the cooking process.
6. Don’t over eat.
This may seem like a simple and easy one to follow, yet in fact this is one of the most difficult things for people to do. Enjoy the taste of your food and the pleasure it gives you, while your stomach is being filled but do not fill your stomach completely The key is to savor each bite and let the taste buds enjoy all the different flavors, textures and juices from your food. Chew each bite until it is liquefied in your mouth and then swallow. Eating in such a way also adds to the fullness both mentally and physically and thus you become full on less food. Again, it is very important to leave a little space in your stomach as though you were leaving some room for dessert. Have discipline and skip the dessert, but enjoy it occasionally too.
7. Eat with no distractions.
Turn off the T.V., internet, radio and all things that draw you away from yourself and the moment. Let the act of eating be scared, becoming one with your food without the other unnecessary stimulants. The impressions that you put into your mind while you eat can disturb the digestion process which can result in a build of toxins within the body.
8. Say a Prayer.
Last but not least, appreciate your food. The best way to do this is to say a prayer of gratitude before the act of eating. May the life given to me through food nourish all and may my actions, speech and thought be harmonious. May all beings live in peace.