An Ayurvedic diet is one you might not have heard of, but I’d like to share with you to inspire you to start incorporating an Ayurvedic diet into your life. The best part is, it isn’t so much a diet where you focus on consuming less of anything, but focus more on balancing the body and hormones. Ayurveda is often associated with yogic lifestyles, and will most definitely complement a yoga practice well, but the two aren’t married together permanently, and you can practice Ayurveda even if you don’t like yoga. Ayurveda is about eating well to balance the body, and mental health. It’s about seeing the body as a whole, as a mind, body and spirit, and living and eating to nourish that principle. I became interested in an Ayurvedic life a couple of years ago when I read the book Integrative Nutrition by Joshua Rosenthal, which taught me about the lifestyle. Since then, I’ve read many other books on the Ayurvedic lifestyle and diet, and have only loved what I’ve read thus far. If you’re curious of why you could benefit from incorporating an Ayurvedic diet into your life, check out the reasons below. I hope they’ll inspire you to start living and eating just a bit differently this week.
1. Eat with the Seasons
One of the best reasons to start incorporating an Ayurvedic diet into your life is it teaches you to eat with the seasons. Why should this be of concern? Eating with the seasons is a great way to nourish your body based on what it needs. In the fall, for instance, we’re given root vegetables through harvest, which help ground us and keep us warm. In the summer, we’re abundant in fruits and fresh greens to be light in our bodies, while the summer’s heat can feel heavy. Whether you’re vegan or an omnivore, eating with the seasons is all about eating what’s in season, which will make you happier and also enhance your immune system. It also connects you with nature, which is incredibly important to help you connect with the world and appreciate food for what it truly is.
2. Eat an Early Breakfast
One principle of Ayurveda that I’ve always appreciated is the principle of waking up early. The best time to rise, according to the practice, is between 5-6 a.m. This exposes you to more daylight and can help the body’s metabolism get a good jump start on the day. It also helps you turn in at a decent time at night, when the body is made to rest. When you rise early, make sure to get in a good breakfast early on. Eat at least one hour after waking up, and be sure you eat something light but filling, and not dense and heavy.
3. Eat Light to Heavy
Another principle of Ayurveda is to eat light to heavy meals. Don’t start out your day with a five course breakfast, despite the notion that we should do so. Your body will have more energy throughout the day if you eat lighter to heavier meals, and your digestion will also be better.
4. Eat Fresh and Local
Outside of eating with the seasons, Ayurveda also suggests eating fresh and local foods whenever possible. Organic is an optimal choice, but do your best to focus on naturally fresh and healthy foods. Stay away from junk food, sugar and refined grains, and also unhealthy oils and fats. Also, eliminate red meat from your diet to help the body become more alkaline, and choose fish over poultry as your animal sources.
5. Fermented Foods
Another principle that’s highly regarded and recommended in an Ayurvedic lifestyle is fermented foods. Fermented foods have a host of benefits to the body, mostly due to their probiotic content. They also aid the immune system and help clear the blood and digestive tract of toxins. Fermented foods include kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt, cultured veggies, and miso as the most popular, though there are a few others you might be aware of too. Fermented foods are also high in certain amino acids that help prevent and treat inflammation in the gut. In Ayurvedic lifestyles, the gut is the main source of energy and wellness, and it is considered top priority to take care of it.
6. Alkalizing Foods
One of my other personal favorite principles of an Ayurvedic diet is the importance of eating alkalizing foods. Alkalizing foods help create healthy blood, nourish the organs, and detox the liver naturally. Acidic foods like refined and processed foods, sugar, non-fermented dairy, red meat, and most all animal meats outside of fish are highly acidic. Some people following Ayurveda are 100% vegetarian or vegan for this very reason. Plants are naturally alkaline, and will promote a healthy bloodstream and digestive tract. It isn’t necessary to eat all vegan or vegetarian, but incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet is a fantastic way to cleanse and nourish your body to help make it more alkaline.
7. No Caffeine
Another principle of Ayurveda is little to no caffeine. If any caffeine is consumed, it’s usually in the form of green tea or yerba mate tea. Caffeine taxes the adrenal glands and in excess can cause excess fatigue and even thyroid issues. More fresh juices, smoothies, soups, broths, and water based meals are prized in Ayurveda for this very reason. It’s best to consume the most hydrating liquids you can on an Ayurvedic diet, and your body will feel so much more energized without all those excess lattes. If you’re new to this, keep it to one cup a day, or switch to decaf if you can’t give up your coffee.
If you’re interested in learning about an Ayurvedic diet, I’d love to share some of my favorite resources, which you can find below. Have you ever heard of the Ayurvedic diet or lifestyle?