I was speaking to a client this morning and we had a lengthy discussion about some roadblocks he was experiencing with his Ayurvedic diet. He was following guidelines to the letter, but was experiencing side effects after eating like excess heat and inflammation. It came to be in the end, that while he was eating foods to compliment his doshas, he was eating the same foods in the same way almost everyday.
Ayurvedic dietary guidelines are 50% what you eat and another 50% about how, when and where you prepare and consume your food. We are a part of our environment and our environment is a part of us. We must respond to the seasonal ebb and flow in our diet as much as we do in any other capacity of our lives to maintain the strongest body and mind possible. For example, when it is 35 degrees outside, wearing a woollen jumper will cause you to sweat, dehydrate and potentially get heat stroke. It is exactly the same with what we eat. Any food, no matter how good it is nutritionally, if you eat it day in and day out, prepared in the same manner it will, without question, cause imbalance in the body over time. For example, strawberries are not grown in our natural environment every month of the year, therefore we shouldn't be eating it every month. If you are, its likely that 9 months of the year you are eating a strawberry that has been hydroponically grown, travelled from the other side of the world and contains no life force (and let's be honest, it just doesn't taste as good). The body ultimately will reject it in some manner and potentially lash out giving you some nasty side effects like heart burn, skin rashes, bloating, pain and internal heaviness.
Here are some really handy little tips to keep in mind when you are shopping for and preparing your food - to keep your body and the environment as healthy as possible:
1, When you are shopping for your fruit and veg, look for what is in abundance and cheap. If it is both of those things, it is likely to be currently in season and grown in your local environment.Always look for the signs "New Season" and "Locally Grown" - again a good indication that the food is full of life and hasn't travelled very far to get to you.
2. Change up how you prepare your food. Grill, slow cook, marinate, add a sauce, steam etc. It changes the way your body receives the food and creates the diversity it needs. Frying is about the only cooking process I would steer away from.
3. Review and be mindful about what you are eating and drinking from day to day. For example, if it is a stinking hot day, avoid having a load of coffee and a hot meal. Ayurveda is a science of balance and applying opposite principals when managing most imbalances. If it's hot, apply cool. If it's heavy, apply light. It is amazing what habits we all fall into without even releasing the potential effects on our long term health.
4. Avoid left overs as much as you can. Again, eating lefty overs consistently means you are eating exactly the same thing day in and day out, but also the food simply dies as it sits in your fridge over a long period of time. Just observe how you feel after eating a meal that is 2 or 3 days old. I bet it doesn't sit in the gut as well as on the first day.
Just give a few of these principals a go and see what shifts - you would might be very pleasantly surprised. As they say, diversity is the spice of life and sometimes a change is as good as a holiday!
With love and light,