We have arrived at part two of this series…
Perhaps it’s the one you’ve been waiting for. For many of us it’s likely the most important of the three pillars, as most of us rely on it for entertainment, friendship, comfort, and yes even therapy. What is it… you guess it… Food!
We love food. We each have our very own relationship with food and in fact we sometimes define ourselves by that relationship (i.e. vegan, vegetarian, etc.).
How are YOU defined by the food you eat?
How are you supported by the food you eat?
The ayurvedic view is that food is a sacred gift that we give to ourselves (mind, body and soul). As such, it should be prepared and received with patience, grace and gratitude. Food is a sensual experience, from preparing it to eating it we employ all five senses. It feeds us in so many ways and offers us so many opportunities to connect to who we are and to authentically convey who we are to others.
Jennifer Perillo feels this and beautifully expresses the way that food feeds her and empowers her to feed others….
When was the last time you prepared and served a meal joyfully and with love in your heart?
Ayurveda suggests that you do just that… every time you cook (or eat). It also suggests the following…
- Approach the preparation of every meal with love and gratitude
- Use care and patience while preparing and serving food and try to avoid cooking (and eating) when stressed, upset, or aggravated.
- Eat three meals a day at suitable times to match the ability of your body to most efficiently digest them. This would tend to be a light breakfast, lunch as the largest meal of the day and a light dinner.
- Avoid snacking if at all possible (unless your body signals that it really needs food).
- Enjoy meals at around the same time each day.
- Don’t stuff yourself at a meal. The ideal ayurvedic portion would be no bigger than the volume of two cupped hands.
- Enjoy meals in a peaceful atmosphere (remember you may not be able to control the atmosphere but you can control your reaction to it).
- Take time to savor the tastes, textures and smells of the food.
- Take a few moments at the end of the meal to sit quietly and notice the sensations in the body. This is a time to connect with how the food and your method of eating it makes you feel.
Then of course there’s the question of what to eat…
The ayurvedic answer would be… it depends.
There are a number of factors that influence what you should eat. Your constitution (dosha), the seasons, your circumstances and environment. And although it sounds a little complicated, the more you listen to your body (and adjust your diet accordingly) the easier it will be to hear what you’re body is saying it wants. When that happens, you’re eating intuitively!
If you’re looking for a little Ayurvedic guidance…
The table below outlines the Ayurvedic guidelines for diet composition according to dosha. It’s a great foundation from which to start building a diet that supports you (year round).
|Dosha||Grains||Legumes/Animal products||Fresh Vegetables||Fruit||Tastes|
|Vata||50%||20-30%||20-30%||0-10%||Sweet, Salty, Sour|
|Pitta||40-50%||30-40%||10%||0-10%||Sweet, Bitter, Astringent|
|Kapha||30-40%||40-50% Legumes||40-50%||0-10%||Pungent, Bitter, Astringent|
Wondering where to start?
If you want to make changes to your diet but aren’t quite sure where to start I would suggest first taking an honest look at what you’re eating…
How many servings of grains, legumes, animal products, vegetables and fruit do you eat per day? How much water do you drink every day? How does the food you eat make you feel?
For many of us the difference between where we are and where we want/need to be is simply awareness. Taking a week or a month to really just notice (and make note of ) what you’re eating without judgement can be an eye-opening experience that gives you useful insights. Keeping a journal of what you eat and how it makes you feel is also a great way to really get a handle on things and it gives you a clear baseline from which to observe the transformation of the way you eat and feel as you begin to make changes.
I stumbled upon this gorgeous (and short) TED Talk exploring the concept of “Information as Food”. When you consider that your mind and body are both hungry for and fed by SO many things, it gives a different spin to the idea of what we’re feeding (or over feeding) ourselves. And when it comes to making healthy choices that will truly feed your mind, body and soul, consider starting by asking… What Am I really hungry for?
So many questions in this post! Share your answers in the comments below. This is such a deep subject. I’d love to dive deeper into food in the future. How do you feel about how (and what) you eat?