Ayurvedic dietetics classifies foods according to their taste, energy and post-digestive action. Ayurvedic dietetics is a full-fledged component of Ayurveda, a traditional Indian medicine, just like yoga, herbal medicine, aromatherapy or Ayurvedic massage.
The term “Ayurveda” in Sanskrit means “knowledge of life or longevity”. It itself means much more than a health system, Ayurvedic medicine is a way of life in its own. It is rightly designed to better and maintain the health of all overall body and mind.
The Principle of Ayurvedic dietetics
In Ayurvedic medicine, each individual is categorized into three doshas, they must have a specific diet, adapted to his temperament, and aimed at correcting his imbalances.
The diet is determined differently according to the seasons of the year, the human being must know and understand his nutritional needs as per their ayurvedic body type.
While Western dietetics classify food by groups according to the model of the pyramid, Ayurvedic dietetics is based on the science of the six tastes. Each food and plant has a flavor (sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent), energy (warming or refreshing) and post-digesting action.
Ayurvedic dietetics also take into account the basic constitution of each person, its possible temporary imbalances and the state of its digestive capacity.
Why consult a dietician trained in Ayurveda?
According to Ayurvedic dietetics, the consumption of certain food products causes an imbalance of doshas (or biological humor). The three doshas (dosha vata, dosha pitta, dosha Kapha) are uniquely combined for each individual. Their imbalance causes the appearance of symptoms and diseases.
Concretely, Ayurvedic dietetics is mainly a preventive method to give the best nutrients to the body to keep it healthy. It is therefore recommended particularly in the context of chronic fatigue, decreased vitality or immune defenses.
Basic Principles Of An Ayurvedic Diet
Ayurvedic dietetics is based on its golden rules.
- Take your main meal at lunch when the digestive capacity is at its highest level.
- Vary your meals while avoid eating fruits with meals. It is best to consume fruits at least 30 minutes before or after the meal.
- Do not consume leftovers beyond 24 to 36 hours after cooking. Also, avoid to consume them again with fresh products.
- Give priority to foods that are hot or served at room temperature that favor the digestive process. Conversely, avoid cold, icy drinks, and foods coming directly from the refrigerator, as it can slow down this process of digestion.
- Always eat positively in a quiet environment, chewing slowly to promote digestion.
- Conversely, avoid eating under stress, anxiety or lack of appetite.
- Wait between 3 to 6 hours, according to your constitution, before eating again. This practice will prevent overloads caused on your digestive system.
- In Ayurvedic dietetics, it is always advisable to focuses on the type of food served on or off the plate while eating.
- Give priority to organic foods and fresh ones, try to avoid possible residues of fertilizers or pesticides in food.
- Remove “empty foods”, those are no longer of nutritional interest such as (white flour, refined products)
- Reduce consumption of stimulants such as alcohol, tobacco, chocolate, coffee, tea, and soda.
- Reduce animal protein such as red meat, high in saturated fat.
- The Ayurvedic dietician also offers a course of supplements or preparations based on certain plants to relieve specific disorders.
Contraindications to Ayurvedic dietetics
Although ayurvedic medicine advocates a natural diet that is safe. But there are some contraindications, especially in case of allergies to foods, food supplements, plants (herbal medicine) or certain species (aromatherapy). In the case of pregnancy, seek the advice of your doctor.
Is it necessary to consult Ayurvedic dietetics?
Yes, it is necessary as Ayurvedic Dietetics are different for the individual. The two categories of professionals can provide Ayurvedic dietary consultation, either an Ayurveda practitioner or an Ayurvedic diet consultant.
If this is your first approach to Ayurvedic dietetics, it is advisable to make an appointment with an Ayurveda practitioner who will offer a consultation on a wider spectrum, to assess your entire fashion of life.
In this type of practitioner, the consultation begins with an Ayurvedic assessment to determine your natal constitution (the original combination of your doshas) and your state of imbalance.
The interview is conducted around observation, touch, and interrogation:
- Examination of the pulse, tongue, eyes, skin, and nails.
- Information about your lifestyle, the state of your digestion and your elimination (saddle, urine, sweat), your diet, your sleep, your mental and emotional functioning.
- Taking into account your medical history.
At the end of the interview, the practitioner determines a diet adapted to your nutritional needs according to the dominance of your dosha (Vata for air, pitta for fire, kapha for water).
The frequency of sessions depends on the practitioner and the balance sheet. The goal is to integrate little by little the advice of the practitioner to make a smooth change in your lifestyle.
The assessment proposed by an Ayurvedic dietetic counselor is faster because it deals only with the problem of diet. The examination of the pulse, the eyes and the language is not systematic.
How to choose a dietitian?
Ayurvedic dietetics is not a recognized medical practice and taught as such in medical schools. However, most health educators in Ayurveda have additional training in dietetics or massage. As with Ayurvedic medicine in general, dietary advice does not replace medical treatment appropriate to a disease.
Some private institutes offer Ayurvedic degrees after one to four years of study. These courses are not officially recognized by the State, unlike in India there is Ayurvedic university education.
However, it is recommended to choose your practitioner in the directory of an association recognized as the association of professionals in Ayurveda.
Duration and price of an Ayurvedic dietetic session
A consultation in Ayurvedic dietetics lasts about an hour. It includes an analysis of three doshas and tips for a healthier lifestyle and a better diet. The average price is between 50 and 100 dollars, according to the region.
The best books on ayurvedic diet
- “The Ayurvedic Diet”, Book by Reenita Malhotra a book to discover the benefits of Ayurvedic dietetics through advice and recipes.
- “Ayurveda: The Science of Self-healing” a Practical Guide, Book by Vasant Lad, a book to discover your constitution according to Ayurvedic principles and adopt the best way of life to avoid the disease.
- “Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-healing”, Book by Usha Lad and Vasant Lad, a book that gives information formulated using herbs and spices to help balance constitution of each person and gives treatment methods mainly through nutrition and herbal medicine.