By Sahara Rose
1. Add Spices To Your Diet
Spices are nature’s medicine. Ayurveda is a kitchen science, meaning that we use foods to heal our bodies. Spices and herbs are truly plant medicine. Nothing revs up your digestion, metabolism and immune system like ginger, while cumin is the queen for reducing gas, and turmeric is the best for anti-inflammation. By incorporating a rich array of spices in your diet, you will feel more radiant than ever before.
2. Drink Warm Water
Warm water is recommended by Ayurveda because it enhances the agni, digestive fire. Think of your digestion like a campfire. Starting your day with something cold like an iced coffee or green smoothie is like putting ice over a fire. Instead, you want to gently rekindle the flames so they burn at full heat again. Begin your day with a soothing cup of warm water to stimulate your digestion, which in turn helps with your mood, as we now know 95 percent of serotonin is stored in the gut. You will feel better physically, mentally and spiritually when your digestion is balanced.
3. Eat right for your Dosha
Vatas: Focus on grounding and warming foods. Root vegetables, which are grown under the earth, are particularly grounding. Favor cooked foods like curries and stews over raw salads and smoothies. Drink hot ginger tea throughout the day.
Pittas: Focus on cooling and hydrating foods. Leafy greens, juicy fruits and coconut products are wonderful for you. Favor unprocessed, simple foods over spicy, garlicky ones. Avoid coffee and drink warm water throughout the day.
Kaphas: Focus on stimulating and detoxifying foods. Steamed bitter vegetables like brussels sprouts, mustard greens and asparagus with spices like ginger, cumin, coriander and turmeric are amazing for you. Steer clear from dairy and excess carbs, and drink spiced tea throughout the day.
4. Eat More Tastes
In Ayurveda, we don’t count calories—we count tastes. Make sure your meals include the six tastes of Ayurveda; sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent. Each taste has specific nutritional qualities that leave you nourished and fulfilled, preventing after-meal cravings. Sweet foods like sweet potato provide sustenance, while sour foods like lemon eliminate fat. Salty ingredients like pink Himalayan sea salt and celery keep your body hydrated, while bitter foods like kale and cauliflower are detoxifying. Pungent ingredients like turmeric and garlic provide heat to the body, while astringent foods like legumes provide protein. When you eliminate a taste, you will crave it later on in the day (which is why all you can think of is dessert on a super low-carb diet), whereas instead we should be seeking balance amongst the six tastes.
5. Know Your Dosha
The word “dosha” means energy and comprises the three energetic archetypes in Ayurveda: vata, pitta and kapha.
Mentally, vata types are creative freethinkers who require constant change, easily becoming bored with the mundane. Ideas circulate through their minds like the autumn leaves, and sometimes it’s difficult to organize the tornado in their heads. Physically, vatas are cold and dry like the fall leaves. They have dry skin and hair and often feel cold. Their appetite varies like the wind, sometimes strong and other times meek. Vata types are prone towards accumulation of air (bloating and gas) and dryness in the colon (constipation).
Mentally, pitta types are driven hardworkers who thrive in competition. They’re task-oriented realists who will do whatever it takes to get the job done. Physically, pitta types contain a great deal of heat that needs to be released. You can often see the signs of fire in their body manifesting as red tones in their hair and a flushed face. They become overheated easily and cannot tolerate hot, humid days. Internally, pitta types contain a great deal of fire and are able to digest just about anything. They often expel superfluous stomach acid, suffering from heartburn and hyperacidity.
Mentally, kapha types are patient, kind and loyal. They are humorous good-listeners everyone comes to when they need a rock. I call them Oprah or Grandmother energy. They love giving to others and are that friend you just want to hug. Physically, kapha types tend to overeat and are prone towards water retention, sluggish metabolism and weight gain. It can feel impossible for them to lose the weight, and even if someone else eats fries NEXT to them, they’ll still feel like they’re the one gaining weight. Internally, kapha types have a slow metabolism, often feeling sluggish after a meal. They are attracted to rich, creamy foods like dairy and desserts, which have similar characteristics to kapha energy, making them feel more heavy.