Vegetarianism is part of the increasingly popular health movement. There are many forms and trends of vegetarianism , here however we outline classical Ayurvedic vegetarianism, the philosophy and the benefits.
The rule of Ayurveda says that only plant based food is to be consumed with the exception of milk, cheese and milk products like ghee, butter, butter milk, yogurt, takram (watered down yogurt drink), etc. No eggs or mushrooms are allowed as they possess Tamas(negative) energy and will obstruct ones clarity of mind and ability to meditate. There is a strong emphasis on lentils and legumes rich in fiber and proteins. Also milk and milk products high in vitamins, minerals, proteins and calcium. Drinks like takram and butter milk are rich in probiotic bacteria and since ancient time have been accredited for good digestion and elimination.
Good Ayurvedic diet should include variety of vegetables, legumes, breads, rice, fresh salads and fruits consumed according to the Ayurvedic rules (see more on Most important rules for healthy eating). A meal should contain all six tastes (see six tastes) properly adjusted according to ones individual type (dosha), as well as the season, age and health condition. There are many universal rules of Ayurvedic eating that can be used by everybody, however best practice is to have the advice of Ayurvedic practitioner that has been educated in classical Ayurveda (there are many variations practiced throughout the world, many have nothing to do with what was originally described in the classical books and may not be effective if not even harmful). Please, make sure you are using the services of well known and trusted specialist.
Q: What are the benefits of eating a balanced Ayurvedic diet?
A: Ayurveda works holistically, balancing the energies in the body and restoring health. Food and drinks are the tools to do that, combined with life style changes and if needed therapies and medicines. Diet is the most important and without correcting the diet the effect of any treatment will be only temporary. Through food Ayurveda will create the right environment for the body to heal itself and restore clarity of the mind. There are special properties of the food that Ayurveda is taking advantage of and is using to achieve certain goals. For example hot chilies and hot spices are used to increase appetite (Agni) and bring the energy of Pitta dosha back to its place or reduce their intake if Pitta is too strong.
Ayurvedic diet is light and easy to digest, easy to eliminate and nourishing the body with nutrients and life giving energy called Prana. This food will support life and health and will build bodily tissues (creating shukra and ojas). Negative products and byproducts (toxins or Ama) should be minimal and easily eliminated through daily eliminations (malas) and the processes of Pancha Karma (the five major cleanses of Ayurveda).
There are numbers of tools (different properties of the foods and spices) that can be taken into account when regulating one’s diet. It is strictly individual and one person’s diet is not necessarily good for another.
For more on the same topic please visit: six tastes, six seasons, incompatible foods, rules of healthy eating, the three doshas, the five elements, Ayurveda 101. For recipes please visit: Recipes For Life
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