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We are what we eat!

Updated: Oct 20, 2022

Ayurveda teaches that the whole person and every aspect of life contributes to our wellbeing, happiness and health. A key aspect is what and how we eat, food and diet are crucial for our health - we are literally what we eat! The Ayurvedic science of food and nutrition is vast, however there are some simple choices that we can make that will help our bodies to stay healthy, help our bodies to heal and bring us happiness.

Unlike many western diets and fads, the science of Ayurveda goes back over 5,000 years, and these principles have never changed, evidencing their integrity.

The human body and all living things are composed of the same 5 elements according to Ayurveda: Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. These 5 elements support life and maintain harmony in the world and in our bodies. We all have a unique combination of these elements from birth, it’s our DNA. When balanced our health is good, when out of balance we experience discomfort and then dis-ease. For example, increased Fire can cause inflammation or burning sensations and symptoms such as heart-burn or burning when urinating. In the same way our minds can be impacted by an imbalance, increased Air can cause anxiety and increased Earth can bring heaviness and depression.

When we are imbalanced we need to eat more of foods with opposing qualities so that we can restore balance. So if our bodies are hot and inflamed, we need to choose cooling foods. In future post I will talk more about the importance of digestion, about cooling and heating foods and about how taste is important to self healing, along with recipes to help ease dis-ease. Here I've provided some basic guidelines that will give our digestive system a better change to to do its job. This in turn will give our body and mind the best chance of continued health and healing. It really is all about the choices we make.

Eating Habit to Avoid

  1. Overeating at a meal

  2. Eating soon after a full meal

  3. Eating without real hunger

  4. Emotional eating

  5. Drinking very chilled water with a meal (or anytime)

  6. Drinking no water with a meal - small amounts of room temp or warm water best

  7. Eating when constipated

  8. Overindulging in heavy foods or eating excessive many dry, light foods

  9. Snacking between meals

  10. Eating improper food combinations

Food Combinations to Avoid

According to Ayurveda every food has its own taste and can be heating or cooling. When more than food types are combined our bodies can be overloaded, inhibiting digestion, causing toxins which can ultimately cause discomfort, allergies and dis-ease. This may sound complex, but there are some simple changes that you can make as you start to become more aware of what you eat and how your body reacts. The more aware we become, the more we start to rely on our bodies' natural wisdom, and eventually food choices will intuitively be healthy. This is not an exhaustive list, but are a good starting point . Gradually adopt some of them, rather than trying to change everything at once, maybe start with those in bold as they are the most difficult combinations for our bodies.

Don’t eat the following with….

  1. FRUIT - Always eat by itself as it creates sourness in the stomach when combined with other food (except dates and milk, some cooked fruit). No fruit juices with food.

  2. Beans - With fruit, cheese, eggs, fish, milk, meat, yoghurt (aim for one protein only)

  3. Eggs - With fruit, beans, cheese, fish, MILK, meat, yoghurt

  4. Grains - Fruit, tapioca

  5. Hot drinks - mangoes, cheese, fish, meat, starch, yoghurt

  6. Lemon - cucumbers, milk, tomatoes, yoghurt

  7. Melons - EVERYTHING always eat alone, more than any other fruit

  8. Milk - BANANAS, cherries, melons, sour fruit, bread with yeast, fish, kitchari, meat, yoghurt

  9. Yoghurt - Fruit, cheese, eggs ,fish, hot drinks, meat, MILK

  10. Honey - Uncooked honey is nectar, cooked honey is toxic

Simple Ways to Help Your Digestion

We can help our bodies to deal with bad food combinations, here are some useful tips to help your digestion and avoid the build up of toxins.

  1. Adding spices and herbs can help to make foods compatible (not necessarily hot spices)

  2. Eat ½ tsp of fresh grated ginger with pinch rock salt before meals - stimulates digestive fire

  3. Cooking with ghee stimulates digestive fire (enzymes) and improves digestion

  4. Proper chewing of food is essential to ensure it is mixed with saliva

  5. Sips of water will aid digestion during the meal (not iced) and avoid fizzy drinks altogether.

I hope you find this useful, if you would like to receive regular newsletters about how healthy lifestyle, nutrition and recipes, please subscribe, and you can book in for a quick chat to discuss more about Ayurveda below.

Slainte, Tish

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