7 Tips For Following An Ayurvedic Diet

7 Tips For Following An Ayurvedic Diet

Ayurveda is a science that balances the body's life energies known in the practice as doshas called Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Rather than focusing on individual symptoms, by eating a diet tied to your particular dosha or doshas, you can keep your body and mind healthy and at peace.

While Ayurveda may seem intimidating and complicated, taking a few simple steps toward balancing your dosha is a great way to get started.

1. Take the dosha test

In order to balance your dosha, you need to know what dosha category you fall into. Most people are a combination of two or even three doshas. WhatsYourDosha.com offers a simple, informative guide to finding out your dosha and the qualities that go along with it.

2. Keep it cool

No matter your dosha, pitta is literally on fire in the summer. That means it's the predominant dosha because fire and water are its element and in the summer, the sun is hot. You'll need to work extra careful to keep pitta balanced during the summer limiting sun exposure and eating cooling foods like cucumber, mango, avocado, and watermelon. Avoid spicy foods as well as excessive coffee and alcohol.

3. Eat with the seasons

An Ayurvedic diet calls for eating with the seasons. Your diet should be lighter in the spring and summer, filled with sweet fruits like peaches and berries, while in the winter it's made up of stews loaded with root vegetables and winter squash varieties.

4. Timing is critical

In Ayurveda, meal timing is very important. Breakfast should be 7-8 am, lunch 11-1 pm, and dinner 6-8 pm. Lunch should be your largest meal and dinner your smallest. Stop eating three hours before bedtime. Eat without distraction–no television or reading books–and let your meal be your center of attention.

5. Alcohol in moderation

Ayurvedic practitioners believe that alcohol is actually good in moderation. But moderation is a very small amount–about 3 tablespoons of wine. So keep drinking to 1/2-1 glass of wine per day.

6. Go to bed early and rise early

Scheduling a healthy routine is a big part of an Ayurvedic diet–that is, getting up before the sun has risen (which, of course, varies by season), and going to bed between 9-10 pm each night. According to Ayurveda guru Vasant Lad, "It is good to wake up before the sun rises, when there are loving (sattvic) qualities in nature that bring peace of mind and freshness to the senses."

7. Drink filtered, room temperature water

Room temperature, filtered water cleanses the GI track, flushes the kidneys, and stimulates peristalsis. Rather than sipping coffee and other caffeinated beverages, which can tax your adrenals, drain kidney energy, and are habit-forming, stick with filtered water and herbal tea.

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Sara Novak specializes in health and food policy writing for Discovery Health. Her work has also been featured on TreeHugger, HowStuffWorks.com, TLC Cooking, and Animal Planet. After graduating from the Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia, Sara headed up the communication efforts for a national scholarship program in Washington, D.C. Sara has also handled copy writing and public relations for a global environmental consulting firm. She loves fiddling with healthful recipes, traveling, and exploring life atop her yoga mat. Today, Sara lives in Charleston with her husband and two lovable cocker spaniels, Madison and Bella.