Ayurvedic Cuisine Dietary Guidelines for Preserving Health by Manan Chakraborty

Ayurvedic Cuisine Dietary Guidelines for Preserving Health by Manan Chakraborty

Ayurvedic Cuisine Dietary Guidelines for Preserving Health by Manan Chakraborty

VERILY, THE FOOD WE EAT IS WHAT WE BECOME. YES, THIS IS A TIME-PROVEN FACT IN THIS COVID ERA.

It is also a time proven fact that we live and we are healthy because of what we eat so “Ayurveda treats the person not the disease”.

Ayurveda is a comprehensive system of healing and wellness that arises from the universal wisdom embodied.
It reminds us of the fact that you are an integral part of this natural world alive with radiance and grace, you are a mirror of all that is mighty and majestic and you are made of the very same power that ignites and sustains all existence. Famous Sanskrit quote states ”Yatha Pinde Tatha Brahmande”. Food is said to nourish, nurture and heal the soul for upliftment, required for wellbeing of living being. The meaning of the word Ayurveda is “ Ayur “ means life and “Veda “ means science so it is a blend of science, art, love and nourishment. In cooking Ayurvedic wisdom comes home when nature in her great generosity, offers herself most fully to us letting us touch, taste, smell, while converting everyday meals into delight of nourishing balance and healing.

Ayurveda is a lifelong exploration and a path to self-realization. Ayurveda is formulated on elemental system, where the qualities of the elements of nature of a human body and tastes of food, combined into three main doshas. The aim is to ensure equilibrium or homeostasis that we usually refer to as balance that makes it important for us to eat food sensibly and with lot of jurisdiction and right preferences. Ayurveda categorizes food into three main categories Satvic, Rajasic and Tamasic which decide the type of food one must intake to upkeep their health. Ayurveda is said to be based on an elemental system of the universe that is made up of five prime elements that are present everywhere in nature and human being they are:

  • Space (responsible for the sense of sound and hearing through the ears).
  • Air (responsible for the sense of touch through the skin).
  • Fire (responsible for the vision through eyes).
  • Water (responsible for the sense of taste).
  • Earth (responsible for the sense of smell).

What makes an individual unique is the combination of these elements, when the tendency of an element is said to be dominant in a particular person it is called as Dosha which means some force that can change or the  tendency of an living organism to become imbalance due to persistent dominance of elements. The three doshas which account for all the Psycho-biological functions of living beings thus the study on Ayurvedic cuisine is based upon knowing the Doshas and working on it. Therefore the cuisine shall be based upon deep understanding of combination or a particular type of dosha rectification and treatment of the same.

  • Vata Dosha - Movements of the body and movement of thoughts across the Mind.
  • Pitta Dosha - Metabolism and transformation in the Body,
  • Kapha Dosha - All Structure & lubrication in the Mind and Body
The doshas has a great impact on human body and one must consider there effect and accordingly select the right ingredient to make the right type of food.

Vata Doshas
They are said to be composed of air and space and is most unstable. Various elemental constitution are energetic and vivacious, learns easily, clear and alert mind, falls asleep easily at bedtime, balanced digestion and elimination. Preferred kind of food: Pungent, Bitter & Astringent, Eat Dry & Astringent, Fruits (apples & raisins), Raw Vegetables, Rice, Cakes, Hot Spices & Spicy Herbal Teas (ginger). Avoid Sweet Fruits, Nuts, Dairy & Oil.

Pitta Doshas
They are said to compose of water and space. Various elemental constitution are strong, bold, warm, focussed, leader. Preferred kind of food: Should eat Sweet Fruits, Bitter Vegetables (greens), Beans, Natural Sweeteners & Mild Cheeses (cottage cheese), Must avoid Sour Fruits, Pungent Vegetables (onion), Nuts, Hot Spices, Fermented Dairy (yogurt) & Oils.

Kapha Doshas
They are said to compose of fire and water. Various elemental constitution are kind, patient, protective, generous. Preferred kind of food: Must eat Sweet Fruits, Cooked Vegetables, Cooked Grains (oatmeal), Nuts, Natural Sweeteners, Mild/Warming Spices (basil) & Dairy in Moderation. Should avoid Dry Fruits, Dry Grains (rice cakes), Raw Vegetables, Cabbage Family (broccoli) & Beans.

The entire study on Ayurvedic cuisine will be depending upon Doshas, Dhatus, and Mala.

  • DOSHAS - is one of three bodily Bio elements that make up one’s constitution.
  • DHATUS - Are the seven tissues of the body. In English they are plasma, blood, muscle, fat, bone, marrow / nerve, and reproductive tissue.
  • MALAS - the waste which is actually the toxin for the body including sweat apart from the other human waste.

Ayurvedic Cooking is all about guiding principles of basic food combinations rather than rules:

  1. Enjoy the nature and live with it.
  2. Live by the seasons as you benefit from nature healing balance.
  3. Opposite  attract and heal in other words the doshas like their qualities that perpetuate them.
  4. Ayurveda helps to cultivate one vital essence.
  5. Food needs to be light, easily digestible and according to the season.
  6. Use spices in order to create a balance amongst the doshas.
  7. Cooked food is considered much easier to digest and has more flavour than raw food.

Ayurvedic dietary guidelines 
Intake of food at in time (Kale bhojana).

  • Food intake as per suitability (satmya bhojana).
  • Food intake as per the prakruthi of individual (hita bhojan).
  • Proper hygiene (suchi bhojan).
  • Intake of food which is unctuous (snigdha bhojan).
  • Intake of food which is warm (ushna bhojan).
  • Intake of food which is easy to digest (Laghu bhojan).
  • Eat while there is in interest to food and while eating concentrate on food and the process of eating (tanmana: bhojana).
  • Eat food with six taste components (sad-rasayukta ahara).
  • Food should be primarily sweet in nature (madhura praya).
  • Food should be ingested calmly, neither too slow nor too fast (na ati druta vilambita).
  • After bathing (snatah).
  • Food intake only when there is sufficient hunger (kshudvan).
  • Proper washing of hand, feet and face should be done before food intake (dhauta pada-kara-anana.
  • After offering prayers and paying obeisance to gods and forefathers (pithru -deva tarpana).
  • After offering food to guests, teachers & children (athithi - balakaguru tarpana).
  • Without disgracing food (anindan bhunjaana).
  • Silently (moun).
Sequence of food intake
Guru, madhura and snigdha food should be taken initially during the course of a meal followed by amla, lavana ahara. Food which is ruksha, katu, tikta and kashaya should be taken in the last part of the meal for proper activation of Agni, proper absorption and assimilation of food. After taking food, it is advised to take rest formuhurta matra (48 minutes) for proper digestion. The ultimate goal of Ayurveda- (the Science of living) is to help Mankind to live a healthy, long life, mainly to achieve the well-recognised four-fold (dharma, kama, artha, moksha) purpose of human life.

On the most prominent dosha as per the guidelines mentioned in Ayurvedic texts. Thus it is believed that Ayurvedic concepts of nutrition and the dietary guidelines worked out according to individual “prakritis” offer a scientifically sound and practical schedule for promoting/preserving a healthy lifestyle and this healthy lifestyle helps us to balance professional life as well personal life and preserves our health to fight against any diseases.

Article by:
MANAN CHAKRABORTY
Assistant Professor 
Department of Culinary arts
WGSHA, MAHE, Manipal - 576 104