Eating is the primary interaction you have with your external environment. It is how you literally bring nature into your body, the cells from the food you ingest speak directly to the cells of your body and eventually they become one. If Yoga, in essence means union, then eating is also a form of yoga, a sacred act, a ritual of union. When you take food, herbs and nourishment into your body, you are making an offering to agni, the digestive fire in your gut. Just as you would make an intentional offering to the agni fire in any sacred puja ceremony. Although food is highly sacred and essential for the body to thrive, it is often the area of life where many unconscious and unhealthy behaviours dwell.
Since your relationship to food and nourishment is the foundation for all your soul evolution, this is a really good place to start your journey. In this workshop you will learn the fundamental principles that you need to understand when balancing and healing your body and mind through nourishment. Food is such a personal thing and ayurveda has a rich and detailed understanding of bio-individuality, if you want to go deeper to heal specific gut and digestive issues please get in touch for a 1.1 consultation.
The first fundamental understanding is that all Life is equal, plants, animals, humans are all equal. Whether you choose to eat animal protein or choose to be plant based, there is no hierarchy. A cauliflower should be treated with as much love and respect as a fish or chicken. This is where the teaching of Ahimsa (non-harm) comes in, whatever you eat should be harvested or sacrificed with consciousness and gratitude. The teaching of non-harm also applies to the environment and to ourselves. If the production or consumption of any food causes harm to you or the planet - it’s a no go zone. For example, the use of pesticides is harming both humans, animals, waterways, soil and air so organic produce is the way forward. Foods wrapped and sold in plastic is another example of how any food can be healthy or harmful overall. Consider not just what you are eating but the whole chain back to the source from which it came.
ACTION STEP: Commit to the next 8 days with a zero tolerance policy on Plastic. No bottled water, plastic bags or straws, packaged food or single use plastics to be brought or used.
Eating foods that are appropriate for the season and fresh produce that is ‘in season’ in your local area is the second thing to consider and possibly one of the most efficient ways to balance your dosha. If you are eating organic, local and seasonal produce you can’t go too far wrong. The fruits and vegetables that are in season during the winter months, like root vegetables and stewing fruits are exactly what you need to balance out the effect of winter and stay well. For example, if you continued to eat summer fruits, smoothies and salads all winter, a vata imbalance would result. Because we are living at a time where we have access to food from all over the planet at any given time, we have lost some connection to the power of seasonal eating. Another great example of why local, seasonal produce is key to wellbeing are summer berries. The berries we find during the summer months actually help the body to produce more melanin, the pigment that allows your skin to photosynthesise more sunlight and effectively work as an SPF from the inside out.
There are many other incredible examples of how nature is constantly supporting your life, if you simply live in harmony with her. And another reason to eat local is because it is just not sustainable to do anything else.
Growing your own food is best. In fact, if you plant your own seeds, pop them in your mouth before sowing them. I know it may sound a little out there but the intelligence of the plants and soil, then have a conservation with the intelligence in your saliva to create fruits and vegetables to perfectly support your unique bio-chemistry. If you are lacking in one mineral, the seed will pull from the soil what is needed to help balance you. Seeds understand bio-individuality. If you are buying your produce, go farmer direct.
ACTION STEP: Start a sacred vegetable or herb garden OR find out the best farmer direct market or fresh produce delivery service in your area.
Made with Love
The way you prepare meals and eat is just as important as what you eat. Be aware of your mental and emotional state when prepping and eating. As you prepare your food, infuse all your love into it, let it be an act of self care and a way of loving anyone you might be cooking for. Sing and dance in the kitchen and avoid rushing. This is one reason why eating out all the time is not ideal (unless eating at super conscious places) most people working in commercial kitchens are stressed, plus the intention is usually to make money - rather than making easily digestible meals! These factors, combined with the toxic, industrial cooking oils used in most restaurants means making your own is really the best ever.
When you sit down to a meal, to instantly change your vibe and align with consciousness, go to gratitude. Outwardly or inwardly expressing thanks for the plants, animals, farmers, drivers, cooks and anyone else involved takes your digestion to the next level. You also must consider the spatial environment you are in, try to be somewhere calm and quiet. If your nervous system is in a stress response your capacity to actually assimilate the nutrition properly is radically diminished. Take a few deep breaths before eating to get yourself in the parasympathetic ‘rest and digest’ state. The last thing to consider is the timing of your meals. Depending on your dosha your metabolism will vary. For example, Kalpha dosha types do well with intermittent fasting. Whereas, Pitta and Vata types benefit from eating regular meals, at consistent timings. The last meal of your day should be at least 3 hours before you go to bed and you’ll go into more detail about why in the SLEEP workshop.
ACTION STEP: Dedicate time this week to make a dosha balancing meal for yourself as an act of self love.
Taste is how you navigate your food choices with ayurveda. Each of the 6 tastes are connected to one of the doshas and this is how you can easily identify what foods are going to help balance your individual dosha and how to create a meal that is balancing for all. A balanced meal include all six tastes.
Pomegranates and Pears
Beans including beans
Dairy (ghee, cheese)
Fruits, including dates and honey
Fresh green herbs and spices
Green apple and tomatoes
Radish, onions, garlic and leeks
Ginger and cardamom
Sea and lake salts
Food as Medicine
Vata balancing diet
Eat smaller meals at regular times each day, don’t skip meals or eat on the go. All meals should be warm, with very little raw or cold foods. Go for grounding foods like gluten free grains, cooked fruits and vegetables and warming spices like ginger, turmeric and black pepper. Be sure to incorporate healthy fats and oils into each meal. Going for foods from the Sweet and Astringent tastes are going to help balance Vata.
Pitta balancing diet
If there is an excess of Pitta you may need to slow your digestion and cool that agni, inner fire. Be sure to eat regular meals and avoid stimulating foods (including coffee, alcohol and processed sugar) Eat foods that are cooling on the system. Fresh fruits and vegetables like avocado and cucumber are going help balance Pitta and reaching for the Bitter and Salty tastes, plus drinking lots of water.
Kalpha balancing diet
The Kalpha balancing diet is to help stimulate digestion and lighten your load. Experiment with fasting and definitely eating your dinner early (no sweets after dark!) Foods that can help stoke the agni fire are sour and spicy, eat light meals with ferments like kimchi and sauerkraut and minimise grains, fats and sweets for now. Go for the tastes of Sour and Pungent to restore the balance.
All 3 Action Steps
Commit to the next 8 days with a zero tolerance policy on Plastic. No bottled water, plastic bags or straws, packaged food or single use plastics to be brought or used.
Start a sacred vegetable or herb garden OR find out the best farmer direct market or fresh produce delivery service in your area.
Dedicate time this week to make a dosha balancing meal for yourself as an act of self love.