Following Ayurveda in everyday life-Guest post by Sharmistha

8:44 PM

Light summer meal
Ayurveda, that age old system of medicine and general wellness is our very own. Though Indian food has always been guided by the Ayurvedic principles but with time we are losing touch with it's healing properties. So when my friend Sharmistha started posting very useful tips on her Instagram account I wanted her to write this article in a easy manner, for everyone to understand and incorporate these easy steps in our daily life. 
Here is her beautiful article. Do comment all your questions and she will try to answer as much as possible.

Author Bio: Sharmistha can be contacted for free consultations, writing collaborations and workshops at She is currently studying Ayurveda along with Modern Nutrition Science.
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Instagram handle: Ancientfoodwisdom

When my dear friend Sayantani enthused me to write a post on Ayurvedic Diet and Nutrition, I felt deeply encouraged yet very nervous. The 5000 years old healing science of India is so detailed and vivid, that it is difficult to decide where to begin and where to end.  Well, I attempted this article from the perspective of a layman.Every reasonable human being desires for health and well-being. 

Ayurveda has laid a strong foundation for knowledge of one’s Prakriti or physical-mental-emotional constitution for maintaining health, understating cause of diseases with management and prevention of future ailments. Knowledge of one’s Prakriti can guide us to follow the appropriate lifestyle, diet, and regimen suitable for the particular environmental condition.Ancient vaidyas or healers had enumerated several factors which influence our constitutional, temperamental, psychological and spiritual makeup; they are:Matrija- Pitraja Bhava (Hereditary Factors) - It refers to the genes transferred to the offspring from both the parents.

Kala – The time of copulation. If a couple undergoes sexual unison post four days of menstrual cycle, Poornima (new moon day), Amavasya (new moon day), Chaturdashi, Tryodashi or Ashtami, the child is born of a healthy state. If copulation happens in other days, abnormalities in the child can manifest in intelligence, eyes, and bodily strength.Sattvaja Bhava – Psychic nature of the child is determined by the psychological state of the parents, emotional state of the mother during pregnancy and past life deeds.Age of Parents- Interpreted as different ages of same parents contribute different constitution.Garbasaya (Uterus) – Unhealthy uterine condition causes the birth of a malformed child with a defect in shape, color or senses.Matura Ahara Vihara (Maternal Diet) & Rasaja Bhava (Nutritional Factors)- Mother’s diet with digestion, assimilation, and absorption directly influences the development of the fetus in the uterus.Atmaja Bhava - The soul shifts from one body to another and bonds itself with the Shukra (sperm) and Sonhita (ovum) in the uterus leading to the creation of fetus (Garbha). This factor determines the consciousness (Chetna), life-span (Ayu), self-realization(Atma Gyan), likings (Iccha), disliking (Dvesh), desire for happiness and sorrow (Sukh-Dukh) and efforts (Prayatna).
What is Prakrti and Dosha?Each cell in our body including sperm and ova are governed by three material substances attending different physiological functions namely - Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.Vata governs everything related to movement such breathing, muscle flexibility, blood circulation, nerve impulses, assimilation of food and elimination of urine, feces, and menstruation. On the psychological ground, vata rules communication, quickness of thought, flexibility and creativity.Pitta is responsible for the digestion and metabolism of ingested food with the aid of organic enzymes, bile, acids, and hormones. When in balance, an individual enjoys unmatched mental clarity, cheerfulness, high energy drive and strengthKapha is responsible for building and lubrication of the human body. When out of balance, one becomes sluggish, lethargic, obese, depressive, greedy and jealous.Individual prakrti manifest with a particular predominance ratio of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha within us (body (factors mentioned above). 
There are 7 basic Prakrti types:Eka Prakriti- Predominance of only one dosha:VATAKAPHAPITTADwandvaja Prakriti – Predominance of two doshas with different percentages:VATA-PITTAPITTA-KAPHAVATA-PITTATridoshaja Prakrti or Samadosha - Predominance of three doshas in equal proportion:VATA-PITTA-KAPHANow when a biological energies’ quantity (pramana), guna (quality and karma (actions) become abnormal they vitiate their places of dwelling (tissues or dhatus) and causes diseases. Because of this, they are known as doshas or vitiators. Together they are called “Doshaj Prakriti”. Everyone born with the unique constitution has inherent strengths & weaknesses and how they will respond to certain foods or environments. With Ayurveda we can balance them.Remember: Our original Prakriti or dosha never changes. Between the age 13-15 years (puberty phase), our body completely manifest our constitution. If your current body-mind constitution has changed from your teenage days, that clearly indicates there has been Vikruti (deterioration in terms of increase or decrease of either dosha expressing through a change in physical and mental aspect).
Neem begun, Sohne danta charchari

What one is born with
Example: The attributes remaining unchanged such as the color of eyes
How one look and feel now
Example: The attributes change with age, seasonal cycle, diet, lifestyle changes, stress level etc since these affect appetite, weight, skin, and hair looks now, cognitive factors, state of mind etc

Vasanta Ritucharya (Seasonal Routine for Spring)Mid-March to Mid-May is the official Spring Season or Vasanta Rtu. There is a theory that during winter an extra mucus lining (kapha) forms in our body probably over the sebaceous gland. It aids in heat preservation by minimizing sweat elimination.Now, with the arrival of spring, increased kapha will start getting liquidified by the heat of the sun. This will diminish the digestive activity in the alimentary tract. It is the nature’s detox process. Blood becomes thick and sluggish. All the mucus are pulled into the liver to metabolize and eliminate from the body. As the external temperature increases, the human body starts producing less digestive juice that leads to less hunger for food intake. Eventually contributing to less heat generation through digestion. Our skin would continuous sweat to maintain the body temperature. Now, this mechanism of cooling leads to accumulation of Vata as we proceed towards hot, fiery summer months.Clinical Symptoms: Allergies, Bronchitis, Asthma, Lethargy, Rhinitis, Sinusitis, Indigestion, Cough, Cold, Hay Fever, Flu, Stiff Muscles, Arterial Plaque Buildup, Diarrhea, and Mucus.What to Eat: Intake of foods which are easily digestible and dry (moisture free) is ideal. Enjoy all vegetables either roasted, grilled or lightly sautéed. Bitter (e.g bitter gourd), Pungent (e.g black pepper) and Astringent (e.g raw banana) tasting veggies are encouraged to be eaten as they make the liver and gall bladder release bile. Now, with the bile, the excess fatty substances are drained into the digestive tract and finally discarded with feces. 
For protein, one can rely on mung beans, red lentils, and chickpeas. Non-vegetarian can rely on chicken. In fruits, one can eat apples, pears, pomegranate, berries, and raisins. Drying grains basmati rice, corn, millets barley and quinoa is equally good. Honey would be an excellent choice as a sweetener. Buttermilk (1 part curd churned with 3 parts water) can be taken during mid-morning. Warming, pungent spices such as turmeric, cumin, coriander, and ginger are encouraged to prevent kapha stagnation in the body and stimulate digestive fire (Agni) for the restoration of optimal digestion. If you don’t feel hungry, you can skip breakfast or opt for a very light breakfast. Kapha is predominant from 6-10 am. Make lunch biggest meal of the day. 
purple potato and quinoa salad
At noon, Pitta is predominant which aids in faster digestion. As the sun sets, our body slowly shifts towards sleep mode so skip heavy dinner. If you are tea lover, go for a ginger- cardamom cuppa.Avoid: Foods which are cold, hard to digest, fatty, too much sweat, sour and salt in taste. Red meant, diary, sweet-water fish (like Rohu/ Katla), banana, dates, citrus fruits, deep-fried foods, aerated drinks, curd, candies, and icecream are better to be skipped.Good News: This is the ideal time to lose weight. Do light physical exercises till sweat appears on your forehead. Avoid burnt-out.Regimen: After morning ablutions, you can opt for oil-massage (abhyanga) with warm sesame oil. Discard synthetic soaps. Grab a pack of good quality ubtan and give yourself a thorough dry massage before taking bath. Sleeping in the day time is no longer a good idea. It is the best time of the year to discard old blocked emotions and material possessions which no longer serving any good. Start new projects, new relations and travel new places. Go ahead and get ready to welcome summer!

Disclaimer: I consulted several Ayurveda classics for the authenticity of information. Renowned Vedic scientists Charaka, Vagbhta, and Susruta had presented aphorisms (sutras) based on conclusive researched works. So, there is no scope for further new insights.

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