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Why Do I Love Ayurveda?

by Stephanie Chambers

Before Ayurveda came on the health scene, I was following a Macrobiotic diet. I felt fairly healthy. But my brother who was also on the same diet, lost too much weight. The problem with this diet and most diets was that it was “one size fits all” and it didn’t cater to the particular needs of the individual.

It turned out that my brother was very Vata and he needed the oils that having dairy foods in his diet provided. I had some Kapha in my body-type. So I didn’t need dairy products as much – although they certainly added some bliss when consumed on special occasions.

Ayurveda isn’t just about diet – it’s about lifestyle

I love Ayurveda because it takes into account the influence of the time of day, the influence of the seasons and the influence of our stage of life. So if you get up at dawn, you will find it easier to do yoga because you will be waking up in the Vata time of the day. If you sleep in, you will wake up in the Kapha time of day and that’s why you will feel heavy and sluggish (even if you’ve had plenty of sleep).

If you stay up too late, you might even get the midnight munchies because you are then at Pitta time. That’s also why you should eat at noon, because that’s also when the Pitta fires are burning strongly. You will have better digestion if you eat at this time.

If you go to bed before 10pm, you will be going to sleep during Kapha time and this heaviness will help you to fall asleep.

I also love Ayurveda because it has mental not just physical body-types

The mental body-types are Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. Vegetarian foods like mangos increase Sattva – the state of pleasant evenness of emotions. Eating meat increases the Rajasic quality and makes people feel more fierce, restless and aggressive. Eating old leftover food increases the Tamasic quality. It can lead one to be more fearful and lazy.

Ayurvedic principals make sense and are easy to incorporate

If you add one Ayurvedic principal each month and practice it every day, it will soon become a habit. I remember when I first learned about Ayurveda. I was very resistant when my roommates said I had to throw out old food because it wasn’t good for my health. However as I got used to the idea, I became a lot more careful about the quantities I cooked. So that meant there were no leftovers to begin with and then it became easy because I didn’t have anything I could be tempted to eat the next day.

A lot of people these days think its OK to cook, freeze and re-heat food. But Ayurveda says that the “prana” – the life-force – is lost from food if you do this. The longest you should leave food is to eat leftover lunch for dinner (having kept it in fridge between meals to stop it multiplying microorganisms – sorry I just completed a food safety course so I am a bit obsessed with time and foods). I think someday we will also see the ramifications of people eating old food in terms of people’s longterm health. And the same goes with freezing fruit and vegetables just after they are picked. If you have ever picked fruit that has ripened on the plant, you know the taste is unbeatable. That’s how things are supposed to taste.

Someday I hope we have “Ayurvedic Delivery” offices everywhere and we can start also delivering vegetables that were picked that morning, milk that was milked that morning and oils that were extracted that week. Once our food is totally fresh, we will see what it’s like to be super healthy as well.