monica's blog

Bhaishajya in Ayurveda versus Western Herbology

By DILEK KOKSAL

BLOCK 3 Practitioner Student

Bhaishajya Kalpana is composed of two words, Bhaishajya - Drug and Kalpana - Processing.
Bhaisajya is in turn derived from ‘Bhisag’ meaning a physician, a vaidya.

Etymologically ‘Bhaisajya’ is a substance used by a ‘Bhisag’ the physician as a means of treating a patient. ‘Bhaisajya’ is also known as ‘Ausadha’ meaning a substance imparting health.

Concept of ‘Drug’ is principally based on the type of activity of a substance on the human body. Thus, Bhaishajya Kalpana is the most important branch of learning in the field of Ayurveda. With the art and skill of formulation, a poisonous drug can be transmuted into a safe and effective drug.

Ayurvedic classics also give emphasis to the elimination of inherent constituents of the drug which arebinappropriate in specific clinical condition and toxic in nature and which enter into the formulation if notbremoved.

To meet this requirement basic materials are sometimes subjected to purifying process known
as “sodhana’.

The pharmaceutical procedures for any drug involve various steps starting from identification andbcollection of authentic raw material, application of standardized processing techniques, and production of quality drug to packaging and storage of the produced drug. Ayurvedic pharmaceutics is not an exception to this. A quote from Caraka Samhitaa (Caraka Samhitaa Vimana Sthaana 8/87, 1984) says raw

material of specified type having specific characteristics and therapeutic action, grown on a specific soil in a specific geographical area in specific atmospheric conditions should be collected in a specific season.

Only such raw material will produce the expected therapeutic effect provided it is used judiciously in proper dose.

The components soluble in water are extracted in water whereas solvents like fat, oil or alcohol are required to extract ingredients soluble in those solvents. A combined solvent system is also used sometimes. Depending on the requirement, different procedures are adopted to extract therapeutically useful ingredients.

Avipattikar Churna and Avipathi Choornam – both these are Ayurvedic medicines in herbal powder form. Both have got similar set of ingredients. But have lot of differences between them, in terms ofindication, method of administration etc.

In the West, tincturing was originally developed as a means of dealing with fresh plant materials; by soaking them in alcohol and straining out the plant mass, one could preserve herbs for future use.

A large proportion of Western herbs are flowers and leaves, which have a very poor shelf-life if simply dried.

Each manufacturer has its own method of extracting plant medicine, which is then used to make salves and tinctures that are sold nationwide.

Different extraction methods illustrate the contrasting philosophies pulling at the ends of contemporary herbal medicine. One supports the highly scientific method of standardization, which involves measuring and extracting specific compounds believed to be responsible for the herbs’ medicinal effects.

The other is the traditional “whole herb” school of thought, which asserts that all of a plant’s compounds contribute to its ability to heal and protect health, and plucking out one or a few compounds means losing that synergy.

References:
http://www.pspmngo.org/index.php/departments/rasashastra-bhaishajya-kalp...
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3025621/
http://www.motherearthliving.com/health-and-wellness/herbal-extracts.aspx

Ayurveda and Jucing

Blog By Tamara Stojadonovik

Recently, Ayurvedic Juicing has become the buzz word. There has been a famous TV show that featured Ayurvedic cleansing and juicing.

I love the fact that television is making the US more aware of Ayurveda, however juicing and Ayurveda are so diametrically opposed. It reminds me of a’ recent self promotion of a celebrity half naked in yoga poses reminding us about yoga being cure for a hangover!

Juicing is NOT Ayurveda just as this promo has nothing to do with Yoga. Someone may argue, “ Come on! We are not living in ancient times!” and the teachings should evolve. OK, I could possibly accept that , but let’s look at juicing from an Ayurvedic perspective:

1) It is not found in any of the ancient Ayurvedic texts including Charaka Samhita.

2) Ayurveda including the Charaka Samhita, recommend a diet of mostly cooked foods as cooking increases the element of fire (agni), which is essential for digestion, the assimilation of nutrients and their transformation into the bodily tissues.

3) While juices may contain organic veggies and fruits, not all veggies and fruits are good for everyone’s constitution.

4) Juices contain little or no fiber, are light and watery ,contain a high amount of sugar ( even if it is a veggie juice) and are generally served cool or cold.

For a Vata person the cold, light quality could provoke Vata causing bloating and gas. The cold water and sweet quality would increase Kapha further slowing down metabolism, increasing ama and a Pitta person with a strong digestive fire would not be able to tolerate a juicing fast as it would further aggravate their metabolism.

5) Juicing may seem perfect for the lifestyle of the person on the run and a way to to gulp down the needed nutrients that are lacking in the average American diet, however chewing and mindfulness are important to help kick start poroper digestion. As Mahatma Gandhi once said "Chew your drink and drink your food". When we drink foods without chewing , they enter the digestive system too fast before the body is even aware that it is food and so the digestive process has not even started. Chewing and the formation of a bolus with saliva is the very part of digestion.When we drink something quickly, we do not give our digestive system a chance to get started which can lead to that uncomfortable bloated feeling. Drink your food! With each bite of food we take food should be chewed until it turns to liquid. It helps us be your mindful and brings a more Sattvic quality to our meal and the slower process allows for the correct signalling by the brain and for the correct sequence of events for proper mechanical and chemical digestion to occur. Digestion progresses from the mouth through to the stomach and intestines, where digestive acids and enzymes are sequentially released from different glands and organs.

If considering juicing the following should be taken into consideration: the person’s constitution, season, time of day, the health of their digestion; the state of agni, bowel movements and level of ama as well as what fruits and veggies are being included in the juice and why.

While it is wonderful to see that Ayurveda is becoming more mainstream in the U.S., I wouldn’t be surprised to see, before long, the word “Ayurveda” being used to market a “healthy” Starbuck’s Chai Latte or Extra Value Meals.

The Banana Diet

BANANA DIET FAD - Student Blog Perron Shimizu

The asa (Japanese for ‘morning’) banana diet became a fad in Japan in 2008. This fad had a devastating affect on the banana market. The fad essentially caused shortages in bananas throughout the entire country. You literally could not find any bananas anywhere. The diet calls for an individual to consume massive amounts of bananas coupled with room temperature drinking water.

Osaka pharmacist Sumiko Watanabe original created the diet for her husband whom apparently lost 16.8 kg (37lbs). Subsequently, the diet became popular when he wrote about on one of Japan’s largest social networking services called Mixi. Since then 730,000 morning banana books have been sold.

Unequivocally, bananas and water are nutritious to any meal plan. According to the caloric ratio pyramid for raw bananas (nutritiondata.self.com) they contain an estimated 93% of carbohydrates. Research states that bananas are an excellent source of dietary fiber. This includes soluble and insoluble fiber. Furthermore, bananas are very low in cholesterol, sodium and saturated fat.

Essentially, the plan allows for an individual to consume an unlimited amount of bananas with room temperature water or milk. In the morning the dieter can consume an unlimited amount of bananas for breakfast with milk or room temperature water until full. After breakfast the dieter is not allowed to consume anything until lunch.

For lunch the dieter must at least have one banana and a salad plus a normal meal. Surprisingly, these meals have no restriction. Pizza, hamburgers, and French fries are acceptable dietary meals under this plan. In addition to this the dieter is also allowed to consume one sweet snack at 3 o’clock.

Likewise, the individual is allowed to drink room temperature water when needed. As previously mentioned there are no other restrictions for lunch or dinner. The dieter may consume an unlimited amount of bananas in addition to lunch and dinner. Bananas are also to be consumed between lunch and dinner as snacks with the cutoff time for eating at 8 p.m.

How it’s supposed to work?

The diet functions in two ways: fiber bulks up in the stomach making the individual having a longer feeling of fullness. Secondly, one of the fibers found in bananas is called resistant starch. This fiber then begins to ferment in the digestive tract, increasing fat burning by-products.

Problematic issues with the diet?

You will always have problems with any diet that encourages unregulated lunches and dinners. Overindulgence in these areas is where the diet fails. As stated above the dieter is allowed to consume an unlimited amount of bananas in conjunction with an unhealthy meal. The dieter may be prone to overindulge and actually gain weight rather than lose.

As stated above research shows bananas have a high source of beneficiary nutritional value. On the other hand, they also have a relativity high calorie and sugar intake. Clearly bananas are more beneficial if consumed in moderation.

According to the USDA one banana has more than 120 calories. In conjunction with other high caloric meals, if consumed in large quantities as this diet suggest the additional calories could create extra weight.

Asa banana diet? Fail.

A Comparison of Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine in Japan

Student Blog

Perron Shimizu

Currently in Japan the study and research of Ayurveda has been ongoing for about 30 years. In 1969 Prof. Hiroshi Maruyama of Osaka medical school created the Society of Ayurveda. This has led to various programs and seminars organized for the propagation of Ayurveda.

However, in comparison to TCM or Kampo, there was a resurgence of public interest after WWII and today it is practiced extensively.

There are several medical schools that have programs focusing on Kampo offering dual degrees. Additionally, Homoeopathic self-care and education developed rapidly. Torako Yui, the first Japanese homoeopath, started the introduction of homoeopathy in the late 1990s. Thus creating the Japanese Homeopathic Medical Association. The system has begun introducing cultural aspects such as Zen meditation as a method to increase the self-healing of homeopathy. As for Naturopathy there is not so much a presence as compared to the other healing systems.

I believe Ayurveda is still in its infancy here in Japan. The propagation of Ayurveda is not easy in a homogeneous society. However, the want and need for alternative medication and natural ways of healing is on the rise.

As far as comparing Ayurveda with TCM, suffice to say that humanity now lives in a “post-human-genome sequence era”.

Current health care focuses on the challenge of understanding the inheritable differences in the human genome. Ayurveda and TCM have well-defined systems of constitutional types to help distinguish individual qualities. Unequivocally, both systems are about brining out a natural state of equilibrium within an individual. However, the methodology and approach of both systems have similar yet distinct systems.

To determine a person's mind-body classification Ayurveda incorporates a threefold classification system known as tridosha. This consists of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Vata is classified as being related to motion, Pitta being related to metabolism and Kapha described as the lubrication and structure. With differing degrees of predominance Vata, Pitta and Kapha are present in all people. Together the three doshas make up individuals Prakruti.

Conversely, TCM acknowledges seven constitutions of Yin, Yang, Qi, Phlegm-wetness, Wetness-heat, and Blood stasis. Similar to Ayurveda, TCM classifies individuals based on the five elements of metal, earth, fire, water, and wood. Further stating that the determination of specific element is governed by two opposing qualities of chi energy, the well known Yin and Yang. Therefore the state of equilibrium of an individual’s health is determined by the two energies.

These two traditional medical systems of Asia are considered sacred. They are very closely related. For example, both systems are based on the classification method of constitution. Ayurveda and TCM both identify and classify unique characteristics of each individual, resulting in personalized medicine and treatment. Hence allowing for the optimal response to treatment.

However, modern medicine has yet to be successful in classifying human populations. Current classification systems are based on ethnicity; geographical location, language or self reported ancestry. Which is why researchers around the globe have been investigating Ayurveda. They postulate that the Prakruti types (V, P and K) can be used as phenotypic datasets for analyzing genetic variation. Which brings Ayurveda to the forefront of modern medical science.

Ayurveda and Homeopathy

Student Blog

Jennifer Rawlings

There is a growing acceptance of herbal remedies all over the world. While both Homeopathic medicine and Ayurveda belong to complementary and alternative medicine systems, they are from very different schools of thought. Ayurveda generally believes in the philosophy that the health of a human body depends on the balance on the three key doshas vita, pitta, and kapha, and any imbalance in these three can cause diseases. Homeopathy believes in the "vitalist" philosophy. According to this belief, various external and internal causes disturb the "vital force" which negatively affects the health of a person.

Ayurveda: Derived from two words - Ayur meaning "life" and Veda meaning "knowledge" - Ayurveda means "knowledge of life." It is a holistic system with its own fundamental tenets. Ayurveda emphasizes the balance between body, mind, and soul for healthy living. Maintaining optimal health and mitigating disease by using Ayurvedic lifestyle practices. Homeopathy: The word homeopathy conjoins two words - homeo meaning "similar" and pathy meaning "science."

Homeopathic medicine is a system that stimulates our immune system to fight disease. "Principle of similar" and "principle of dilution" are the two basic principles used in Homeopathic treatments. While homeopathic practitioners rely on symptoms for diagnosis, Ayurvedic physicians make use of "pulse diagnosis" as well as symptoms. In conclusion, normal herbal preparations and diets from Ayurveda work through digestion and agni whereas Homeopathy works on a more subtle level through the mind and prana directly.

It is possible to use Homeopathy as a medical system under the overview of Ayurveda (with a larger vision and field of experience) and it is not possible to use Ayurveda under the directions of Homeopathy which are narrow and lacking the broader understanding of the life force, pathology and therapeutics.

Ayurveda and Naturopathy

Rose Bryant, ND

Naturopathy and Ayurveda are both holistic and clinical sciences, which collectively strive to prevent and cure various types of ailments with a holistic approach.

Myself, coming from the field of Naturopathy, I see many similarities between the two sciences and I believe they work very beautifully together to encourage healing of the individual.

The approach of Naturopathy is based in the “healing power of nature” to cure various ailments with a focus on supporting the life-force or “vital force” by strengthening the body through modalities such as botanical medicine, nutrition, hydrotherapy, homeopathy and physical medicine while encouraging the patient to make positive lifestyle changes. Naturopathy aims to harmonize both biochemical and energetic balance. Naturopathy avoids the use of major surgery or synthetic prescription drugs, except in the event of an emergency.

Naturopathy recognizes all aspects of an individuals’ life related to the disease process. Disease is frequently seen as an expression of the body eliminating excess toxins, which have accumulated due to inadequate nutrition and lifestyle, therefore presenting as the body attempting to heal itself.

The approach of Naturopathy is based in the “healing power of nature” to cure various ailments with a focus on supporting the life-force or “vital force” by strengthening the body through modalities such as botanical medicine, nutrition, hydrotherapy, homeopathy and physical medicine while encouraging the patient to make positive lifestyle changes. Naturopathy aims to harmonize both biochemical and energetic balance.

Naturopathy avoids the use of major surgery or synthetic prescription drugs, except in the event of an emergency. Naturopathy recognizes all aspects of an individuals’ life related to the disease process. Disease is frequently seen as an expression of the body eliminating excess toxins, which have accumulated due to inadequate nutrition and lifestyle, therefore presenting as the body attempting to heal itself.

Ayurveda is an ancient medicine, which also focuses on balance. It suggests that we should take everything with regulation in order to maintain health according to your constitution. Ayurveda's focus is more on creating energetic balance at the higher energetic or inner level. Ayurveda recognizes that imbalance of the mind and emotions frequently precede, and is often the cause of, physical imbalances.

It sees all life in Nature constantly evolving toward a higher level of consciousness. Ayurveda seeks to connect us with this intelligence inherent in Nature and uses modalities such as yoga asana, pranayama, mantra and meditation to facilitate this as well as herbs and ayurvedic nutrition. It recommends we avoid substances or behaviors, which may aggravate or throw our dosha out of balance.

Ayurvedic or Yogic medicine is about facilitating the process of raising our level of consciousness and supporting prana. This state of consciousness is defined as peace, union with the Divine or realization of our true Self.

About the Author

Rose Byrant works is an Naturopathic Practitioner and works at http://www.zendenholisticwellness.org. She is studying Ayurveda practices as well.

Ayurveda in USA and other Holistic Health Modalities

Impact and Reach of Ayurveda in the USA and comparison with Modern science and other holistic health systems like TCM/Naturopathy

Student Blog-- Dr Monika Singhal

The global alternative medicine sector is expected to reach close to $115 billion by 2015, according to Global Industry Analysts. Market growth is fuelled by a trend toward herbal and nature-based products, based on the presumption these products cause fewer side effects than modern medicines. Alternative medicine disciplines such as acupuncture, homeopathy, massage, ayurveda, and traditional Chinese medicine are being practiced more widely in the western world.

Around 75% of the population in emerging nations receive alternative medical healthcare, compared with over half of the population of developed nations, particularly for lifestyle-related diseases.

The alternative medicine market is also benefiting from changes in the insurance landscape, with more companies covering complementary and alternative medical care. One major obstacle to industry growth involves the comparatively slack condition of its regulations, and less extensive research and developing methods than in modern medicine.

Being a Medically trained physician from India , I have observed that in india today also people have faith and belief in alternative holistic modalities especially ayuveda preventive treatments. Since from last 10years, I am in US have noticed that awareness about ayurevda/yoga have tremendously increased and will continue to grow in coming years.

Modern Western Allopathic medicine is based on a medical model which is basically mechanical, materialistic, inorganic and inert. It considers only the physical body and treats the mind as a physical entity. It emphasises the use of inorganic substances (drugs), mechanical testing, invasive treatments like surgery and a passive approach by the patient.

Naturopathic medicine on the other hand is organic, naturalistic and energetic. It recognises the life-force as the guiding force behind the biochemical changes.It's treatment focuses on harmonising the life-force and strengthening the body through natural substances such as herbs and diet, and action by the client such as lifestyle changes and exercise.

However, most naturopathic systems are deficient is in the way they classify the energetics of substances. The majority of systems - Chinese medicine included - considers substance energetics on an outward or quantitative basis only. For example, meat may be prescribed to a weak person because of it's strong capacity to strengthen and provide energy. In this way it may balance the person at a gross level. But this perspective fails to recognise the negative impact meat has on an inner level because of the dulling effect it has on the mind, emotions and senses.



Ayurveda's focus is more on creating energetic balance at the higher energetic or inner level. It sees all life and Nature constantly evolving toward a higher level of consciousness. All substances have an impact at this higher level of consciousness as well as the more gross body level. Ayurveda seeks to connect us with this intelligence inherent in Nature and uses substances and processes which work positively as this higher level - such as yoga asana, pranayama, mantra and meditation - to facilitate this. It categories substances and activities according to their capacity to achieve this higher level of consciousness. It recommends we avoid substances which stimulate us or dull us. Stimulants and dulling substances act on the body level, distort consciousness and lead to a lack of sensitivity and self awareness. For example, the cup of coffee we have to get us going in the morning may take us to work and get us to do the job but then who is it that is going to work and running our lives - us or the coffee ??.

In the end I will just say Ayurvedic medicine is about facilitating the process of raising our level of consciousness. This state of consciousness is defined as peace, union with the Divine or realisation of our true Self. That’s my input on this topic and I am open for feedback,discussions.
About the Author

Monika Singhal is a trained Physician from India. Ms Singhal completed medical school(MBBS) from All India Institute of Medical science, (AIIMS) New Delhi. She did her post graduate studies from MPH from IIHMR, Jaipur. She has worked with naturopathic physician in Seattle from 2011-2013.

Ayurveda Ahara and Dosha Diet versus Western Diet

By Sara Jane
Block 2 Student - SDCOA

AYURVEDIC NUTRITION VS WESTERN NUTRITION

Today we have so many different diets or we can call them “lifestyles” that we are given to try in order to feel better with ourselves and lose weight. For example, we have the raw food diet, whose fundamental principle is to eat

foods in their most natural state - uncooked and unprocessed. Then there is the vegan diet, which is free of any animal products, macrobiotic diet eat mostly grains but can also eat fish, the vegetarian diet is free of meat, poultry or fish. Along with many more.

Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest systems of traditional medicine and looks at nutrition in a different perspective than we do in the western world. Ayurveda looks at eating as a ritual, that not only nourishes the body, but nourishes the mind and soul too.

In Ayurveda food is our medicine and our healer. It provides the building blocks to nourish and replenish the dhatus (tissues) which make up our entire physical foundation.

The aim of the Ayurveda nutrition is to achieve balance of doshas, dhatus, agni (digestion fire) and mala (elimination). Therefore, Ayurveda Nutrition takes in
consideration the food that is best for us according to our type of dosha.

One of the main differences between Western nutrition and Ayurveda nutrition are the calories. Western nutrition is almost obsessed with it, instead of focusing on what it is right and good for our body. Calories don’t even exist in Ayurveda!

This is because there are some elements present in the foods we eat and so we ask ourselves: are they balancing or imbalancing to our prakruti?

According to western nutrition “we are what we eat” .

According to Ayurveda “we are what we digest”. It is so important what goes into the body because it can be beneficial or harmful. With the word digest we mean: what we eat, but also what we think and what we breathe in.

Western doctors may give you a diet low in carbohydrate and really high on protein, or giving you processed food full of additives and sugars but low calorie! Just to lose weight without knowing what type body and its characteristics and what it needs.

Another difference it is that Ayurveda achieves the balance through the six rasas or tastes, which are sweet, sour, salty, pungent, astringent and bitter; when Western nutrition divides food into five groups: carbohydrate, protein.

The six tastes are composed, like all organic matter including food, by the five mahabutas and some of them will be good for a dosha and some for another. This is really important for Ayurveda because giving spicy food to a Pitta person for example, who is already hot and fiery, can be harmful and aggravates the imbalance on all levels (body, mind and consciousness). If we give the wrong food for that type of person it will affect the digestive fire and it will make the digestion process less efficient.

In Western nutrition this is not taken in consideration and what really matters, like we said above, are calories and what we burn during the day. They tell you to eat beans and peas and vegetables and most people buy and eat this food out of a can, not aware of the additives, MSG, sugar, loads of sodium, and that’s just a few.

I believe it is possible to develop Ayurveda nutrition in America. Ways to accomplish this would be, to write articles about it in the most popular magazines, let people know how this science of life approaches the person on several different levels. As well as starting introduction classes in schools about Ayurveda nutrition and make the

students reflect on what they are eating, their unique body constitution and its needs.

I personally haven’t used any principles of Ayurveda before but since I have been introduced to them I discovered a new way of looking at my body and now I am getting more in touch with myself as well as my mind and spirit.

Now that I have acquired this knowledge there is no going back, I am on my path and willing to spread the message that there is another way to look at life.

Ayurveda and Junk Food

By Cheryl Keller,
Student - San Diego College of Ayurveda

We live in a culture that is saturated with food. Many of our social functions and celebrations involve food as a central theme. Planning a Super Bowl party? Better get lots of junk food! Thanksgiving, Easter, Fourth of July, almost all our national holidays have become one more reason to over eat. We eat on the run in our cars, we eat frozen foods, processed foods, take out, and instant. Where has all this lead us? To an overwhelming, confusing amount of information about “diets” Everywhere we turn we are being told which is the correct diet that will lead to a healthier, happier you.

The diets are wildly different, but most tell us what to eat and how much to eat. They are a one size fits all approach to food, that neglect to take into consideration the spiritual and energetic needs that we have. They do little to nourish the soul.

Ayurveda teaches us a conscious way of living in harmony with nature, and according to our own inherent nature. Food doesn’t just affect our waist size, it affects our life force. Food should be prepared and eaten with intention, mindfully, and with gratitude and enjoyment.

Ayurveda has a lot of “rules”. It is not a ” take the frozen package out of the freezer and microwave it” kind of diet. Foods are chosen according to the six tastes, the qualities of the food, the effect on the doshas, and post digestive effect on the tissues. And these choices change with the season, and with our prakruti.

Ayurveda reminds us that we are not only what we eat, but how, when, why, and where we eat. It reminds us that the most important ingredient is love and respect. And we extend that love and respect to ourselves and others, and to Mother Earth with the food choices we make.

Achieve Balance through Ayurveda

By Kei Kurimoto, Student SDCOA

OUR CURRENT STATE OF IMBaLANCE:

We have become a society obsessed with weight, our appearance and material objects. In the midst of this technology age, where we are all constantly “connected”, it has left us with a societal expectation of immediate results. Whether this be that customer service for your bank is available 24 hrs a day, expecting an immediate response from an email, taking a pill to immediately rid you of a cold or finding a weight-loss diet that will deliver immediate results, many of us have become a very empty, completely lacking true connection to others, to nature and to what our unique individual soul-purpose is. And the reality is that…we are too tired or too stressed to even care.

But something is changing…

HOPE FOR THE FUTURE:

Ayurveda, which translates to “the science of life”, is the sister science of yoga. The growth of yoga into mainstream society over the last 10 years has been incredible! This has laid the foundation for Ayurveda to now step into the mainstream light of the western world and present itself as a full holistic paradigm on how to live life in tune with, not just nature, but our own natural constitution. When we live “ayurvedically”, we have energy, clarity, feel bonded and connected to others, feel genuinely happy, are aware of and connected to our “dharma” (life purpose), are connected to our own soul, and are doing work that not just benefits our own pockets, but betters the world.

Seems a bit optimistic right?

WHAT IS CHANGE?:

Change is an option. Change is a desire. The secret however, is that to truly change…you have to TRULY CHANGE.

WHERE DO WE START?:

Let’s start with some “healthy diet messages” that may be more familiar to you. “Eat low fat because fat is unhealthy and only makes you fat.” “Eat low calorie because calories make you gain weight.” “Eat Raw to extract the most nutrients from foods such as fruits & vegetables.” “Eat Paleo because this is what man ate when he was hunting and gathering: animal protein and plants.”

Do you feel full now? I have personally felt like 'something was missing' when trying different 'diets' in the past. I felt like I was blindly following a regiment and denying that our bodies have a lot more wisdom than we give them credit for.

OK, now focus…

Ayurveda, in contrast, is maintaining balance of your own individual constitution, maintaining stable digestive fire, achieving proper functioning of your tissues, proper elimination, and maintaining a pleasing state of the soul, senses and mind. Yes…all this through FOOD (and lifestyle).

WANT TO GO DEEPER?

The ultimate goal of eating food in ayurveda is the creation of “ojas”. Ojas is a sanskrit word which Wikipedia translates as “the sap of one's life energy which, when sufficient, is equated with immunity and, when deficient, results in weakness, fatigue and ultimately disease.”

Let that sink in…

Ojas is created through another sanskrit word, “prana” which we know as “chi” in chinese medicine or “life force”. Prana is in everything from the sun, the moon, water, trees, to all the food that comes from the earth.

As Ayurevdic Practitioner, Dr. Marrianne Teitelbaum states, “When you put intelligent food in your body, your cells act intelligently. When you put ‘dumb’ food in your body…” well, you get the picture.

And apart from the quality of the food you are putting into your body, if you are not properly digesting your food, you are creating what is called “ama”. Ama are “toxins” that eventually lead to imbalance, such as a cold, to a fully blossomed disease like cancer.

So what are the key points to walk away with?

1) Learn how to eat quality food (full of prana)

2) Learn best practices to properly digest food in tune with your personal constitution, the season & your lifestyle.

There are many other factors that play into each of these. If you feel drawn to learn more, there are wonderful resources for you to start your own journey into wellness and understanding that you have to tools to listen to your own body and the knowledge to achieve balance physically, mentally & emotionally. And don't forget to acknowledge any desires for immediate health results and then let them go. Ayurveda is a slow process of healing over time, and a life-long journey of learning!

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