Wheel of Balance.

Standard

Summer is the time when the rooafza advts come out. And every beverage worth his salt begins to peddle beat the heat so do the cosmetic companies.

If winter cravings are to do with fried and spicy food to fortify ourselves for the winter, the summer asks for coolants. Of course the first thing I do is to strike milk off my because I find it rather too heavy.  But when I see the articles and hear debates about balanced diet as someone who has had training in Ayurveda (jiva) and what I have heard from clinicians before me, that is my father and grandfather I know that balanced diet is not about the percentage of protein that my diet contains but about the nutrition required to bring my body back to its functional optimization.

A balanced diet is the one that gives my body the nutrition that it needs to function properly. In order to truly get balanced nutrition you should obtain the majority of your daily calories from fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein

What effects our nutritional needs have a lot to do with where we live, what is our lifestyle, what are the season’s need and our own constitution?

Ayurveda classifies the constitution of the body, as vata, pitta and kapha.

Vata

– Air+ space responsible for movement like respiration, circulation and thought. On an emotional level creativity, flexibility m fear and anger.

Pitta:

Fire+ water responsible for metabolism including digestion of food, hunger

Emotionally courage, anger, ambition, pride.

Kappa

Water+ earth cohesion and body structure govern emotions like love devotion, greed and jealousy.

These doshas are essentially body energies activity, diet and lifestyle effect the doshas.

Pitta increases with hot spicy food, anger and strong summer.

Kapha increases with heavy cold food, inactivity dampness and winter.

Vata increases with dry light food, overwork and autumn winds.

The knowledge of our prakriti helps us to maintain by altering our activity, lifestyle and diet according to our constitution.

Imbalance of these elements leads to ill health. This is called vikriti. Health is restored by balancing the doshas

Guna:

If doshas deals with physical component Guna deals with Psychological constitution…

These are again 3 in classification

Sattva  harmony and purity

Rajas    agitation and vitality

Tamas darkness and ignorance

These are perceived but are deduced from our actions.

The combination of doshas and gunas give us our individuality. The guna’s can be influenced.

Tamas:

Apathetic, lazy, dishonest, insensitive and prone to addiction. Avoids work, lack of willpower and discipline.

Rajas:

Ambitious, dynamic, and often dominate others. Spire for power, wealth and status. Their positive feature is strength, bravery and leadership.

On the negative aspect it is cruelty, manipulation, egotism, and anger.

Foods that encourage Rajas quality are: fried, spicy and greasy food.

Sattva

A person displaying the characteristics of pure Sattva is a saintly figure and they are very few and far between. Sattvic qualities include intelligence, compassion, generosity, and kindness. Sattva -dominant people concern themselves with humanitarian and spiritual activities. They possess mental clarity, humility, enthusiasm, and joy.

The diet that increases Sattva includes fresh fruit and vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds, milk, ghee, and buttermilk. Sattvic food should be freshly cooked and eaten in a peaceful environment. Discipline, cleanliness, spiritually uplifting, and selfless activities—all increase Sattva.

Many of us are a combination of the three and this may fluctuate at different stages of our lives. Pressures of modern life make it difficult to incorporate ideal Sattvic qualities into our lives; but over time, and regardless of physical constitution, if we make efforts to modify our lives appropriately—we will surely experience long-term enhancement of health, happiness and content

Diet

In Ayurveda, food (ahaara) is the prime preventive medicine. Proper diet and eating habits are considered the source of both physical and mental health. You can not only maximize your health through the application of dietary guidelines, but also treat sickness. Once your understand the properties of various foods and herbs, you can apply these principles to your daily diet as well as on those occasions when you feel unwell.

There are dozens of remedies that can be prepared easily in your own home using common foods and herbs. At home, the pharmacy is really no further than the kitchen cupboard or the refrigerator.

In order to be balanced, cheerful, and calm in disposition, it is essential to emphasize Sattvic food in your lifestyle and minimize rajasic or tamasic foods. Regular use of Sattvic food items helps prevent disease and maintain good physical, mental, and spiritual health. According to Ayurveda, eating Sattvic food and practicing a Sattvic life style is the best preventive medicine.

Sattvic food is fresh, pure, and vegetarian. In terms of nutrition, this includes increasing the amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, salads, pure fruit juices, herbal teas, water and milk, nuts, seeds, and honey. Food should be eaten freshly prepared. At the same time, foods that are processed, pre-prepared, preserved, fermented, canned and packaged, frozen, micro waved, fried or barbecued, high in sugar or spices, or containing artificial flavours or colours should be minimized. Mushrooms, onions, spices and garlic should be avoided, as they are tamasic and/or rajasic. Consumption of alcohol, caffeine and meat should be moderated or eliminated for the same reason.

Foods that have a naturally sweet taste are sattvic. This does not include refined sugar products, but refers to anything that has a sweet taste without any additives, such as grains (rice, wheat and barley), breads, honey, and fruits. Milk, herbal teas, pure fruit or vegetable juices, and water are also included in this group. Organically grown foods are preferred, as fertilizers, pesticides, chemicals and preservatives are tamasic.

A number of clinical studies in India have demonstrated that increasing sattvic foods increases sattvic qualities. For example, animals fed mostly vegetarian food in laboratories became calm, peaceful and alert. In contrast, those fed stale or frozen foods, meat and other tamasic or rajasic food became violent, restless, and agitated (Joshi 1997:138). The hypothesis that food creates behavioral and mood changes has been replicated in studies in the West, where dietary links to behaviour (body-mind) have been observed in controlled studies of children.

Lifestyle

Like static dietary considerations, mind balance and static qualities can be enhanced with activities that are static in nature. These are calming, quiet, inspiring, and mentally invigorating. They may include meditation, yoga or other forms of gentle exercise, listening to peaceful and classical music, enjoying nature and the outdoors, gardening, creative or artistic pursuits, or reading good quality literature. Meditation is calming and helps balance emotions, so passion, anger, fear, and extreme emotions are minimized.

Dealing effectively with stress and anxiety is the role of the mind. Managing stress through classic Ayurveda concepts like meditation, breathing and relaxation exercises that control and calm the mind, are now accepted as scientifically valid. Such practices stop the flow of hormones associated with stress; lower the heart rate and blood pressure. All of these factors have a significant positive effect on health.

The lifestyle regime proposed in Ayurveda encompasses spiritual and psychological aspects. The guidelines are based on living according to static principles, including adopting personal ethics and a code of morality such as speaking the truth, serving humanity, not exploiting others, respecting elders, and devotion to spiritual growth. Practicing exercise (yoga) and meditation, regulating sleep, and controlling negative emotions (greed, envy, anger and violence) further enhance the mind and body.

The lifestyle routine is based on balance in all things. Eating, sleeping, and sex are undertaken within natural limits; and working, socializing, exercising, and relaxation are engaged in with a balanced attitude. No one activity should be engaged in excessively and one area of life should not be sacrificed for another. Moderation is the key to health and happiness.

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