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Natural Awakenings Charlotte

Conscious Eating - Ayurveda, Healing with Food

Jun 28, 2009 06:10PM
 According to the science of Ayurveda, illness indicates that an individual’s constitution, or dosha, is out of balance - a condition that can be exacerbated or improved by eating certain foods.

A person’s constitution is comprised of the delicate balance of three vital energies, or doshas, known as: vata (air), the process of movement, and its catabolic energy that breaks down matter; pitta (fire), a process of metabolism that creates heat and energy, and kapha (water), dense, heavy matter that stores energy.

Foods are also classified as vata, pitta, and kapha and they may aggravate or decrease a person's doshas. The aggravation of the doshas may result in ill health, as either a cause or result. The healing properties of an Ayurvedic diet consist of three basic principles: 1) Food should have a neutralizing effect on the doshas and not aggravate them. 2) Food affects the body differently depending on when it is eaten. 3) How you eat food is just as important as what you eat.

Ayurveda seeks to optimize and individualize nutrition for an individual, based on their dosha and the imbalances in the person needing to be corrected. Food is selected based on its elemental balance, its taste, its effects on the body, and qualities of the foods such as hot and cold, moist and dry, light and heavy, oily, rough, subtle, and others. The main objective of an Ayurvedic diet is to nourish the body's tissues: lymph, blood, flesh, muscle, fat, marrow, bone and sexual fluid.

To nourish these tissues, food must first be digested. This is the job of the digestive fire, or agni, which is seated in the small intestines and stomach. Food that isn’t properly digested because of overeating, poor food combinations, imbalance of the elements, or toxins in the food creates a toxic, sticky substance known as ama.

Ama coats the digestive tract and tongue and may also be deposited in the tissues, forming a breeding ground for chronic disease. Proper constitutional food choices nourish tissues without making ama. Constructing a personalized diet is best done with the guidance of a qualified Ayurvedic physician.

By understanding your dosha and applying the principles of living suggested by Ayurveda, you can restore your health and live a long and happy life. Dr. Aruna Patki is an Ayurvedic physician trained in India with more than 10 years of experience. For more info, contact 704-808-0708 or visit

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