Using Fresh, Whole Foods as Medicine: Eating the Ayurvedic Way
Jun 01, 2011 12:24AM
By Cheryl Silberman
Ayurveda, a Sanskrit word that means, “the knowledge and wisdom of life,” is the traditional healing system of India. Often called the mother of all healing, it originated in India more than 5,000 years ago.
Ayurveda views health and disease as the end result of the way people interact with the world through their beliefs, perceptions, thoughts and feelings, which ultimately determine their actions. Actions in harmony with our inner nature create health, while those not in harmony create disease. Ayurveda is the science of developing greater harmony with our environment through all of our senses.
Eating whole foods is a powerful way to enliven the body/mind/spirit, whether one is ill or balanced in health. Whole foods re-energize the body and mind, nourish the tissues and simultaneously cool the liver and turn up the metabolism. It is important to feel satiated and fulfilled after eating each meal. The Ayurvedic approach to healing the body through proper nutrition focuses on two main points: eliminating hard-to-digest foods that are likely to be contributing to the formation of toxins that can lead to disease; and incorporating key whole grains, oils and protein, which promote healing. If vitality can be increased through the prana, or life force, in food, all else will follow.
The ayurvedic approach to nutrition recommends following a few simple rules:
• Change all drinking and cooking water to high-pH, natural spring water. A second choice would be filtered water. Avoid chlorine treated water. Drinking water can be tested with pH strips, available at natural food stores or online.
• Eat consciously: Be aware of what you are eating and tasting. Say a blessing, eat slowly and maintain a relationship with your food, not the TV, newspaper, radio or an unsettling conversation.
• The main meal of the day should ideally be at mid-day. When the sun is at its peak, so too is the body at its best to digest food. This recommendation also supports weight loss.
• Dinner or supper should ideally be a lighter meal than lunch, with a smaller portion of protein, and no food should be eaten after 7:30 p.m.
• Avoid or reduce leftovers. Any reheating of meals will reduce the vitality of the food. Reheating food, especially in a microwave, is the equivalent of moving from fresh-squeezed orange juice to a powdered, orange-flavored drink.
• Never skip or delay meals.
• Buy organic, local, fresh fruits, vegetables and spices. Always buy the highest quality food available.
• Use ghee (clarified butter), sunflower oil or coconut oil for any high-heat cooking when preparing lentils, paneer (a type of fresh Indian cheese), chicken or fish for your protein. Use olive oil, coconut or sunflower oils when cooking vegetables.
• Squeeze fresh lime juice on your vegetables every day, which will help balance the body’s acid/alkaline state.
• Avoid white sugar and white flour, and avoid or reduce soy products.
Cheryl Silberman is director of the Kanyakumari Ayurveda and Yoga Wellness Center and a certified ayurvedic specialist, specializing in clinical Ayurveda, panchakarma, marma chikitsa, Healing Touch therapy, Ayurvedic herbology and Ayurvedic nutrition. The center is located at the GreenSquare Center, 6789 N. Green Bay Rd., in Glendale 53209. For information call 414-755-2858, email [email protected] or visit Kanyakumari.us.