Better Health through Digestion with an Ayurvedic Diet
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Evolution & taste budsTaste buds are important for maintaining our health. These days, many people distrust their taste buds. Processed foods like bread, cheese, and corn syrup bypass and trick our taste buds into eating food that is unhealthy. However, taste buds also helped our ancestors survive in the wild and our tongue is a precise laboratory for our health.
Ayurveda identifies the six tastes as sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent. Instead of defining the six tastes according to our physical experience, Western medicine defines taste according to the presence of taste buds. Researchers have identified taste buds for sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami. Several scientists are researching the presence of calcium taste buds as well. Their presence is confirmed in mice.
Cravings & creationAs our tastes change, our food choices change. Taste is the mother of creation because we are what we eat, and we eat what we crave. Tastes are not only on our tongue, but also describe our choices in clothing and home decor. Taste is desire and good taste is an art. Similarly, the sexual organs transform desire and preference into fertility. This is why taste and sex are linked in Ayurveda. Our tastes and lifestyle inform what kind of people we attract.
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Tastes & emotionsEmotions are in the mind but we express them with our mouths. A smile means we are happy. Tastes are the emotions of the body and are also located in the mouth. Emotions and tastes can change quickly and unpredictably. An orange that tastes sweet yesterday may taste sour today. Every food has a "taste personality" which takes some time to figure out. Generally eating a food daily for two weeks will help you discover the personality of the food in your body.
Tastes & healthEvery taste is associated with a physical and emotional response. The sweet taste causes physical satisfaction and attraction, whereas the bitter taste causes discomfort and aversion. Knowledge of the different tastes brings awareness to our food cravings. A balanced Ayurvedic diet includes all of the six tastes in every meal but each individual should adjust the quantity of the tastes for his or her body. For example, Kapha should use less sweet taste while Vata and Pitta would benefit from using more sweet taste. A person may have an excess or deficiency of taste which can be detected by an Ayurvedic practitioner in a consultation.
Food cravingsTastes are not in the food but on the tongue. One of the first signs of illness is altered taste. Altered taste leads to poor food choices and cravings. When taste buds are altered we recommend cleansing programs programs to remove excess from the body and put the doshas back in balance.
Cravings are our body's best attempt to heal itself. For example, excess Kapha causes circulation to stagnate, resulting in low energy. Then Kapha craves sweets for a quick "pick-me-up." Sweet cravings might have been appropriate for our ancestors in the wilderness but there were no ice-cream cones in the forest! In modern society, however, indulging in ice cream only causes more Kapha stagnation and cravings.
Sacred cravingsAll cravings come from unhealthy or deficient organs. By understanding taste and the nature of deficiency, we can understand the root of our cravings. When health and desire are one our cravings become sacred.
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based on the bitters reading on your site, i have cut down to having coffee only in the Kapha times of day. i am Vata constitution, but my vikruti is Vata-Pitta. I am wondering if you feel that even having coffee at this Kapha times will be aggravating the Vata elements? Also, I eat leafy greens daily - chard or kale typically… migh this too be a food I ought to be avoiding? I am sort of feeling a bit at a loss for meal ideas. I tend to eat quinoa and squash and greens most dinners. Any thoughts? Thanks so much.
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