School of Ayurvedic Diet & Digestion
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Increases These Qualities (Gunas)
Ayurveda helps you assess how you feel through the 20 main therapeutic feelings or qualities called gunas. Through the gunas you can articulate, experience and develop sensitivity to the signals your body sends you. Imbalanced gunas are the root of your imbalances. Every guna has an opposite which balances is (i.e. hot balances cold). You create balance by favoring diet and lifestyle choices that increase the opposite guna.
The 6 Tastes
Taste has meaning in Ayurveda, and brings physical and emotional changes to your body. Taste is experienced on the tongue and is your body's reaction to foods much in the same way that your emotions are mental reactions to experiences. Sweet taste causes physical satisfaction and attraction whereas bitter taste causes discomfort and aversion. Kapha should use less sweet taste while Vata and Pitta would benefit from using more sweet taste. One of the first signs of illness is that your taste and appetite for food changes. The six tastes are sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent. Do you crave foods with any of the tastes below? Food and herbs with the following tastes could aggravate your symptoms.
The Three Doshas / Body Types
Your body type shows how your strengths, as well as how your body typically goes out of balance. It also shows how your body responds to the environment. Your body type is comprised of certain qualities and affects every part of you - your physical and mental characteristics as well as your personal strengths and weaknesses. This is because your body type is based on how your body uses energy. Ayurveda has 3 body types (doshas), called Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Vata spends energy. Pitta burns energy. Kapha stores energy. Vata people tend to be easily stimulated, hyperactive, underweight and dry. Pitta people tend to be hot, focused, driven, and easily inflamed. Kapha people are heavy, stable and grounded, but if they store too much energy, they could gain weight easily and have congestion.
HAS THE FOLLOWING
PRANAPrana is the Sanskrit word for vital life energy, similar to Qi in Chinese Medicine. Many herbs stimulate your energy, or improve the flow of prana through your body. Generally, prana needs to be increased in spring after a sleepy winter.
SATTVICSattvic foods promote awareness and a refreshed mind by nourishing the body without taxing digestion. Sattvic foods do not stimulate desire or nervous energy. They create clarity instead of drowsiness or heaviness.
ALKALIZINGAn herb or food that makes the urine more alkaline (higher pH). This herbal action can be helpful for a number of inflammatory conditions.
AIRResembles air (vayu) in quality - highly mobile, drying, light, cold, subtle, rough.
FIREResembles fire (tejas) in quality - hot, sharp, penetrating, light, dry.
AROMATICHerbs or spices with volatile essential oils that present strong aromas. Aromatic oils shock, refresh and numb tissue, with the end result of relaxing, opening and clearing stagnant fluids in tissues.
COLOR Brown, Green
OUTWARDOutward-moving substances stimulate circulation, push heat towards the skin, or are stimulating.
ANTIEMETICHerbs that reduce nausea or stop vomiting.
ANTISPASMODICHerbs that reduce or inhibit muscle spasms or cramping, such as in asthma, colic or IBS.
APPETIZERHerbs that cleanse the palate & stimulate hunger or desire to eat.
CARMINATIVEStimulates the release of gas. Helpful for bloating or cramping abdominal pain. Propels food downward.
DIGESTIVEHerbs that encourage healthy digestive.
SPLEEN-TONICAn herb that strengthens spleen function by improving strength of the blood. Spleen tonics Builds agni, brighten the person's appearances & firms up tissues.
|Cleanse and Detox|
BURNS-TOXINSAn herb that detoxifies by helping your body metabolize toxins, as opposed to eliminating them.
DETOXICANTAn herb that eliminates or metabolizes toxins from the body.
|Energy Vitality Strength|
STIMULATES-ENERGYThis category groups thyroid and adrenal stimulating herbs
ANALGESICRelieves or reduces feelings of pain without eliminating sensation.
|Kidney & Urinary|
DIURETICHerbs that promote urine formation, thereby flushing the kidneys and urinary tract while eliminating any excess water retention. As diuretics reduce water retention, they are often used to reduce blood pressure.
|Lung and Sinus|
BRONCHODILATORAn herb that encourages the widening or opening of the lung airways. Helpful in cough and asthma.
DECONGESTANTAn herb that reduces mucus congestion in the sinus or lungs by restricting blood flow to mucus membranes.
EXPECTORANTHerbs that help you cough up and eliminate mucus. These herbs often work by increasing the quantity of mucus, or thinning the mucus.
LUNG-TONICStrengthens the lungs. These herbs are helpful when recovering from either acute or chronic lung issues like bronchitis or pneumonia.
|Skin Care & Beauty|
DIAPHORETICAn herb that induces sweating, often by dilating blood vessels close to the skin.
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DigestionAcid Reflux, Bad breath, Bloating / distension, Burping, Colic / spasm / cramping, Diverticulosis / Diverticulitis, Food allergy, Foul taste on tongue, Frequent Nausea, Gas, irregular digestion, Hiccup, Hoarse Voice, Irregular/small appetite, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Malabsorption, Morning Sickness, Pancreatic Insufficiency, Quickly full / early satiety, Slow, heavy digestion, Smelly Gas, Strong food cravings, Vomiting
Respiratory HealthAnimal/dander allergy, Asthma, Cough with mucus / wet cough, Frequent motion sickness, Large amounts of mucus, Lung Inflammation, Mucus Congestion, Mucus/congestion in mornings, Pneumonia, Post nasal drip, Seasonal allergies, Spitting out mucus, Stuffed nose (can't breathe), Thick mucus, Thin mucus, Vomiting Mucus, Wheezing, White mucus
DietBulimia, past or current
Blood and CirculationChronic Fungus infection, Cramping back of leg, Excess saliva, Feet or Ankles Swelling, High Blood Sugar, Insulin Resistance, Thick coating tongue
Mind Stress SleepConflict makes me depressed, lazy, Confusion / Cloudy Mind, Depressed, Depressed when stressed, Slow, monotonous speech
PoopDiarrhea quickly after eating, Explosive elimination, Mucus on stool, Stool entirely liquid, no solid pieces, Stool formed, but porous & airy, Undigested food in stool
Weight LossFat back of arms, Fat on back, Fat on buttocks, Fat on thighs, Feel overweight
BonesFoot cramps, Hip pain
About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. His online course Balance Your Ayurvedic Diet in a Week provides tools for gracefully healing with Ayurveda to thousands. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.