School of Ayurvedic Diet & Digestion
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.
RAJASICRajasic foods stimulate desire or nervous energy. Red meat, high protein food, garlic and onions stimulate desire. Rajasic foods include chili peppers, coffee, and anything that stimulates movement.
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.
BLANDBland means doesn't have much taste. In Chinese medicine, bland taste refers to afood without little macronutrients, such as cabbage, radish or bok choy.
CRUNCHYMakes an audible noise when you eat them. Can provide fun texture variation.
NUTRIENT Folate, Insoluble Fiber, Potassium, Vitamin K
OUTWARDOutward-moving substances stimulate circulation, push heat towards the skin, or are stimulating.
APPETIZERHerbs that cleanse the palate & stimulate hunger or desire to eat.
DIGESTIVEHerbs that encourage healthy digestive.
CARMINATIVEStimulates the release of gas. Helpful for bloating or cramping abdominal pain. Propels food downward.
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.
|Heart & Circulation|
VASODILATORA vasodilator is an herb that widens the blood vessels by the relaxation of smooth muscle cells within the vessel walls, thereby increasing circulation systemically or to a local area.
|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.
|Mind, Stress & Sleep|
NERVINEHerbs that specifically go to the nervous system and brain. They can help with stress, memory, early alzheimer?s, even chronic pain.
|Skin Care & Beauty|
DIAPHORETICAn herb that induces sweating, often by dilating blood vessels close to the skin.
Blood and CirculationAvoids humidity, Feet or Ankles Swelling, High Blood Pressure, High Blood Sugar, Insulin Resistance, Water Retention
DigestionCraving Crunchy Foods
Mind Stress SleepCry easily
Weight LossFat back of arms, Fat on back, Fat on buttocks, Fat on thighs, Low metabolism
Kidney Bladder UrinaryKidney Stones
Respiratory HealthLung Inflammation
SkinPuffy / swollen skin
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.