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
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.
ALKALIZINGAn herb or food that makes the urine more alkaline (higher pH). This herbal action can be helpful for a number of inflammatory conditions.
FIREResembles fire (tejas) in quality - hot, sharp, penetrating, light, dry.
WATERResembles water (ap) in quality - fluid, sticky, soft, heavy, stable, cool.
DOWNWARDDownward-moving (Adho Gati Marga) substances move food downward in the GI tract, settle the nervous system, and relax muscles.
DIGESTIVEHerbs that encourage healthy digestive.
EMETICAn herb that causes vomiting.
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|
DETOXICANTAn herb that eliminates or metabolizes toxins from the body.
|Heart & Circulation|
REBUILD-ELECTROLYTESSubstances that increase your electrolyte balance. Electrolytes help you retain water, keep your palate moist, and truly quench your thirst.
REBUILDS-FLUIDSHerbs or substances that create moisture in the body and increase fluids.
FLUSHES-MEMBRANESHerbs in this category stimulate mucus membranes to release fluids, flushing them out.
|Kidney & Urinary|
ANTIDIURETICAn herb that suppresses the formation of urine. They help retain fluids and rehydrate by reducing urination. They oppose diuresis.
|Liver & Gall Bladder|
CHOLAGOGUECholagogues stimulate the release of bile from the gall bladder for improved digestion.
|Lung and Sinus|
FLUSHES-SINUSESAn herb that relieves sinus congestion by flushing out mucus.
SOOTHES-THROATSoothes throat discomfort, including from a sore or ticklish throat.
|Find Your Symptom|
STRENGTHENS-RESOLVEIncreases determination and courage by reducing stress and building strength.
GENERAL-LAXATIVEPromotes a bowel movement. General laxative is an umbrella term that refers to several different types of laxatives...
STOOL-SOFTENERAn herb that softens stool that is hard and difficult to pass. They are the safest and most gentle type of laxative. Some foods are even stool softeners, such as warm milk with ghee.
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PoopAlternating Diarrhea / Constipation, Less than 1 elimination a day, Rabbit pellet / Hard lumpy stool, Sausage shape stool with cracks on surface, Straining to eliminate
DigestionAnal Spasm, Burping, Diverticulosis / Diverticulitis, Dry Mouth / Tongue, Gas, irregular digestion, Hemorrhoids, Irregular/small appetite, Limited sense of taste, Malabsorption, Pain left lower abdomen, Pain lower back, Pancreatic Insufficiency, Quickly full / early satiety, Strong/frequently thirsty
Blood and CirculationAnemia, Cramping back of leg, Dry eyes, Irregular heartbeat, Night sweats, Sweat rarely
DietAnorexia, past or current, Bulimia, past or current, Irregular Thirst
Respiratory HealthChronic cough, Dry cough, Laryngitis, Limited sense of smell, Ringing ears, Sinus Infection, Sinus pain around eyes, Sinus pain in cheeks, Sinus pain in forehead
Kidney Bladder UrinaryClear urine, Frequent Urination, Night-time Urination
Mind Stress SleepDifficulty concentrating, Epilepsy, Tired in afternoon
BonesFoot cramps, Muscle cramps, Thin, brittle nails
SkinGray skin/lacking lustre, Thin lips
Reproductive HealthPainful menstruation
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.