Ayurvedic Diet & Digestion School
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
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.
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.
TEJASHerbs that increase tejas improve metabolism & brightness by stimulating the fire element at a cellular level. Destroys toxicity, excess fluids, & improves digestion. Also helps with mental function such as poor memory, lack of inspiration & depression.
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.
|Bone & Joint|
ANTIARTHRITICHerbs that ease arthritic pain and promote joint health.
QUENCHES-THIRSTAn herb or substance that relieves thirst.
DIGESTIVEHerbs that encourage healthy digestive.
CARMINATIVEStimulates the release of gas. Helpful for bloating or cramping abdominal pain. Propels food downward.
ANTIEMETICHerbs that reduce nausea or stop vomiting.
ANTISPASMODICHerbs that reduce or inhibit muscle spasms or cramping, such as in asthma, colic or IBS.
STOMACHICAn herb that increases appetite or settles a nauseas or nervous stomach. These generally increase the digestive fire, therefore relieving symptoms of sluggish or difficult digestion.
SIALOGOGUEA sialogogue increases saliva. Sour foods are often great sialogogues, and increase output of all exocrine glands. Salty taste is very moistening as well. Bitter, pungent and sweettastes also increase salivary output but to a lesser degree. Astringents
APPETIZERHerbs that cleanse the palate & stimulate hunger or desire to eat.
|Cleanse and Detox|
DETOXICANTAn herb that eliminates or metabolizes toxins from the body.
BURNS-TOXINSAn herb that detoxifies by helping your body metabolize toxins, as opposed to eliminating them.
|Energy Vitality Strength|
STIMULATES-ENERGYThis category groups thyroid and adrenal stimulating herbs
TONICA tonic herb strengthens tissue, often restoring healthy function. Tonics usually target a specific organ, tissue, or system ie: brain, muscle or respiratory tonic.
|Heart & Circulation|
CARDIAC-STIMULANTHerbs that increase the heart rate. Useful in cardiovascular health, blood stagnation, and subjective feeling of heaviness in the chest area.
BLOOD-TONICAn herb that produces more blood cells in the body or otherwise strengthens blood. Helpful for anemia and other types of deficiency.
ALTERATIVELiterally, an herb that restores the proper function of the body. In practice, alteratives are usually blood cleansers and blood chemistry balancers. They were traditionally used to revitalize and detoxify after a long winter.
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.
OPTHALMICBenefits the eyes.
REBUILDS-FLUIDSHerbs or substances that create moisture in the body and increase fluids.
VULNERARYAn herb used for the treatment of wounds. Promotes healing of skin lesions and wounds/promotes cell growth and repair
BLOOD-THINNERHerbs that thin the blood. Helpful for people with heart disease or clogged circulation.
ANTIPLATELETAn herb that destroys platelets in the blood, therefore reducing the tendency of blood to form clots. They are useful in cardiovascular disease.
ANTI-INFLAMMATORYReduces inflammation in the body. Different herbs and carriers target different body systems.
EXPELS-POISONSAids the expulsion of toxic substances from the body.
|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.
|Liver & Gall Bladder|
LIVOTONICAn herb that strengthens the liver. It is helpful for people with a history of substance abuse, chronic liver issues from hepatitis and hemolytic anemias.
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.
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.
|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.
BRAIN-TONICAn herb that strengthens the brain, thereby improves either mental function, stamina, or stability.
BUILDS-SEMENHerbs that increase the production of semen, often by rebuilding fluids in general.
APHRODISIACHerbs that increase sexual arousal through various actions including increased circulation, relaxation, stimulation, or tonics that strengthen glandular health.
GALACTAGOGUEIncreases production of breast milk.
EMMENOGOGUEHerbs which stimulate blood flow in the pelvic area and uterus. They are used to increase scanty menstruation, relieve menstrual pain, and other functions.
|Skin Care & Beauty|
DIAPHORETICAn herb that induces sweating, often by dilating blood vessels close to the skin.
SKIN-TONICAn herb that strengthens and nourishes skin, improving tone, color, moisture and complexion.
ANTIPRURITICAntipruritics are herbs that inhibit itching that is often associated with itching skin conditions such as sunburns, allergic reactions, eczema, psoriasis, chickenpox, fungal infections, insect bites, or contact dermatitis (as in poison ivy exposure.)
HYPOLIPIDEMICScrapes fats / cleanses blood vessels
UTERINE-TONICAn herb that tonifies and strengthens the uterus. Helpful for menstrual difficulties and fertility. Often herbs that increase ojas, but also circulation to reproductive system.
INDUCES-OVULATIONHerbs that encourage ovulation.
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.
GENERAL-LAXATIVEPromotes a bowel movement. General laxative is an umbrella term that refers to several different types of laxatives...
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.
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