Written by John Immel,
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Nature's Healing Qualities: The GunasThe gunas are the twenty most important reactions your body has to food. The gunas are also the different kinds of experiences you have being alive. The best way to get started in Ayurveda is by knowing the gunas. The first eight gunas are heavy and light, sharp and dull, hot and cold, oily and dry. For example bread makes you feel heavy but salads feel light. Black pepper is sharp on your tongue but cheese is dull. Chilies heat up your body but cucumbers cool your body down. Butter is oily but popcorn is drying. On Joyful Belly we've selected only those gunas that are most useful in cooking. The study of Ayurvedic Pharmacology details all the ways Ayurveda classifies food, herbs, and diseases.
The Six TastesIn Ayurveda, nutrition is based on the six tastes (western nutrition identifies only four tastes). Each taste affects your body in a unique way that can make you feel better, or worse, depending upon the person. Bitter is light and drying. Astringent is tightening and drying. Pungent is sharp and dry. Salty taste is liquefying and hot. Sour is hot, liquefying, and heavy. Sweet taste is heavy, gooey, and cold. Every season has a different taste and diet.
The Three Body Types (Doshas)Ayurveda groups people into three general body types called Dosha. The three doshas are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Your body types describes three basic metabolic patterns of how you use energy. Vata spends energy. Pitta manages it. Kapha stores it. Dosha predicts the symptoms and diseases you are vulnerable to, and gives you a means to restore balance. Vata tends to suffer from deficiency. Pitta from heat disorders. And Kapha tends to suffer from stagnancy and conditions of excess.
DigestionGood circulation, good digestion and well nourished tissue are three cornerstones of good health. By the magic of digestion, when you eat an apple it becomes a part of your body. Whether the apple is hot or cold, acidic or basic, sugary or bitter, the body still has to transform the qualities of the apple into the qualities of a human being. Digestion takes work. Some signs of indigestion include gas, burping, acid reflux, diarrhea and constipation.
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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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Generally, time and illness change the imbalanced dosha but not a person's constitution. Best, -John
Dear Elma, You can search on 'ojas' building foods to find the foods with the most calories. Best, -John
Hi John. I log onto Joyful Belly at least once a week for ideas and info. Thanks for all you provide! Best, Jen
Hi John, I just received digestive bitters and weight away, can I take the weight away and sip on the digestive bitters at the same time? Debbie
Hello. I wonder if I can order the personal diet book for Kapha. I'm an overweight vata looking for a comprehensive program. What do you recommend? I already have your weight loss recording in my library and really appreciate all it offers. Pattie Texas
I have had 3 surgeries in the past 10 months. I really need to lose some weight, but I wonder if this is the right time? I also have RA, one kidney, and a rather complex medical history. However, I am essentially healthy and strong and feeling better each day. THe last surgery was on Sept. 23, and I signed up for the next workshop beginning Oct. 6. Diana Mrotek, Westport, CT 10-01-14
I am a vata, thin and dry and my Pitta/Kaffa are the same (2 each). Vata is supposed to have sweet, but my central nervous system cannot handle sugar/caffene/alcohol. How do you recommend I begin this process?
Jane, because of your in depth medical history, it is very difficult to make any specific recommendations through comments. We recommend signing up for a consultation. You can do that here: https://www.joyfulbelly.com/Ayurveda/consultation
Hi, Today I started the 3 day cleanse and detox recommended in my body book. I made the Kapha pacifying Kitchari according to the recipe. I don't want to hurt any feelings but I can't eat it with all those spices. The beans and rice and salt I could handle, but I'm not used to spicy food. I just can't eat it like that. If I made it plainer with just salt and maybe a little of one spice would it still work? If so, which spice and how much.
Peanuts generally aggravate Vata because they are a legume and legumes are often challenging for Vata individuals to digest. That being said, every body is different. The foods that are said to aggravate each dosha are similar in quality to the dosha. For example, Vata is dry and legumes are dry in nature - hence legumes often aggravate Vata.
Hello JohnI am very new to Ayuverda, discovered it after listening to Deepa Chopra. I have used your tools and discovered I could be Kapha. I therefore changed my diet accordingly and feel extraordinary.My daughter is 9. She has been diagonised with ADHD. We notice quite a change with certain foods and I would like to slowly adapte her diet to suit her dosha. I find it difficult to measure a childs dosha and different online tools are giving me different results. Is there a way to add her onto my online account in your system?Would you recommend doing a dosha inquiry for a child?Thank you for your advice.Catherine
You could certainly create an account for your daughter or use the questions from your quizzes to support better understanding of her.
Angela, try cutting the spice amounts in half. You could also just simply use the cumin and cilantro and skip the rest.
This is a tremendously generous website, thank you. I bought my recipes, my body map, and personal ayurvedic chart. Just a sample question I have is, for my current state I am to avoid sesame seeds yet there is a sesame seed recipe. Very aggravating spices: black pepper, thyme, sea salt, and many other spices that are included in my personal recipes. Do these recipes have something in them that buffers the very aggravating ones? Thank you so much! Amazing information on this website. Avis Lyons, Louisiana, USA
Generally speaking, yes. The combination of food and spices are balancing to the doshas indicated even though some of the ingredients by themselves may be aggravating.