School of Ayurvedic Diet & Digestion
Increases These Qualities (Gunas)
Functional Ayurveda helps you assess imbalances through 20 main states (gunas). Aggravating these characteristics weakens your body and causes imbalance. By knowing which states are habitually imbalanced in your body, you will be able to identify and correct imbalances before you get sick. Every state has an opposite which balances it (i.e. hot balances cold). You restore balance by favoring diet and lifestyle choices that increase the opposite state.
The 6 Tastes
Taste is used to sense the most basic properties and effects of food. Each taste has a specific medicinal effect on your body. Cravings for food with certain tastes indicate your body is craving specific medicinal results from food. Taste is experienced on the tongue and represents your body's reaction to foods. 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?
The Three Doshas / Body Types
People tend to get sick, over and over again, due to similar causes and habitual imbalances that are unique to the person. Your body type summarizes this tendency, showing you the 'type' of conditions and imbalances that frequently challenge your health & wellness. Using body type, you can also identify remedies likely to improve your strength and resiliency. Your body type identifies physical and mental characteristics as well as your personal strengths and weaknesses. The calculation of your body type is based on your medical history.
The 3 functional body types (doshas), are Catabolic (Vata), Metabolic (Pitta), and Anabolic (Kapha). Catabolic individuals tend to break down body mass into energy. Metabolic individuals tend to burn or use energy. Anabolic individuals tend to store energy as body mass. Catabolic people tend to be easily stimulated, hyperactive, underweight and dry. Metabolic people tend to be rosy-cheeked, easily irritated, focused, driven, and easily inflamed. Anabolic people are heavy, stable and grounded, but if they store too much energy, they could gain weight easily and have congestion.
HAS THE FOLLOWING
ALKALIZINGAn herb or food that makes the urine more alkaline (higher pH). This herbal action can be helpful for a number of inflammatory conditions.
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.
FIREResembles fire (tejas) in quality - hot, sharp, penetrating, light, dry.
WATERResembles water (ap) in quality - fluid, sticky, soft, heavy, stable, cool.
RED-BLOODRed blood (Rakta Dhatu) includes red blood cells and blood vessels.
OUTWARDOutward-moving substances stimulate circulation, push heat towards the skin, or are stimulating.
QUENCHES-THIRSTAn herb or substance that relieves thirst.
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.
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
|Cleanse and Detox|
DETOXICANTAn herb that eliminates or metabolizes toxins from the body.
|Heart & Circulation|
CALMS-HEARTAn herb that literally calms the heart. These herbs are helpful in the treatment of anxiety, sadness, depression, or other emotional imbalances in the heart. Related to the Chinese Herbal Category 'calms spirit.'
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.
REFRIGERANTAn herb or substance that strongly cools the body. Can be helpful in cases of heat conditions.
VULNERARYAn herb used for the treatment of wounds. Promotes healing of skin lesions and wounds/promotes cell growth and repair
ANTIMICROBIALAn agent that kills microorganisms or inhibits their growth. Antimicrobial is an umbrella term that can be broken down into specific categories of target microorganism, such as anti-bacterials, fungals, and virals.
FLUSHES-MEMBRANESHerbs in this category stimulate mucus membranes to release fluids, flushing them out.
|Liver & Gall Bladder|
CHOLAGOGUECholagogues stimulate the release of bile from the gall bladder for improved digestion.
|Lung and Sinus|
ANTITUSSIVECough suppressant, particularly for dry coughs or a tickle in your throat.
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|
RELAXES-EYESEases tension in eye muscles, so the eyes feel less strained, often by supporting the liver.
|Skin Care & Beauty|
REFRESHES-SKINFlushes the lymphatic system to cool, awaken, and revive the skin.
DIAPHORETICAn herb that induces sweating, often by dilating blood vessels close to the skin.
EMOLLIENTsoothes & softens the skin
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.
DigestionAcid Reflux, Burping, Diverticulosis / Diverticulitis, Dry Mouth / Tongue, Frequent Nausea, Gas, irregular digestion, Indigestion / Upset stomach, Irregular/small appetite, Limited sense of taste, Malabsorption, Morning Sickness, Pain left lower abdomen, Pancreatic Insufficiency, Quickly full / early satiety, Receding gums, Strong/frequently thirsty
Respiratory HealthAnimal/dander allergy, Chronic cough, Difficulty expectorating, Dry cough, Limited sense of smell, Mucus Congestion, Post nasal drip, Sinus Infection, Sore throat, Thick mucus, Yellow mucus
DietBulimia, past or current, Irregular Thirst
Blood and CirculationChronic Fungus infection, Dry eyes, Fast Heartbeat, Gall Bladder Inflammation, Gallstones / Attack, Hepatitis (Past/Current), Irregular heartbeat, Sensitivity to bright light, Sweat rarely, White tongue coating
Kidney Bladder UrinaryClear urine
Mind Stress SleepDifficulty concentrating, Forgetful / spacey / distracted, Frequent Dreams, Seizures, Tired in afternoon, Tired in morning
BonesFibromyalgia, Muscle cramps
PoopGray Stool, Less than 1 elimination a day, Rabbit pellet / Hard lumpy stool, Sausage shape stool with cracks on surface, Shiny / oily / fatty stools, Straining to eliminate
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.