School of Ayurvedic Diet & Digestion
Experiment with herbal sun teas this summer. In the morning, add herbs and water to your favorite mason jar and place outside in the sun. Using heat from the sun instead of boiling water allows the herbs to retain a great deal of flavor. Watch as the color takes on a new, vibrant hue as the hours go by. These teas, excellent for a mid-afternoon cool-down, can be served chilled or even on ice, garnished with mint, lemon or lime. Here are some herbs to play with: Mint, rose, hibiscus, chamomile, lemon balm, and lavender. Summer is the time of fun, so be playful!
1. Fill a 32 ounce jar or glass pitcher with water, add hibiscus and mint. Seal the jar and place in the sunshine for 2 to 4 hours. You will know it is ready when the water becomes a vibrant pink. Add sugar to taste.
2. Strain and serve room temperature, chilled or on ice. For extra flare, add a mint garnish.
Keeps well in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.
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
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.
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.
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.
QUENCHES-THIRSTAn herb or substance that relieves thirst.
APPETITE-SUPPRESSANTSuppresses hunger without causing weight gain
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.
|Heart & Circulation|
REFRIGERANTAn herb or substance that strongly cools the body. Can be helpful in cases of heat conditions.
OPTHALMICBenefits the eyes.
HYPOTENSIVEAn herb that lowers blood pressure.
ANTI-INFLAMMATORYReduces inflammation in the body. Different herbs and carriers target different body systems.
|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|
Relaxes solar plexus,
RELAXES-SOLAR-PLEXUSSoothes and comforts the muscles of the upper abdomen, reducing any tension or pressure in the solar plexus area.
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.
SKIN-TONICAn herb that strengthens and nourishes skin, improving tone, color, moisture and complexion.
|Find Your Symptom|
REFRESHINGStimulates and wakes up the body, leaving it feeling cool, fresh, and energized.
RELIEVES-BURNINGHerbs that soothe a burn or reduce an internal burning sensation, such as aloe vera.
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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