An Ayurvedic diet differs from person to person. What suits one individual may not suit another. Ayurveda is all about being true to your constitution, being aware of how different foods affect your body as well as knowing how your body reacts to different environmental factors. In a fast-paced life, ruled by technology, people are more aware of their surroundings rather than themselves. Monisha says, “Internalising has become difficult; you are not mindful about yourself.” This is why she emphasises following an Ayurvedic lifestyle, where one imbibes the food that is needed by the mind, body and spirit.
Ayurveda is a lifestyle
“When you cook for yourself, you know what’s going into your food and how it’s been prepared,” says Monisha. The key to Ayurvedic cooking is to keep your preparations simple with seasonal and fresh ingredients and to eat at your usual meal hours. Most importantly, ditch the phone and TV and concentrate on your meal.
Ayurvedic cooking also stresses cooking according to your environment or the climate you live in. In a hot country like India, one needs to eat spicy food to perspire and cool down. Capsaicin is a compound in chillies that dilates blood vessels, aiding perspiration and cooling the body, which is why Indian cuisine is spicy. In a colder climate like the UK, one doesn’t need to cool down, hence the milder diet with less use of spices in the cuisine.
Understanding your body-mind type
Understanding one’s body-mind type is crucial, because each person processes food differently. Some are more prone to illnesses, while others can’t cope with a high-energy lifestyle. There are differences in our mind-body types and we need to eat accordingly. Monisha explains, “I need a largely vegetarian diet to feel right; I cannot eat meat everyday as it makes me feel heavy and lethargic.” The proper diet can help us become energetic and efficient.
Are you the pitta, kapha or vata type?
Pitta is fire; people belonging to this type should refrain from spicy, sour and acidic food items. They should instead eat cooling things, should avoid eating on the go and have regular meals. Vata is air and people falling under this type need a balanced diet of freshly cooked whole foods. Warm and nourishing foods help balance excess vata; people suffering from vata should avoid cold and raw foods, and indulge in warm food items made in good-quality oils. Kapha is liquid; people who suffer from mucous problems and cough frequently, typically fall under this category.
Often, an individual doesn’t belong to one type, and could be pitta in the summer but vata in the winter. So, knowing one’s type and eating accordingly is very important.
Ayurveda also classifies types of food:
For best results of Ayurvedic cooking:
Want to know more about Monisha Bhardwaj’s new cook book The Indian Cookery Course? Click here.