The Ayurvedic Way to Eating for Optimal Health

Diet and I do not go well. Heck, if you dare bind me in a strict regimen to eat nothing but vegetable smoothies, then I’d be extremely, haan-grrry. That’s hungry + angry.

Fruit Smoothies

This was me 4 years ago. Fast forward to today’s date and my Mom says to me ”Who are you?” Oh, the look on her face..

So I’ve changed a bit; converted to a vegan, and always on a strict watch as to what goes down my precious digestive system.

Because over the years, I’ve learned this – your diet has the potential to make everything right in your life. Living a healthy life is the best gift you can ever give to your self.

If we burden our body with too much food, our digestive system must use more of the body’s resources to process it; the body then has fewer resources to maintain the immune system and everything else.

This happens not just when we over-eat, but also with indulgences like candy, alcohol, leftovers, and any other processed food found in the middle aisles of the grocery store.

Instead of eating these foods, I try to follow a very simple maxim: eat natural foods in small quantities. By doing this, I not only maintain a healthy weight but I avoid getting sick, feeling lethargic in the morning, and running out of energy halfway through the afternoon.

Below is what you should eat not just for optimal health—but an optimal life. But always consult your physician first before attempting any diet. This is the diet that I picked up after I decided to follow a yogi and his habits. You’ll greatly benefit even if you implement just parts of this diet to your everyday life.

Early Morning: Warm Water

Water

Every night before you go to bed, the digestive system slows down and remains like that till morning. A warm glass of water helps fire up your digestive system. So if you suddenly eat a lot first thing, there won’t be the risk of overburdening the digestive system and causing digestive and health issues.

Mid-Morning: Fruit Salad 

FruitSaladSummerFresh

Did you know that the changing of the season dictates a change in our diet as well? With more or less heat around us, our digestive fire needs different kinds of foods to remain in balance. In the winter, eat more foods that warm and nourish the body like mostly cooked foods, cow’s milk, spices, and whatever produce is in season like sweet potatoes, broccoli, winter squash, and bananas.

In the summer, I have more raw foods to remain lighter, including carrots, corn, cucumbers, sunflower seeds, and cashews. If you have real hunger in the morning,  eat either a banana or some granola at least two to three hours, after the warm water.

Mid-day: Rice, Vegetables, and Full-Fat Yogurt

vegetable fried rice

If the digestive fire is just warming up in the morning, it’s running at full blaze around midday. This is why Ayurveda teaches us to make lunch the largest meal of the day. This is also when we can consume the densest foods without overwhelming our system too much. Though lunch is my largest meal, I still keep it simple with some cooked vegetables and white basmati rice. In the winter, I may have it with some yogurt and more spices.

Late Afternoon: Rice Cakes with Almond Butter

Rice cake

I finish my day of eating around five o’clock with a light snack like some rice cakes with almond butter or a handful of raw cashews. Keep it simple by not mixing cooked foods with raw foods, dairy with most fruits (bananas are OK), and dry foods with too much liquid. Also if you eat animal proteins it’s important not to mix dairy with them, either.

That’s because when we combine too many different foods at once, this can turn into minor symptoms like indigestion and gas but can lead to more serious conditions as well.

Nighttime: Nothing but Herbs

fresh herbs

It takes at least 4 to 5 hours for food to leave the stomach. Because the digestion is set to low while we sleep, food cannot be processed without creating toxicity. After five o’clock, I have a tea of herbs, like turmeric, ginger, and coriander. If you go to bed later, then leave yourself at least 3-5 hours to digest before bedtime.

If you would like to take your life in a more energetic and ailment-free direction, begin with reforming your diet. If you live the Ayurvedic way, you will not only simplify your diet but create all sorts of exciting shifts in your life as well. Eating doesn’t need to be complicated, and in fact our eating is healthiest when it’s not.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. 

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