GOING VEGAN? APPLY AYURVEDIC PRINCIPLES TO YOUR DIET FOR BETTER HEALTH

GOING VEGAN? APPLY AYURVEDIC PRINCIPLES TO YOUR DIET FOR BETTER HEALTH

GOING VEGAN? APPLY AYURVEDIC PRINCIPLES TO YOUR DIET FOR BETTER HEALTH

The vegan diet is becoming quite popular due to environmental and health reasons, besides the weight loss angle. When done in the right way, a vegan diet will lead to various health benefits, including improved blood sugar control and creating a balance in your doshas.

 

A major reason for going vegan is to exclude all forms of animal exploitation and cruelty—food, clothing or for any other purpose. Hence, the vegan diet is devoid of all animal products, including meat, eggs, and dairy.

 

Ayurvedic approach to a vegan diet 

While a vegan diet excludes dairy products, Ayurveda recommends certain types of dairy as it considers dairy products like ghee, warm milk, fresh paneer, and lassi to be sattvic (pure). As vegans tend to go more for raw food, Ayurveda believes that raw foods are not good for Vata types because raw and cold foods don’t suit them. However, it suits the Pitta and Kapha types.

 

If you have decided to go vegan, you may consider applying the Ayurvedic principles to your diet for better health and proper balance.

 

Ayurveda looks at each individual in a unique way. Hence, each individual needs different nutrients. Here are some Ayurvedic tips to help vegans balance their unique constitutions.

 

You can replace items such as butter, ghee, yogurt, cheese, and milk with equally nourishing vegan alternatives such as coconut oil, avocados, raw tahini, and raw almonds.

 

Know your Ayurvedic constitution and choose foods accordingly 

According to Ayurveda, each individual has a particular pattern of energy that is unique and different from others. Each individual has three doshas of subtle energies working within. These are Vata (air and ether), Pitta (fire and water), and Kapha (water and earth). Every one of us has some of each dosha in our constitution, but one dosha is more dominant.

 

Once you have identified your dosha, you should also know the foods that will balance your constitution and the ones that can cause imbalances such as bloating, gas, or congestion.

 

If you are a Vata type, take more nuts, seeds, avocados, and other healthy plant sources of fats and oils. Soak the nuts to make them easier to digest. Incorporate white basmati rice, mung beans, or lentils in your diet to get proteins. Uses spices like cumin, coriander, fennel, fresh ginger, cardamom, and asafoetida (hing) in your food. These help in digestion.

 

If you are a Pitta type, your digestive fire is the strongest of all of the doshas and you can afford heavier foods. But you are prone to imbalances caused by excess heat like acne, acid reflux, or inflammation. So you should not eat hot, spicy foods, which make you overheated. Instead, you should incorporate cooling foods like coconut and cucumber into your diet. You should consume beans, legumes, and root veggies, and grains—their sweetness is good for pacifying Pitta. Use flax, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds in your food, but refrain from eating an abundance of nuts as they have heating energy that is not good for you.

 

For the Kapha types, a vegan diet is perfect. Eat more of whole, fresh food and avoid foods that are mimicking meat or other animal products. Such foods may be processed and contain sodium that can make you feel lethargic.

 

Eat plant-based foods 

Vegan diet can also be unhealthy. So you need to choose your food with care. Avoid processed, packaged vegan foods, which contain preservatives, excess sugar or salt and unnatural sources of protein. These are difficult to digest. Instead, choose plant-based foods. Ayurveda recommends eating foods that are ripened by the sun. Such food will be full of prana (life force), which is capable of providing energy and nourishment. Seasonal and organic foods are the best. You can choose natural sources of protein like beans, lentils, nuts and seeds, and naturally fermented soy products like tofu.

 

Eat a variety of foods

You should have a balanced diet and consume all nutrients. Don’t overdo by eating only greens to get enough iron or nuts and seeds to get proteins. According to Ayurveda, overeating even a healthy type of food can cause imbalance. So you need to add a variety of foods to get all nutrients. You have to be careful that you don’t increase the risk of nutrient deficiencies.

 

Study the food that affects you

Observe and analyse the food you eat. Observe which foods make you feel healthy and energetic, and which affect your energy and makes you feel undernourished or bloated

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