top of page

What is Ayurveda + my journey into it!

From a regular visitor to the hospital - IBS sufferer - to a disciple of Ayurvedic nutrition and lifestyle. In this blogpost we will briefly discuss the basics of Ayurveda, Ayurvedic nutrition & cooking. And how I came to discover and eventually live by the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda + how you can as well!


When it comes to the world of nutrition, there is so much to get confused by. There are so many new diets and trends popping up every day; it's hard to keep track of what's actually a good healthy diet. This created all sorts of problems for me when I was younger, believing that each new idea would solve all my issues (raw food, alkaline, paleo….etc). In reality, most of them have created a multitude of painful gut symptoms, body dysmorphia, and a sense of failure about my own health.


I pursued a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle and diet in all these endeavors but kept failing to spot the obvious fads and trends that sell to people like me.

Running alongside this rollercoaster ride that was my health...I was blessed to have a mother who had started her own health journey to become an Ayurvedic practitioner. She will say she got into Ayurveda because she was trying to figure out why my gut was so problematic. I feel, however, that she was always going in that direction. After a 25-year career as a yoga teacher and disciple of the Bihar School of yoga, she was already well on her way to understand and live by this ancient wisdom.


I was on the complete opposite journey, which seemed like a very destructive and reckless path in hindsight. In contrast, my mum was learning how to heal and flourish. After years of watching her transformation, I eventually caught up.


The spiral of questionable health choices and low self-esteem eased, and I started craving something holistic, wholesome, stable, and sustainable. I eventually listened to my mum and relaxed into 'mummy knows best!'


So what is Ayurveda and Ayurvedic Nutrition?

I get asked this all the time, and each time I refer back to the quote, "Ayurveda is the science of life."


Ayurveda translates from the Sanskrit word "āyus" = ‘life’ + "Veda" = ‘(sacred) knowledge. This translation and quote capture the essence of Ayurveda, holistic, nature-based medicine that can be fitted into our busy and complex lives by adopting a few key principles.


As a chef, I started by exploring the principles of Ayurvedic cooking. I quickly realized that you could not separate the cooking techniques from the lifestyle practices and expect the full-bodied result. Instead, you can expect super yummy, nutritious food. For a while, that was enough until I realized that I wanted to go further and really tackle some of the deep-seated issues I had created or had a susceptibility to within my constitution. This is where Ayurveda comes into its own.


Ayurveda is a highly personalized take on nutrition and lifestyle. While there are many "generic" things we can all incorporate, the real success lies in the constant exploration and monitoring of your own experience. I was actively encouraged to trial things out and learn how to listen to my body's feelings towards the practices. Here, Ayurveda becomes fun, engaging, life work.


I want to lay out a few of the things that I have been trialing and hopefully inspire you to start the inquisitive, gentle journey of listening to your own body.


So again...What is Ayurveda?


The traditional health care system of India with its roots going back as far as 7000 years.

The sages of Ayurveda look at nature's systems and cycles and put together a holistic health care system and lifestyle practice that celebrates the individual in their unique form.


Ayurveda has an understanding that all things in nature are made up of a combination of 5 elements.

Ayurveda has an understanding that all things in nature are made up of a combination of 5 elements.

1. Earth

2. Water

3. Fire

4. Ether - otherwise known as space

5. Air

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

In the Ayurvedic practice, humans are also understood to be a unique combination of these 5 parts. Each person has to balance those parts within themselves.

⠀⠀⠀

This balance of the elements will be a determining factor in who they are as a person, how best to understand them, and how to treat/ interact with them.

The doshas are the Ayurvedic body types or constitutions

The combination of these elements make up what is called the Doshas. Doshas in Ayurveda are the 3 body types that affect your mental, physical and emotional health:

1. Vata: ether & air

2. Pitta: fire & water

3. Kapha: water & earth


How to recognize the doshas in people?

  1. VATA Vata people are typically petite, with fragile, bird like frames. Vata people tend to have a sporadic appetite, with a tendency to snack all day long. They are extremely sensitive to the cold, have light restless sleep. They have extremely active minds, making them creative and fast witted. They may suffer from an anxious overthinking mind, but are extremely open and tolerant of all people. Vata tends to be very dry and brittle, which are both qualities of ether and air, this combination can create extremely dry skin and potential conditions like arthritis.

  2. PITA Pita people are typically medium builds, with the ability to build and loose muscle or fat fast. They have strong dominant appetites, that can lead to over eating or snacking. Their strong appetites however are coupled with equally powerful digestion. The very nature of pita is heat. Pita people tend to have a hot head and a relentless drive to do. They are motivated people, but when out of balance can be extremely irritable, angry and short tempered. Their elements light in fire and water making them, hot, but liquid mobile people. Their agility is demonstrated with the physical abilities and their quick sharp, minds. An out of balance pita person may suffer from acid reflux, indigestion and skin irritation.

  3. KAPHA Kapha people are typically heavy set, dense and thick builds. The qualities of Kapha lie in earth and water, creating a well balanced dense but mobile constitution. They are extremely strong and stable in their appearances, and their mental states.They have a steady appetite and equally steady metabolism, which when out of balance can tip into a very slow, sluggish digestion. The out of balanced Kapha can lead to lack of motivation, slowness, lethargy, laziness and all round couch potato vibes. They have a tendency towards gaining weight easily or struggling to loose excess weight. In general Kapha types are well balanced, healthy, hearty individuals with a strong immune system and great sleeping patterns.

--> Try this Ayurveda dosha test to figure out which one is your dominant dosha: https://chopra.com/dosha-quiz


How does it work? (from a practical application point of view)

  1. Ayurveda incorporates the mind, body, and spirit- This means each of these aspects has practices, medicines, rituals, and procedures that ensure their health and longevity. They are all considered.

  2. Incorporating daily rituals and habits that support our own unique makeup- The Ayurvedic daily clock and seasonal guides offer inspiration and guidance. Learning to live in harmony with the changing seasons of nature and our own bodies empowers us to harness the benefits of aligning to the element. We are a microcosm of the macrocosm, after all. These daily rituals teach us about doing less and uncomplicating life through mindfulness. This idea is at the heart of living a well-balanced life.

  3. How does the nutrition side of things work? The Ayurvedic philosophy- "If your diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. If your diet is correct, medicine is of no need," this little quote sums up the reason nutrition is so important. My mum has always said, "you need to look after the soil for the produce to flourish.." she's talking about our bodies and the importance of looking after our systems. Ayurvedic nutrition, like the whole science, is holistic. It does not work unless each part is considered and worked on. Remember the mind, body, spirit stuff from earlier. These aspects fit into how Ayurvedic nutrition works. It's not so much about what you eat...But rather, HOW, WHEN, and WHY you might eat. Working to untangle the complexities of emotional eating, the unsupportive rituals that we get into around food, and lastly, working through the sometimes painful process of listening to your body's needs can be really challenging. For this reason, the approach is gentle, slow, and long-term. There is no quick fix here. There is no rigorous rules or restrictions...rather a mindful, loving dialogue with yourself. That is my understanding of Ayurvedic Nutrition.


Some principles make all of this understandable and interpretable, but unless they are introduced slowly and with consciousness, they will fall into the world of fad trends.


Here is a list of a few of my favorite Ayurvedic principles....and yes, they all do originate from the ancient but not "old" texts of Ayurveda!


  • Intermittent fasting. Which has become popular again recently but really belongs to an ancient method of balancing excess KAPHA (ayurvedic dosha). The KAPHA dosha is responsible for many great things, but it can lead to excessive weight gain when out of balance. For this reason, intermittent fasting is often used to help balance Kapha and regulate weight.

  • Following the circadian rhythm (see my ayurvedic clock). Morden science has recently got super into the circadian rhythm and its benefits, which is amazing. But this ancient wisdom has been the foundation of living a well-balanced life. Our hormones have evolved to respond to the 24 hour light and dark cycle that is day and night. When we tap into this and start working toward bringing ourselves back to waking at daybreak and wrapping up our day as the sun sets, a whole cascade of health benefits starts to happen.

  • Eating in accordance to the season and what grows locally. Again this is a recent trend taking off, but its roots come from ancient traditions like Ayurveda. Back in the day, it was a given that we ate seasonally and locally, but Ayurveda went a step further and broke this natural phenomenon down into flavors and qualities. Once you start to break the season down into its qualities and then look at the abundant flavors within that season, you will see that nature has a clever way of combating the sometimes harsh qualities of the seasons with food.

  • Gut-brain axis- which in Ayurvedic terms is about our AGNI, our digestive fire, and force! The constant communication between our gut and our brain has gotten a lot of press recently. In reality, it has been recognized as one of the most important aspects of well-being in Ayurveda. Again it comes back to Mind, Body, and Spirit being balanced and that creating good health. The Gut-Brain Axis is this.

  • Oil pulling- Oral hygiene is big in the world of Ayurveda, with oil pulling being part of our ideal daily rituals. The whole science around keeping a good, healthy mouth environment is closely linked to supporting our immune system and digestion. Therefore, Ayurveda puts a massive emphasis on keeping our mouth and teeth as healthy as possible to foster the most efficient porthole into the body.

  • Making your meal times into a ritual. Simply this translates as slowing down. Stop eating on the go. Stop cramming your food in between life. Rather make your mealtime an event of its own; sit down, slow down, be quiet, be still, be present, savor the nourishment, give yourself the space to absorb. My mum would always say, "light a candle; it symbolizes your digestive fire." The simple effort of lighting a candle and sitting down to eat can make a world of difference for your digestion.

These are my go to core values that I am always working at incorporating into my daily routine. They all require different amounts of effort and moods. I fluctuate between really nailing all of the.m and then watching them all slip away. I have slowly found ways of having a less all-or-nothing approach (leftover trauma from diet culture). My advice, learn to be ok with a slow, methodical, consistent, over a rigorous, give up everything, fast results approach. It's work that should last a lifetime and be enjoyed along the way—no punishments, no restrictions...just good loving awareness.


If you feel you could use more information or want to kickstart your journey with Ayurveda, don't hesitate to contact me via email:



OR have a look at the Ayurvedic Recipe Bundle :)



30 views0 comments

Related Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page