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metroSPIRIT: The Tastes of Food

Balance Tastes and Control Cravings

Touch it. Experience it. Own it.

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The Dosha Factor: Ayurveda is based on the concept that we each consist of doshas, which is biological energy throughout the human body and mind. Such energies govern all physical and mental processes. The doshas derived from the elements of Space, Air, Fire, Earth, and Water. Each person has a unique doshic make-up. “ We are most susceptible to illnesses and imbalances of our particular dosha (For a quiz to help you determine your dosha, visit www.chopra.com/ayurveda.)



According to ayurveda, a balanced diet directly nurtures the mind, body, senses, and the spirit. Ayurvedic nutrition is intimately tied to the three doshas. Eating in accordance with your dosha promotes balance.

The sense of taste is considered a natural map to proper nutrition. Food speaks directly to us through taste. Ayurveda identifies six tastes by which all foods can be categorized.

Consumption: Eat to Heal

Include all Six Tastes in each meal. By including all six tastes in each meal, we nourish all of the doshas. (We all consist in some part of all three.) Carefully including all six tastes will usually meet the standards of western dietary guidelines.

Balance the Physical types of foods in your meals. Ayurveda also classifies foods as heavy or light, dry or liquid, and warm or cool. Include variety in the realm of physical nature as well as taste.

Reconsider the American Diet.

The American diet in general has too much of the sweet, salty, and sour tastes. Revisit your diet and consider more bitter, pungent and astringent tastes.

Use spices to balance the menu. In ayurveda, herbs and spices are nature’s healing intelligence. They are especially helpful to digestion. Cooking with all six tastes can be accomplished with some planning. Consider the tastes of the foods on the menu. Use herbs and spices to add any missing tastes.

Favor Fresh, High Quality, Organic Foods. Foods that are frozen, canned, or otherwise processed lose much of their natural value and often have additives. The fewer boxes you open and wrappers you peel off, the more likely your food is high quality and natural.

Avoid cold and carbonated beverages with meals. Cold drinks and carbonated beverages are considered by ayurveda to impede the digestive process. Drink small amounts of liquids at mealtime. Drink a full glass of room temperature water an hour after eating.
Rotate menus and experiment. Every meal should be a feast of the senses.

Include sattvic foods. Ayurveda also classifies foods in terms of qualities of mind. Sattvic foods are fresh, pure, and vibrant and can stabilize the mind and provide mental clarity. Examples are most fresh fruits and vegetables, black beans, lentils, ghee, honey, sesame and sunflower seeds, and cashews, almonds, walnuts and macadamia nuts.

The Six Tastes

  • Sweet. Sweet tastes result from the combination of the water and earth elements and is cooling in nature. The obvious sweet tastes are honey, chocolate, and sweet fruits. Other examples are milk products, most grains, many legume, and some cooked vegetables (carrots, potatoes, beets). Sweet tastes pacity vata and pitta and increase kapha.
  • Salty. Salty taste is composed of fire and water and is hot, heavy, and moist. Examples are sea vegetables and salt. Typical foods are nuts, chips, pickles. Salty tastes are beneficial for vata but increase both pitta and kapha.
  • Sour. Sour taste is composed of earth and fire and is hot, light, and moist. Examples of sour are lemons, tomatoes, chees, yogurt, vinegar, and sour fruits. Sour is good for vata but increases pitta and kapha.
  • Bitter. Bitter taste is comprised of Air and Ether and is light, cooling and dry by nature. It is found in green leafy vegetables, and herbs and spices (turmeric, fenugreek, dandelion root). Bitter balances pitta and kapha but increases vata.
  • Pungent. Pungent tastes derive from the elements of Fire and Air and is hot, dry, and light. Pungent is found in ginger, black pepper, mustard seed, cayenne, chilies, radishes, onions, and garlic. Pungent is balancing to kapha but aggravting to pitta and vata.
  • Astringent. Astringent results fro the combination of Air and Earth and is dry, cooling, and heavy by nature. It is found in beans, lentils, tofu, coriander, broccoli, cauliflower, artichoke, asparagus, turnip, cabbage, potatoes, apples, pears, and persimmon. Astringent balances pitta and kapha and aggravates vata.

-end- metroMAGAZINE




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