Food is synonymous to a conscious way of living. Hence, it becomes imperative to look at it as a larger concept of ‘nourishment of the whole self’.
Our dietary needs and digestion are affected by the rhythms of nature and constantly changing parameters. If only we see food as a passive diet, and ignore the broader sense of being a dynamic tool for personal growth, chances are we won’t be led to our inner potential through eating. It is essential to eat mindfully.
Ideal nutrition comes from consuming a variety of fresh foods that are appropriately prepared and eaten with awareness. In Ayurveda, food comes first. It is an inevitable necessity for enhancing bodily strength and immunity. It can be understood as the interplay of mind and nutrition. When we're in sync, we desire food that is healthy. But if our mind, body, or soul is out of balance, our connection to our inner intelligence goes awry thus creating an imbalance and attracting a whole lot of problems.
Our digestive system uses the food to produce Ojas- a substance that cultivates the mind and body, hence maintaining the required balance of the entire system and attaining the state of bliss. Weak digestive fire leads to incomplete digestion and formation of toxins—ama. Ama creates blockage, snatching away the bliss, not letting the oxygen flow and settling in areas of the body that are out of balance, taking on many forms, such as calcium deposits in the joints, plaque in the arteries, and cysts and tumors. A coated tongue, bad breath, dullness of the senses, depression, and unclear thinking can indicate the presence of ama.
A simple way to make sure that you are getting a balanced diet is to include the six Ayurvedic tastes (sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter, and astringent) in each meal. Doing so will ensure that all major food groups and nutrients are represented and you will feel satisfied and the urge to snack and overeat will diminish.