Ayurveda: 4 practices to help you develop a better relationship with food

In the Ayurvedic tradition of health and healing from India, meals are considered sacred rituals. From the food itself to the way it is prepared and cooked, the whole experience of eating is considered divine.

According to Vedic teacher Acharya Shunya, one of the beautiful benefits of eating this way is that it helps prevent the mindless consumption of food, excessive dieting, and even food waste. If you want to make your meals more sacred, follow these 4 rules of Ayurvedic tradition.

Plan your meals in advance and invest in real foods: When you plan your meals in advance, you create slots of time where you can care for yourself through food. You turn mealtime into an act of reverence, which can lead you to healthier meals and more satisfaction from your meals. As you plan your meals, be mindful of where you obtain your produce. Preferably, search online for nearby natural food stores and markets, or sign up with CSA farms where you can fill your own box with locally grown produce.

Choose “living” foods over “lifeless” foods: While a box of cereal or a protein bar may boast of nutritive value, the fact that it has been sitting on a shelf inside a box or wrapper for months means these are dead foods. According to the ancient system, overly refined, processed, and shelf-stable properties of these foods will make you dull, sleepy, and even sick. We feel more alive when we eat foods that are alive, foods that burst with nutrition and vitality. This is known as prana, or life force, in Ayurveda. To get the most from your food, try to opt for fresh living produce rather than processed and packaged foods.

Choose calming foods over dulling and irritating foods: In Ayurveda, there are three classifications of foods. There are tamasic foods, which make you feel sleepy or dull after eating, such as stale foods or half-cooked meals. Then there are rajasic foods, which include coffee, tea, alcohol, and spicy foods. These are good to ingest but can cause a burning sensation during digestion. Lastly, there are sattvic foods. According to Shunya, these are the foods you want to eat more of. They are light and easy to digest, help to increase strength and immunity, and are pleasing to the senses. Foods that come in this category include organic cow and goat milk, butter and ghee, unprocessed honey, lentils, fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables, and unprocessed grains. When you eat sattvic foods, you give your body a real boost.

Say a self-reverence mantra: To help you remember that food is so much more than food, say this mantra to yourself a few times a day.

May everything I put into my mouth to eat be an act of self-reference.

May everything I put in my mouth be in service of my health and healing.

May everything I put in my mouth be an act of self-love and self-care.

Remember, following the ancient Ayurvedic approach to food has nothing to do with religion. Rather, when you follow Ayurvedic food rules, you choose to reinvent your relationship with food for the better and make mealtimes a sacred part of your day.

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Ayurveda: 4 practices to help you develop a better relationship with food

In the Ayurvedic tradition of health and healing from India, meals are considered sacred rituals. From the food itself to the way it is prepared and cooked, the whole experience of eating is considered divine.

According to Vedic teacher Acharya Shunya, one of the beautiful benefits of eating this way is that it helps prevent the mindless consumption of food, excessive dieting, and even food waste. If you want to make your meals more sacred, follow these 4 rules of Ayurvedic tradition.

Plan your meals in advance and invest in real foods: When you plan your meals in advance, you create slots of time where you can care for yourself through food. You turn mealtime into an act of reverence, which can lead you to healthier meals and more satisfaction from your meals. As you plan your meals, be mindful of where you obtain your produce. Preferably, search online for nearby natural food stores and markets, or sign up with CSA farms where you can fill your own box with locally grown produce.

Choose “living” foods over “lifeless” foods: While a box of cereal or a protein bar may boast of nutritive value, the fact that it has been sitting on a shelf inside a box or wrapper for months means these are dead foods. According to the ancient system, overly refined, processed, and shelf-stable properties of these foods will make you dull, sleepy, and even sick. We feel more alive when we eat foods that are alive, foods that burst with nutrition and vitality. This is known as prana, or life force, in Ayurveda. To get the most from your food, try to opt for fresh living produce rather than processed and packaged foods.

Choose calming foods over dulling and irritating foods: In Ayurveda, there are three classifications of foods. There are tamasic foods, which make you feel sleepy or dull after eating, such as stale foods or half-cooked meals. Then there are rajasic foods, which include coffee, tea, alcohol, and spicy foods. These are good to ingest but can cause a burning sensation during digestion. Lastly, there are sattvic foods. According to Shunya, these are the foods you want to eat more of. They are light and easy to digest, help to increase strength and immunity, and are pleasing to the senses. Foods that come in this category include organic cow and goat milk, butter and ghee, unprocessed honey, lentils, fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables, and unprocessed grains. When you eat sattvic foods, you give your body a real boost.

Say a self-reverence mantra: To help you remember that food is so much more than food, say this mantra to yourself a few times a day.

May everything I put into my mouth to eat be an act of self-reference.

May everything I put in my mouth be in service of my health and healing.

May everything I put in my mouth be an act of self-love and self-care.

Remember, following the ancient Ayurvedic approach to food has nothing to do with religion. Rather, when you follow Ayurvedic food rules, you choose to reinvent your relationship with food for the better and make mealtimes a sacred part of your day.

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