habitat, climate, location (ie: shop local!)
We are a product of our environment. When the habitat is heavy, dense, and moist, we want to cultivate the opposite qualities in our foods. When our climate is hot, light, and sharp, we want to cultivate the opposite qualities in our foods. By taking in foods that are seasonally available in our locale, we will typically have access to foods that will antidote the local environmental qualities.
timing of meals and seasonal foods
Ayurveda advises that the main meal is taken at midday when agni is its strongest. In addition to this, it is best to have completely digested the previous meal before eating the next meal. Proper timing of our meals allows us to have the strongest digestive fire possible.
As the seasons change, the doshas move through their cycles. In springtime, greens are abundant and they provide spring-cleaning for our bodies. In the summer, fruits and vegetables are abundant and they provide the energy we need for the longer days. In fall, the nutrient dense foods—such as root vegetables and winter squash and grains or legumes that may easily be stored—are available; these provide the sustenance for the long winter ahead.
By taking foods as they are seasonally available, we will naturally pacify the dosha.
guidelines for healthy eating
There are many rules in Ayurveda to assure conscious dining, and they begin at the grocery store with making the best choices for our food quality. They continue as we bring awareness to all phases of dining: considering the quality of the food you will be taking before you eat, paying attention to the food’s effect on your body while you eat, and taking care that the food you eat is well digested after you eat.
By remaining consciously present with our food, we will recognize problematic foods or food combinations before they have the opportunity to negatively impact us.
These food habits also stabilize the nervous system supporting full and healthy digestion.
self-awareness and self-responsibility
As an example, if you notice that a food is not necessarily good for you, you may still choose to eat it and take the responsibility to minimize its negative impact. For example, if you plan to eat some ice cream, you may choose to do it in the middle of the day when the digestive fire is its strongest, you may take only a small portion, or you may support your digestive fire after the treat to assure that it stays strong.
At the end of the day you, and only you, are responsible for what you put into your body. By exercising your self-awareness, you choose, in the moment, the best foods for you right now. Self-responsibility is the notion that you behave in a way that is in alignment with your best intentions for your health and wellbeing.