Food As Medicine – from an Ayurvedic Perspective

Throughout time, and in the more recent past, there have been many approaches to how, what, when and where to eat the best food to nurture ourselves with. Profound leaps of understanding nutrition have been achieved through research, our healthcare and educational system, and the expanse of media. In spite of it all, our ancient ancestors have known all along how to take care of themselves.

Is it a blessing or a digression that we have so much knowledge today in this modern era? Is it our ego, fear or faith that we base our decisions of food, medicine, beauty and “appropriate” living habits on? Ultimately, taking conscious responsibility for your body and emotional state rewards us balance and harmony in your life. As is the individual, so is the universe. Let’s take a moment to get a better understanding of the world around us, from an Ayurvedic perspective.

Ayurveda originated in India more than 5000 years ago. The sages of ancient India created this holistic method of healing imbalances in the body, mind and spirit based on “Vedic” texts, possibly the world’s oldest record of spiritual and medical knowledge. Ayurveda is considered the “mother of all healing” and is said to originate from Prana, the life force itself, which is the original power of creation. This timeless system for living and being able to access the inner pharmacy is revered in India and more recently, throughout the world.

Sanskrit for the “science” or “wisdom of life”, Ayurveda is an ancient philosophy based on a deep understanding of the eternal truths about the mind, body and spirit. Unlike western medicine, an Ayurvedic lifestyle is based on permanent, wise, and eternal principles of living. According to the timeless healing traditions of Ayurveda, the field of pure consciousness expresses itself through the five elements of nature. These five codes of intelligence – space, air, fire, water and earth – exist everywhere and are the building blocks of nature’s diverse expressions. The meaning of Ayurveda then, is truly embracing the teachings that are the wisdom of life and therefore can offer a life of balance and beauty.

Exploring the field of consciousness and expression within us is the basis of healing. Through changes in our perceptions and interpretations we can improve our health and well-being. A consciousness-based approach to health views symptoms as a sign for us to pay attention to the choices we are making in our lives.

The root belief of Ayurveda is that each human being is unique, having a distinct individual constitution, genetic inheritance and predisposition to certain tendencies, and that the body and mind should never be treated in isolation from one another.

In Ayurveda, FOOD IS MEDICINE. Nutrition (or anything for that matter) is energy and information where nothing is generalized. You are an individual. Your food and lifestyle choices will help you access your inner pharmacy and ultimately lead to a dis-ease free, worry free, healthy and long life.

We are currently in the midst of a turbulent time on this planet. I invite you to be nice to yourself. Love yourself. It costs your body an enormous amount of energy to digest one meal, tapping into your reserves of vital life force. Taking into account what you need and what the qualities of the season offer, you can greatly increase your energy levels or ability to deal with life in a balanced way.

It is natural during the fall and winter season to desire more sweet foods for energy, more proteins to nurture your body, more restful experiences to regenerate your body and more oils to increase brain function A good source during our winter months is avocado. . Avocados consist of 25% fruit oil, the highest in any fruit. They are sweet, warm and heavy. Originally they provided nutrition during the tropic winters. Here in the not so tropic environments, they still remain one of the best fruits to eat in the winter. Research has found that there are three compounds in avocados that kill cancer cells. They are also high in copper and iron. 7.1 grams of protein; 55.8 grams of good fat; and 21.4 grams of good carbs.

Herb-ally speaking, a great supplement this time of year and for all types is Ashwaganda. AKA Winter Cherry, Ashwaganda is a primary “rasayana” for masculine energy, offers profound immune protection, neutralizes stress, may inhibit cancer cell growth, improves learning and memory, reduces anxiety and depression and can stabilize blood sugar. The “rasa”-taste- is bitter and sweet and the “virya”-function- is mildly heating. In Ayurvedic terms, Ashwaganda decreases Vata and Kapha.

Wrapping the subject of food as medicine up for now, you can experience a sense of peace, vitality, beauty and rejuvenation with nurturing treatments and an Ayurvedic diet. Blessings on your journey.

Lorrie has over twenty years experience in the field of health, wellness and integrative medicine modalities. Ayurvedic Practitioner, Licensed Massage Therapist and Chopra Center Educator and continued education provider.