Article: Are you what you eat?
Recent Western research has suggested that our digestive system is our second brain and that our two brains are directly and intimately connected and function as one. A reliable study has at last proved that when sugar is absorbed, it instantly triggers off an adrenaline reaction that goes to the brain to stimulate and release dopamine (neuro-transmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers), just as drugs do: heroine, cocaine, alcohols, cigarettes, gamblling etc. For some this can create an addiction and dependence.
Researchers have also uncovered connections between intestinal bacteria and anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorders. We are deeply connected to our digestive system much more than we think or, have thought in the past. Interestingly enough looking into the benefits of Ayurvedic medecine, the world’s oldest medecine in the world, that is based on the theory that every human is unique, each treatment is individual and the key element being a balanced diet; it’s believed to be the cure to all health problems. In other words: You are what you eat. Food is considered a natural medicine and, a balanced diet the main resource for good health. In the Ayurvedic system good health always begins with good digestion with emphasis on healthy, fresh, tasty and easy to digest foods. An unbalanced diet can be the cause of virtually every condition and disease. Only then comes the supportive system of herbs, treatments, and medicine. People are becoming increasingly aware that such “quick fixes” might not be the best answer to their situations. Ayurvedic medicine maintains the Dosha therapy, which determines the individual’s constitution.
Individual diets for individual people
The foods you eat affect your Doshas and their balance in your body, and what can be good food for one person may be poison for another. A good way to start is to stick to a diet that favours foods soothing your dominant Dosha. You don’t have to eliminate anything from your menu, Ayurveda is not about ridiculous dietary regimes, but about guiding principles: Just try eating a bit more of the foods that balance your dominant Dosha and a bit less of the foods that don’t. At no cost start to feverishly avoid them – this will only increase your appetite for those foods and suppress the natural cravings of your body for it knows best what it needs at any given time.
I recently had an experience with an Ayurvedic medical practitioner. Three weeks prior to this I had seen my general practictioner, as I had low energy and found it impossible to lose weight even though I was on a sensible diet. We did a full health check and found absolutely nothing, all blood test showed good results, whether iron, thyroid, sugar level etc, I was told everything was normal. Of course, I was reassured, but I felt just the same. A few days later a friend of mine Vanessa Boren Feng shui specialist asked if I would join her for lunch, a 20 min drive outside Paris. So I went to Verriere les Buissons and I discovered this Ayurvedic center (www.ahimsa.net), I immediately booked an appointment with the doctor and when meeting him discovered a whole new approach
to medicine. After taking my pulse, he told me that my thyroid would be problematic in the near future if I didn’t act now. A series of herbal pills were prescribed and most of all a diet, nothing irrational, only eliminating foods like onions, potatoes, olive oil and garlic and introducing barley and sarrasin cereal instead of rice. Emphasis was put on six flavors on a plate, adding spices like curcuma, ginger, etc. and, of course, banning sugar. A series of massages were on the list and going to sleep early and getting up at sunrise were advised. It seemed so easy that I was a little skeptical but my gut instinct told me that I was on the right path. It has now been 3 months, my energy level has risen, I feel like I am back to normal but calmer, so there is energy without stress, my weight has gone down significantly in a natural way, I don’t feel like I have deprived myself, I have just eaten differently, my liver is clear since the scerias are whiter, my skin is glowing, I am told. I wanted to wait before writing this article to be a guinea pig for those who are skeptical about this medical approach.
General guidelines for your diet
Food should be of good quality and pure, obtained from naturally grown products. Cooked food is generally considered easier to digest than raw food and should always be eaten in a calmly manner, not in a rush. Ayurveda promotes a diet with little meat or a vegetarian diet. Moreover, as foods closely connect with the Doshas, different sorts of food are required at different times, and should correlate to the time of the day, the season and your personal Dosha constellation.
Ayurveda has a way of breaking down flavours, each having its own therapeutic effects and changing impacts on your body; from the first taste to on entering the body to being absorbed. The six tastes or Rasas that are distinguished in the Ayurvedic diet are: Sweet, Salty, Sour, Pungent, Astringent and Bitter. These tastes originate from the five elements and transmit their properties. For a balanced diet Ayurveda recommends getting all of these flavours with every meal and adjust the amounts of each to your personal constitution. Apart from feeling satisfied this practice also ensures that all major food groups and nutrients are present in the meal.