In Ayurveda, every food is put into one of the 6 taste categories: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, astringent, and bitter.
Each taste feeds our mind, body and spirit in its own unique way.
It is said that if a person has all six tastes in a meal, that person will lose their cravings and leave the table satisfied without overeating.
The six tastes are combinations of the five elements of nature. For instance, sweet results from the combination of water and earth. Sour is composed of earth and fire; salty taste is fire and water; bitter taste is air and ether. The pungent taste is fire and air, while the astringent taste is air and earth.
In the United States we have three major tastes: sweet, sour and salty. We often have meals that are much too salty. Or we eat too many sweets after the meal, which leaves us unbalanced, and very soon we will be craving one of the tastes that was left out of the meal.
Nutritional imbalance is a primary cause of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. Balance and proper nourishment coming from nature is the key to overall good health and well-being.
The primary reason that so many individuals experience excessive sweet cravings is due to the lack of a good source of healthy, nutritious whole grains in their diet. Whole grains provide many benefits:
- proper digestion
- calming the nervous system
- encouraging sleep
- satisfying hunger tastes
- reduce cravings
- promotes energy and endurance
- promotes good elmination
- improves memory
- improves reflexes
- promotes clear thinking.
Breakfast is an important meal of the day. For many of us we either skip this meal or we choose to eat foods that are dry (breakfast bars), light (dry cereal) or cold (cold milk with cereal). All in which increase the qualities of Vata.
Taking in whole, warm grains, like quinoa, steel cut oats, and rice are the best way to start your day. They will sustain your energy throughout the day and boost your metabolism. Whole grains help your body burn more fat because they take extra effort to break down than processed grains and carbohydrates. Whole foods that are rich in fiber, like rice and oatmeal, are best. Processed carbohydrates like bagels, breads, even processed packaged oatmeal spikes up your blood sugar and stress hormone levels which will leave you crashing later.
Best Grains for Kapha:
- Amaranth, Basmati Rice Barley, Buckwheat, Corn Flour Products (except corn chips), Couscous, Granola, Millet, Muesli, Oat Bran, Dry Oats, Polenta, Quinoa, Rye, Spelt, Sprouted Wheat, Tapioca, Wheat Bran
Best Grains for Pitta:
- Amaranth, Barley, Basmati Rice, Couscous, Granola, Oat Bran, Cooked Oats, Pancakes, Pasta, Quinoa, Rice Cakes, Spelt, Sprouted Wheat, Tapioca, Wheat Bran, Wheat
Best Grains for Vata:
- Amaranth, Basmati Rice, Cooked Oats, Pancakes, Quinoa, Sprouted Wheat, Wheat
Get your energy boost for the rest of the day with these power recipes and skip the calorie-laden convenience foods that leave you hungry before lunch! Any of these can be adapted with the doshic appropriate grains of your choice: stewed fruit with quinoa cereal, yummy oatmeal, rice cereal, warm cinnamon maple quinoa cereal.
Photo courtesy of Morguefile.com.