ayurvedic diet and digestion

Ayurvedic Diet and Digestion

When my daughter, Olivia, was born in October of 1987, my husband and I wanted to give her the best chance possible at a healthy and happy life. Happiness is a big part of good health. If we are not healthy, happy, and vital, we may fall short of fulfilling our desires and dreams in life. I didn’t want that for my daughter.

Fortunately, I was living in New Mexico at the time and connected with Dr. Vasant Lad—a medical doctor, Ayurvedic physician, and director of The Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque. He helped me learn more about how to keep my family healthy by following an Ayurvedic diet and lifestyle, and by using gentle, natural Ayurvedic herbal preparations when imbalances arose.

When Olivia got sick, I gave her the herbs Dr. Lad recommended, along with lots of rest, and she responded well. Instinctively, I wanted to avoid giving her pharmaceuticals whenever possible, knowing that antibiotics are often overprescribed, and over-the-counter medications can come with unpleasant side effects. That being said, I certainly wouldn’t have hesitated to take her to the ER if she’d had a dangerously high fever or other acute symptoms; I understand and respect the lifesaving value of Western medicine.

Olivia did come down with the usual battery of mild colds, swollen tonsils, and sinus issues, but my husband and I were able to treat them naturally. We fed her a lacto-vegetarian, largely organic diet with plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds—and watched her thrive. She rarely got sick.

Simple Ayurvedic Principles That Make a Big Difference
An ancient Ayurvedic proverb states: “When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.” As an Ayurvedic wellness expert, I’ve seen simple dietary changes transform people’s lives and health for the better, again and again. The converse is true, too. All too often in our busy lives, a healthy diet is the first thing to go.

Frank, a man in his late fifties, came to me for a wellness consultation complaining of anxiety and irritability—especially in the mornings. I offered him some simple diet and lifestyle changes, and a few days later his wife emailed and said, “My husband is a new man!”
When I asked her what she meant, she replied immediately, “He started eating breakfast, and now we don’t argue in the morning anymore.”
What a difference one small change can make.

For 30 years, Frank had been skipping breakfast and sometimes lunch, which really threw his blood sugar out of balance, resulting in rapid mood swings. He and his wife had battled endlessly over his mood swings each day. Making matters worse, Frank is a Vata type. More than any other dosha, Vatas thrive on routine and need regular meals to stay balanced. Now, Frank starts his day with a warm bowl of cereal with nuts and dates, which has made a vast improvement in his life—and in his wife’s life, too!

Food really is medicine. But it’s not just about what you eat—it’s also about when you eat and how well you digest. In my next posts I will cover guidelines on what foods are suitable for your unique constitution, along with some easy ways to kickstart your digestion.