Ayurveda is usually known for its unique lens of understanding diet and food. Rather than getting caught up in protein, fat, carb or calorie counting, we look at taste. Taste can tell us exactly what we need and don’t need to put in our bodies. Saliva & our taste buds are some of our best teachers for our diet, if we learn how to listen to them. Today people have been calling it “intuitive eating.”
Taste is more than the tongue
The taste of our food is only activated through our saliva, but it doesn’t end at our tongue! Taste continues to travel and have a heating or cooling effect on our body. Sometimes we need to heat up and clear out, sometimes we need to cool down and feel solid. When we learn and understand the elements associated with each taste, we can start to notice it more in our foods AND how we feel after eating.
So let’s learn, shall we?
There are 6 tastes in Ayurveda: Sweet, Sour, Salty, Pungent, Bitter and Astringent.
Sweet has Earth and Water.
This helps us feel content and has a cooling effect on our system. Sweet taste helps build our bodies tissues, but too much can cause lethargy and heaviness. This helps ease Pitta and Vata, but increases Kapha. (take a look at my blog about the doshas to learn what that means ;))
Sour has Earth and Fire.
This stimulates the body and increases appetite. It has a heating effect on the body and helps clear out our body of it’s toxins. This eases Vata, but Increases Pitta and Kapha.
Salty has Fire and Water. It is slightly heating and helps to loosen the body and remove blockages. If eaten too much it can cause swelling, burning and itching. This eases Vata and Increases Pitta and Kapha.
Pungents has Fire and Air.
This is our spicy food! It is very heating and can aid our digestion is it is slow. It is a strong purifier! If eaten too much it will begin to break down our connective tissue and fat deposits. This eases Kapha, but increases Pitta and Vata.
Bitter has Air and Water.
This is cooling and drying. Bitter can tone our organs and can purify our blood. If eaten too much it can dehydrate us. This eases Kapha and Pitta, but increases Vata.
Astringent has Air and Earth.
It is very cooling and helps if you sweat a lot! It also helps stop loose stools and clear toxins. If eaten too much it will create constipation and pains in the abdomen and chest. It eases Kapha and Pitta, but increases Vata.
What we put in our body can truly be our medicine!! The more we know about our taste, the more in tune we can be while we are eating. Always be sure to eat slowly, chew thoroughly and put away any distractions.
Becoming fully aware of your experience is always the first step.
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