We are what we digest. While gut health is gaining an increasing amount of mainstream attention, so much of the information being promoted dates all the way back to ancient India, where Ayurveda, known as "the science of life," originates from. This is one of the original natural systems of medicine created in India alongside the foundations of yoga. It is a holistic practice that involves working with each person's physical, psychological, and spiritual health. This practice acknowledges the fact that every person is unique and therefore, requires different treatments and healing mechanisms.
While Ayurvedic healing is about changing your diet, it doesn’t solely focus on the foods you consume. Ayurveda believes we are not what we eat, but rather, what we digest and eliminate. It believes that where, when, how, and why you’re consuming the food has the biggest impact on your gut and body. If you are eating what is believed to be the healthiest food but you aren’t properly digesting and eliminating it, it is thought that the food will actually harm your body. In Ayurvedic medicine, digestion has so many factors, starting with your dosha.
The doshas come from the Ayurvedic philosophy that the world is made up of air, ether, earth, water, and fire. The energies of these elements exists in us all, but each dosha contains a greater amount of certain elements than others. This balance influences your personality, emotions, physiology, and mental health. There are an abundance of online quizzes that can help you to identify your dosha, or you can see an Ayurvedic practitioner for an in-depth dosha analysis.
Kapha: Water + Earth
Qualities: heavy, slow, solid, earthy, calm, fluid, oily, excess weight, lethargic, is nurtured by light and dry foods that are raw or lightly cooked. Favor spicy foods and should avoid heavy meals.
Pitta: Fire + Water
Qualities: Hot, intense, sharp, multitasker, powerful, athletic, overwhelmed, indigestion, balanced by cooling and refreshing foods with moderate texture. Avoid spicy, sour, and fatty foods.
Vata: Air + Ether