Ayurveda translates as "the science of life", or "the science of longevity". Its principles hold the knowledge we need to live healthy, joyful, balanced lives. It is a holistic way of looking at the synergy between body/ mind/ soul and making sure all are nourished and functioning optimally.
Ayurveda is an element system of medicine, meaning that it considers that everything is composed of the 5 elements: Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. That is true for the macrocosm (the universe, nature), as well as the microcosm (human beings, the parts of the whole).
Proper digestion, assimilation and absorption (of food, but also experiences, feelings, etc) is the cornerstone of Ayurveda. In that sense, we literally ARE what we EAT, what we eat transforms into our physicality.
The 5 elements have qualities that nourish us in certain ways. Each food has all 5 elements in different proportions, and each food has a specific taste profile. Those 6 tastes and 5 elements can bring us to balance in a specific way, or can contribute to our imbalances. How fascinating ! The 6 tastes, according to Ayurveda, are:
Sweet: (earth + water) - a grounding, nourishing, comforting taste
examples: grains, fruits, root veggies, dairy products, natural sweeteners etc
Sour: (fire + earth) - stimulates digestion, is cleansing and energizing
examples: cirtus, tart berries, tomatoes, yogurt, pickles, vinegars, fermented foods etc
Salty: (fire + water) - increases saliva and helps "cook" foods
examples: salt, seaweeds, some cheeses, olives etc
Pungent: (fire + air) - gets things moving, is stimulating, helps remove mucous
examples: chillies, garlic, onion, mustard, some herbs etc
Bitter: (ether + air) - a healing taste, cleanses the blood, reduces moisture, manages blood sugar, reduces fat
examples: leafy greens, coffee, turmeric, dark chocolate, olive oil etc
Astringent (air + earth): pulls water/ drying, contracts tissues, has a toning action
examples: beans, pomegranate, cranberries, tea, red wine, honey etc
We aim to find all 6 tastes in each meal, especially through the use of spices and herbs. Proportions of each taste depend on the state of imbalance you are experiencing and what balance you are seeking.
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