Ayurveda is the most ancient medical science known to man – it’s been practiced for more than 5,000 years!! Unfortunately, the pharmaceutical industry has done a great job on confusing people about what it is on a couple different fronts. When followed regularly it is much harder for germs to get comfortable in your body (I’ve been sick three times in 5 years!). Another great benefit is that you don’t gain weight as easily.
These benefits are EXACTLY what the pharmaceutical industry doesn’t want you to understand because then you won’t need their concoctions!
In this blog, I’ll explain three of the biggest misconceptions surrounding ayurveda.
1. It’s a Fad Diet
Many people are so used to insane diet programs like Atkins, South Beach, Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers that tell them that they must restrict calorie intake and/or completely eliminate whole food groups that it’s understandable to lump Ayurveda into that category.
Ayurveda has been practiced by millions of people over thousands of years and uses the laws of nature to help guide people to foods that are good for their bodies. There are three main body types – vata, pitta and kapha – which are comprised of the 5 major elements: fire, water, earth, air and ether.
2. It is connected to a spiritual philosophy.
Since Ayurveda originated in India, many people understandably confuse it for a local philosophical, cultural or spiritual practice. In reality, it is a strong science related to creating a healthy lifestyle.
I know what you’re thinking, “Miranda, it can’t be a science because it has to be based on proven facts!” You’d be surprised to know that it is based on just that when you remember the definition of science, which is “knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation.”
Ayurveda has observed the eating habits of humans over several millennia and the basic patterns have been recorded for later generations to refer to should health become an issue for future generations. A great example of this is the doshas: vata, pitta and kapha. These are the same body types we’re familiar with in the United States. Vata refers to people with very thin frames, pitta is the equivalent of medium bone structure and kapha is for the heaviest set people.
Each of the doshas (body types) has a general rule for how it reacts to the food we eat, which is connected to the 5 major elements.
Vatas have a body constitution that consists mostly of air. Think of someone you know who is naturally very thin; they’ll most likely have a tendency to talk fast, have a lot of ideas going through their mind (which is why they forget things easily). To combat this, they need grounding foods like healthy fats, which is in nuts, seeds, olive oil, coconut oil, et cetera.
Pitta, which is my dosha, is based mostly on fire and these people need to be especially careful with the foods they eat in order to prevent the body from overheating. A good example of this are the very hot spices such as cayenne pepper, chili powder, ghost peppers, and sriracha. I don’t know about y’all, but I’ve had a couple of these spices and my mouth burned for a while!
Back to the Ayurveda connection. Since pitta doshas are already mostly fire, these people don’t do well with spices (because fire on top of fire is never a good thing!).
Kaphas, the heaviest body type, are made mostly of earth, which is very sturdy and needs a significant amount of water to keep moving. Think of a mountain – it is impossible to move any part of it unless there is a river cutting through it or a torrential downpour causes a landslide. To be at their best, kaphas need lots water-based foods such as fruits and vegetables. That prevents their digestive systems from becoming too stagnant, which can lead to weight gain and decreased mobility.
3. It takes a long time to feel any benefits
A huge part of why so many people are afraid to incorporate ayurveda into their lives is because they think they have to wait 4 to 6 weeks to feel any benefits (thanks Big Pharma!). Adopting either part of or the entire ayurvedic lifestyle is HUGELY beneficial to your health!
Three years ago, I remember getting a horrible chest cold after babysitting my nephew one day. My chest was so heavy (filled with fluid) that it felt like an elephant Sat on my chest and refused to get up, no matter how much Robitussin I took! Fed up with the pain, I found a home remedy, that I later learned was from ayurveda, and it was thyme infused tea. Luckily I had both ingredients in my kitchen cabinet, so I decided to give it a shot. Immediately after drinking the tea, I felt my lungs and sinuses clear out and about 60 minutes later, the fluids were coming out much more easily after I coughed or blew my nose.