The Ayurvedic Puzzle: Diet

the second part of my experiment was to follow ayurvedic dietetic principles for a vata dosha. when i first read the text’s sections on discerning one’s dosha, it seemed every single characteristic of vata was something i had lifelong experience in. upon completing the two weeks, i now have some doubts as to whether i am actually vata, or some other combination that is vata-aggravated. i have scheduled with alakananda ma to get some kind of professional guidance in general. i am really looking forward to meeting her, also.

for most of my life, i have prepared and cooked my own food. it has always been a blessing to be able to cook healthy food both for health reasons and just because its fun to share and offer home-made gifts with meaning to loved ones. there were several long-time staples that i culled: 1-2 daily servings of fresh greens, frequently snacking on home-made gorp of nuts, seeds, dried fruit and berries, 2-3 fuji apples a week, raw, home-made chocolates (ouch!!), frequent teas, kefir and fruit as a snack or meal, eating things quickly and often cold, avoiding the foundational trifecta of the american diet, meat, wheat and dairy. for this experiment, meat, wheat and dairy became dietary centerpieces once again. well, not much meat, but it certainly showed up at least three times a week. i began heating everything and finding ways to make formerly cold things hot. for years i have made a tasty gruel (sounds awful, tastes delicious!) of steel cut oats and amaranth in a nut or grain milk, with thick orange zest, and loaded with spices: cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and vanilla. i made it with various grains, always with amaranth, tho. it was always my go-to snack in a hurry, and i never bothered to heat it because the spices were very tasty and warming themselves.

after just a few days of heating, i found i could really feel and really enjoyed the warmth of the spices and grains when they are heated up. i was surprised how much i looked forward to the warm gruel instead of just grabbing it and heading out. it didn’t take much to heat either, just toss a little milk in a pot with some gruel. so it’s easy to maintain the change. i also found instead of eating cold sandwiches, i really enjoyed open faced broiled melts with high quality, organic cheeses. eating hot foods was something my belly looked forward to…this is one part of the experiment that has definitely made an impression on me.

sitting and relaxing after eating has also taken some patience. i found i was wanting to immediately get up and start doing dishes, preparing some other dish, attending to other people’s needs…it was challenging to keep in my seat, allowing dirty dishes to set and other’s to attend to their own interests. this principle of resting after eating, not rushing around, but settling and processing, gives me other opportunities to examine my health and relationships, too.

over all, i found i gained a huge amount of weight in this experiment and am going to go back to eating more greens and plants, less wheat and meat. i feel really heavy in general right now. and not just weight-wise. i feel slow and clunky in my head and thoughts. overall, the diet portion of my experiment was very interesting. i have a lot of new questions now!