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Ayurvedic Approach to Using Food as Medicine

Updated: Apr 26

Avoid the pitfalls of one-size-fits all eating fads. Learn a tailored approach to balance your doshas by turning your food into medicine with Ayurveda. Ready to dig in? 🥣

several colorful healthy Ayurveda dishes

Explore more on the Saumya Blog, selected top Ayurveda blogs and websites to watch.


Ayurvedic Approach to Using Food as Medicine


When we understand our unique pathway to a balanced life – we thrive. This concept is a central part of Ayurveda’s holistic approach to health and healing. But with 5,000 years of ancient wisdom to wrap your head around, getting started can be intimidating.


At Saumya Ayurveda, we provide clarity and direction by breaking your custom health plan into three foundational pillars: Food as Medicine, Ayurvedic herbs, and Ayurvedic lifestyle practices, what we call our Healing Trifecta.


Today, we’re taking a closer look at food as medicine– and how we use this tool to create small, yet significant shifts that radically transform your life.


Enjoy our video on Healing with Ayurveda.



What is the Ayurvedic quote about food as medicine? "When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.”


A couple more perspectives on food:

Hippocrates is quoted, "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food."


“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients” -Julia Childs


What foods can be considered medicine?


Foods that restore balance to the doshas are medicinal. In Ayurveda, foods with the opposite quality of the dosha imbalance are used. Think of it this way--if someone has Pitta symptoms such as heartburn, loose stools, migraines, or irritability, cooling foods are used to reduce the heat. For the person experiencing dryness such as constipation, dry skin, dry hair, or anxiety--warming and grounding foods are incorporated.


Ayurveda views food in terms of its energetic qualities. If someone is on fire, (ulcerative colitis, dermatitis, excessive intensity, just to name a few from our Hot List of Common Pitta Imbalances, and they're eating heating foods, that will aggravate Pitta (heat) because...hot plus hot equals hotter. Makes sense, doesn't it?


"When we learn what to eat to restore balance, our food becomes our medicine. With my clients I focus on their unique constitution, their current imbalances, the climate in which they live, and their food program is tailored specifically to balance them--turning their food into medicine."

- Veena, Saumya Ayurveda


Why do we say food is medicine?


Dosha is a Sanskrit term that translates to "that which accelerates aging, that which darkens." According to Ayurveda, when we eat foods that balance Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, it promotes health, and that is anti-aging. Food is medicine can be used preventatively and as a treatment tool. To learn more about Ayurvedic Doshas and Their Impact on Your Life, click here.


With an endless amount of conflicting and confusing information about diet and food out there, wouldn't it be nice to have clarity and confidence and a program made just for you? Not a diet--but a program in which you intentionally eat foods that restore balance?

To learn more, explore our personalized services and book your FREE discovery call today.

bar graph showing Ayurveda constitution

The Doshas & Personalized Treatment


According to Ayurveda, everything and everyone is comprised of five elements: space, air, water, fire, and earth. These elements combine to form three basic energy properties called doshas. These foundational energies, known as Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, are the building blocks of our universe.


Though we may sometimes forget it, we humans are part of the greater universe. Just as rays of sunlight are not separate from the sun, we are not separate from nature. We are nature. As such, we are made up of the same energetic elements as the world around us.


While all three doshas are present in every one of us, they manifest to varying degrees. Our distinct physical, mental, and spiritual traits are the result of our unique dosha constitution. You can think of it like our energetic fingerprint – no two are the same!


Ayurveda seeks to establish svastha (a state of optimal mental and physical health) by attaining and maintaining balance of the doshas. But since we all have a distinct dosha makeup, there’s no single approach that works for everyone.


While our individual needs might vary, we all follow the same knowledge pillars to svastha.


Let us help you demystify the path back to your best self. It’s a clear framework, tailored to you, designed to fit your life. And with Veena’s expert guidance every step of the way, you don’t have to walk it alone.


sign saying food is medicine surrounded by fruits, seeds, and vegetables

Food as Medicine


While Western healthcare has begun to embrace the healing power of diet, Ayurveda has long understood that food is medicine. What (and how and when) we eat can have a profound impact on our bodies, spirits, and minds. Ayurveda offers a holistic approach to diet that honors the unique needs of every individual.


First off… your Food as Medicine program is not a diet


In the West, we tend to think of “diets” in restrictive terms. Cut calories. Banish butter. Quit the carbs. Unfortunately, this mentality starves us both nutritionally and of a healthy relationship with food. We don’t need more deprivation; we need more of what truly nourishes us.


At Saumya Ayurveda, our Food as Medicine programs are designed to balance, heal, nourish, and satiate. Rather than cutting out the “bad,” we focus on the food you should include. With clear and manageable suggestions tailored to your unique needs, it’s easy to weave new habits into your busy life (especially once you start feeling the benefits!).


Your Food as Medicine program is tailored to you


At its core, Food as Medicine is deeply personalized. Your dosha picture, current dosha state, stage of life, and even the geography where you live all influence which food choices are best for you. That’s why experienced and ongoing consultation is so important.


This said, Ayurveda does provide a few Food as Medicine guidelines applicable to most:


  • Favor fresh, whole foods over highly-processed foods to support prana, the vital life force.

  • Eating three square meals at the same time each day - with no snacking in between - helps strengthen agni (the digestive fire).

  • Eat when you’re hungry, stop before you’re full. This nourishes the body without diverting more energy than necessary to digest.

  • Dinners should be light, and eaten at least three hours before bed, so the body can focus on rest and rejuvenation while you sleep.

  • Eat slowly and mindfully to connect fully with the energy of the food you’re consuming. (We literally are what we eat, let’s enjoy that perspective.)

graphic with Ayurveda 6 best tastes for Vata, Pitta, Kapha

Food as Medicine, the Doshas, and the Six Tastes in Ayurveda


We were all born with a unique energetic footprint, known as our prakruti. When all is well, our current doshic state, or vikruti, will be the same as our original constitution. However, disturbances to our inner and outer worlds can throw the doshas out of balance.


In Ayurveda, the energetic properties of food (such as hot, moist, or oily) increase like energies in our bodies. Thus, we restore balance to the doshas by consuming foods that have the qualities opposite of the imbalance. For instance:


Pitta


Fiery Pitta is best balanced through naturally sweet foods like sweet fruit, most grains, squash, root vegetables, milk and ghee. The best tastes for balancing Pitta are sweet, bitter, and astringent. Sour, salty, and pungent tastes should be minimized.


Curious if you might have too much Pitta? Hot List of Common Pitta Imbalances


Vata


We can counteract Vata’s cold, dry, light nature with foods that are warm (both in temperature and spice), moist, and grounding (like hearty soups and healthy fats). The best tastes for balancing Vata are sweet, sour, and salty. Pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes should be minimized.


Wondering if your Vata dosha is imbalanced? Wild List of Vata Imbalances


Kapha


To balance Kapha’s cool, dense, oily nature, we should favor food that is light, dry, and easy to digest – ideally served warm or hot with invigorating herbs or spices. The best tastes for balancing Kapha are pungent, bitter, and astringent. Sweet, sour, and salty tastes should be minimized.


Maybe a Kapha imbalance? Sturdy List of Kapha Imbalances


clear glasses one filled with earth and plant representing Kapha, one filled with water, one with air and space for Vata and one with a flame for Pitta


“A year ago, after some lab tests, I was told I had an "abnormal" liver. I thought of my mother, who had died young from liver disease. Veena's Ayurveda recommendations, which included herbs and healthy foods, turned things around in less than six months.


My liver was retested, and each lab result was in the "normal" range. This testifies to my long standing mantra: ‘In Veena I Trust.’”

– Don, Golden Valley, Minnesota


Saumya Ayurveda's 3 steps for transforming your daily life, with woman sitting by lake meditating

There is a saying, "The mind is more in the body, than the body is in the mind." The Saumya 3 step meditation process shifts us from fight-flight-freeze mode, to rest-restore-relax mode. Give it a try for forty days and observe the changes. The more grounded and relaxed we are, the smoother life flows.


"The breath is the connection between the mind and body, so by training the breath, we become calm, focused, and grounded, we slow down the aging process by decreasing stress. These practices are so simple and easy to have as part of our daily life. We actually feel and look younger."

- Veena, Saumya Ayurveda


1. Learn Diaphragmatic Breathing and Change Your Life. When we re-learn to breath diaphragmatically, we move from the flight-fight-freeze mode, to rest, restore, relaxation mode from where we want and need to live.


2. Free Daily Guided Practices: 11 minutes in the morning and in the evening, as anchors of your daily Ayurveda routine.



"Choose a couple of practices from the routines that provide you with the greatest support. Perform them while applying our two minute meditation technique and your mundane tasks, just transformed into a mellifluous meditation. This is meditation applied to daily life." - Veena, Saumya Ayurveda


"Veena was able to help me regain my energy in just a few months and I’m feeling like my “young” self again! I love the food plan she designed for me, and all the supporting practices (am/pm routines, breathing techniques, herbs, and spice mixes) are so enjoyable to incorporate into my day. I highly recommend Saumya Ayurveda if you want to feel better and have more vitality.”

-Molly Rossini, Minnesota


notepad with client testimonials

I found Saumya Ayurveda at a time when I truly needed an ally and an unbiased outside perspective on imbalances in my life. After years of reaching out to various conventional medicine practitioners and relying on my own limited knowledge, I felt tired, lost and overwhelmed.


The first few minutes of my initial consultation with Veena were a breath of fresh air. I felt a huge sense of affirmation. I felt like my head was finally above water. She helped me gain a holistic look at where I am while devising an Ayurveda plan that was simple and do-able.


Transportation limitations and bouts of crippling anxiety have historically prevented me from seeking help, so I really take advantage of Veena’s virtual consultations.


I’m very grateful for Veena's presence on my journey and look forward to having her at my side for many years to come.” – L.R., Wisconsin



“Oh, golly way, way improved. Stress fell off like an old hairy coat, I’m just not anxious. Depression is way decreased. There just nothing there. I was haunted by anxiety whole life, and it’s just gone.”

--Mark Hughes, Minnesota



"I have implemented small changes that you recommended. I'm ecstatic to report that all my anxiety has completely disappeared. It feels like magic! I was not expecting such a speedy turnaround in my overall outlook and mental wellbeing, but the best way I can describe it is feeling infinitely more balanced, which has seeped into all areas of my life - work, home, personal relationships, etc. I will keep implementing small changes and building healthy habits.” –Anonymous, USA


colorful globe

Ayurvedic Approach to Using Food as Medicine is not about a one-size-fits-all list of foods. It is about understanding your doshic picture and learning how to eat correctly for you.


Discover the Saumya Ayurveda Way


When we gain clarity about what to eat, we can cook and eat with confidence knowing we are turning our food into medicine and with Saumya Ayurveda, you'll know what to do. As Julia Childs put it, "This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook—try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless and above all have fun."


We all want to be heard, understood, and cared for as whole beings, not a set of isolated symptoms. True health is more than the absence of disease, which is why Western medicine so often leaves us feeling hopeless and unseen.


Deep down, you already know what you’re searching for: a new framework for living – one that brings your entire being back into balance. With Saumya Ayurveda, you’ll receive individualized guidance to create the physically, mentally, and spiritually vibrant life you crave.


Saumya Ayurveda provides concierge, top-notch, award-winning Ayurveda care. We strive to keep it simple, so you can focus on you! Opt for virtual consultations and we'll come to you.


Our practice model is client focused, we’re not in the retail herb business. We’ll guide you where to order herbs directly online. Our top-shelf Ayurveda oils and herbalized ghees are the best in the land and we’ll ship your care package right to your doorstep.


Our effective multi-appointment consultation packages provide you with experienced Ayurveda care, enthusiastic guidance, and inspiring support.


Explore our personalized services and book your FREE discovery call today. Psst! Our clients say it best – so read and watch our client's stories


Veena at Saumya Ayurveda

Veena is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner and meditation teacher, and monk.


She is President Emeritus and teaching faculty of the Meditation Center.


Veena fell in love with the traditional medicine used in her family’s home, learning herbal remedies at her grandmother's knee.


These childhood experiences were the seeds of a lifelong passion. For over 30 years, Veena has dedicated her life to the world’s oldest healing system: Ayurveda.


She draws on this ancient wisdom to help others find their compass to a healthy life – and support those left wanting by Western medicine.


An experienced Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, Veena’s deep, intuitive knowledge of Ayurveda empowers her clients to reclaim their fullest, most vibrant lives –mentally, physically, and spiritually. Veena individualizes treatment plans to each person, rather than offering a one-size-fits-all approach, so it fits your life and becomes woven in your lifestyle, naturally.







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