Your nutrition needs are determined by your uniqueness,
and your uniqueness is determined by your Prakriti.
It is your Prakriti (Constitution) that determines your diet!
In Ayurveda, the word ‘Prakriti’ refers to your basic constitution. Your Prakriti refers to the genetically inherited and unwavering physical and emotional qualities that you were born with. It is determined at the moment of conception. It specifically relates to those qualities, characteristics, and tendencies that are stable. For instance, while you may experience temporary changes, like gaining or losing some weight, feeling nervous or irritable, developing a cold or flu, etc., in the natural course of life you will never gain or lose five inches of your height or experience a change of eye color.
Ayurved believes that all kinds of food are not equally suitable – or unsuitable – for one person, and one kind of food is not equally suitable for everyone. Ayurvedic food combination also plays an important role in deciding the ideal diet according to Ayurveda. This is because each person is different from every other person – with differing hormones, enzymes, and neurotransmitters. And even you yourself are different from season to season and place to place!
Your program of nutrition must be individually tailored to be consistent with your Prakriti, and this program will change from season to season and from place to place – as suggested by your Prakriti.
Considering the above, you should be suspicious of the following meaningless, irresponsible and potentially dangerous words and phrases:
Daily recommended dose of vitamins and minerals: This is meaningless because the dose must differ from person to person, from season to season, and from place to place.
Everyone over 75 must take this or that supplement: This is again meaningless, and it can be dangerously misleading. Although physiological and functional changes that occur with aging can alter nutrient needs, not all persons over 75 need to supplement their diet with vitamins. Many healthy, active older adults can obtain all the vitamins and minerals they need by consuming a balanced diet.
Guidelines about daily intake of fruits, vegetables, etc.: The guidelines are again meaningless because they are based on statistical models for the ‘average person’ – and there is no average person. Just imagine a shirt stitched for a person of average size. It will be large for some, small for others, and fit no one exactly.
It is certainly not the case that all nutritionists want to offer irresponsible advice. The problem arises because much of the modern food industry concerns itself with statistical models and recommendations for the average person, when in fact the average person does not exist anywhere on this planet. When the common person, the individual, is bombarded with this data – without being warned that it is not individually tailored to his or her Prakriti – then this person can in effect be dangerously misled.
The basis of an ayurvedic food and nutrition plan is very, very simple. You only need to understand your Prakriti – your constitution.
In the next blog, we will see how you – as an individual person – can arrive at the best nutrition program for yourself (Diet according to Ayurveda). Whatever advice we offer can be put into practice by you and your family, in your family kitchen. No exotic ingredients. No fancy rules. And very tasty too.
A tailor-made shirt does not need rocket science.
The same is true for a tailor-made nutrition plan.
Be your own nutritionist. Eat to live well. And enjoy the food.
Dr. Avani Pandya is an Ayurvedic doctor and a certified yoga teacher. She has diverse experience in the field of food therapy and patients receive a special Ayurvedic food list and Ayurvedic food diet schedule suitable for their specific constitution and specific ailments.
Food Therapy is part of the treatments that patients receive while staying at Maharshi Atreya Health Centre, Undera – one of the renowned Panchakarma Centre in Vadodara. The concept of Ayurvedic food and Ayurvedic food combinations is a part of the holistic approach taken by Ayurveda while treating diseases and also maintaining good health to prevent diseases.