„When i walk, I walk. When I sit, I sit. When I eat, I eat.“
Not only in Ayurveda, but also in Chinese Medicine and originally also in our very own European / Northern kitchen eating balanced food is essential for health and wellbeing. Like in all matters of life, it is important to be balanced, to be Yin and Yang, man and woman, sun and moon, day and night, movement and stillness. Each element is also within the other, there is no Yin without Yang for example. This balance puts us into harmony, the state of balance is called „sattva“ (middle, equilibirum), which is an old Sanskrit word. For example in Ayurveda even today we strive to eat „sattvic“ food, which will not over acidify our bodies or deprive them of important nutrients. Extreme Yin or extreme Yang food puts our body out of balance and causes the organism to oscillate between two poles.
Obviously, each individual needs a slightly different balance to meet his needs. But if you prepare a nice variety, everybody will find something at your table. That is why my husband will eat more of the fresh salad while I will have a bigger portion of the grounding sweet potatoes.
Example for a "bad" balance: if you eat a lot of food high in Yin like meat, eggs and other animal products, these need to be balanced with a high quantity of extreme Yang food like tropical fruits, sugar, alcohol, spices. Notice something? You sure do.
This equation can be applied to all our daily life’s fields. Multitasking, stress in the office and in your free time create a state of extreme Yang, which will increase your cravings for extreme Yin: alcohol, coffee, sugar, junk food etc. This balance is deceiving, though, as it creates only a very short term equilibrium. After that, your body moves even more out of balance, which in the end will create damage, even for the mind.
An understanding of these principles is very helpful on your way to live healthy and happy.
Let me explain a bit further....
Yin = cold Yang = warm
Winter = cold Summer = warm
Winter plants = grow beneath earth summer plants = grow above earth
In winter the body needs more Yang food („heavier“ plants, which preserve for a longer time beneath the earth) – did your granny have salad in winter, she sure did not - whereas in summer the body needs to be cooled with Yin food (light, easily spoiled plants, which sprout above earth). Easy, no? Mother natures does take care of us. Please consider these principles also when you travel. You will not want to eat a hot potatoe-chillie soup in a tropical climate.
Try to apply these principles to your life, start with some of the following measures:
1. Always prepare fresh food. Avoid microwaving.
2. Take your time for each meal: sit, chew, digest and above all enjoy.
3. Move a lot and get your quantum of oxygen every day, which would be at least 30 minutes.
4. Take your time off distractions (computer, phone, tv etc) and try to exist more conciously, take time for family and friends, do some yoga and meditation
As far as your daily meals are concerned, a balanced plate needs
-> many colours
-> various textures
-> various tastes and spice intensity
-> something boiled and something raw
-> some nuts and seeds
-> 25-30% of whole grains
-> 15-20% (vegetable) protein
You will notice how much you will suddenly indulge, how your palate will jubilate and thus your body!
The following combination is just one example to give you an idea about what a balanced meal combination could look like:
- Wholegrain Soba Noodles with almond-tamari sauce
- Fresh salad from pressed raw china cabbage and radishes (pressed raw veggies act as a kind of pickles and are easier digested than just raw veggies. For recipes pls check this link: http://www.macroamerica.com/recipes/a-simple-delicious-pressed-salad/. I personally leave the pressed veggies to stand overnight)
- Grilled pumpkin or sweet potato
- Steamed fennel with miso dressing
Get balanced – enjoy life!