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Diet

Is your diet toxic?

Saturday, August 04, 2012 by: Dr. Jessica Vellela
Tags: diet, toxic, digestion

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(NaturalNews) It's common knowledge that diets rich in processed, preserved and GMO-laden ingredients are highly toxic. But, what you may not know is that a completely home-grown, organic, non-GMO meal can also be toxic - if your body can't digest it.

The toxins in this case are not due to external causes like synthetic preservatives, coloring agents, flavors, pesticides or any of the common culprits. These toxins are actually produced inside the body during the complex processes of digestion and metabolism, due to a wide range of causes. Additionally, each individual's digestive system has its own strengths and weaknesses, which makes it more capable of digesting certain types of foods. Our innate capacity can be better understood through Ayurveda, which describes four types of digestive systems - one which is balanced, and three which are predominant in, or affected by, a specific Dosha (Vata, Pitta or Kapha). By eating according to your digestive capacity, you can reduce the formation of internally generated toxins (Ama).

What kind of digestive system do you have?

A Balanced GIT works well consistently. It does not get disrupted easily by a change in food habits, nor is it prone to any of the tendencies of the other three.

A Vata-predominant GIT is unpredictable in appetite, digestive capacity, energy levels and output, often times without reason. This is the most delicate type, and is easily prone to gas, bloating, cramps and constipation. The earliest signs of imbalance are feelings of blockage or fullness in the abdomen.

A Pitta-predominant GIT is always active, creating a strong appetite, intense hunger and speedy metabolism. The earliest signs of imbalance are a slight reduction in the overall body temperature and yellow tinge in the complexion.

A Kapha-predominant GIT is inherently slow, with a low appetite and rare feelings of hunger pangs. Skipping a meal is easy. The earliest signs of imbalance are general heaviness and sluggishness.

It is important to note that while each individual is born with an innate type of GIT, one's food choices, lifestyle habits and disease can alter that completely. For a thorough assessment, seek advice from a competent Ayurvedic practitioner.

Are you eating the right diet for your digestive system?

A Vata-predominant GIT does best with four small meals per day, at three to four hour intervals. The ideal meal is well-cooked, hot, oily and easy to digest, with more sweet, sour and salty flavors.

A Pitta-predominant GIT manages well with three meals per day with a high content of raw food, but limiting citrus and other sour fruits. Prefer bitter, sweet and astringent flavors.

A Kapha-predominant GIT works best with two meals per day, at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Hot, cooked meals are best, with liberal use of pungent (spicy), bitter and astringent flavors.

Preventing internal toxin formation

In addition to the type of GIT and the quality of food, we should also consider:

Quantity - Fill your stomach to 3/4 capacity, with food (two parts) and drinks (one part). This allows easy churning during the first stage of digestion.

Location - Locally grown food is always best. Select items which balance the characteristics of the location (i.e. hot, cold, humid, dry, heavy, light).

Time - Always, and only, eat when hungry. The strongest feelings of hunger will naturally occur at noon and that's the ideal time for the largest meal of the day. This concept also includes using seasonal fruits and vegetables that have fully matured.

You - Are you tired? Frustrated? Deep in thought or distracted from your meal? There's no point in having a wonderful, freshly prepared organic meal if you can't sit down and enjoy it!

Sources for this article include:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3215310/ - Concept of Ahara in relation to Matra, Desha, Kala and their effect on Health

Charaka Samhita, Sutra sthana, Vimana sthana & Chikitsa sthana, Chowkhamba Publishers (Sanskrit text and translation by Dr. RK Sharma and Dr. Bhagawan Dash)

Susruta Samhita, Sutra sthana, Chowkhamba Publishers (Sanskrit text and translation by Dr. GD Singhal and Colleagues)

About the author:
Jessica Vellela, BAMS, is one of only a handful of Americans to receive the 6-year degree in Ayurveda. She became a licensed Ayurvedic Doctor in India and worked in a variety of hospitals and managed her own center. She currently resides in North Carolina and offers a complete range of Ayurvedic services including advice on diet, lifestyle & herbal supplements, therapeutic yoga, and classical Pancha Karma (detoxification) and Rasayana (rejuvenation).

Learn more about AyurVillage, an Ayurvedic Healing Center.

Read her other articles on Ayurveda.
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