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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

Food to Suit Your Mood: Learn about the important connection between food and Ayurveda, a natural medicine system known by some as the "science of life"

Apr 03, 2012 06:23PM ● By By Anita Rangaswami

Individuals that lead a wellness-oriented lifestyle are generally concerned with nutrition, fitness, stress and typically care about their environment as well. Health-conscious individuals may be into eating raw foods, drinking Kombucha tea and going to yoga/Pilates fusion classes, running ultra marathons, meditating, dancing, drumming and more, just to keep fit.

However, in this age of information overload, there is too much to digest, and the consumer is often overwhelmed by confusing and sometimes contradictory information. We pay more attention to ensure we consume foods that are listed as healthy or rich in antioxidants, but are we paying close attention to the negative effects of certain foods that are consumed on a daily basis?

Here is an example that may sound a little too familiar and clearly illustrates these negative effects. An ice cream treat may be an earned reward after a particularly stressful day and without noticeable consequence, when consumed infrequently. But what happens when infrequent turns into the go-to stress-relief solution several times a week? Besides an uncomfortable increase in the midsection, there are other health ramifications to hot fudge brownie sundae therapy.

After a few weeks of brownie therapy, the negative effects begin to manifest. A cold may develop, with chest congestion, a runny nose, dull headache and a cough that lasts seemingly forever. It feels as if a bad cold and chest congestion suddenly appeared, but in reality, the shift to excessive dairy and sweets consumption may have played a significant role. We know that the same foods can be processed very differently by individuals—one man's food is another's poison.

With Ayurveda, a natural medicine system known by some as the "science of life," we learn to understand our mind/body type and become aware of foods that are nourishing for our body, while avoiding others that may not be as conducive. "You are what you eat," an old adage, takes on special significance when we use these nature-based principles and work toward alleviating physical and mental imbalances or disease symptoms. Food is considered to be the first and foremost form of medicine, and without the right kind of food in the body, all other healing modalities can only be partially effective.

When we can properly identify an imbalance, avoid the foods causing it and choose the appropriate foods to pacify the imbalances, we begin the healing process. As we become more observant of the nature of the food we eat, and when and why we indulge in the foods that we do, we may be able to voluntarily change those patterns that are not nourishing for our mind and body.

Here are three key principles to help feed your mind and body. Don't let your mood influence your food; know what you are eating; always eat with total awareness; and know your ayurvedic mind/body type and be in tune with nature's rhythms.

Anita Rangaswami is an Ayurveda consultant, and a yoga and meditation instructor who is Yoga Alliance registered and certified through the Chopra Center. She is the founder of Prana Gyana Holistic Health and Wellness Center, in Tempe. For more information, call 480-598-9661 or visit PranaGyana.com.

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