Weight loss doesn’t have to hurt. Being kind and gentle to the body using Ayurvedic wisdom allows it to do the work of detoxifying and shedding extra weight naturally.
According to Ayurveda, a 5,000-year old system of healing, knowing how to help the body detox can lead to weight loss naturally and without suffering and hardship. An Ayurvedic detox diet differs in many ways from the conventional Western notion of detox. In an Ayurvedic detox diet, you won’t need to drink litres of water in order to flush out the system, nor will the prescription be for a steady intake of raw fruit and vegetables, salads and bland meals. Instead, the emphasis turns to three focus points: stimulating the body’s natural elimination processes so that waste is removed efficiently and effectively; firing up the digestive system so that food is fully broken down and its energy used in the proper ways; and in supplying the body with the necessary tastes in order for it to feel full satisfaction.
‘Satisfaction’ is a concept often completely overlooked in Western nutrition, which takes a more mechanical view of nutrition and the body. Yet, according to Ayurveda it is one of the keys to natural detoxification and weight loss. It deserves more explanation. In Ayurveda it is understood that our meals need to consist of the full spectrum of flavours in order to satisfy our senses. These flavours, or ‘rasa’ as they are known are sweet, sour, salty, astringent, bitter and pungent. Once our minds register these tastes from the food we eat, the body feels satisfied and no longer feels any cravings and so there is far less tendency to overeat. Most foods, however – especially in the Western diet – fall into the first three categories – sweet, sour or salty. Bitter, astringent and pungent are often overlooked, leaving the taste buds and digestion unsatisfied – and leaving you picking at the biscuit tin! Food manufacturers are well aware that sweet, sour and salty tastes lead us to feel unsatisfied and keep reaching for more and eating addictively. Ever wondered why certain foods are ‘moreish’? Food awareness therefore – a recognition of the ‘type’ of food you are eating – is a crucial first step in starting an Ayurvedic diet. Make sure you incorporate each of the tastes – sweet, salty, sour, astringent, bitter and pungent – into your food plan and you will find you feel fuller for longer and the cravings disappear. You can then eat freely without worrying about calorie-counting and portion control. (Examples of foods with each taste can be found below.)
Just as important as ‘satisfication’ is the need to eliminate waste materials from the body. Before eating your first meal of the day, it is important first to eliminate any waste that is still in the system from the day before. Ayurveda views excess weight as a result of improper lifestyle and poor digestion and elimination. If our bodies are not able to eliminate waste products properly, toxins or ama circulate in the body and are deposited in the fat layer and contribute to weight gain. One very effective and super simple way to help the body eliminate toxins is to drink coriander water first thing in the morning. The water is made by crushing three teaspoons of whole coriander seeds (just to break the seed open, do not ground it into a powder) and soak in room temperature water overnight. In the morning, simply strain the water through a sieve. This makes an excellent drink first thing in the morning as it stimulates a downward movement (known as apana vata) and encourages the flow of waste elimination.
Finally, boosting our digestion is critical. The digestive fire in Ayurveda is known as the ‘agni’. If our digestive power is strong, we can build healthy tissues in the body, properly eliminate waste products and build strong immunity. Weak digestive fire creates improperly digested food which forms toxins that are deposited in fat tissues. Before each meal, we stoke up the digestive fire, known as the ‘agni deepana’, with a fiery mixture of heating spices, such as ginger, cumin and cinnamon. After each meal we take ‘ama pachana’, a delicious tonic of lime juice, ginger and honey, which will further stimulate the digestive system so that it can effectively break down the food, move the energy to where it’s needed in the body and swiftly eliminate waste. These spices are also great energy boosters which will get rid of any after-meal sluggishness. A delicious bedtime drink with hot milk (or almond milk) can aid good digestion and give you a restful nights sleep. Mix a pinch of turmeric, ginger, 2 cardamom pods and cinnamon with hot milk and drink 1 hour before bedtime.
THE AYURVEDA TWO-WEEK DETOX & WEIGHT LOSS PLAN
This simple daily routine can result in significant weight loss in just 14 days without grueling gym schedules and feeling deprived or starving.
Before bed Crush three teaspoons of whole coriander seeds in a mortar and pestel (for a few seconds, just to break the seeds open). Soak the crushed coriander seeds in a glass of room temperature water overnight.
First thing in the morning Before you eat or drink anything, as soon as you get up, strain the seeds out and drink the water. As coriander is a natural diuretic this cooling drink acts as a great detox to the body and will also calm the mind.
Mung dahl coconut rice porridge
Either of these breakfasts will give you clean and calming, slow release energy for the morning and softly wake up your digestive system with a hug, instead of a punch!
Mung dahl coconut rice porridge
Soak half a cup of whole green Mung dahl in water for 8-12 hours (you can do this overnight). In the morning cook the dahl with one and a half cups of white Basmati rice and four cups of water (you can adjust the quantity as long as the proportion is correct). Once it comes to the boil, cook on low heat with the lid on for 12-15 minutes until fully cooked and a little sticky. Take it off the heat and add coconut milk (2 tablespoons coconut milk mixed with two small cups of hot water and half a teaspoon of salt). Stir well and return to the heat for 3 minutes. You can also make this in a rice cooker by adding all the ingredients together and cooking. According to what your body feels like, make it sweet or savoury. For a savoury version add grated nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and almond flakes if desired. For a sweet version, add any combination of a small handful of raisins, maple syrup, flaked almonds and seeds.
Wrap two apples (eating apples of any variety) or pears in foil and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Once cooked, add cinnamon and nutmeg (and maple syrup if desired) before eating. You can also stuff the cored apple / pear with sultanas or raisins mixed with cinnamon and a little butter or ghee (for those of vata constitution).
Mid-morning One ginger nut biscuit/rice cake. A cup of chai/normal English breakfast tea with a little milk.
Before lunch Mix a few crushed cumin seeds and half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder in a third of a cup of hot water. This spicy drink will build the flames of the digestive fire! Or you can purchase our special Paaka choorna from the Ayurvedic Clinic, a powder simply mixed with a little hot water.
Lunch Choose from the following:
Rice with dhal (lentils),
Soup with noodles,
Vegetable or chicken soup,
Fish and spinach with pitta bread,
Sushi, wrap with chicken or vegetables.
Make sure to eat well at lunchtime and feel satisfied.
Mid afternoon Cup of tea with rice cake
Before dinner Mix half a teaspoon of asafoetida (hing) powder and half a teaspoon of ginger powder in a third of a cup of hot water
¼ teaspoon of fenugreek seeds in 30ml of hot water – drink the water and seeds together
thin slices of ginger in hot water or black tea and drink as a small cup of tea
purchase our special Paaka choorna from the Ayurvedic Clinic, a powder simply mixed with a little hot water
Dinner Any light meal you wish
Before bed Mix a pinch of turmeric, thin slices of ginger, 2 cardamom pods and cinnamon with hot milk and drink one hour before bedtime … and don’t forget to crush those all important coriander seeds for the next morning!
WHAT IS AYURVEDA?
Ayurveda is an ancient and deeply intelligent healing system that originated in India about 5,000 years ago. According to Ayurveda, one’s physical, emotional and psychological make-up are determined by the ratio of elements present in one’s constitution. There are three main constitutions or doshas: vata, which has the light and mobile qualities of air and space; pitta, which is passionate and energetic like fire and kapha, which is steady and reliable like earth, and of course, a multitude of complex and subtle combinations. Understanding one’s own constitution and re-ordering any imbalance through the use of diet and lifestyle, medicinal herbs and massage, is the path to a happy, healthy and long life, according to Ayurveda. Its proponents see food and spices as medicinal substances and good digestion as one of the main factors to optimal health. The diet given here is suitable for people of all constitutions and strives to build a strong and robust digestive system – the key to good health!
FEEL THE FLAVOUR
Incorporate each of the following tastes into your daily food plan and you’ll find cravings and dieting, are a thing of the past. Listed below are some examples of foods for each flavour to give you an idea.
Salty: All salts, seafood
Sweet: Milk, rice, dates, wheat
Sour: Citrus, sour cream, yoghurt, vinegar, lemon
Astringent: Pomegranate, chickpeas, yellow split peas, okra
Bitter: Bitter melon, turmeric, rocket
Pungent: Hot peppers, black pepper, onions, garlic, ginger, asafoetida, coriander leaves
The Ayurvedic Clinic
The Ayurvedic Clinic based in London, has been operating discreetly for almost two decades, its premises, gardens and teaching Institute hidden behind a modest residential exterior.
Behind its doors, Dr Deepika Rodrigo B.A.M.S has worked tirelessly in her almost 25 years of continuous clinical practice, to counsel and restore thousands of patients to health and bring them relief from their suffering. In symbiosis with her team of highly experienced Ayurvedic physicians, expert Ayurvedic Panchakarma therapists and staff they have created an oasis of peace and purity which allows healing and spiritual reflection.
Tel: 020 8405 4407
Ayurveda Institute UK
“Leading the way as one of the largest and most pioneering providers of Ayurvedic education outside Asia, the Ayurveda Institute UK is an international school based in London, specialising in authentic, vocational teaching of Ayurveda from the classical Sanskrit texts. Uniquely benefitting from the symbiosis with the well established Ayurvedic Clinic and the Association of Ayurvedic Professionals UK, the Institute offers unparalleled instruction in its field.
Tel: +44 208 405 4407