What is ayurvedic nutrition?
Ayurvedic nutrition means eating the right foods for your individual combination of physical constitution, digestive capacity, energy level and symptoms. The foods that suit one person's health and digestion may not suit another's, even if you seem to be treating the same health issue. It is not a one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition. In a consultation, an ayurvedic practitioner considers your individual nature (prakriti), current imbalances (vikriti) and how your digestion is functioning, in order to give you personalised dietary guidance. Read more: Ayurvedic nutrition, by Atreya Smith (my teacher).
What happens in a consultation?
You will be asked about what you eat, your daily routine, job, symptoms, digestion, bowel movements, sleep, energy, emotions and more. Observations will be made, e.g. the tongue and pulse, to assess the body's functioning. You are then given a treatment that includes foods to eat and avoid, lifestyle choices (e.g. yoga, exercise, sleep), breathing exercises, and herbs and spices. Massage or other physical therapies may be recommended. It is an all-round approach designed to restore balance physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
How do I eat according to my dosha?
This depends on whether you have excess Vata, Pitta or Kapha dosha in the body (about the doshas) and on your specific issue (e.g. skin problem, bloating, constipation, weight, PMS, etc). For most people, however, an ayurvedic diet consists primarily of wholegrains and vegetables, with some fruit. Then, depending on dosha, a small amount of other foods, such as dairy, nuts, seeds, beans etc is added. To reduce Vata, a meal contains more wholegrain than vegetables. For Pitta, it is even, and balancing Kapha requires more vegetables than wholegrains. (NO ONE should be eating white carbs, like white bread, rice, pasta or flour! Or sugar.) The portion sizes and how often to eat grains also varies. These are all things an ayurvedic practitioner can advise you on, tailored to your own health and digestion.
Will I have to give up all the foods I like?
You won't be asked to change all your foods at once or given a long list of banned foods. That's not realistic for most people, and can shock the body both physically and psychologically, further imbalancing the metabolism. You are given changes that are PRACTICAL for you and your daily life, introduced at a pace that is realistic and can be maintained so that you build long-term good habits.
Do I have to go vegetarian?
Not if you don't want to! If you're eating a lot of meat, we will talk about it and agree a plan that you are happy with (the same goes for other toxin-forming foods, such as cheese and white bread). These can be reduced gradually and alternatives given so you don't feel deprived. Traditionally, ayurveda did use meat sometimes (though from animals that were locally and organically reared).
What about alcohol, coffee, sugar etc?
If it is a challenge to cut down on coffee, alcohol or sugar, we will go step-by-step. Most clients, once they introduce some of the right foods (particularly wholegrains) and the metabolism starts rebalancing, crave these things less and feel more motivated to reduce or eliminate them. I use herbal blends to help you deal with sugar and other addictions. But these only work when combined with willpower and with the specific method that I use. You can only do what YOU really want to do.
How many times will I need to see you?
Everyone requires at least one follow-up (45 minutes), usually after three weeks, to review symptoms and progress your treatment. For straightforward digestive and other problems, two visits usually resolve the problem. Then you can come for regular massage, if you wish to, and an appointment three to six months later to re-assess your health (the doshas and our health change all the time, especially with the seasons, at times of stress, and approaching the menopause).
For chronic conditions, complex digestive problems or people with several health issues, regular visits may be needed. Also, the digestion usually has to be improved and toxins removed before herbal treatment for illnesses can be started. In this case, you may like a personalised three-month package of consultations, massage, nutrition, herbal treatment, lifestyle coaching, relaxation and breathing techniques, and ayurvedic cooking lessons if needed. Price on application (approx. £300-£500): contact me if interested.
Ayurveda is a method of self-healing. I am an Ayurvedic consultant in London, treating mild to moderate health conditions in adults, the elderly and children over 12. My aim is to clear your symptoms and rebalance the doshas, to support and encourage you, then give you the correct diet and routine to maintain long-term good health. I have a passion for sharing Ayurveda with you and empowering YOU to take charge of your own wellbeing.
Contact Jacqui for a consultation
See list of conditions treated
Follow me on Twitter @JacquiAyurveda
Clinic: Maitri Natural Health Centre, 252 Streatham High Road, London SW16 1HS
View Jacqui's profile