Ayurvedic is an ancient Indian philosophy which teaches that everything is composed of five elements (air, water, earth, fire and space) and that these combine to form doshas, or body types: vata, kapha and pitta. We are all one of the three or a combination and should live and eat to complement our type, as imbalances are thought to trigger health problems.
I’m not one for imposing restrictions on what I eat – I enjoy food too much. So when I visited Ananda Spa in India where, as part of my yoga detox package I was put on an Ayurvedic eating plan. I was skeptical. No doubt the mix of daily yoga and massage would do me good, but as my only daily vices are a few cups of tea and a bit of chocolate, I questioned whether an Ayurvedic menu would make a significant difference to my wellbeing.
I thought I was doing OK on my porridge and blueberry start to the day, soup lunch and dinner of fish, brown rice and eg (or some other such concoction). Not so. Being pitta kapha meant cutting back on brown rice (too heavy), hot spices (too … hot) and a bunch of other things including the chocolate and tea.
I complied and, despite a “withdrawal” headache on day three, I felt clear-headed and energized, had no sugar cravings and zero urge to snack. Miraculous!
Lovely though it is, you don’t have to fork out on a stay at Ayurvedic, a spa in Jersey, offers Ayurvedic treatments and has a restaurant serving food tailored to your dosha. Even more udge-friendly is the new Indian ready-meal brand, Holyfood, which claims to be “dosha neutral” – meaning none of the dishes will cause imbalance. Read into that what you will, but what is concrete is that they don’t use additives or preservatives, are gluten-free and delicious.