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Lessons from Ayurveda

December 10, 2008

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In recent blogs we’ve talked about the Mediterranean diet and the Macrobiotic Diet. Another way of eating that we address at Integrative Nutrition is Ayurveda.

Ayurveda translates to “the science of life.” It is an ancient healing system from India that emphasizes eating in accordance with your individual body type and the seasons. The system promotes health and disease prevention through balancing the doshas, or mind-body types.

Foods encouraged and restricted depend on your particular dosha, but some general guidelines apply to all meals. A basic meal should have something warm, something with protein, a salad and/or vegetables with good oil, spices and flavorings, and something small and sweet for dessert. If you are following an Ayurvedic diet, heavily processed foods, excess sugar and caffeine and large amounts of animal protein are restricted.

Sample menu:

Breakfast: Hot cereal with walnuts, honey and spices

Lunch: Portobello mushroom curry with basmati rice, mung bean dahl and sautéed spinach

Snack: Almonds, Eater’s Digest tea

Dinner: Tandoori salmon with yogurt, turmeric and pineapple chutney, brocooli salad and sesame oil and sesame seeds

Desserts: Rice pudding with cardamom, cinnamon, honey and almond milk

The Ayurveda philosophy advocates for people to eat their biggest meal in the middle of the day, because it’s the best time for our bodies to take in and digest a large meal. This way of eating is not for everyone though. You may feel best when you have a large meal at breakfast or at dinner instead. Some people feel better when they eat a large breakfast and lunch and then have a small snack for dinner; others do best with five small meals throughout the day. Experiment with the times of the day you eat and the size of your meals.  

To learn more about the doshas and your particular dosha visit

About the author

Joshua Rosenthal is the Founder and Director of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. He has worked in the nutrition field for more than 25 years, teaching at the school alongside health leaders including Andrew Weil, Deepak Chopra and Barry Sears. At Integrative Nutrition students are trained as Health Coaches, receiving the holistic nutrition education necessary for them go out into the world and help others improve their health and happiness.