– A guest article by Anne Jansson –
Intuitive eating, feeling what you need instead of thinking too much. Trusting the body feeling AND not following outside rules and restrictions …
Does that sound like a dream? You can manifest the dream with Ayurveda. However, there are a few steps I will explain in my today’s blog.
My story about intuitive eating
I was longing for: “just eating” and feeling what I’d like to eat — feeling what’s right. Eating and living intuitively.
Like many of us, I too had forgotten what it is like to eat intuitively. Although I was never too fat, I was influenced by trends. Eat this and that, avoid that and this. My mind was controlling me, and my eating habits were ruled and controlled by my mind. Like the motto “Aha, this seems to be the “healthiest” product; therefore, I have to take that. I wasn’t following my feeling of “hmmm this is what I’d love to eat” I even lost the sense of what I really would love to eat and what I am passionate about.
Here’s my journey back to myself
A few years ago, I started with my inner journey and development back to my true Self. I stepped away from social norms, rules, and limitations and returned to who I AM, what is in me, and what wants to come out into the world. I have started to rediscover my intuition. When I found my intuition again, it worked well in many areas but not in the field of nutrition.
The Ayurvedic lifestyle and eating habits helped me to understand why. Here’s the explanation:
Taste – what does taste mean from an Ayurvedic perspective?
Ayurveda assigns certain flavors to substances, i.e., food, beverages, herbs, oils, and so on. Its meaning is more profound than the different flavors according to Western understanding. The Ayurvedic flavors explain the impact of its essence.
Here are the basic flavors:
*contracting / herb (kashaya)
What is the impact of Ayurvedic flavors?
Each flavor either increases a balancing (-) or an imbalancing effect (+) on every Dosha. I present this in the following table:
For example, a flavor that is dominant in bitter balances Pitta and Kapha excess, but reinforces a Vata imbalance.
What is the role of the Ayurvedic balance?
When you are roughly in your equilibrium state, i.e., your current constitution corresponds to your basic constitution (Prakriti), you usually feel which foods and activities are balancing the dominant doshas in your Prakriti.
How does it look like to be in equilibrium?
You’re rarely in your entire, original constitution. The seasons of the year, the time of the day, the weather, climate, your activities, your environment, your daily rhythm, your food, and feelings are influences that are shaped by certain Doshas. Because of this, they also influence your current state, your Vikriti.
If the same influences keep shifting your Basic Ayurvedic constitution in a certain direction over a period of time, you are out of balance. Consequently, symptoms will show up.
Let me give you an example:
You are a Pitta-VataVataVataVataVataVataVataVataVataVataVataVata type, and you’re stressed out by multiple tasking and too many changes every day. As a result your balance shifts, and at some point, you’ll get Vata symptoms such as insomnia, flatulence, dry skin, and so on.
The aim of Ayurveda is always a dynamic balance around your state of equilibrium. You can compare that to a surfer!
What is the role of intuition in Ayurveda?
Ayurveda says: If you are not far from your basic constitution, the Prakriti, you intuitively maintain this balance.
For example, you’re a Vata- Pitta type, and, from an Ayurvedic point of view, you’re approximately balanced. Therefore foods with a sweet taste are particularly good for you as they balance both doshas. These are, for example, good cereals, oils, nuts, sweet fruits, and mild vegetables.
Let’s say you start from the point of constitutional balance:
If your pitta increases just a little due to heat or stress, this is the sign for choosing foods that are bitter in order to regain your balance.
Why? If your doshas are mostly balanced, and you live in a dynamic balance around your state of equilibrium, your cell intelligence is optimally developed, and you can trust your intuition.
Let’s say we start from an imbalanced body constitution:
If you’re in a strong and prolonged imbalance, the intuitive feeling might get lost. The intuitive eating will also get lost when you have been following the rules of diets strictly because you disconnect from your feelings and senses.
For example, when women go hungry intentionally in order to get slim or stay slim, this can significantly increase the Pitta dosha. As a result, it might be that you get more appetite for spicy foods that further increase the imbalance.
In contrast, people with a significant excess of Kapha often have a great appetite for sweets, which then increases the imbalance.
How to get back to balance and intuitive eating?
My method consists of three steps:
1. Recognize imbalance
2. Balance the imbalance
3. Practice intuition with the 5 elements
1. Recognize imbalance
This step usually requires professional help. Ayurveda doctors, coaches, or consultants can use observation skills and appropriate questions to determine what kind of imbalance you have. The imbalance is always to be seen in relation to your basic constitution.
For example, if your basic constitution is Kapha-Vata, a high percentage of Kapha is normal and desirable for you, whereas for a Pitta type, a high percentage of Kapha would be a sign of an imbalance.
2. Balance the imbalance
Your Ayurveda coach will suggest various remedies depending on the type of imbalance. I always look at what is feasible in the everyday life of my clients. Of course, a regular morning routine would be helpful for many people, and if there is no way for integrating a morning routine, we will find other solutions.
Ayurvedic practices to compensate imbalance include:
*Certain types of exercise
*aromatic oils(medicinal grade essential oils)
*Appropriate Ayurvedic diet
In this phase, it is important to follow the advice of your coach as much as possible. As long as there is a strong imbalance, intuitive eating is not yet possible from an Ayurvedic point of view.
If your doshas slowly get back to a state of balance, you will feel more and more the positive impact of the Ayurvedic lifestyle practice and eating habits. And as soon as you have reached a dynamic balance around your state of equilibrium, you can start with step 3!
3. Practice intuition with the 5 elements
A dynamic balance means that the deviations from your Prakriti are only small and temporary. However, such deviations are normal. The seasons, the weather, your food, certain encounters, feelings, and activities influence the doshas in you and thus your Vikriti, your current Ayurvedic constitution.
Advice: live intuitively, and don’t just eat.
Intuitive eating is the sense of Ayurveda means that you feel which foods are leading you closer to your Prakriti, i.e., your basic constitution. Not only that: you’ll also feel whether you better eat and drink cold or warm, how much and which exercise is good for you and whether relaxation is in order of the present moment.
Your willingness to learn is required now!
If you haven’t got there yet, I recommend my method of 5 Ayurvedic elements. You need a notebook, an alarm clock (e.g., the alarm of your mobile phone) and some discipline.
Practice check-ins in between
You set the alarm to 5 different times during the day. For example, when you get up, once in the morning, before lunch, once in the afternoon and after dinner. You vary it so that it fits into your everyday life.
When your alarm goes off, take a little break, take a few deep breaths and feel into yourself.
Which elements do you currently feel are dominant in you?
Are you feeling the heat in you? Are you feeling angry, extremely ambitious, or over-acidic? This indicates the Ayurvedic fire element.
Do you feel heavy and hard? There could be an excess of the Ayurvedic element earth.
Do you have the feeling of “swimming”? Are you not having enough determination and firmness in you? Too much softness? This indicates the Ayurvedic element of water.
Do you need “grounding”? Do you feel too fluttery, nervous, anxious? In that case, it would make sense to balance air or ether.
Practice Check-ins after meals
After your meals, you also take your notebook with you. Write down which foods have influenced the elements in you and how.
Advice: make your own experiences instead of living a life according to external rules.
However, I recommend that you test everything on yourself because everyone reacts a little differently, and I wish that you live independently of external rules and lists and become your own expert. You will see it becomes easier after a while of practice.
If you do this process for a few weeks, you will develop the intuition you need to eat and live intuitively.
And if you would like my support, please contact me.
I can help you and analyze your basic constitution, your current constitution, and your goals. Afterward, we’ll determine steps that fit into YOUR current life and bring you back into balance so that you can then live with more ease and intuition. Register here for a complimentary online consultation.
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