How does something that’s thousands of years old apply today?



Ancient principles of Ayurveda are reflected in the guidelines of eating the Whole Foods Plant-Based (WFPB) diet that many people are gravitating towards today. Both Ayurveda and the Whole Foods diet protect against chronic diseases and promote better overall health because they are lifestyle focused. Their two main guiding principals for eating for optimal health are:

  • Encouraging eating whole-foods, mostly plant-based
  • Minimizing/eliminating processed foods



Sounds simple, right? 

Hate to break it but there’s so much more to it than just choosing a salad for lunch instead of pizza to follow a whole-food plant-based diet.  It is recommended that 90% + of food consumed should be whole food plant-based, and >= 10% animal-based foods. Plant-based foods are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts. Animal-based foods include meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy. 



What exactly are processed foods?

The best explanation for unprocessed versus processed foods from the modern perspective is, “nothing bad added, nothing good taken away;” and from the Vedic perspective, “don’t eat anything your ancestors wouldn’t recognize as food.” Food left in its most natural form, or close to it is unprocessed and considered to be “real food” or whole foods. All too often fiber and other essential nutrients are removed and replaced with added sugars, oils, chemicals, and artificial flavoring and these are processed foods. Minimally processed foods have undergone some processing but they are still nutritious and not overly adulterated. Ayurveda and the Whole Foods diet advocate for eating nutrient-rich foods, and through these practices, we become more mindful of what we are eating, how we are eating, when we are eating, how much we are eating, and why we are eating.  Both Ayurveda and WFPB are personalized, unrestrictive, and encourage a balanced life.



Ayurveda is the key to personalizing your Whole Foods diet.

The Ayurvedic diet is a type of eating that suggests when, how, and what you should eat based on your dosha, or body type. The body types are derived from the five elements that make up the universe space, air, fire, water, and earth. We are all constitutes of the three doshas but in varying amounts. By knowing your prominent dosha, you can determine which foods are most pacifying for you and your inner balance. The Ayurvedic diet also emphasizes eating seasonally for all body types.

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Vata (ether + space)

Warm, moist, dense, and oily foods – mostly cooked Some examples:

  • Fruits – cooked apples, apricots, ripe bananas, berries, mangos, melons
  • Vegetables – squash, asparagus, beets, spinach, asparagus
  • Grains – oats, quinoa, basmati rice
  • Legumes – mung daal, tofu
  • Dairy – ghee, unsweetened yogurt, kefit, goat milk/cheese/yogurt 
  • Nuts & Seeds – any raw nut and seed 
  • Animal Product – chicken, turkey, eggs, beef, fish
  • Oils – almond, extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil, sesame oil
  • Sweeteners – coconut sugar, dates, honey, maple syrup, monk fruit
  • Spices – cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, paprika, ginger, cumin, pepper



Pitta (fire + water)

Cool, juicy, sweet, and dry foods Some examples:

  • Fruits – apples, pineapple, pomegranate, oranges, grapes, cherries
  • Vegetables – artichokes, bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber
  • Grains – barley, couscous, oats, wheat, quinoa, rice (basmati, white, wild)
  • Legumes – black beans, chickpeas, lentils, mung daal, split peas, tofu, tempeh
  • Dairy – unsalted butter, ghee, goats milk/cheese/yogurt
  • Nuts & Seeds – almonds, chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
  • Animal Product – chicken, turkey, eggs, fish
  • Oils – extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil, flaxseed oil, ghee
  • Sweeteners – coconut sugar, dates, honey, monk fruit
  • Spices – basil, turmeric, vanilla, saffron, dill, coriander, ginger, cardamom



Kapha (earth + water)

Light, stimulating, dry, bitter, astringent, and pungent foods Some examples:

  • Fruits – apples, berries, cherries, lemons, limes, cranberries, pears
  • Vegetables – asparagus, celery, peppers, cabbage, leafy greens, carrots
  • Grains – barley, buckwheat, millet, quinoa
  • Legumes – black beans, chickpeas, lentils, mung daal, split peas, tofu, tempeh
  • Dairy – Avoid, instead go for unsweetened nondairy milks (almond, coconut, or pea)
  • Nuts & Seeds – hemp seeds, almonds, chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
  • Animal Product – chicken, turkey, eggs, fish
  • Oils – almond oil, extra-virgin olive oil, flaxseed oil, ghee
  • Sweeteners – honey, monk fruit, stevia
  • Spices – cinnamon, clover, ginger, turmeric, paprika, saffron, cumin, cardamom



No Strict Do’s & Don’ts

While there are guidelines for Ayurvedic diet and Whole Foods Plant-Based diet, there are no strict do’s and don’ts. These diets are more of a lifestyle than “fad” diet- their emphasis is having a balanced life for optimal health through mind, body, soul, environment, and diet – not just a “quick fix and go back to old habits.” A lot of the foods we have in the modern world weren’t available in ancient times. When it comes to chips, cookies, and ice cream – those foods don’t come directly from the ground of trees, so they weren’t eaten in ancient times. The best advice is, everything in moderation & balance is key. A blissful life is a life that flows effortlessly, you don’t want to feel restricted by any rules or regulations. If you’re at a party, and there are cookies (because there will be) have a cookie if you want – It’s your life; but try to keep the rest of your day based on whole foods. The below diagram depicts the Whole Foods Plant-Based diet.

Remember, food is our fuel – eat good & feel good.