Live-Food According to Ayurveda

Live-Food According to Ayurveda
by Walter Kacera, PhD., D. N.,
Ayurvedic Vegetarian Nutritionist & Therapeutic Herbalist

Ayurveda is the oldest natural healing system in the world. Ancient text go back well over 5,000 years back and reveal valuable knowledge of how to live in harmony with our environment. Here are a few basic teachings of how to use healing live-foods to stay healthy, vibrant and how to live a long good life.

The Proof is in the Tasting

There are six tastes according to Ayurveda:

Sweet, Sour, Salty, Pungent, Bitter, and Astringent.

Each is comprised of two elements:

Sweet (earth and water) examples: whole grains, fruit, and sweet root vegetables;

Sour (earth and fire) examples: seed or nut yogurt, lemon, tamarind;

Salty (water and fire) examples: sea salt, rock salt, kelp;

Pungent (fire and air) examples: onion, radish, ginger, chilli;

Bitter (air and ether) examples: dandelion root, rhubarb root, bitter melon;

Astringent (air and earth) examples: plantain, pomegranate, apples.

There are two other considerations in Ayurveda. First, whether a food’s action is heating or cooling. The taste sweet, bitter, and astringent are cooling, Sour, salty, and pungent are all heating. The second is the post-digestive effect or how the foods “taste” to the tissues during and after assimilation. Sweet and salty are sweet in post-digestive effect. Sour is sour, and pungent, bitter, and astringent are pungent.

Taste, action, and post-digestive effect are known in Sanskrit as rasa, virya, and vipaka respective in Ayurveda. They are the keys to understanding food and herbs. With this knowledge, one can unlock the mysteries of the energetic dynamics of food and be able to make the right choices for oneself.

Live-Foods According to Ayurveda

Raw and live-foods and juices are magnificent in that they are cleansing and energizing. Sprouts are especially wonderful because they contain large amounts of enzymes and nourishment which help with digestion and assimilation of nutrients. Some of the spicier sprouts help to destroy and eliminate toxins in the system known as Ama in Ayurveda.

Fenugreek sprouts can even help in cases of seminal debility. But in general, raw food is very cold and hard to digest in the Vedic sense as it releases its Prana or nourishing life giving energy in the upper portion of the body between the mouth and the stomach. This gives quick, short-term energy, but not long-term tissue building nourishment. This is good for Pittas and also good for Kaphas as long as there are some warming spices and eaten slightly warmed to body temperature, and as for Vatas they need the most heat and grounding foods.

Sprouted grains, seeds and nuts, vegetables, fruits and sea vegetables release their Prana in the colon. This provides long-term tissue building energy. However, these energies cannot be released without the assistance of enzymes. A clean intestinal tract is also essential for proper absorption. This coincides with two of the modern holistic health theories of colon cleansing and enzyme consumption. But the Ayurvedic approach again is practical and individualized. Which herb for which constitution will produce the best colon cleansing varies. Therefore, some people find some of the standard colon cleansing products ineffectual or difficult for their bodies to tolerate.

Triphala (“the three fruits”), used in Ayurveda is one of the best colon cleansers because it strengthens and tones the muscle action of the colon. It does not cause laxative dependency by doing the work for the colon. Similarly, the consumption of enzyme tablets will cause the digestive organs natural ability to produce enzymes for digestion to become suppressed and lazy and possibly lose their ability to function all together. Ayurvedic cooking uses certain herbs and spices to help stimulate the body to produce its own digestive enzymes.

The Secret of Using Spices

Spices used in small to moderate proportions according to the food being prepared and the person’s constitution will stimulate all the digestive organs to produce the enzymes required for total absorption and assimilation. This lets your organs do their work through nourishment without “putting them in a wheelchair” while the chemicals do it. Thus, warmed food and spices are better for the poor digestion of Kaphas and Vatas. Pittas should us only mild spicing, as their “fire of digestion” is generally strong.

Remember there is no such thing as a good or bad {natural} food, just which food is your food. Once you understand your body type, you can structure a diet for yourself that will really work to make you feel totally balanced and harmonized. How soon you feel balanced depends on how much you have abused yourself in the past. Generally, it takes a month of healing for every year of abuse. That’s why the Ayurvedic practitioner uses the tongue diagnosis and asks many questions about your health history. It is very important to ascertain when the problem began and what emotional and mental imbalances preceded it, so that your diet and health plan can solve your health problem by going to the source.

Consciousness and Food

This is probably the most important aspect of Ayurveda: Your state of consciousness when you eat and when you prepare your food. So the example of this is when a person is preparing a meal and has fears, insecurities, anger, jealousy, greed or any of many emotions we experience everyday, the chef will infuse that preparation with that emotion.

This is important to remember in eating – at home or away – that the consciousness of the cook is in the food. And the consciousness of the food one is eating is in there as well. So in Ayurveda, food preparation is considered a sacred act. This is one of the main reasons why animal food is generally not recommended because of the extreme pain, agony, suffering, fear, anger and terror the animal experiences has gone into the food. Add the highly toxic chemical contamination of modern factory farming like hormones, steroids, antibiotics, pesticides, etc., and you have a prescription for death not life.

Vegetables have life also and they also feel pain and discomfort at being eaten. The great scientist Jagadish Chandra Bose showed through extensive research that plants are living, feeling beings that experience emotions like humans on their own level. The Vedas teach that each living being, from the king to the bacteria has a soul and is therefore sacred. The kitchen is considered the extension of the altar in Vedic culture. In early Christianity, the people would bring their crops and lay them at the altar for sacrifice and blessing.

This was done much earlier in Ancient India, only there everything was prepared in the kitchen according to the principles of taste and elemental energetics and then offered with great devotion to Mother Earth and Great Spirit. Therefore, the act of preparing the food, the act of offering, and the offering place were all sacred. The consciousness of the creator of the meal was focused on how all the foods were to be prepared in elemental balance.

Knowing that they were also made of these same elements and the ability to balance them and prepare them were direct gifts from God, they offered back those elements and abilities to the Mother and Father God and through spiritual consciousness cleansed the vegetarian foodstuff of all negative karma by bathing it in love and devotion.

You can do this at home by preparing your food with love according to Ayurvedic energetic principles and offering prayers and meditations of thanks and love to God. You will transform food into God’s mercy. Thus you will raise your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health to the highest possible levels. There is no greater nourishment than this in the entire world.

The Right Food for the Right Person

All foods are healthy, but not all foods are healthy for all people. You must eat the proper foods for your constitution in the proper consciousness if you want the best nourishment and optimum physical and spiritual health.

Walter Kacera, Ph.D., D.N., Ayurvedic Vegetarian Nutritionist
and Therapeutic Herbalist with over 30 years experience in the Natural
Healing Arts. He is the founder of “SPIRIT of the EARTH” an Education
Retreat Centre ‘The Living Centre.’ He teaches Certificate Courses in
Therapeutic and Practical Herbalism, Constitutional Ayurvedic Medicine,
Living Nurition: Energy for Life & Clinical Iridology
5871 Bells Rd., London. ON, N6P 1P3
(519) 652-0230


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