ayurveda teaches us how to eat the foods which suit our body and mind for optimal health and balance. primarily the goal is to balance our digestive fire (agni), helps to achieve peace of mind (satva) and supports our immune system (ojas).
in ayurveda we recognize the 20 attributes which manifest in 10 pairs and they are the negative/positive of all forces in nature, specifically our mental and physical. a balanced digestive fire is warm, light and slightly oily. those qualities we seek in the food and drink we consume and also in the energy we absorb from the environment we are in, either through our skin, our eyes, ears and nose. to support a healthy digestive fire we should refrain from consuming that which contains the opposite energy. being mindful of the quantity of these opposing qualities to sustain a healthy digestive fire.
for example, avoiding iced drinks and having a warm tea rather before/during your meal will help sustain that fire. on the flip side, what is too hot or too heavy will diminish our digestive fire, for example strong spices or fried food. something to develop a keen awareness to as we eat, drink and interact with our environment.
it so happens to be that we tend to desire that which will put us further out of balance and with the notion of “like increases like” in ayurveda, this state of balance is an active state we need to be mindful to sustain. for example, someone who is pitta by nature, i.e. tend to hold excess heat, will keep seeking that which is hot or spicy, therefore it will throw them further out of balance rather than pacifying/cooling the excess of heat.
it is a good idea to pursue eating habits which incorporate the 3 doshas and the 6 tastes, being mindful of what we need more of and what we need less of. it starts with mindful eating noticing how what you consume affects your body and mind and refine the process over time. the body will let you know what works well and what does not.