What an Ayurvedic Diet is Not.

Updated: Sep 24, 2020

In a previous post we looked at what an Ayurvedic diet is. But to clear up some confusion or media stereotypes, let's look at what it is not.


It Is Not Indian Food

Ayurveda originates from India. It is an ancient medicine practice from thousands of years ago. India can never be taken out of Ayurveda, but there is a big difference between Indian food, as you eat in India and Indian restaurants all over the world, and Ayurvedic food. Indian food is not necessarily prepared and designed for health. Like most cuisines in the world, it focuses on filling you up and tasting good. There is no health philosophy behind it, necessarily, or this is lost over time. Ayurvedic food does have this. Ayurvedic meals are designed according to the knowledge of Ayurveda and made to either prevent disease or eradicate an existing illness. It is specific for each person and designed according to the season and its qualities (gunas) and tastes.


Ayurveda is not very sexy, it is not a fad, it is very back-to-basic and down-to-earth.

It Is Not Vegetarian

Ayurvedic food is not vegetarian. Ayurveda sees each food as a potential medicine or poison. What is good for you, might be bad for me. Ayurveda is closely related to Yoga, but does not have the same philosophy on non-violence (ahimsa) as Yoga. This doesn't mean of course that Ayurveda is pro-violence and Ayurveda absolutely does not agree with the current way of processing animals (at least that is my personal opinion), but it looks at an individual person for supporting health and wellness and part of this could be eating meat.


Eating animal products is seen as building and nourishing. These are qualities we need more in winter time than summer time, so summer time might be a more appropriate time to eat more vegetarian. But this is up to the individual.


It Is Not Holy!

Ayurveda is actually not a spiritual practice. Spiritual practices are usually about transcending the body and uniting with spirit. Ayurveda is all about maintaining the body for as long as you can. Ayurveda is earthy and encourages you to ground in nature and work on a healthy body so you can live your life to the fullest.


So an Ayurvedic diet is not a holy diet. You will not become holier or more pure when you eat an Ayurvedic diet. But you can gain more clarity when you eat Ayurvedically, and achieve a more balanced state of healthy in mind and body.


Ayurveda is not holy! Ayurveda is actually not a spiritual practice. Eating an Ayurvedic diet will not make you holy or pure.

It Is Not A Restrictive Diet

It is very normal nowadays to have at least one thing that you restrict yourself in; meat, dairy, soy, nuts, gluten etc . This can be beneficial for health in the short (or even long) term, but some people adopt this as a lifestyle and take it on as a personal identity. I am vegan, I am pescatarian, I am vegetarian, I am raw-vegan etc. This can result in unhealthy, restrictive diets and can spiral in disordered eating or full blown eating disorders.


Restrictive diets have an impact on someone's social behaviour, anxiety and stress levels and mental health.


Ayurveda promotes a balanced diet where moderation is key. Yes, sometimes we need to cut things out of our diet in order to restore balance, but this is not an end-station. Developing a healthy attitude towards food and eating might be even more important than what you eat. (my personal opinion)


Eating Ayurvedically is not a short term diet to lose weight or regain health or something you want to identify with. It is a way of eating and especially a way of thinking (and acting) about food. Learning about Ayurveda will change your perception and experience of food and eating and this will influence the choices you make; what food you eat and how you eat as well. I wouldn't call Ayurveda a lifestyle, but a way of living, a natural, intuitive and connected way that will resonate with you. It is there for you to use to support your life.


It Is Not Exotic

Ayurveda encourages us to eat what is growing around us. To eat seasonally and eat what your local farmers are growing. It is not exotic, but very close to home. It encourages a simple diet that is easy to digest with produce that you can pick from your own garden or buy at your farmers market. It encourages you to eat the dishes that your mom used to make and are so nourishing and full of love. It doesn't say you can't eat from other cultures, it especially encourages to enjoy food and share food and not think limited about food. But it does not encourage eating pizza one night, sushi the other night and spicy Thai food the next. Simply because these foods are hard to digest and most-likely not cooked by you.


So now you hopefully have a better understanding of what an Ayurvedic diet is not. This might help to understand what it actually is.



*Always consult your physician before making adaptations to your lifestyle and diet.