What is Ayurvedic Nutrition?
Ayurveda, the 5000-year-old medical system of India, states that poor nutrition is the main cause of disease. This system uses food to heal and prevent illness.
The primary problem with other nutritional approaches is that they are not orientated towards the individual using them. Modern nutrition uses and ‘one size fits all’ approach to people of all different sizes, shapes and cultures. Modern biochemical research from as early as the 1950’s has shown that each person’s metabolism functions differently. Every person digests and assimilates food differently. Unfortunately, modern nutrition has no methodology to structure an individualized diet for the person in question. In other words modern nutritional science is in conflict with its own clinical conclusions.
Unlike modern nutritional systems Ayurveda has always had an individualized approach to nutrition. However, this ancient system needs to be adapted to the modern lifestyle the cultures using it. Ayurvedic nutrition is not an endless repetition of curry dishes. In fact, there is no such thing as an "Ayurvedic food" there is only a methodology of structuring diets according to your individual metabolic functions.
There is a strong interest in an individualized dietary program today. Some programs are starting to appear now with the individual in mind. This is a very positive step towards good health. However, these other systems lack the time tested methodology and natural science of thousands of years of clinical observation. Science is nothing more than recording observations and is not dominated by the modern biochemical approach. Ayurveda still has the largest compilation of medical literature in the world. It also boasts the largest pharmacopoeia of medicines in the world – more than 3 times the size of modern medicine. This is natural due to its great age.
Ayurveda is also called the ‘science of longevity’ because it offers a complete system to live a long healthy life without medication. It offers programs to rejuvenate the body through diet and nutrition. It offers treatment methods to cure many common diseases such as food allergies, which have few modern treatments.
However, one should be aware that Ayurvedic nutrition is not a ‘magic bullet’ system and requires the full participation of the patient to succeed. It is an interactive system that is user-friendly and educational. It teaches the patient to become responsible and self empowered. Ayurveda is not a nutritional system for those seeking an escape or excuse to further abuse their body or mind. It is a system for empowerment, a system of freedom and long life.
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Other books by Vaidya Atreya Smith
Ayurvedic Medicine for Westerners series of textbooks
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