Fighting Fat With Ayurveda: Part 3

Weight loss can be hard when you don’t have the right tools. Just like any other journey, if you start without a map, it can be challenging to find your destination.

Posted on | Kulreet Chaudhary, M.D. | Comments ()

Weight loss can be hard when you don’t have the right tools. Just like any other journey, if you start without a map, it can be challenging to find your destination. 

Ayurveda, the ancient medical system of India, offers several secrets to help you navigate the path to your ideal weight. In my past blogs on this topic (click to read Part 1 and Part 2), I’ve given you some shortcuts to help you obtain your weight loss goals by using the knowledge of ayurveda. 

Here is another tip for losing weight and keeping it off: incorporate all the 6 tastes in your meals and you will eat less.  

Ayurveda recognizes 6 tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent. The American diet often has plenty of the first 3 – sweet, sour and salt—but is often missing the last three. When your meals satisfy all 6 tastes, it helps you eat less. Here is an extra tip – starting with just a small amount of something sweet at the beginning of a meal (like fruit preservers, dates, raisins) will keep you from craving an unhealthy dessert at the end of your meal. 

What Is taste?

According to ayurveda, taste is “the sensation the tongue experiences” when you eat.  Having diverse tastes in your meals helps to satisfy cravings and prevents overeating.  Although we spend a lot of time evaluating the carbohydrate, fat and protein content of our food, we rarely think about the variety of taste of the foods we eat. 

It is easy to think of examples of sweet tastes (apple pie), salty tastes (potato chips) and sour tastes (lemons).  But how often do you think of bitter, pungent and astringent foods? Each taste is necessary in order for your mind to feel satiated after a meal. 

Examples of the 6 Tastes


 Sweet

  • Most grains such as wheat, rice, barley and corn
  • Pulses (legumes), i.e. beans, lentils and peas
  • Milk and sweet milk products such as ghee, cream and butter
  • Sweet fruits (especially dried) such as dates, figs, grapes, pear, coconut and mango
  • Cooked vegetables such as potato, sweet potato, carrot, beetroot, cauliflower, and string beans
  • Sugar in any form such as raw, refined, brown, white, molasses and sugar cane juice

Sour

  • Sour fruits such as lemon, lime, sour orange, sour pineapple, passion fruit, sour cherries, plum and tamarind
  • Sour milk products such as yogurt, cheese, whey and sour cream
  • Fermented substances (other than cultured milk products) such as wine, vinegar, soy sauce or sour cabbage
  • Carbonated beverages (including soft drinks or beer)

Salty

  • Any kind of salt such as rock salt, sea salt and salt from the ground
  • Any food to which salt has been added

Pungent

  • Spices such as chili, black pepper, mustard seeds, ginger, cumin, cloves, cardamom and garlic
  • Mild spices such as turmeric, anise, cinnamon, and fresh herbs such as oregano, thyme and mint
  • Raw vegetables such as radish, onion and cauliflower

Bitter

  • Vegetables such as chicory and bitter gourd; other green leafy vegetables such as spinach, green cabbage and brussels sprouts
  • Fruits such as olives, grapefruit and cocoa
  • Spices such as fenugreek and turmeric

Astringent

  • Turmeric, honey, walnuts and hazelnuts
  • Pulses such as beans, lentils, peas
  • Vegetables such as sprouts, lettuce and other green leafy vegetables; most raw vegetables
  • Fruits such as pomegranate, berries, persimmon, rose, apple and most unripe fruits

An easy way to incorporate the 6 tastes into every meal is to add a little bit of curry powder into your food. You can either cook with it so that your food gets the full flavor of the curry powder or just add a small amount as a mild condiment.  My favorite curry powder recipe comes from my Aunt Indra. It takes only a few minutes to make and turns any meal into a flavor-packed experience. Share it with your family and friends as well. 

Ingredients

5 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp fenugreek seeds

1 large bay leaf

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp black mustard seeds

1 small (1.5 inch) piece of a cinnamon stick

5 cloves

2 tsp turmeric powder (reserve for later)

Directions

Grind all of the above ingredients, except for the turmeric powder, in a coffee grinder. Afterward, add 2 tsp of the turmeric powder. Mix all ingredients together. 

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Blog written by Kulreet Chaudhary, M.D.
Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary is passionate about helping people achieve their goals by fine-tuning their health. She effectively...