India is by far the biggest country with the highest percentage of vegetarians with 34.5%. Given Ayurveda originates from India it is understandable that most people who get in contact with Ayurveda assume that leading an Ayurvedic lifestyle and diet does not embrace meat in the diet.
Ayurveda always looks at the qualities of the food we consume. The lighter and easier to digest the better for the Agni. Vegetarian food is easier and lighter to digest and in addition, it is more sattvic. Sattvic promotes calmness, clarity, and peace of mind, whereas meat, if consumed in excess, is more tamasic, cultivating heaviness and dullness in the mind.
However it does not rule out the consumption of meat on the contrary Ayurveda looks at the individual constitution, their digestive strength and if they are able to absorb it. Even in the ancient texts, they made a provision for meat eaters and vegetarians. It is best to be taken at lunchtime between 11 am and 2 pm when Agni is strongest. and also when there is a purpose behind.
Meat according to the doshas
Meat is very nourishing and pacifies Vata Dosha. So if Vata is balanced and there is no indigestion meat can be very beneficial for that constitution especially when Vata is depleted.
One also needs to look at the quality of the meat is it a free-range animal or a caged animal? Free range animals will be lighter digestible than cage animals. Regarding the digestive capacity, the following order applies when going from lightest to heaviest: fish, chicken, duck, goat, lamb, beef and finally, pork.
- Vata: fresh organic chicken, turkey, and other animal sources as seafood & eggs
- Pitta: white poultry and other animal sources as freshwater fish and shrimp
- Kapha: white meat, rabbit or rather none.
When consuming meat have a look at the following points
– Appetite: one must have a strong appetite to digest meat well, this means that the digestive fire is capable of digesting meat
– Preparation: alters or enhances the quality of the food. Ayurveda works with antidoting as a means to neutralize or counteract the effect of a substance. so by preparing meat in a way, it is easy to digest it will not disturb the digestive fire
– Spices: Ginger, turmeric, cilantro, cinnamon, and cumin help to support the digestion process
– Processed: should be avoided at all times, as it is harmful in many ways
– Lifestyle: people who are highly active such as athletes can benefit from meat. However if one is leading a sedentary lifestyle with a poor appetite then it should better be avoided
– Mind: as already mentioned meat has tamasic qualities, so if one is striving to accomplish a sattvic state of mind then meat should better be avoided
– Combination: meat should not be combined with heavy foods and dairy. On the contrary, it should be combined with vegetables and easily digestible food items
Good to know
Meat is often used for medicinal purposes, so when there is depletion of the tissues and a lack of strength then meat soups, often prepared with goat meat, are given to the client to strengthen the mind and build the tissues.
This blog post was written by Julia Blohberger from www.juliablohberger.com