With the holidays approaching, it’s a good time to reset your relationship with taste–especially with the taste of sweet as we face the temptations of pumpkin pie and all the other goodies.
The sweet taste has the capacity to increase our body tissues, reduces hunger and nourishes/comforts the body and our mind.
Did you know?
The taste of your food tells you a lot about nutritional balance? Every taste sensation is telling you whether that food is nourishing your body and your mind.
The idea of #FoodAsMedicine in Ayurveda is linked to the six tastes, or rasas. When we embrace all the tastes, we can achieve a balance.
In my #The DishonDoshas series on this blog and social media, I’ve been talking about how knowing our natural constitution can help us decide which foods best support us.
Did you know?
Vata and Pitta types of people need the taste of sweet more than Kapha types.
A little goes a long way
Sweet (madhura) is seen as nurturing and of course, delicious. A little bit of this taste goes a long way. Too much can make a person feel uncomfortably full or heavy.
The sweet taste is also addictive as many of us may be aware of. In research, there is increased concern about fatty liver disease due to this addiction.
Foods that are sweet are in the carbohydrate family as when these foods are digested in the body, they become sugar for the body. Included here are milk and cheese. The elements of water and earth make this taste found in sugars, fats, carbohydrates as well as amino acids. Grains and fats are in this category. So is water and milk. For our sustenance, it is the most dominant taste we have.
All these sweet foods help to build up the body and impact the seven layers of our body (known as dhatus) as identified by Ayurveda. I will share about this amazing concept about what these seven layers are soon!
Yet, too much of this sweet food leads to the body depositing fat in different parts of the body. A little goes a long way.
Your stage of life
Let me mention that there are stages in our life identified by Ayurveda where this sweet taste is seen as a building block for that stage of life. Children are in the Kapha stage of life so they are naturally attracted to sweets. Here is the trick regarding nutrition and taste: Offer the child healthy sweets: sweet potatoes, grains or fruit are the best for them, rather than doughnuts! This is true for all of us too!
Foods in the sweet category: Grains, wheat products, starchy vegetables, sweet fruits (dates, figs, bananas, mangoes, dried fruit) and less refined sugars such as honey, maple syrup and jaggery.
Of course, white sugar is here but it is present in so many products as a filler and is best to be minimized as a food source for many of us. Many processed foods have corn syrup or fructose present which increases the addictive qualities of these foods. Buyer beware!
The upside of sweet
There are good aspects to having sweet foods in your diet: increased moisture is present which ends up producing more saliva, reduces thirst, lubricates mucous membranes. It supports a healthy skin and hair.
People with vata dosha need sweets to support their more fragile bone structure and to build up muscle as well as fat. Their brain may need some support of healthy grains to reduce brain fog.
Pitta dosha people benefit as well for the energy boost but again, healthier choices are needed.
Kapha dosha where the sweet quality is present is the one where the sweet is desired the most but is best to be kept to a minimum. Remember that in Ayurveda, ‘likes increase likes’ so too much sweet will add to many imbalances for a person with a Kapha dosha. This is a source of weight gain, congestion, and eventually to health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and fatty liver disease.
This taste impacts the mind and the body by improving your mood and helps to build up the body. A little bit goes a long way for most of us. Too much sweet food can increase a sense of attachment, laziness, greed and wanting to hold on to things or people which are the negative qualities of Kapha dosha! If there is a craving for sweets, add some bitter or astringent foods as this helps to balance the tastes in your body.
Trick to remember: a little bit of a quality sweet such as root vegetables, healthy grains and fresh fruit goes a long way. This reduces our cravings. When this sweet taste is balanced for us, there are fewer cravings. Along with a sense of happiness, there can be a sense of compassion with joy.
A Life of Balance by Maya Tiwari
An Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda by Sahara Rose Ketabi