Ayurveda approaches health through diet based on eight simple concepts, the first four of which we will expound upon today:
One: The Nature of Food (Prakruti)
Classification of food into two distinct categories of heavy and light depends on digestability. For example, meat is heavy for digestion while rice and vegetables are light. This is the basic quality or nature of any food recipe and should be thought about before consuming.
Two: Processing (Karana)
Cooked food is considered more nutritious than uncooked food. However, some foods like fruits and salads give greater benefit when eaten raw. The method of processing or cooking transforms the qualities of our food, i.e., roasting, frying, baking, directly heating on fire, barbeque, mixing, drying, churning, etc.
Three: Combination (Samyoga)
While one combination of foods nourish and heal the body, another will weaken and break it down. Combining sour fruits with milk or curd, for example, weakens the digestive system by causing chronic indigestion. Therefore, in Ayurveda we pay close attention to how and why we combine our foods.
Four: Quantity (Rashi)
The quantity of the individual ingredients as well as the total quantity of food consumed by an individual should be decided according to the qualities of the food as well as the individual’s digestive capacity.