Ayurveda for Weight Loss

Dr. David Simon, Neurologist and co-founder, Chopra Center, La Jolla, California on the use of ayurveda as an alternative treatment for weight loss:

The air principle in Sanskrit is known as vatta. And people who have a predominance of that in their mind-body physiology have lightness, quickness, flexibility, in almost every aspect of their lives. The fire type, which is known in Sanskrit as pitta, has metabolism, heat and transformation dominating. Their minds are always active in trying to learn, digest new things, mentally and physically.

And finally the earth type, which is known in Sanskrit as kapha, have more mass and structure. They tend to be easier going, slower in both mind and body, nurturing, but also tend to accumulate when they're under stress.

The Ayurvedic system believes in combining in one meal something called the six tastes. Please explain that?

Leanne Backer, ayurvedic chef and head chef of the Chopra Center:

Well, ayurveda is what helps us balance our whole physiology. And ayurveda is the ancient healing system of India, and one of its components is the application of the six tastes within the food that we eat. And the six tastes help literally to create balance in our physiology.

So, in food, in various examples of food, you can actually consume the six tastes within each meal, and feel the effects of that balance after the meal, throughout the day, and in general, in your whole physiology.

Give me an example.

Leanne Backer:

An example of that would be all of these particular foods right here represent the six tastes, but the six tastes themselves are sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter, and astringent. And all of our food falls into one of those six categories. For example, sweet is any of your grains, pastas, sweet ripe fruits, something like cardamom. Cinnamon, nutmeg, those are all sweet spices. Salty, of course, is salt, or seaweed products, things that come from the ocean. There are some, like cucumber, with a high salt content.

Sour is anything that's citrus, tomato products, anything with acidic or fermented qualities to it. Bitter is usually anything that is of a green or yellow nature, so anything like green and yellow squash. Cilantro — most of these Greek herbs fall into that category. Leeks, things like that are also bitter. And then pungent basically are all the hot spices, or the spicy components that heat up our system. Those are pungent. And then astringent is something like tofu, any beans, legumes. These are very dry and compact into the system.

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