Do you crave, the salty, sweet and sour taste of fast food? Did you know that consuming these three tastes have certain physical and energetic affects on the body?
These are the three tastes that are most common in Western Diets, they are also the three tastes that pacify Vata? For those of you not familiar with Ayurveda, Vata is the wind and ether elements in the body. When Vata is out of balance in the body some of the symptoms are stress, anxiousness, hyperactivity, restlessness or nervousness. Therefore when we consume these flavours it gives us the sensation of releasing some of these symptoms, i.e. stress release, feelings of comfort. Have you ever noticed someone who is stressed adding lots of salt (salty taste) to their meals and sipping alcohol (sour taste) or reaching for a cake, chocolate or even something like a big bowl of pasta (sweet).
When we consume foods with the sweet taste the effect on the body is soothing, satisfying, comforting, it can even be blissful! When we consume foods with the salty taste it will enhance the appetite and make everything taste delicious. Sour foods also stimulated the appetite and can make us feel more alert. No wonder fast food is so popular in Western Society.
When you consume these three flavours, sweet, salty and sour, in excess there is a negative impact on the body. We all know the effect too much sweet taste has on the body, it increases weight. Did you know that excess salt would weaken the kidneys and aggravate stomach acidity. Too much sour can lead to an increase in acidity in the body. Hmm…so think, obesity, adrenal burnout (related to the kidneys) and increased acidity in the body, inflammation anyone? Definitely symptoms and disease of a society hooked on fast food.
What you can do…
If you have a passion for cooking or more importantly eating you will love the Ayurvedic approach to preparing a meal. To be well balanced, each meal needs to incorporate not 3 but 6 tastes.
1. Salty (fire and water) e.g. salt, soya sauce
2. Sweet (earth and water) e.g. grains, pasta, bread, meant, dairy, sugar, honey
3. Sour (earth and fire) e.g. citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes, pickled foods, and alcohol
4. Bitter (air and ether) e.g. dark leafy greens like kale, rocket and dandelion
5. Astringent (air and earth) e.g. tea, lentils, green apples, cauliflower, pomegranates,
6. Pungent (air and fire) e.g. black pepper and ginger
Adding these 6 tastes to each meal will allow for easy digestion. The proportion of the taste can be adjusted to suit your dosha for example someone who is predominately Kapha (earth and water) would reduce the sweet taste and increase pungent, bitter and astringent.
You will notice that not only traditional Indian dishes contain these 6 tastes but a lot of ancient traditional diets, Mediterranean, Mexican, Chinese, and Thai.
Next time you are preparing the meal, have a go at including these 6 tastes, (spices are a great way of adding flavours) and notice how your body reacts.