Every so often a client asks me this: Doesn’t Ayurveda condone the use of grains and sugar? Why do you usually stay away and suggest it as a practice?
While it’s true that Ayurveda - the science of life - does, indeed, suggest the incorporation of a wide variety of grains and sugars into our diets, there’s at least one significant difference for most people who are seeking to heal a condition or feeling. If you live in the United States or Canada, there’s a high likelihood you’ve had more exposure to processed carbs and sugars than most traditional societies or doctors could ever have imagined or foreseen. Not just last week or year, but decades past, in childhood and teen years when your body was setting patterns for metabolism and integration. Against that backdrop and in concert with the growing use of genetically modified, pesticide laden and mitochondrial damaging foods, it can be crucial to step away from this substance which has no nutritional value and myriad, documentable harmful effects in our bodies.
When processed sugar was a rare treat - for your Christmas stocking or the monthly summertime Coca-Cola, this genuinely wasn’t a common concern. But this is no longer the case. When I’ve asked clients to empty their cupboards - donate anything containing processed sugar and carbs - in order to address debilitating inflammatory conditions, invariably they quake at the amount of food and money they would be letting go.
What Ayurveda really counsels is a balance of tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent. Sweet is easily obtained from a variety of fruits and vegetables and, when helpful, from pure plant forms like monk fruit and stevia.
There’s a practical consideration, too: If you decide you’re no longer going to keep sugar in your home (we do have a bag of C&H for the humming birds, in the freezer - it’s no longer a temptation), you will in all likelihood still enjoy the odd treat - at a party, the office, a piece of chocolate or mocha-choca-spicer-latte while dishing with a friend. But now, having been away for so long between times, it’s novel, it’s a treat. And you may notice your relationship has changed.
So if you are perfectly healthy and have excellent mood, attention and energy, then go on with your bad self! But if you’re doing yoga and still having trouble with any inflammatory process, take a look at making this change. It may seem revolutionary - because it is. It is one of the fuel interventions that is actually cheaper than what you were doing before, and it can pay off many times the bother it’s likely to feel at first.