Does Ayurveda require a vegetarian diet?

Ayurveda is all about balance, and eating for your dosha or body-mind type. A vegetarian diet is not strictly recommended. Some healing diet recommendations for instance to build strength may include meat soup, and some Ayurvedic medicines originally involved animal based foods.  In Yoga, the focus is on spiritual development and for this reason, a vegetarian or vegan diet is often followed, even limiting certain plant foods due to their qualities, such as onion (creating a heaviness, known as tamas) or garlic, due to its stimulating effect, known as rajas, and preferring foods that promote balance (sattva).

However, all qualities are important in the rhythm of life, including tamas (heaviness is a needed quality to slow our minds and prepare for sleep) and rajas (stimulating to help us wake and have energy for the day. At its core level, Ayurveda seeks balance and having foods, practices such as yoga and pranayama, and lifestyle to help us maintain balance in harmony with our changing environment. 

  Ayurveda is based on 3 pillars of health: Diet, Lifestyle and Medicines. So, in consideration of the person’s unique body-mind at birth (called prakruti) as well as imbalances that have occurred during the stresses of life each person is supported in creating their own balancing diet along with the other pillars of health - and with the expression of Ayurveda as a medicine for all people in all times, we each adapt to our own unique needs.

Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, paleo, keto or any other diet, Ayurveda is an overall balancing effect for your body-mind and can easily be followed with your unique diet and needs in mind.

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