The biggest perk of using Ayurveda for weight loss is the absence of rigid dietary restrictions. This makes it sustainable, as one of the biggest flaws in other weight loss diets is that they are too restrictive and hard to stick to. The emphasis in Ayurveda isn’t on limiting food intake or excluding entire food groups, but on eating balanced meals, being more mindful, and eating in accordance with your dosha. Even if you don’t know your dosha type, there are some broad guidelines that you can follow to create an Ayurvedic diet chart for weight loss.
The use of an Ayurvedic diet plan for weight loss is supported by evidence, with a study that appeared in the journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine finding significant weight loss in a group of 200 individuals who followed the Ayurvedic diet for three months (1). Here are some guidelines to help you get started.
As noted, before, the most striking feature of an Ayurvedic weight loss diet is its variety, as Ayurveda emphasizes balanced nutrition, rather than restrictive eating. That said, there’s one overarching theme – focus on eating natural or whole foods, while avoiding processed foods. To make it easier for you to choose the right foods, here’s an example of foods to include in an Ayurvedic diet plan.
Breakfast – Ginger tea, hot water with fresh lime juice and honey, fruit stew with fruits like apples or berries, and whole grains or poha (In Ayurveda, weight loss herbs like black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, lavang, green chili, jayfal, and haldi can strengthen agni and rev up metabolism, making them good choices for garnishing breakfast foods.)
Lunch – Half of your meal should comprise of non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, spinach, methi, tomatoes, cauliflower, carrots, bhendi, and so on. Another quarter of the meal could include whole grain rotis or toast and whole grains like brown rice, barley, or amaranth. The last quarter of the meal can comprise of protein dense foods, including soy, tofu, beans, and other pulses or sprouts.
Evening Snack – Roasted pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or lotus seeds, cucumber slices, celery sticks, baked apples, and so on.
Dinner – Hot soups garnished with herbs and spices like haldi, sunth, cumin, or pepper. If necessary, you can also include some of the higher protein foods from lunch in a small portion.
Dessert – Instead of high carb and sugar rich desserts, opt for a glass of low-fat milk with a dash of haldi, cinnamon, or saffron.
The defining feature of Ayurveda for weight loss is that it is inclusive, rather than exclusive, which means that there are no rigid restrictions. However, it is important that you make healthy food choices, opting for whole foods while avoiding processed foods, as these foods tend to be loaded with sugar, sodium, and saturated fats. High intake of such processed foods is linked to an increased risk of obesity, as well as lifestyle diseases like heart disease and diabetes (2). Some foods that you should specifically avoid include:
The best practice to follow would be to adhere to the Ayurvedic concept of dinacharya or daily routine. However, for simplicity, your Ayurvedic diet chart for weight loss could follow such a timeline:
A balanced diet will include food from every group, including carbs, protein, and healthy fats. However, you can follow these ayurvedic tips for weight loss and optimal nutrition:
By including foods with all of these tastes, you can ensure balanced nutrition as this would cover sweet fruits, nuts or seeds and citric fruits, onions, chilis, peppers, sprouts, beans, and spinach or radish, to name a few foods that represent each rasa.
In addition to following this diet plan, it will also help to incorporate other ayurvedic remedies for weight loss, including lifestyle modifications and practices like yoga. Research shows that such Ayurveda-based weight loss programs can lead to weight loss of about 6 kilos over a period of 9 months (3). That’s the very definition of healthy and sustainable weight loss, so get started now.