Ayurveda teaches that every one issues in nature are made up of some mixture of the 5 components: earth, water, hearth, air, and ether. Which means our our bodies, the meals we eat, the herbs that we profit from, and even colours and aromas—are manufactured from some mixture of the 5 components. This five-element paradigm is crucial for understanding the three doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha). Additionally, Ayurveda has a singular method of meals, defining a balanced weight-reduction plan a bit in another way than the Western mannequin. In Ayurveda, all meals is assessed as having a number of of the six tastes: candy, salty, bitter, astringent, bitter, and pungent. We’d like all six tastes, however relying on one’s structure, the present stability of the doshas, and the time of 12 months, it’s advisable to emphasise sure tastes and downplay others. 

Somewhat than approaching the usage of tastes from a medical angle, on this publish I’ll take a festive and light-hearted method and discover the best way to stability your vacation menu with the ayurvedic six tastes. Issues can get pretty complicated and heady while you begin to look at the best way to classify meals by style, the weather, and their influence on one’s structure. So, for our functions right here, let’s maintain it easy and lightweight. (You most likely don’t want extra stress with regards to planning a vacation menu!)

The Ayurvedic Six Tastes

Let’s start with some primary info on the ayurvedic six tastes: candy, salty, bitter, astringent, bitter, and pungent. Meals with a candy style are thought of to be the heaviest and nutritive. The majority of 1’s weight-reduction plan ought to encompass candy meals, as the character and goal of meals is to nourish. The pungent style is the lightest and most purifying, with the bitter style coming in at an in depth second. There are many meals with a pungent and/or bitter style, and plenty of crops with these lighter, extra purifying tastes are usually labeled as herbs.

The desk under summarizes the ayurvedic six tastes, their corresponding components, and some examples of meals that fall below every class.

Style  Parts  Meals 
Candy  Earth, Water  Rice, dates, cow’s milk, candy potatoes
Salty  Water, Fireplace  Seaweed, rock salt, sea salt 
Bitter  Fireplace, Earth  Lemon, yogurt, fermented meals, alcohol 
Astringent  Earth, Air  Cranberries, kidney beans, cauliflower, white potatoes 
Bitter  Air, Ether  Dandelion greens, turmeric, bitter melon 
Pungent  Air, Fireplace  Chili peppers, garlic, black pepper, radishes  

Balancing the Six Tastes

Now that you’ve been launched to the six tastes, it’s possible you’ll be questioning in what quantity to get pleasure from meals of every style. There may be not a easy reply, however simply put, it’s excellent to have all six tastes all through the day. Relying upon the season and your structure, you’ll want to spotlight or downplay particular tastes. Since we’re in autumn, the candy, salty, and bitter tastes are usually finest to emphasise. (Extra on that in my publish 3 Tips for Managing Vata Dosha in Autumn.) As we transfer into deep winter after which in the end early spring, you’ll want to spotlight the bitter, pungent, and astringent tastes. (You possibly can learn extra about this in my publish How to Stay Energetically Balanced in Winter.)

If you’re planning a big meal, it may be enjoyable to experiment with incorporating all six tastes into one meal. In reality, Dr. Vasant Lad (1994) suggests incorporating all six tastes into the noon and night meals each day. If it doesn’t come collectively completely, no huge deal, however consider it like a taste exploration. Every style is sort of a musical instrument, with a singular tone and impact. When the six tastes come collectively in concord, it’s like a symphony of flavors.

Candy: Cool and Nourishing

The candy style, being composed of earth and water, is cooling and tonifying. It reduces and pacifies vata and pitta doshas, and gives power and invigoration (Lad & Lad, 1994). Now let’s take into account some meals that you could be discover in your vacation desk which have the candy style: candy potatoes, cooked onions, parsnips, beets, and plenty of grains, together with wheat, rice, barley, and recent corn. Additionally, turkey is taken into account each candy and astringent, and most meats are labeled as candy (Lad & Lad, 1994). Primarily, the meals that have a tendency to offer heft to a meal usually fall below the candy style.

Incorporating the candy style into your vacation menu will most likely not be an excessive amount of of a problem. Most meats, breads, and root veggies all have a candy style. Additionally, sugars and desserts are an apparent supply of the candy style. Nonetheless, in case you make a tart cherry pie, you’re additionally incorporating the astringent and bitter tastes.

Bitter: Liquid, Gentle, and Heating

The bitter style consists of earth and hearth, and meals with this style are usually liquid, mild, heating, and oily (moist) (Lad, & Lad, 1994). These meals usually enhance pitta and kapha doshas and pacify vata dosha (there are some nuances to this relying on the particular meals).  Meals and herbs with a predominant bitter style supply an a variety of benefits, resembling stimulating the urge for food, bettering digestion, nourishing the guts, and boosting vitality (Lad, & Lad, 1994). Examples of meals with the bitter style embody lemon, yogurt, and most fermented meals resembling pickles, sauerkraut, and kimchee. Additionally, as talked about above, some fruits supply a little bit of the bitter style—tart cherry, pineapple, and inexperienced grapes being examples.

Starting your vacation feast with a contact of the bitter style is a good suggestion because it stimulates the urge for food. Alternatively, in case you desire pickles over pie, be cautious of overdoing bitter meals, as they will overheat the physique and thoughts and result in a pitta imbalance. But, all issues sparsely…take into account setting out some small bowls of your favourite pickles together with the appetizers. (I’m an enormous fan of pickled okra and pickled beets, and the tiny French pickles, cornichons, make engaging appetizers.) Or, only a tablespoon or two of kimchee or maybe some spicy pickled carrots can add shade, taste, and a little bit of a spicy-sour kick alongside your vacation plate.

Salty: Heavy, Heat, and Watery

The salty style is manufactured from water and hearth, and thus a few of its qualities are heavy, warming, and cellular. Vata dosha is pacified by the salty style and pitta and kapha doshas are elevated. Taken sparsely, the salty style is crucial for sustaining electrolyte stability, improves the flavour of meals, and stimulates digestion (Lad & Lad, 1994). In extra, it may result in water retention and numerous pitta and kapha imbalances. 

Aside from salt itself or condiments resembling coconut aminos, there will not be quite a lot of meals with the salty style. Fish from the ocean is one instance, and cottage cheese has a bitter and salty style (Lad & Lad, 1994). Particularly in the course of the colder months, miso is one in every of my favourite sources for the salty style. I prefer to get pleasure from it as a snack earlier than meals. It may be helpful if you’re busy cooking and preparing for visitors and want a little bit nourishment to carry you over. Or, sipping on a cup of miso broth after a night out can soothe the throat, hydrate, and supply heat. Additionally, if you’re planning an Italian-inspired vacation meal and prefer to make your individual vegan pesto, a few teaspoons of white miso paste is usually a good stand-in for parmesan cheese (Morningstar, 1995).  

Astringent: Heavy, Cool, and Dry

The astringent style consists of earth and air. Its qualities are heavy, cool, and dry. Meals and herbs with the astringent style are usually particularly balancing for pitta dosha, reasonably balancing for kapha dosha, and can irritate vata if taken in giant quantities (Frawley, 2000). 

Pomegranate, persimmon, okra, cut up peas, turmeric, alfalfa sprouts, cauliflower, avocado, and cranberries all possess the astringent style (Lad & Lad, 1994). In the case of meals with the astringent style, there are various tasty choices which can be in season in fall and winter. Personally, I’m an enormous fan of okra, and in the course of the late summer season and early fall, we buy it recent from an area natural farmer in Western North Carolina. I’ve found that in case you get actually good, recent natural okra, you may even munch on it uncooked! Roasting and pickling are two different glorious methods to arrange okra. So, if you may get ahold of some good recent okra when it’s in season, take into account pickling it forward of time on your vacation unfold—it makes enjoyable vacation presents too!  

One other zingy (and colourful) astringent-tasting meals that’s good on your vacation menu is cranberries and cranberry sauce. Cranberry sauce is actually a vacation basic and that is most likely my all-time favourite cranberry sauce recipe. 

Zingy Cranberry Sauce

Tailored from Cooking Gentle 

This cranberry sauce is a vacation basic after which some. The citrus and spice are distinctive and add good bitter and pungent accents to the astringent cranberry base. After attempting this recipe, you’ll most likely surprise why we don’t eat cranberry sauce all 12 months spherical! Yield: about four cups (serving dimension: 1/four cup).


1 cup sugar
3/four cup recent orange juice
1/2 cup white wine
1 cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) stick
2 cups Granny Smith apples (or different tart apples), diced and peeled
1 1/2 teaspoons recent ginger (Zingiber officinale) rhizome, peeled and minced
1/eight teaspoon floor pink chili pepper
12 ounces recent cranberries
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted


  • Mix the sugar, orange juice, white wine, and cinnamon into a big saucepan and produce to a boil.
  • Cook dinner for Three minutes or till the sugar dissolves fully. Stir incessantly. 
  • Add within the diced apple, floor pepper, ginger, and cranberries.
  • Scale back the warmth to a simmer. Simmer for about 35 minutes. The sauce ought to thicken. 
  • Take away from warmth. Stir in grated orange rind.
  • Cool and high with chopped, toasted walnuts. 

Bitter: Cool, Gentle, and Dry 

The bitter style consists of air and ether. It’s mild, cool, dry, and purifying. Meals and herbs with the bitter style usually pacify pitta and kapha doshas and enhance vata dosha. Small quantities of the bitter style can stimulate digestion and can promote the flavour of different tastes. Additionally, meals and herbs with the bitter style are sometimes used for his or her cooling and purifying impact on the liver, blood, and pores and skin (Lad & Lad, 1994). Nonetheless, these with a lightweight, dry vata structure ought to be cautious of overindulging within the bitter style, as it may trigger depletion and undesirable dryness and tissue discount if taken in extra. 

The mainstream North American vacation menu tends to incorporate only a few meals with the bitter style, if any. But, together with darkish, leafy greens is a wonderful option to stability out the candy meals that are likely to dominate many vacation spreads. Suppose dandelion greens, kale, and probably pre-empting your vacation meal with a dropperful or two of digestive bitters

Pungent: Gentle, Scorching, and Dry

The pungent style consists of air and hearth. It’s mild, scorching, fiery, and purifying, and thus balances kapha dosha whereas growing vata and pitta doshas. Spicy meals are pungent, examples being radish, chili peppers, uncooked onion, garlic, mustard, ginger, and black pepper. 

Pungent meals and spices stimulate digestion and circulation. Nonetheless, overuse may cause dryness, irritation of the mucous membranes, and on a delicate stage, agitation. But, only a contact of spiciness not solely boosts taste, it may additionally take away stagnation and even help readability of notion (Lad & Lad, 1994). 

You most likely gained’t should look too far to seek out methods of integrating the pungent style into your vacation menu. In reality, the Zingy Cranberry sauce (recipe above) comprises ginger and chili pepper, that are pungent. Cinnamon is each candy and pungent. Additionally, most of the bitter, pickled meals that I mentioned, resembling kimchee, possess the pungent style. And naturally, there’s at all times the choice of fresh-ground black pepper, which matches completely on creamy mashed potatoes! 

In Closing, 

As I emphasised earlier, I hope that this publish serves as inspiration on your vacation festivities. I discover an excessive amount of magnificence and poetry in Ayurveda, and while you start to stability the six tastes, it’s possible you’ll uncover a harmonious symphony—in your plate, in your style buds, and in your stomach! 


Frawley, D. (2000). Ayurvedic healing: A comprehensive guide. Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press. 

Lad., U. & Lad., V. (1994). Ayurvedic cooking for self-healing. Albuquerque, NM: The Ayurvedic Press.

Morningstar, A. (1995). Ayurvedic cooking for Westerners. Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press. 

Source link