6 Tastes to Consider

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  We are shifting from expansion to contraction in every aspect of life. In the aspect of our lives that deals with food we only need to look toward the irony of the Standard American Diet (SAD) to get an idea of where the alleged greatest country in the world sits. With concepts such as comfort foods, empty calories, and the various diet forms; it is no surprise then that most people know very little about food. There is plenty of information about food-like substances, margarine, and highly processed “foods”. Most of us can quote calories, fat, carb content but are we really talking about food?

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According to the more than 6000 year old Indian science of Ayurveda:

Ayurveda places special emphasis on “Ahara” (diet) and “Anna” (food) as a means to good life, health, and wellness. Healthy and wholesome food nourishes the mind, body, and soul. Ayurveda asserts that although the digestive capacity of each person may be different, the quality and appropriate quantity of food are necessary for a healthy life. Food taken in proper quantity provides strength, vigor, good complexion and nurtures the health of the tissues (Amala Guha,  Ayurvedic Concept of Food 2006).

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6 Tastes 2 Consider | 6T2C

A requirement for something to be considered food is the answer to the question how wholesome to an individual’s constitutional make up is this item? That is, how well does the food item assist the individual’s physiological make up in the context of, how their body produces energy, processes and eliminates waste, and their overall level of vitality. In Ayurveda these concepts are known as the three doshas Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These three aspects are components of how Ayurvedic medicine explains energy dynamics with each making up a portfolio including physical characteristics, emotional responses and what type of illnesses are likely to develop.  In addition, the three doshas relate to the 6 Rasas or Tastes.

  • Sweet-rice, figs, coconut, milk, cane sugar
  • Sour-Cheese, yogurt, lemon, oranges
  • Salty-sea salt, kelp
  • Pungent-onion, radish, ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper
  • Bitter-rhubarb, dandelion root, osha
  • Astringent-lettuce, unripe banana, potatoes, apples, cabbage

According to David N Russell, PhD. in Health Solutions: A guide to Simple Healing and Healthy Wisdom, Ayurvedic principles suggest that each meal should include the 6 Rasas. Similar to Traditional Chinese medicine, whereby, the taste of the herb determines the organ that is affected; the 6 Rasas stimulate a particular aspect of healing and energy processing in various parts of the mind and body. For example, during the process of eating the Sweet taste begins the energetic transfer and then passes on the remaining item to extract the next Rasas that is Sour, then Salty, and moving through the above Rasas ending with Astringent.

Examples of these food types mirror much of the diet of people in so-called developing nations, which could be one reason why there is less cancer, heart disease, or diabetes than in the developed world. In addition, the converse is true, once these people leave their diets behind and begin to eat the SAD Western diet then they begin to manifest the same dis-eases of the developed world. Surely, this is more than a coincidence.

The above list is by no means complete and exhaustive. Further, no food is completely one taste or another just as no food is completely protein or completely carbohydrate, each food is usually two or more tastes with one that is more dominant. However, as we will address  in future writings, these foods can be blended and combined with the aid of various herbs and spices to maintain the integrity of the digestive process and fulfill the prescribed function.