A close friend of mine inspired me to write about where meat and fish stand in Ayurveda. She asked me, “Have you introduced Ruvir to meat?” She was curious, since my husband is a carnivore and I am a vegetarian.
Ayurveda says every food has its place, but not every food is for everyone. Each of us is a mono or dual doshic. This depends on our prakruti (doshic state we were born with) and vikruti (current state). For example, for an individual who is severely anemic, bone broth is one of the foods suggested. Unlike fad diets like Palo, Atkins etc, Ayurveda is about understanding your uniqueness and how to optimize the balanced state within it.
There is a 80/20 rule in Ayurveda, eat 80% aligned with the diet and lifestyle to balance yourself, and in the 20% you can break the rules. This room allows us to not be deprived of our favorite foods that we would otherwise strictly avoid like a kapha individual indulging in a grilled cheese and a shake.
Vata individuals can handle meat, in fact it helps balance them, keeps them more grounded, they need the heavy quality that comes from meat.
Pitta individuals need to avoid red meat, because it will increase salt, heat and the oiliness quality in the body, which pitta already has in high amounts. White meat is fine occasionally and freshwater fish is okay, but not other types of seafood.
Kapha individuals should avoid meat altogether. It is way too heavy for them to digest they do not need the extra oil. It will further make them gain weight, feel bloated.
Ayurveda is not a Religion
Ayurveda does not eliminate meat or seafood from its medicine. Although killing and harming other living animals is considered to be a moral sin, Ayurveda views meat and seafood more as medicinal than focusing on the moral part. Many people associate Ayurveda with religion, since it is from India and most people inherently understand and follow bits and pieces of it there. Ayurveda is a science. If it were a religion, then it would not allow consuming meat or seafood.
Carnivore vs. Vegetarian
I grew up as a vegetarian for my whole life until graduate school, when I decided to give chicken a real shot. My husband, back then boyfriend, somehow convinced me that I needed more protein in my diet. We would often hit the gym and make meals together. Not sure if he wanted me to eat chicken so that we agree on ordering a buffalo chicken pie of pizza, wings to share, or if he actually wanted to get the protein. It was probably a little of both! It lasted 6 months, before I realized that I was just not able to develop a taste for chicken or any meat. I decided it was not for me and time to call quits.
I think subconsciously it was not aligned with me, because I could not get over the fact I was consuming an animal killed and also because I am a Jain. Buddhism emerged from Jainism much later in history, but it is similar in the sense it is also a philosophy based religion. On a deeper level, that meat was once a live animal, probably thriving in its environment with its friends and family. That meat once had emotions and thoughts, an energetic vibration. Consuming meat is consuming whatever that animal was, its behavior, thinking, and its energy going directly into your body. We all know that humans are higher up in the chain than animals, for that reason eating meat I feel lowers your vibration.
Hard to Digest
It baffles me when I see parents feeding meat and seafood to their 6 month old baby. It is too hard to digest! With my son, we plan on waiting until he is 2 years old before introducing meat. If he enjoys eggs, meat and seafood then it is fine every so often and that too for lunch. Between 10am-2pm is when our digest system and agni is the strongest to digest the food. It is also important that he enjoy it, otherwise it will not digest well and create ama (toxins) in the body. An interesting thing Ayurveda points out is that unless we enjoy our food and the tastes within it, our body will not assimilate it well, creating ama.
As much as my husband waits for the day he and his son can share some boneless buffalo wings, he will just have to wait!