Dosha Dining: Eating for Body, Mind and Spirit

June 5, 2017

Shoppers are more concerned with personal wellness than ever before. This extends beyond physical well-being to encompass emotional and spiritual health as well. But many are increasingly shying away from modern pharmaceuticals to achieve this—instead turning to natural foods and practices that can help provide balance to their lives. Enter Ayurveda—an ancient holistic form of medicine that uses diet, herbs and lifestyle practices to promote wellness for the body, mind and spirit.

Ayurveda is based on the belief that each individual is made up of a unique combination of doshas (or energies) that translate to different physiological and psychological characteristics. The three doshas of Ayurveda are vata, pitta and kapha. According to Carl Jorgensen, Director of Wellness Thought Leadership for Daymon, the goal of Ayurveda is to maintain (and restore, when needed) one’s unique balance of doshas in order to ensure proper digestion and avoid common ailments and discomforts.

“This foundation of balanced digestion is why Ayurveda is poised to become more popular,” says Jorgensen. “There’s a growing understanding of the importance of good digestion for overall health.”

In Ayurveda, balanced digestion—and doshas—is achieved through targeted combinations of food, spices, herbs and healthy habits. As consumers become more interested in preventive health and food-as-medicine, grocery and wellness retailers and brands are in an ideal position to help translate Ayurvedic wisdom into products and services that match the modern lifestyle.

“There are simple ways to promote Ayurveda and dosha balance without getting into all the jargon,” Jorgensen says. “Eating with the seasons is a key tenet of Ayurveda and one that ties in with the trend of local eating as well. So creating a curated assortment of locally-grown, seasonal fruits and vegetables could be one way to emphasize the beneficial and balancing results without getting too technical. There’s a good story to tell there, and it can support that kind of merchandising.”

Offering key foods and spices that are integral to an Ayurvedic diet can also help retailers and brands capitalize on this growing trend. “Yogurt—especially freshly made yogurt—is a key ingredient in Ayurveda. It’s good for digestion and can be combined with different ingredients to balance different doshas,” Jorgensen explains. Ghee (clarified butter), turmeric, black pepper and pre-mixed spice blends called churnas also play starring roles.

Taking it to the next level, retailers brands may also consider the development of Ayurvedic-specific foods, beverages and supplements. According to brand strategy firm Sterling Rice Group, some CPGs are already innovating in this area—with offerings such as Dosha Bars (fruit and seed bars in three flavors corresponding to the three doshas), Turmeric Tonic (a tea or juice-like shot designed to restore balance) and Dosha Pops (herb- and spice-infused lollipops targeted to the different doshas). Seasonally-inspired frozen and ready-to-eat meals, herbal teas and Ayurvedic cooking classes are yet more ideas for educating and inspiring shoppers to dine for their doshas.

 

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