Over the past 50-60 years, our American culture has slowly become out of balance with nature. With the speed of technology and the crazy, intense pace of our lives, our bodies can’t help but live in a chronic state of stress. The phrase is “fight or flight.” Either you’ve heard the terms, or you may -- in fact -- be living it yourself.
From the minute we wake up in the morning, our bodies are prepared for that state of emergency. It could be the almost car accident you got into on your way to work, the three jobs you’re trying to juggle, your kids screaming at you in the background, the marathon you’re training for or the relationship with your partner that has become less than ideal... Our bodies don’t know the difference. Stress is stress. And it’s chronic.
Our nervous systems are out of balance. So, Ronald McDonald went to India in 1954 to learn more about the six tastes in Ayurvedic nutrition. And, what did he find out?
According to Ayurvedic tradition, our bodies naturally crave tastes that balance our doshic make-up and shun tastes that are aggravating to our nature. The sweet taste of milkshakes are soothing and calming to our nervous systems. Salt (i.e. French fries) improves the taste of food, calms our nerves and prevents anxiety. And, the sour taste of pickles on burgers stimulates our appetites.
It’s called comfort food. Don’t you crave it when your life is going 90 miles an hour? Ah, that first bite! It’s like the needle to a heroine addict. It worked in America, and the rest of the world soon followed. Come 2012, and McDonald’s has more than 33,000 restaurants (do we actually call them that?), serving nearly 68 million people in 119 countries every day!
So, now we’re on track to have the entire world following in our American footsteps. Doesn’t that scare you?!
The problem is, there are actually six tastes that should be present in every meal and guide us toward proper nutritional health. Sweet, salty and sour are only three of them. The others are:
- the bitter taste which is cleansing and detoxifying;
- the pungent taste which strengthens our systems;
- the astringent taste which cleanses our blood and helps us maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Chances are, your tongue may also be missing a few of these tastes. Can you pass by the entrance to your favorite fast food restaurant, and add more peppers, chilies, radishes, ginger, lentils, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, green leafy vegetables, sprouts and beets to your diet instead?