Ayurveda* is a 5,000-year old Indian (as in India) healing system. According to author Douillard, Vedic texts noted that: “perfect health was a reflection of a life attuned to the changing cycles of nature with all plant and animal life.” Thus, Ayurveda is drawn from natural rhythms. (To read more on Ayurveda, click on Nobody Eats Like Me, http://www.menupause.info/archives/8666.)
In The 3-Season Diet, Dr. Douillard draws heavily on Ayurveda, but with a Western slant, or as he says, “…translating Ayurvedic concepts into the American way of life.” This means, for example, creating a diet within a stress-free environment, with emphasis on proper breathing.
For me, the main point of the book is to explain how all the popular diets*, which he explains, only work for a few months because we need to eat according to the three growing seasons: summer, spring and fall. The author matches these with the three body types in Ayurveda: vata, pitta and kapha. Each of these body types, or combinations of two of them, is determined by a questionnaire (included in the book.) There is an excellent chart on page 46 called DietGo-Round that lists the different diets. (See below)
According to his concept, the low-fat/low-calorie diets are perfect for spring when you are ridding yourself of the heaviness of winter; the high-carb diets are perfect for summer, when the longer days require more energy; and the high-protein type diets are good for winter when cold weather seems to require more protein. The corollary to this concept to maintain or lose weight is to eat your largest meal at lunch (European-style) as many days as you can. Daylight hours are when we need our energy. Night-time meals need to be lighter.
Perhaps the most important new fact that I learned from this book is that how you breathe is a big factor in managing your weight. I know this sounds far-fetched, but Dr. Douillard explains this in easy-to-understand lay terms. How you exercise with breath is tackled with drawing showing the reader the exercise with the inhale/exhale breaths. Actually, yoga and Ayurveda are connected, so the exercises are yoga poses.
This book is packed with valuable information on divided into three major sections: You Can Eat it All (diets emphasis); The Complete Weight-Balancing Program; and Appendices. These are actually excellent references that include a glossary of foods, information and sources for organic/natural foods, and valuable seasonal grocery shopping lists for each season.
What I would like to see is another volume on recipes according to the seasons and each person’s body type. Then you would have the “scientific” information and the “practical” information for preparing meals to suit you.
The 300 plus page 3-Season Diet is published by Harmony Books, a division of Random House, and is available at bookstores and online. The hard cover costs $23.00. It has become my favorite book on eating for health and for staying trim Dr. Douillard has a health spa in Boulder, Colorado where he teaches these concepts. His website is: www.lifespa.com.
*Ayurveda – (Sanskrit) an ancient medical treatise summarizing the Hindu art of healing and prolonging life; sometimes regarded as a 5th Veda. (Source: thefreedictionary.com/Ayurveda)