Knowing your metabolic type is a major key to optimising vitality and longevity



There is so much information available to us now isn’t there, out here, online? In fact, there is so much available to us that that we might think there is no excuse for any of us not to step up and take some kind of action to support our personal health and happiness. Social media is flooded with experts telling us about the latest health technique or product, the latest exercise regime. And if you’re anything like me, your inbox is flooded with the same. It’s hard to keep up, isn’t it?
How do we sift through this health information-overload? How do we know what is the right product or technique for us? And so much of the information is conflicting, right?  How do we know what to believe or who to follow? What should we just cast aside? I know from my own healing journey, that especially if you have a condition with a label – a disease, or a syndrome: there are many who want to tell you they have discovered the latest magic bullet and more often than not they are happy to charge you a lot of money for it. And it’s not to say that these people are necessarily charlatans. More often than not they have recovered and found benefit in what they are promoting and they want you to recover and benefit too. 
However, as an Ayurveda practitioner, I know that one hat does not fit all. What is working for some is not going to work for everyone. And crucially I know why. It is because everyone’s personal natal metabolic make-up is unique. This is hugely significant. It means that for the very same reasons that your friend can tolerate some foodstuffs and lifestyle habits that you would put you right out of whack, and for the same reason that you maybe thrive in certain environments whilst your partner or spouse suffers from them, certain diets, remedies, exercise regimes, lifestyle adjustments and treatments might make you feel really well and the next person feel even worse: and vice versa. 
Understanding natal metabolic type is the cornerstone of Ayurveda medicine. It is a recognition that some of us naturally have a slow and sluggish metabolism. Others of us naturally have a stronger metabolism and, at least until our thirties,  can digest more or less anything (though in later years maybe we have to be more cautious to keep heartburn and ulcers at bay). And then there are those of us who have changeable capacities to digest various foods: sometimes we digest well, other times we are bloated, sometimes we eliminate well, other times we are constipated and it is hard to determine the pattern. Some of us thrive in warm environments, others of us crave cool, fresh climates. How many disagreements happen between couples over whether the heating needs to be turned up or completely turned off. 

Ayurveda recognises that when we eat, live and exercise in ways which are not in alignment with our natal metabolic nature, then we are seriously undermining our health. Those niggling symptoms that we all experience are most likely a consequence of this kind of misaligned living. And Ayurveda sees these as the first signs of disease. If we continue to live in this way, = imbalances become more and more entrenched in our bodily tissues, and/or in our minds, until we find ourselves with chronic ailments or possibly serious illness. 

On the other hand, adjusting your nutrition, your dietary habits, and your lifestyle including your working habits and exercise regimes to your metabolic nature can quickly start free you of those little niggling symptoms. It can be amazing how readily the body can return to equilibrium given the right conditions. Living with respect for your natural metabolic nature also plays a major part in relieving symptoms of chronic illness, restoring health and vitality to the body and mind from an Ayurvedic viewpoint, and optimising vitality and longevity. 

What’s your natal metabolic type? Read below and see if you can identify your possible Ayurvedic metabolic type:

Kapha – “Manda” or Slow metabolic type: Tends to move slowly and methodically in life.Speaks slowly. Has an aversion to cold and damp. Gains weight easily and loses it slowly. Learns slowly but forgets slowly also. Tends towards heavy feelings in the stomach after eating. May bloat and experience nausea, and may experience constipation (the sticky kind of stool that is hard to pass). Loves to comfort eat and finds much emotional nourishment in foods. 

Pitta – Tikshna or piercing metabolic type: Tends to move and talk moderately quickly. Is quite driven and motivated in life. Often feels hot. Does not mind the cold or cooler climates. Maybe keeps the feet out of the covers at night. Can digest most things but tends towards loose stools sometimes, especially for example after spicey and/or oily foods. Sweats readily. Can easily become irritable or frustrated, impatient or critical. 

Vata – agama or variable metabolic type: Tends to move a lot, and speak quickly. Can be quite inconsistent: might start projects and move onto another before finishing. Might have a few projects going at the same time. Can become confused, forgetful. Is quite fragile physically, with a light frame perhaps. Can experience bloating and flatulence, irregular bowel movements and/or hard dry stools, sometimes like rabbit pellets. More likely to become fearful and anxious than irritable and angry, though of course we all experience all emotions. Dislikes confrontation. Dislikes the cold. Tends toward dry skin and hair. 

Do you fall into any of these categories? Once you have pinpointed your type, then you have a lifelong indication as to what steps to take to best support your physical, mental-emotional and spiritual well-being, and how to adjust those steps as you journey through life and/or as symptoms possibly present themselves. When we understand our metabolic type, Ayurveda gives us a clear and time-tested road map for staying on track and living our best life. 

By the way, these metabolic differences mean that it is not just about eating healthily. Some healthy foods will suit one metabolic type but not another and are best avoided especially in certain seasons, according to the nature of that season. It also means that the various popular diets like the ketone diet, Atkins diet, high carb, low carb, high fat, or low fat diets are going to work for one metabolic type but may even be detrimental to another. 

Knowing and living by your Ayurvedic metabolic nature is the best thing you can do for your health and happiness. Follow these blogs for further tips on getting to know your metabolic nature and living and eating to support it’s optimum functioning. This is the Ayurvedic key to a life of physical, mental-emotional and spiritual well-being. 


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