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My type of diet; Author Anjum Anand says ditch the fads and balance body and mind using the ancient holistic Indian system Ayurveda.

When Anjum Anand was in her early 20s she was overweight and a serial dieter. She managed to lose the pounds but still felt lethargic, had digestive problems and was moody and irritable.

After visiting various nutritionists, Anjum eventually turned to the ancient holistic Indian system of Ayurveda. It's all about cosmic balance, translating as "the science of living wisely and well".

That was nine years ago and it's a lifestyle she has decided to share in her book Eat Right For Your Body Type.

She said: "It made complete sense to me. Now I have more energy and I feel really well. I know what suits me and what doesn't. Once you understand the body and the ways of balance you always know when you are doing something wrong and how to balance it by doing something you know is right for your body.

"If you are having a big night out on the town or a heavy meal, that's fine. But it's good to know what it is doing to your body and how to help balance it again.

"It's just a better understanding of the way we are supposed to live and how our bodies are meant to work.

"We are always on erratic diets. We over-eat or under-eat and don't really know how it affects our body long-term.

"There is all this information out there and we are a bit confused about what is good for us. I wanted to reach more people and give them another option."

avoid all also be combination The book explains how the body works and identifies three body types. It identifies good food and what to avoid for each type, along with a suggested lifestyle, forms of exercise and relaxation.

and SSRIs a new drug Lyrica. Most to with anxiety Anjum said: "You only have to look around to realise we are all completely different body types and different things suit us.

"Once you get to understand your body, you find out a little bit about what really suits you. I don't think we are really in tune with our bodies any more. We eat what we want because it's convenient or cheap. If you feel tired or bloated you might pop a pill because you have a bit of acidity but we don't really do anything to try to avoid it happening again."

The book also includes 75 recipes with recommendations for each body type. Most of the recipes are general but with variations and suggested additional ingredients for each type.

Anjum said: "We are so busy we don't eat enough home-cooked meals. It's best to eat a balanced diet of fruit, vegetables and grains - natural food that is not processed.

"Certain foods are better for each body type but foods that are universally good are yellow lentils, asparagus and basmati rice. Ultimately, it is about getting a variety of everything that is good for us."

Anjum's next book takes her on a completely different route.

She said: "I am writing a book on our favourite curries. Writing the Eat Right For Your Body Type book consumed me for a year but I missed the big, bold flavours of India and I missed the sharing of food.

"The Body Type book felt very individual. Cooking curries for friends is very inclusive and sociable so I am back to that. I find it's lots of fun. Although I was born in London, I have lots of family in India and I go back to Delhi as often as I can. It is one of the most crazy, chaotic cities and I love it.

The Doshas: In the body there are five elements (air, ether, fire, water and earth). These become biological elements and are grouped into three energies (vata, pitta, kapha) known as doshas.

It is uncommon to be equally balanced in all three dosha types. Normally there is one dosha which is more prominent. Whether you are naturally a vata, pitta or kapha, when our dominant dosha is balanced, we are the best versions of ourselves.

When our dominant dosha increases, we become extreme examples of ourselves or imbalanced. The book includes a questionnaire to help you decide what your dominant dosha is.

Eat Right For Your Body Type by Anjum Anand, Quadrille Publishing, pounds 14.99.

Kapha Made up of earth and water Kapha people normally have a heavier body type and are stable characters who dislike too much activity or change.

They have smooth, soft, oily skin and healthy, thick hair. When an imbalance occurs, a slow and measured kapha might become inactive and depressed.

Cold, wet, wintry weather, overeating and emotional snacking can cause a kapha imbalance.

Anjum said "Oprah Winfrey would be a kapha. This type of person is very compassionate, earthy and maternal.

"They would generally be of larger build and have a tendency to put on weight easily. They have great skin, good hair, large eyes and Bliss Breakfast drink Suits all doshas smaller quantity will be fine.

Serves 1 This drink makes a light breakfast if you have had a heavy dinner the night before or if your system is feeling sluggish. Dates (once soaked overnight) are a wonderful fruit for all the three doshas as they strengthen tissue and cleanse blood. When mixed with the soaked almonds, they become something of a health tonic and are said to increase ojas (meaning vitality, feeling of well being or bliss energy).

If you blend the drink with water, use the exact amount of almonds, but if using milk, the Ingredients: 14 whole almonds (use only 8-9 if blending with milk or it becomes too rich) 3 medium-sized dates few strands of saffron (optional) 220ml water, or half water, half rice milk, or any other milk Pinch of cardamom powder (made by grinding the seeds of one green cardamom pod) Method: Soak the almonds and dates overnight in hot water. In the morning, drain and peel the almonds. If using the saffron, infuse in 1 tablespoon of hot water for 10 minutes. Tip the almonds into a blender with the dates and water or milk (if using cow's milk, ideally bring to boiling point and cool before using). Blend, then stir in the saffron water and strands (if using) and the ground cardamom and serve.

Vata Made up of air and ether If you are a vata, you will probably be a light build, have little body fat, be a light sleeper, have dry, rough skin and hair, be very active and see things quite clearly.

A vata needs to be careful of not running around too much. They can become distracted, restless and over-active. You need to allow yourself to be grounded, calm and still.

Do more yoga, walks in the park and eat warm, nourishing food to regain balance.

Anjum said: "Kate Moss is a typical vata.

She's very slender and probably has quite dry hair and small features. Vatas are quite arty. I don't know personally what she is like as a person but that's how I imagine her to be."

Pitta Made up of fire and a little water Apitta person will have a hot temperament, sharp penetrating mind a nd speech, and a strong digestive system. When imbalanced, the organised pitta person can become controlling and dominating.

They should avoid the heat, stressful situations, over-drinking and missing meals.

Anjum said: "I would say Barack Obama is a pitta. They are very focused, clear orators, clear thinkers and good in politics. They are not too thin or too big and have a medium frame."

Casebook

Generalised anxiety disorder Known as GAD, this affects around three per cent of the population. It is characterised by a feeling of worry and tension occurring almost every day for a period of six months or more. It can be associated with panic attacks, increased breathing, increased heart rate, a fear of death, sweating and shakiness. GAD can be very disabling, leading sufferers to avoid all social contact. It can also be difficult to treat. A combination of talking therapies called anxiety management and anti-depressants called SSRIs are used. There is also a new drug called Pregabalin or Lyrica. Most GP practices have access to therapists who deal with anxiety management.

CAPTION(S):

FEEL THE FORCE ... Kate Moss, above is vata, while Barack Obama is pitta
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 11, 2010
Words:1391
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