I Tried This 5,000-Year-Old Diet, And It Changed More Than Just My Food Habits

It all begins with a pulse reading.


Before I met chef Divya Alter, my approach to food was simple. I avoided processed foods, but for the most part, I ate what I wanted, when I wanted it. I thought that following any sort of food regimen would feel restrictive and unenjoyable, but Alter was able to convince me otherwise.

Her restaurant, Divya’s Kitchen, had catered lunch on the Thrive staff’s first day in our brand-new offices: a colorful spread of coconut curry, paneer marinated in sweet, purple sauce, and plenty of other delights. Alter’s restaurant is entirely Ayurvedic, meaning it adheres to Ayurveda, the ancient medical science of India that dates back at least 5,000 years.

An Ayurvedic diet, as Divya explained it, is different than the other “diets” I know of. It’s about eating in accordance to your doshas, which are the energies that make up who we are. There are three doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. When your doshas are out of whack, your whole life can feel off-kilter — and the foods you eat can help keep your doshas in equilibrium.

To determine your doshas, you need a pulse reading, which Alter knows how to do. Intrigued about how Ayurveda could improve my lifestyle, I decided I wanted to try it out. Here’s what happened when I met with Alter to learn more about my doshas, and followed the Ayurvedic diet for a week.

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