We all know the expression “you are what you eat”, as well as the slightly less popular “as within, so without.” Our personal relationship to wellness, both in mind and body, lies in our awareness of what envelops us, how we engage with the world, and how we interact with food and eating. Food takes centre stage in the grand theatre of our lives, and has immense power in determining and defining who we are.
The Chakra-Based Diet has an alternative approach to many; rather than feeling unhappy about all the foods you can’t eat in a new diet, how about flipping that feeling and focussing more on the foods you’re going to add? Colours add vibrancy and variation to food which has a positive emotional effect as well as physical. Adding a wide variety of plant-based foods delivers pleasure as well as health benefits. To merge together the practices of nutrition, science and ancient spiritual healing delivers us a holistic approach to wellness that can be simple and delicious – please welcome the ‘Chakra-Based Diet’… also know as the ‘Rainbow Diet’.
We are all such unique creatures that it is pretty impossible to pinpoint a diet that could suit everyone, we are all affected by our genetic make-up, environmental and social surroundings, lifestyle, and responses to everything in life. This diet is based around electing the right foods and fine-tuning eating styles that fits your individual physiology and psychology. The Rainbow Diet pulls together a framework taking into consideration every factor of your life to provide a guide which will help YOU reach your own personal optimum level of nutrition. This nourishment will not only feed your body and mind but your soul gets the good treatment too! Ever heard of ‘food for the soul?
The Chakra-Based Diet bases itself on the ancient chakra system, whereby the seven systems of health, which represent all the organs within the body, communicate and work in harmony with one another. Each one of the seven systems is based on an endocrine gland and its accompanying body parts which relate to a variety of physical functions. Each system can be associated with particular foods and lifestyle practices which work towards balancing and energising it. Treatment of all seven of the systems in the manner of a personalised diet plan targets all aspects of your body and life as a whole.
Where does the rainbow come into it?
Each of the seven systems, which I will detail in a moment, corresponds to a colour (of the spectrum/rainbow) and plays a vital role in your physical and mental health. The ancient chakra system utilises colours as an in depth understanding of the endocrine system; this in turn relates to nutrition as colour which is a universal connection. Colour represents the plant compounds that are in our foods, and they all serve a specific purpose. Nature is very intelligent, and this system helps decode its complexity so we can use it for our own health.
In order to assess what an individual needs you first need to determine which areas of your life need healing or focused attention. Colours are used to analyse a person’s system based on their chakras by locating any imbalances within them. These imbalances determine which foods need to be added or lessened from their diet in order to rebalance their health. By choosing foods from the spectrum of colour, we feed ourselves emotionally and physically as we absorb the various nutritional properties embodied in the wholesome colours of the food. Each body system relates to a colour, which in turn relates to a host of healing foods.
How does it work?
If we think of plant food as condensed, coloured sunlight, we can begin to get a better feeling for the concept of the Rainbow Diet.
A colourful diet is extremely beneficial as wholesome, colourful fruits and vegetables are rich in phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are natural chemicals found in plants and are incredibly valuable to our health. Plants of different colours have different phytonutrients that nourish your body in a variety of ways. For example, lycopene is a red phytonutrient found in tomatoes, anthocyanidins are purple and found in grapes, chlorophyll is green and appears in green vegetables, and so the list goes on.
Our bodies require this array of colours to maintain a healthy balance. Most people have a phytonutrient gap, so it’s important to reintroduce particular colourful fruits and vegetables into our diets to prevent our health from suffering.
Four main principles of the Chakra-Based Diet or Rainbow Diet
- Each food, according to its outer colour, which is its reflecting surface, can be related to the specific colour and energy of a particular chakra.
- Different colour foods are specific for energising, balancing, and healing their corresponding colour-related chakras.
- Each colour food energises, cleanses, builds, heals, and rebalances the glands, organs, and nerve centres associated with its colour related chakra.
- The purpose of the Rainbow Diet is to help balance, on a regular daily cycle, each individual chakra, its associated organs, glands, and nerve plexus, and the chakra system as a whole.
The Seven Systems of the Chakra-Based Diet
This system relates us to our identity, it is what grounds us and is rooted in our adrenal glands. It encompasses the immune system, DNA, skin, bones, legs, muscles, joints, feet, and everything protein. What you see in another person is their root: their outer selves comprised of skin, hair, nails, and structure.
To nourish our root system it is essential to eat protein in order to stabilise our blood sugar and give us a strong sense of substance. Red foods contain the essential phytonutrients with which to do this. They are often high in vitamin C, which helps with our stress response and supports our adrenal glands. Healing red foods include red and pink grapefruit, beets, cherries, cranberries, goji berries, raspberries, red apples, red peppers, strawberries, tomatoes, and watermelon.
This system embodies our creativity. It is connected to the parts of us that are fluid and flowing, such as our reproductive organs, sacrum, and hips. The flow also relates to our water-based organs of purification, such as our kidneys, large intestine and colon.
To help our sense of flow, it’s important to drink plenty of water and eat fat-filled nuts, seeds, and fish. Orange coloured foods are often high in certain carotenoids and other phytonutrients, which also help with the reproductive system. Eat foods such as apricots, carrots, orange bell peppers, oranges and blood oranges, papaya, pumpkin and winter squash, and sweet potato and yams.
This system represents our energy. This fiery centre of our body which governs our digestive system transforming our food into energy. This includes your stomach, gallbladder, pancreas, liver, and small intestine.
Foods that help sustain energy are commonly high in fibre such as lentils and whole grains. Yellow foods that are often connected to the acid-forming properties of digestion and help aid digestion include bananas, ginger, lemons, and pineapple.
This system tells us about our empathy, compassion, and devotion. The love in our body nourishes feelings of expansion, openness, and giving. It oversees our arms, armpits, blood vessels, breasts, hands, heart, lungs, lymphatic system, shoulders, and wrists.
Green foods often contain naturally occurring nitrates, which help our blood vessels to expand. Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, chard, and arugula, can all help the heart expand through their nutrients (vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients). Other green foods, such as avocado, broccoli, dandelion, mustard greens, and all types of sprouts, also serve to nourish this system.
TRUTH (aquamarine blue)
This system is positioned in the throat area or thorax, the place where we express ourselves verbally. It is centred in our throat, thyroid gland, mouth, cheeks, chin, and ears. For this system, it’s important to focus on how we mindfully take in food, including the pace at which we eat.
Sea plants and vegetables, such as nori and dulse, are rich in minerals that nourish the thyroid. Other moist foods that help lubricate and open channels of expression include soups, sauces, juices, teas, and high-fluid fruits, like honeydew, kiwi, and melon.
This system corresponds to the pituitary gland and represents our intuition. Physically, it primes and connects all of the other glands in your body and is associated with our brain, neurons, neurotransmitters, eyes, and forehead. It helps with sleep, thought processing, and mood.
Nutrients in blue-purple foods support the brain, specifically with memory, cognition, and even mood. Blue-purple foods include acai berries, blackberries, figs, mums, purple grapes, and wild blueberries.
This system relates to the nonphysical self; the spirit, looking at our life non-physically – with spirituality, purification, purpose, and meaning to gain inner clarity and enlightenment. Health issues associated with the spirit include those elements that are invisible, yet impactful, such as electromagnetic fields, energy meridians, the nervous system, and the pineal gland.
For this we can incorporate periods of fasting to promote cleansing, eating white foods, such as cauliflower, coconut, garlic, onion, parsnips, sesame seeds, and turnips, may support detoxification practices, helping the finer aspects of the body to work better.
Eat your colours!
It’s important to incorporate each of the seven colours into your diet each day. Each colour serves to nourish and replenish the different systems, so it is critical to eat a variety. If one particular system is suffering, increase the amount of nourishment in that colour group. And vice versa.
Therapists promoting the chakra or rainbow diet believe that to bring colour back into the lives of their clients delivers them more vibrancy and vitality because what we eat changes the way we feel.
By understanding the role food plays in our lives and how it nourishes our minds, bodies, and connections, we can better understand ourselves. When we start changing what we’re eating, we start changing how we’re living. The power of food and the ways in which it affects us—physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually—has been acknowledged for centuries by ancient traditions like Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine. Both of these which strongly emphasise and promote the balance of the energetic properties of different foods in our diet. Due to the rise of natural therapy, alternative and integrative medicine, and holistic methods trends are shifting towards such promotion and acknowledges the entire workings of the body system and focusses on the individual as a whole.
Application of the Chakra-Based or Rainbow Diet
Balance is the key to the Rainbow Diet. The application of the diet is based on the idea that all chakras, even though they have different vibratory rates and different types of awareness, are created equal. All of them must be nourished. The Rainbow Diet calls for the full spectrum of foods for the full spectrum of the chakras throughout the spectrum of the day.
Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of a day on the rainbow diet
Red, orange, and yellow-golden foods are eaten for supporting the first, second, and third chakras. This includes fruits such as apples, oranges, and bananas. Fruits are good cleansers and aid in any unfinished digestion from the night before. The golden colours also include the golden and brown grains such as wheat, rice, corn, buckwheat, oats, and rye. The yellow-gold colour also includes most nuts and seeds such as sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, and almonds. Once nuts and seeds begin to germinate by soaking and sprouting, they become alkaline in their effect in the body and combine well with fruits. These soaked nuts and seeds in the morning are particularly good for people with blood sugar imbalances.
Yellow-golden, green, and blue foods are eaten for enhancing the third, fourth, and fifth chakras. The predominant colour for the midday meal is green. This is the time for eating salads and other vegetable dishes – sprouts, avocados, lettuce, and dark greens. We could also eat fruit meals of green apples, watermelon, or fruits of other colours of the third through the fifth chakras. Although the main colour focus is green, it does not mean that minor amounts of other colour foods such as tomatoes cannot be included. Carrots, which are in the orange-gold spectrum, also fit in quite well.
Blue, indigo, purple, gold, and white foods enhance the fifth, sixth, and seventh chakras. Gold is included in the evening because purple and gold are complements, and the crown chakra is associated with golden, as well as purple, Light. The main evening meal’s colours are purple, white, and gold. In the context of arising early to meditate, light dinners eaten before sunset are the most appropriate. Common purple foods in the vegetable kingdom include eggplant, purple cabbage, dulse, and beets. Rudolf Steiner said beets stimulate mind-brain function and act as excellent blood purifiers. We can also include some greens and sprouts. The golden foods include the golden grains such as wheat, rice, millet, and oats. Golden nuts and seeds such as sunflower, pumpkin, cashews, sesame, and almonds also fit in.
My two cents
I find the rainbow diet really interesting in that it teaches us to look at our food in a new light, as a primary physical connection to nature. As with breathing it is chemical, it provides energy and the bimolecular structure of each plant has a different effect on different parts of us. The colour of a food represents a particular energy pattern, how its nutrients are bonded and will bond to specific cells within our bodies. The theory is that as we build a relationship with food and its colour we will develop a sensitivity to particular foods for particular purposes; what our body needs will be replenished by our desire for the right foods of certain colours in order to balance ourselves. The diet acknowledges our direct communication with nature and reinforces the ideal that we ought to be concentrating on only eating whole foods, predominantly plant-based and of a wide variety. For me this makes total sense and encourages me to continue on my path which is strongly leaning towards becoming vegan, and at the very least cutting out any processed foods entirely.
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