There are three classifications of foods in Ayurveda. You want to avoid what are called tamasic foods. These are heavy foods that make you feel sleepy or dull after eating, stale foods, and half-cooked foods. This list also includes intoxicants and narcotics.
Also, be careful with rajasic foods. These are stimulants like coffee or tea, alcohol, burning hot and spicy food, or foods that cause a burning sensation during digestion.
Instead, try to eat more sattvic foods: These foods are light and easy to digest; increase strength, life span, health, and immunity; and are pleasing to the senses. Foods that come in this category are organic cow and goat milk; butter and ghee; unprocessed, uncooked, aged honey; fresh seasonal fruits; green or yellow mung lentils; and wheat, rice, and barley. Fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, beans, unprocessed grains, pasture-raised meats and eggs, wild-caught fish, and purified water also belong on this list.
Our relationship with food is very layered, yet the Ayurvedic way of practicing self-reverence by eating sattvic meals isn’t all that complicated. You can instantly know what food is dulling you (fast foods or reheated frozen meals) or making you irritated and restless (hot Cheetos and endless cups of coffee) and what is calming you (a cup of milk or sweet peach cobbler) based on the way your body reacts to it. The next time you eat a meal, really tune in to how your body feels after it’s finished, and let that information guide your food choices moving forward.