According the Ayurveda, the tridoshas — vata, pitta and kapha — are the fundamental basis of understanding the human body. The balance of the doshas is affected by seasonal changes, lifestyle choices and diet. Not only is eating for your dosha a great way to keep your body in shape, but an important part of ensuring your Ayurvedic treatments and lifestyles are having the optimal impact. Before we get into the guidelines of eating for your dosha, here are a few things to keep in mind about healthy eating habits: Ayurveda strongly recommends you eat only when — and always when — your body feels hungry. Don’t pay attention to the clock or fitting a certain number of meals into your day. Listening to your body’s needs is an important part of the Ayurvedic diet. The same goes for thirst: drink water when you’re thirsty, not just because you feel you need to meet a quota. That said, do sip water (preferably warm, not iced) during meals. “Sip” is the operative word here as the ideal state of your stomach post-consumption of a meal should be a third each of water, air and food. A general guideline for quantity of food to be consumed at each meal is what would fit comfortably in two cupped hands, and no more. Remain seated while eating and avoid television or reading during mealtime. Fresh fruits and vegetables are highly preferred, as is seasonal produce. Ayurveda also recommends each morsel of food be chewed at least thirty times before swallowing.