Anything ANYTHING can be either a medicine, or a poison in Ayurvedic medicine. The circumstances and the qualities of the circumstance – not the substance itself – are what determines the benefit.
Which is to say that a chocolate croissant is ABSOLUTELY a medicine. Sometimes. So how do you decide when? (hint: it’s not to reward yourself, and not when you’ve “earned it!” You don’t need to earn your food – being human requires it!
To determine the answer, we’ll take a look at the 20 Gunas (or qualities) that Ayurveda uses to describe all matter, and we’ll take a look at the Six Tastes that determine the bioenergetic benefits of our foods.
The 20 Gunas (or qualities) are the adjectives that Ayurveda uses to describe and qualify all matter. They’re important because, as Ayurveda reminds us, opposites balance and like increases like. This is to say that we can better understand when a croissant will be medicine by looking at it’s qualities, and recognizing that it will be the most beneficial in circumstances with opposite qualities.
The 20 Gunas are:
HEAVY – LIGHT
COLD – HOT
OILY – DRY
DULL – SHARP
SMOOTH – ROUGH
DENSE – LIQUID
SOFT – HARD
STABLE – MOBILE
GROSS – SUBTLE
CLOUDY – CLEAR
Of these, the butter, salt, flour and chocolate that make up a croissant AND of the flaky, buttery end product of it’s baking are: light, smooth, dense, and soft.
SO, when circumstances are heavy, rough, fluid and hard a croissant is the opposite that can bring balance.
The flavors we taste have a bioenergetic impact on our bodies, and these flavors can also tell us that the optimal time to eat a chocolate croissant. Chocolate croissants are:
Sweet (from the wheat and butter,)
Salty (from the salt,)
Bitter (from the chocolate)
Sour (from the fermentation the croissant undergoes during its rise.)
Sweet and bitter flavors balance pitta dosha; the dosha responsible for our inner passion, drive and the forces of intensity and transformation in our lives. When things feel intense, firey, uber-focused, or when we’re “running it hot,” a chocolate croissant is the cure to what ails us. Sour and salty flavors balance vata dosha, and so a chocolate croissant is also the medicine when we’ve been doing to much, going going going, thinking hard, playing hard, moving constantly and need to ground.
When we’re too hard, or too critical on ourselves, the bitterness of the chocolate is a remedy, and the sourness of a time-cared-for croissant slows us down when the world is spinning too fast.
With the Gunas and Flavors in mind, a chocolate croissant is “the medicine” when:
In these moments, it’s very likely that the treat of a chocolate croissant is just the medicine we need to bring balance to our worlds again.
Now, if you’re experiencing these hard, rough, intense, scattered, unplayful, superfocused days EVERY DAY, there are lots of additional ways to get the soft, light, dense grounding that a chocolate croissant can provide. Since a chocolate croissant may be (MAY BE) too much density, lightness or softness (assuming you can get too much of these things in our intense, over-worked, undernourished lives,) taking a walk in nature, cuddling up in a blanket and being still, going for a walk in nature with our feet on the ground and the fresh air in our faces. Particularly if we can return home from our stroll and enjoy a nice warm chocolate croissant with a cup of tea to seal the deal.