Ayurveda Diet Plan For Healthy Living

Ayurveda Diet Plan For Healthy Living

How to eat for your dosha

According to Ayurvedic philosophies our bodies are made up of three doshas: vata, pitta and kapha. So which is your dominant dosha, how well balanced are all three? And what foods suit your doshic makeup? Our guide to identifying and eating in accordance with your doshas will help keep your body and mind in check.

The ancient practice of Ayurveda believes we're made up of three different 'body types' that correspond to our physical and personality traits, known as doshas. These are: vata, pitta and kapha, each of which represents two of the five universal elements (a combination of ether, air, fire, water, earth). Ayurvedic philosophies believe we each contain varying proportions of each dosha, generally one or two in dominance. Our naturally dominant dosha does not signify imbalance, but rather how – or who – we are in our most healthy, balanced state.

Mind-body health and harmony may be challenged when any of the doshas become aggravated or imbalanced. Identifying your predominant dosha and potential imbalances, which an Ayurvedic practitioner can assist with, is the secret to keeping your mind-body balance in check.

What's your dominant dosha?

Vata

Light build

Naturally creative

Sensitive

Prefer warm, humid climates

Dry skin

Pitta

Medium, muscular build

Productive, hard-working

Irritable

Prefer cold climates

Fair skin

Kapha

Heavy build

Stable, methodical

Easy-going

Prefer warm, dry climates

Oily skin

Equal proportions of two ('bidoshic) or all doshas ('tridoshic') is also possible.

Dine for your doshic imbalance

Regardless of body type, imbalances of any dosha can occur in response to lifestyle factors. Consider this: naturally athletic pittas can lose weight due to vata excess, or gain weight as a result of kapha excess. Ayurveda repairs imbalances predominantly with herbal remedies, warm oil massages, yoga, and lifestyle changes, particularly diet.

The Ayurvedic diet identifies six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent. Each taste has different energetic effects on the mind and body; either aggravating or pacifying particular doshas. For example, considering Ayurveda's theory of 'like increase like', someone with pitta excess may add fuel to the fire by consuming hot, spicy foods.

Sydney-based Sasha Kahan, 29, recently experienced a rejuvenating diet overhaul to combat vata excess during a month-long stay at Kerala's Somatheeram Ayurvedic Retreat (http://mavcure.com/ayurveda-diet-plan-vata-pitta-kapha/).

"My diet was strictly vegetarian and no cold drinks were consumed. The benefits became quickly apparent," recalls Kahan. "I was physically and mentally exhausted when I'd arrived, but by week three I'd lost four kilograms, was doing yoga headstands, and enjoying undisturbed sleep and a calmer mind."

Balancing vata

"When vata is aggravated, your system becomes irregular and depleted, which affects weak organs and tissues," explains Dr Rama Prasad from Chatswood's Ayurveda Elements.

Additional signs of vata imbalance:

Constipation

Dehydration

Anxious

Craving warmth

Frequent viral infection

Weight loss

Disturbed sleep

Excessive consumption of bitter, astringent and spicy tastes contribute to vata imbalance. Prasad recommends pacifying with sweet, sour and salty tastes and warm, moist, easily digestible foods like:

Boiled or steamed starchy vegetables (moderate broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini and leafy vegetables)

Ripe fruits

Warm milk (moderate dairy)

Soupy grains: rice, wheat

Mild spices: cumin, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, fennel, coriander, salt, cloves, mustard, black pepper

Tea: camomile, fennel, ginger, liquorice, lemon

"Nourishing soups, casseroles and dahls are great for balancing vata, particular during winter," suggests Dr Matthews.

Balancing pitta

"When pitta is unbalanced, you can become aggressive and irritable. Internalising that fire can increase your self-critic, resulting in perfectionism," says Dr Matthews.

Additional signs of imbalance:

Diarrhoea

Over-heating, profuse sweating

Colourful, violent dreams

Excessive hunger

Frequent bacterial infections

Heartburn

Dr Prasad believes pitta imbalance may result from excessive alcohol or hot, spicy, oily, fried, salty, fermented foods. He suggests rebalancing with sweet, bitter and astringent tastes and cool, heavy foods including:

Boiled, steamed, raw vegetables

Sweet fruits

Moderate amounts of dairy

Soupy grains: rice, wheat, barley, oats

Mild, cooling spices: coriander, cardamom, cloves, turmeric, cumin, curry leaves, mint

Tea: fennel, camomile, peppermint, spearmint, liquorice, red clover

Balancing kapha

"When kapha is unbalanced, there is a tendency for mental and physical stagnation. Stimulation of all kinds helps to avoid that heavy, lethargic feeling," advises Dr Matthews.

Additional signs of imbalance:

Sluggish bowels

Procrastination

Craving warmth, spicy foods

Frequent candida

Water retention

Weight gain

Excessive sleep

Dr Prasad advises excessive food consumption can contribute to kapha imbalance, and recommends a light, warm, low-fat diet of pungent, bitter and astringent tastes like:

Boiled, steamed, raw vegetables

Ripe fruits (except banana)

Fat-free buttermilk (other dairy reduced)

Grains: corn, millet, rye, oats, barley, wheatbran

Strong spices: pepper, paprika, salt, garlic, basil, cloves, allspice, fennel, mustard, turmeric, cumin, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, black pepper

Honey instead of sugar

Tea: cinnamon, fenugreek, peppermint, raspberry

In the wise world of Ayurveda, you really are what you eat; so discover and dine for your dosha to restore holistic health of hips, head and heart

2 Replies

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  • I have just been looking at the Kapha body type the last couple of days, and this would seem to be the one that I have.

    Interestingly, I seem to have naturally picked up on a few things that my body benefits from over the years

  • If anyone is interested in treating their symptoms with diet (not Ayurvedic). I am putting together a 6 -week diet plan with daily menu's and recipes. If you would like to try it out (for free) message me directly.

    It can make all the difference.