In Part I of our Ayurveda discussion, we learned what a dosha is, broke ‘em down, and figured out what we are! Now we’re getting into stuff we can eat for our dosha and how we can work out to help ourselves feel best within the framework of Ayurveda. Here we goooo!
Since Vatas are dry, cool, and light, we need foods that are the opposite. Many foods like chilled raw veggies and salads, light fruits like apples, cold beverages, and low fat meals can exacerbate Vata. The best foods for Vata are oily, warming, and heavy. Since Vatas are moving, quick, and thin, we can tolerate richer foods to keep us balanced without easily gaining excess weight or feeling heavy. Some guidelines to follow are:
- Eat larger quantities
- Enjoy natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup
- Consume plenty of fats and oils which help digestion and reduce Vata. Ghee and coconut oil are wonderful.
- Dairy is helpful for Vatas if you’re not lactose intolerant
- Rice and wheat are the best grains for Vata.
- Eat sweet, heavier fruits like bananas, mangoes, avocados, apricots, plums, berries, coconut, figs, grapefruit, orange, lemon, melon, papaya, peaches, pineapples, dates, kiwi, and nectarines
- Minimize raw vegetables and go for cooked. The best are asparagus, beets, and carrots. Other veggies should be cooked in ghee or coconut oil to make them less cold, light, and dry
- Avoid gas forming foods like cabbage, sprouts, and beans
- All nuts are great
- Good animal proteins are chicken, turkey, fish, and eggs
- Vata pacifying spices are cardamom, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, sea salt, cloves, basil, mustard seed, cilantro, sage, fennel, oregano, tarragon, thyme, and black pepper
Exercise: Vatas have spurts of energy, but burn out easily. We tend to push ourselves more than we should. Since we are airy, we get extreme benefit from grounding activities like yoga, walking, riding a bike, and dancing. When it’s cold outside, indoor workouts are key because we are very averse to cold and don’t carry excess body fat for warmth and protection.
Since Pittas are intense, hot, sharp, and acidic, so they need foods that are cooling, sweet, and balancing. Many hot foods like peppers, warm beverages, and cooked meals can exacerbate Pitta. Since Pittas are so fiery and penetrating, they can tolerate more raw, chilled foods to cool them down. Some guidelines to follow are:
- Eat regularly and do not skip meals
- Maximize cooling foods and avoid hot, spicy foods.
- Dairy in the form of milk, butter, and ghee can be very beneficial. Avoid yogurt, sour cream, and cheese since sour foods exacerbate Pitta.
- Use sweeteners in moderation, but avoid honey and molasses
- Focus on olive and coconut oils.
- Wheat, rice, barley, and oats are the best grains for Pitta. Brown rice, corn, rye, and millet should be avoided.
- Avoid sour fruits like grapefruit, apricots, blueberries, and lemons. Eat sweet fruits like grapes, cherries, mangoes, pomegranates, pineapples, oranges, plums, coconut, and melons.
- The best vegetables are cucumbers, asparagus, sweet potatoes, leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, green beans, zucchini, and pumpkins/winter squash. Eat less tomatoes, hot peppers, carrots, beets, eggplant, onions, garlic, radishes, and spinach.
- Use cooling spices like coriander, cilantro, cardamom, saffron, and fennel. Avoid hot spices like black pepper, cayenne, chili peppers, cloves, sea salt, and mustard seed.
- Chicken and turkey are the best animal proteins. Avoid beef, seafood, and eggs.
Exercise: Since Pittas are intense and fiery, they can be competitive in all kinds of physical activity, even with themselves. It’s important for them to move because they have a strong drive and enjoy challenging themselves, but should avoid increasing their stress during exercise. Moderate exercise is best for Pittas so they can balance their activity with rest periods. Riding a bike, taking a long walk, or swimming are all nice cooling, relaxing exercises for Pitta that don’t build too much heat or tension and irritate them.
Because Kaphas are heavy, solid, cold, and oily, they need foods that are light, dry, and warm. Many foods like sweets, high fat meals, hot meals, and dairy can be too heavy and exacerbate Kapha. Since Kaphas can easily gain weight and retain fluid, they need lighter, dryer foods to counteract their natural tendency towards sluggishness and heaviness, Some guidelines to follow are:
- Eat lightly and wait until hungry.
- Liquid fasts of vegetable + fruit juices and blended veggies soups for a part or whole day once per week can be very beneficial.
- Avoid dairy except ghee in moderate amounts.
- Avoid sweeteners except honey in small amounts.
- Drink hot teas, especially ginger to fire up sluggish digestion.
- Enjoy all beans except soybeans and soy products.
- Eat lighter fruits like apples, pears, and apricots. Avoid heavier fruits like avocados, pineapples, bananas, coconuts, peaches, melons, dates, figs, and oranges.
- All vegetables are great except sweet ones like potatoes, winter squashes, tomatoes, and carrots.
- All spices may be enjoyed freely except sea salt because Kaphas are prone to water retention.
- Avoid nuts and seeds except pumpkin and sunflower seeds in small amounts.
- Chicken breast, turkey, eggs, and seafood are the best animal proteins. Avoid beef.
- Lunch should be the largest meal since Kapha’s digestion slows down with the day.
- The best grains are barley, corn, millet, buckwheat, and rye. Avoid oats, rice, and wheat.
Exercise: Kaphas are the hardest dosha to motivate for exercise due to their slow tendencies, but they should try to get some physical activity every single day to counteract their stagnation and congestion. Sweating is great for them to help release accumulated toxins. Because Kapha’s are strong and sturdy, endurance cardio is most beneficial. Running, spinning, dancing, and swimming are the best choices.
Ok, this was a lot of info so let me know if you have any questions! There is so much more information about following an Ayurvedic diet for each dosha so I wanted to lay out the nuts and bolts to give you a general idea of the basics! Do any of these guidelines resonate with you?