An introduction to Ayurveda & how to feed your Dosha
- In Ayurveda, every individual is unique and there is no diet or lifestyle routine that works for everyone
- Prevention is key. Ayurveda focuses on providing specific advice and guidance on how to maintain physical and emotional health
- Food and lifestyle routines are considered the most important medicine. If you consult an Ayurvedic doctor with a complaint, you are more likely to leave with a recipe than with a prescription for pills. Music to my ears!
Are you seeking to eat more in alignment with your body’s natural needs, but not sure what they are? Are you curious about learning self-care practices like oil-pulling and tongue scraping but don’t know where to start? Have you been seeking mind-body balance but aren’t sure about the exact steps needed to get there? Well, it’s a good thing we’ve found each other! Just reading this means you are thinking consciously about making changes for your own health and well being.
How does Ayurveda work?
Ayurveda is based on the principles of three doshas. Doshas are the energies that make up every individual, which perform different physiological functions in the body.
Take the quiz to find out which Dosha you fall under.
Ayurveda offers us a way to bring ourselves back into balance through understanding our mind-body type and adopting tailored herbs, diet and lifestyle advice.
Discover what foods suit YOU and join us as we embark on a journey of mindful nutrition
Which Dosha best describes you?
This mind-body questionnaire gathers information about your basic nature – the way you were as a child or the basic patterns that have been true most of your life. There are 3 different types of Dosha’s (Dosha meaning ‘that which is at fault’). Take the quiz to find out which Dosha you are and then learn how to re-balance and nourish that Dosha to maintain a healthy body, a healthy mind and maintain a happy life.
I know my Dosha type, now what?
Now you should try to follow the diet and lifestyle routine that fits your mind/body constitution and thats where we come in! Our cookery schools and classes are also based around Ayurvedic cooking and also feeding and nourishing your own Human Energy System. Our talks focus on what is mindful nutrition and how we can maintain a health mind and body through food alone.
For example, if you are predominantly Vata, you should include more cooked, warm foods, stay away from icy drinks, and add more warming spices like cinnamon, cloves, and ginger to your food. This will prevent any digestion issues that Vata types tend to get, as well, as anxiety, dry skin or insomnia. Here are some general guidelines for each type:
Ayurveda should be easy to follow and easy to understand so it can benefit the lives of many others. Ayurveda is the world’s oldest health system. It is the sister science of yoga, based on mind-body balance and eating the right foods for your unique physiology, environment, digestive system and even personality type.
Mind – Body – Balance
According to Ayurveda, it’s important to eat foods that have a balancing effect on the dominant dosha or that will pacify (stabilise) a dosha that has become excessive or aggravated.
Nutritional Guidelines for Kapha:
Because Kapha is heavy, oily, and cold, favour foods that are light, dry, or warm. Foods with pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes are most beneficial for pacifying Kapha. Reduce foods with sweet, sour, and salty tastes.
- Try a liquid fast one day per week, ingesting only fresh vegetable and fruit juices, and pureed vegetable soup.
- Reduce the intake of dairy, which tends to increase Kapha. You can use small amounts of ghee, low-fat milk, and low-fat yogurt.
- Avoid most sweeteners. Honey is one sweetener that can best pacify Kapha. Other sweeteners, however, should be avoided because they increase the Kapha dosha, contributing to problems such as blocked sinuses, allergies, colds, and lethargy. Take a tablespoon or two (but no more) of raw honey every day can help release excess Kapha. Do not cook with honey though.
- Drink hot ginger tea with meals to help stimulate slow digestion and sharpen dull taste buds. Drink 2 to 3 cups of ginger tea daily.
- Eat beans. All beans are good for Kapha types except for soybeans and soybean-based foods such as tofu, which should be eaten in moderation.
- Favor lighter fruits such as apples, pears, pomegranates, cranberries, and apricots. Reduce heavier fruits like bananas, avocados, pineapples, oranges, peaches, coconuts, melons, dates, and figs.
- Eat lots of vegetables. In general, all vegetables are recommended but you should reduce consumption of sweet and juicy vegetables such as sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and courgette.
- All spices except salt are pacifying to Kapha. Use pungent spices like pepper, cayenne, mustard seed, and ginger freely in your diet.
- Reduce intake of all nuts and seeds. Favor pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.
- Limit consumption of red meat. For non-vegetarians, fresh, organic white meat chicken, turkey, eggs, and seafood are acceptable.
- Use small amounts of fats and oils. Try extra virgin olive oil, ghee, almond oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, mustard oil, or safflower oil.
- For grains, favour barley, corn, millet, buckwheat, rye. Reduce intake of oats, rice, and wheat.
In general, a Kapha diet should be lively and full of energy to help spark the digestive and metabolic systems. Eat your largest meal at lunchtime and a smaller meal at dinnertime. Allow at least three hours for digestion before bedtime.
General Health Tips For Kapha Types:
It’s important to be active on a daily basis as Kapha types are prone to sluggishness, depression, and being overweight. Getting out of the house and actively seeking new experiences is also recommended. Be receptive to useful change, be intentional in implementing life-enhancing actions. Choose foods that are light, warm, and spicy. Tea with dried ginger and lemon is a great pick-me-up for Kaphas. Avoid heavy oily and processed sugars, which are detrimental to Kaphas. Use lots of spices such as black pepper, ginger, cumin, chili and lots of bitter dark greens.
Nutritional Guidelines for Vatta:
Since Vata is drying, cooling and light, you should favour foods that are oily, warming or heavy. The best tastes to pacify Vata are sweet, salty and sour. Minimise foods that are pungent, bitter or astringent.
- Eat larger quantities, but don’t overeat. This helps to balance the lightness of Vata.
- Take sweeteners in moderation. They all help to pacify Vata.
- Fats and oils are beneficial in the digestive system and help reduce Vata. Use up to three teaspoons daily of ghee or extra virgin olive oil.
- All low-fat dairy products are recommended. Milk is easier to digest when warm or heated.
- Rice and wheat are the best grains for balancing Vata. Reduce the amount of barley, corn, millet, buckwheat and rye that you consume.
- Favour sweet, heavy fruits such as bananas, avocados, mangoes, apricots, plums, berries, coconut, figs, grapefruit, oranges, lemons, melons, papaya, peaches, pineapples, rhubarb, kiwi, dates, nectarines and dried fruits.
- Eat fewer dry or light fruits such as apples, cranberries, pears, and pomegranates. To ease digestion, fruits are best eaten lightly cooked or sautéed or eaten alone.
- Cooked vegetables are best. Raw vegetables should be minimised. Favour Asparagus, beets and carrots. Other vegetables may be taken in moderation if cooked in ghee or extra virgin olive oil, including peas, broccoli, cauliflower, courgette and sweet potatoes. Sprouts and cabbage tend to produce stomach gas and should be minimised.
- Dairy products pacify Vata. For optimal digestion, boil milk before drinking it and consume it while warm.
- Use spices that pacify Vata including cardamom, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, salt, cloves, mustard seed, basil, asafetida, coriander, fennel, oregano, sage, tarragon, thyme and black pepper.
- All varieties of nuts are recommended.
- Beans can aggravate Vata. Minimise your consumption of beans, with the exception of tofu and mung bean dahl.
- For non-vegetarians; use fresh, organic chicken, turkey, seafood, and eggs.
Note: Favouring heavy foods such as sweets, oils, and richer foods may contribute to weight gain. Focus on natural grains, and heavy, moist fruits and vegetables. Keep your sweets to a minimum and use low-fat milk products. Cook your food for easy digestion.
General Health Tips for Vata Types:
Maintain regular habits, try to eat and sleep at the same time every night. Get enough rest and choose foods that are warm, cooked, nourishing, and easy to digest. Sweet berries, fruits, small beans, rice, and all nuts and dairy products are good choices for Vata types. Exercise intensity should be moderate. A more meditative yoga, Tai chi, walking, and swimming are all good. Avoid strenuous and frantic activities. General Health Tips for Pitta Types: It’s important for Pittas to keep cool by avoiding overexposure to direct sunlight and fried and spicy foods. Avoid alcohol and tobacco, overworking, and overheating. When aggravated, susceptible to feeling negative emotions like hostility, hatred, intolerance, and jealousy. Choose fresh vegetables and fruits that are watery and sweet, especially cherries, mangoes, cucumbers, water melon, and avocado. Have lots of salads with dark greens such as arugula, dandelions, and kale. Avoid conflicts. Cultivate the virtues of honesty, morality, kindness, generosity, and self-control.
Nutritional Guidelines for Pitta:
Since an excess of Pitta dosha overheats the mind and body, favour cool foods and liquids. Foods with sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes are best. Reduce foods that are pungent, salty, and sour.
- Dairy can help balance the heat of Pitta. This includes milk, butter, and ghee. Sour, fermented products such as yogurt, sour cream, and cheese should be used sparingly as sour tastes aggravate Pitta.
- All sweeteners may be taken in moderation except molasses and honey.
- The best oils to pacify Pitta are olive, sunflower, and coconut. Use less sesame, almond, and corn oil, which are more heating.
- Wheat, rice, barley, and oats are the best grains to reduce Pitta. Eat less corn, rye, millet, and brown rice.
- Stick to sweeter fruits such as grapes, melons, cherries, coconuts, avocados, mangoes, pomegranates, fully ripe pineapples, oranges, and plums.
- Reduce sour fruits such as grapefruits, apricots, and berries.
- The vegetables to favour are asparagus, cucumbers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables, pumpkins, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, okra, lettuce, green beans, and courgette.
- The vegetables to avoid include tomatoes, hot peppers, carrots, beets, aubergine, onions, garlic, radishes, and spinach.
- Pitta types should use seasonings that are soothing and cooling. These include coriander, parsley, cardamom, saffron, and fennel. Hotter spices such as ginger, cumin, black pepper, fenugreek, clove, salt, and mustard seed should be used sparingly. Very hot seasonings such as chilli peppers, and cayenne are best avoided. Chew on fennel seeds after meals to cool down acid in the stomach.
- For non-vegetarians; chicken, pheasant and turkey are preferable while beef, seafood, and eggs increase Pitta and should be minimised.