For thousands of years Ayurvedic principles have had a solid hold in the traditional medicinal practices that have ruled India’s healthcare ideals. In an Ayurvedic healing system the earthly elements make up everything in the natural universe. These five elements combine to make three different personality types known as doshas. These dosha are Vata or Pitta, and Kapha.
With each personality type there are different Ayurvedic diets that are appropriate for each specific personality. Mixing the wrong diet and the wrong personality type can be detrimental to the personal and universal balance you are striving for. To help you achieve and keep this balance, I have put together the proper foods that each personality type should be ingesting on a regular basis.
If you don’t know if you are a Vata, Pitta, otherwise known in Sanskrit as a Kapha, then here are some characteristics that can help you figure that out. Knowing what type of dosha you are has a huge factor in what type of Ayurvedic diet you should be ingesting. We’ll start with the Vata personality:
One of major contributing characteristics of the Vata dosha is having a thin build with small bones and prominent joints. People of the Vata dosha can’t put on weight easily, usually have rough skin that dries easily, but still displays prominent veins and good blood flow. Most Vata doshas present small but active eyes with dark circles. Their mouth may have thin lips that can dry and chap very easily.
The nails and hair of a Vata will be dry and easily cracked. Along with this lack of tensile strength can be a lack of total strength that can cause them to tire easy, though it doesn’t stop them from trying to be very physically active.
The Vata dosha will display an active mind as well as body, but the strength of the mind can be much stronger than the body of a Vata. Though, that strength is not unlimited. Their short-term memory is much better than their long-term memory, and in reality their long-term memory is quite poor. A few final characteristics that control a Vata are light sleep, cold hands and feet, and even dreams of flying. Following an Ayurvedic diet can help gain balance and make your body healthier and more productive.
Gain Balance as Vata
The best ways to gain balance as a Vata dosha is by eating fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, and meats. Specifically, apricots, avocado, bananas, berries, dates, kiwi, and oranges. Almost any sweet fruit will do, except dried fruits. There are also a number of vegetables that should be eaten after being cooked. They are artichoke, leeks, potato, watercress, olives okra, and cucumber.
Some of these foods can be eaten raw, but it should be avoided when possible. The grains are much the same, cooked oats, rice, wild rice, and amaranth. You can also ingest almonds, pecans, peanuts, mug beans, adzuki beans, soy cheese, walnuts, and even sunflower to help achieve your internal balance.
Some of the best meats for a Vata dosha to eat are duck, freshwater fish, shrimp, and nearly all types of seafood. On occasion, red meats should be eaten as well, such as beef, along with white meats such as turkey and chicken as well. Mixing these foods together to give a full Ayurvedic diet can be done easily by an Ayurvedic doctor.
Next is the Pitta dosha in Sanskrit. This dosha has very specific characteristics, just as the Vata. The Pitta dosha has a medium build with a moderate body weight, and may be muscular and quite athletic. The Pitta dosha is famous for having warm and sensitive skin that is a bit oily and easily inflamed. The Pitta personality will have fine hair and may be turning grey, maybe even balding prematurely. Their nails are soft and flexible, unlike the Vata nails that are brittle and easy to break.
An individual with a Pitta dosha will enjoy a strong appetite and become quite irritable if they miss a meal, or can’t eat right when they get hungry. They will love physical activity and may take that love a bit too far at times. The Pitta personality will have a tendency to get frustrated and angry easily, especially when under stress. This anger can even infest their dream world, dreaming of violence, acting out their anger, or even flipping the idea and having dreams that are often filled with passion. This anger they display does little to affect their memory. This dosha will have a sharp and focused mind with a good memory.
If you find yourself leaning toward the idea that you are a Pitta there are some easy to find foods that can help you achieve the proper Ayurvedic diet. Fruit wise the Pitta dosha will want to eat sweet fruits for balance, including apples, figs, melons, pineapples, plums, raisins, watermelon, and even prunes. The vegetables in an Ayurvedic diet that are good for bringing balance to a Pitta dosha are bell pepper, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, potatoes, green beans, and zucchini, to name a few. As a rule, sweet and bitter vegetables will be balancing for you.
The grains and legumes for a Pitta are very important and include rice, wheat bran and wheat granola. Nearly every legume for a Pitta dosha is balancing except black and red lintels. The meats are also very important and very different than the Vata dosha. Meats that are acceptable with an Ayurvedic diet for a Pitta personality are white meats like chicken, turkey, egg, freshwater fish, and shrimp.
If you think you are a Kapha dosha then your characteristics are nearly the opposite of the Vata dosha. The Kapha dosha have a thick or large bone, build and are often overweight. Their skin is so oily it is prone to acne. Their physical activity can be so low that they can seem nearly lethargic at times. They have a tendency to avoid situations that are difficult or confrontational, and are usually calm with a slow but sustaining mind. They sleep heavy and have a tendency to have lymph congestion, water retention, and lung congestion.
If you are a Kapha dosha, then the foods you should ingest to gain a balanced Ayurvedic diet are a bit limited. The Kapha should stay away from fruits, due to the high amount of water they possess. For a Kapha, raw, pungent, and bitter vegetables will help you achieve balance, such as mushrooms, beets, bell pepper, cabbage, leafy greens, garlic, eggplant, and onions, to name a few.
Grains that a Kapha will find balancing are barley, buckwheat, corn, millet, granola, and rice cakes. The Legumes that are balancing for a Kapha using an Ayurvedic diet are Adzuki beans, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, flaxseeds, pumpkin seed, sunflower, and navy, pinto, lentils, split, and white beans. Unlike the other two doshas, the meats that will be balancing are dark meat, specifically dark meat chicken and turkey, as well some eggs on occasion.
Even after reading this, the easiest way to determine the absolute best foods to adapt your diet is to go an Ayurvedic doctor for a consultation.