We are made up of different energies and were born with a dominant Dosha, according to the 5000 year old Ayurvedic philosophy. The ancient seers felt that the five elements – air, water, fire, ether and earth – represent the five states of matter and exist in all of us. A Dosha is the combination of the energies (one primarily being dominant) which circulate in our body, and each combination has it’s own set of attributes:
Vata = air + ether | Attributes are dry, light, cold, subtle, rough, mobile, clear
Pitta = fire + water | Attributes are oily, hot, sharp, light, mobile, liquid
Kapha = earth + water | Attributes are heavy, slow, cold, oily, soft, dense, smooth, stable, sticky
According to Ayurveda.com, these elements and their attributes represent your emotional, physical and mental characteristics and, to stay balanced, you can simply implement the opposite, through nutrition and lifestyle. We are all made up of the 3 Doshas, however, one is dominant and can get out of balance. When this happens, disease can manifest, as well as digestive and skin issues, sleep disturbances, changes in body temperature, and emotional upset. To determine your Dosha, or dosha blend, The Chopra Center suggests this first step, a free quiz, to gather information about your mind, body and spirit.
What next? Once you determine what your Dosha is, you can use different foods to stay in balance. For example, a person with a Pitta Dosha would want to eat more raw, cooling foods to counteract their “fire”. This fire could represent digestion, anxiety, fever, a hot temper, and anxiety. A Pitta might find that consuming spicy, sour, tart foods, caffeine and alcohol can contribute to, or feed, the Pitta fire.
A Kapha, who can get congested and gain weight when out of balance, would benefit from eating dry, pungent, bitter, and lightly spiced foods, and avoid foods that are raw, cold, oily, heavy, doughy, juicy and sweet.
Vata gets out of balance when meals are skipped, you are over-doing life, feeling stressed and have unintentionally lost weight. To bring this dosha back into balance, heavier, fatty and oily foods are beneficial, like avocado, olive oil, nuts, and sweet potato. Vata needs warmth, routine and stability, so stick to a regular bedtime, keep warm and maintain control.
So, depending on where you need balance, you can use foods from this guide to help support your health journey. Here are 3 balancing recipes to support your Dosha:
Carrot Soup | The ginger and carrots in this soup might be over-stimulating and warming for a fiery Pitta. This soup would nicely balance Kapha and Vata.
Healing Kitchari | This is a mixture of brown rice, vegetables and spices to soothe, boost immunity and reduce inflammation. To add heat, Vata and Kapha can add warming ginger. To cool, Pitta can leave out the mustard seeds.
Mediterranean Summer Salad | This salad is tri-doshic, however, with it containing cooler, raw ingredients, Kapha should eat this salad in moderation.
Are you ready to start eating for a more balanced life? Maybe your cold smoothies, although full of healthy ingredients, are not supporting you if you have Kapha qualities. A better choice might be warm barley cereal with cinnamon and baked apple. It’s all about balance. Play around with foods and keep a diet diary to track your physical and emotions changes around your dietary choices.