Dieting for Your Dosha
At Frownies we think it is interesting and fun to look into all cultures and ways of improving your life's quality. Ayurvedic medicine (“Ayurveda” for short) is one of the world's oldest holistic (“whole-body”) healing systems. It was developed more than 3,000 years ago in India. It's based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit.
How Your Dosha Affects Your Skin
Vata imbalance can produce blackheads. Dryness in the body can cause an overproduction of oil, clogging the skin. Pitta imbalance may cause inflammation and toxins to accumulate, resulting in red, painful pimples. Kapha imbalance can create cystic acne due to excess dampness in the body.
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. Ayurveda 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 who we are in our most healthy, balanced state.
The three types or doshas in Ayurveda are called: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. We are going to talk about deciphering your dosha type and sticking to a diet that works for you, what foods suit your doshic makeup and some signs of imbalance.
Mind-body health and harmony
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 Ayurvedic secret to keeping your mind-body balance in check.
What's your dominant dosha?
According to GP and Ayurvedic therapist at Bondi's Ayurvedic Wellness Centre, Dr Shaun Matthews, "dosha types typically display varying characteristics",the list below may help you determine your type.
• Light build
• Naturally creative
• Prefer warm, humid climates
• Dry skin
• Medium, muscular build
• Productive, hard-working
• Prefer cold climates
• Fair skin
• Heavy build
• Stable, methodical
• Prefer warm, dry climates
• Oily skin
Equal proportions of two ('bi-doshic) or all doshas ('tri-doshic') 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 Ayurveda diet identifies six tastes
the foods we eat can be categorized into 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.
"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:
• 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: chamomile, fennel, ginger, licorice, lemon
"Nourishing soups, casseroles and dahl's are great for balancing Vata, particular during winter," suggests Dr Matthews.
"When Pitta is unbalanced, you can become aggressive and irritable. Internalizing that fire can increase your self-critic, resulting in perfectionism," says Dr Matthews.
Additional signs of imbalance Pitta
• Over-heating, profuse sweating
• Colorful, violent dreams
• Excessive hunger
• Frequent bacterial infections
Dr Prasad believes Pitta imbalance may result from excessive alcohol or hot, spicy, oily, fried, salty, fermented foods. He suggests re-balancing 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, chamomile, peppermint, spearmint, licorice, red clover
"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 Kapha
• Sluggish bowels
• 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, wheat-bran
• 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 ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, you really are what you eat; so discover and dine for your dosha to restore holistic health of hips, head and heart.