Happy New Year, my angels. I hope your festive period was restful, magical and most importantly fun and you’re ready to embrace everything that this year brings.
Breathe in that cold (or hot, depending where you are) air and know you safe.
I know it’s old hat and honestly, pretty toxic, to discuss diet for the new year, but I wanted to discuss Ayurveda and there seemed no more apt time for a lifestyle change than the beginning of a new decade. As with every food plan, I offer the below as a suggestion only and do not believe you have to follow this in order to be a good yogi – you are already perfect as you are. If you do have any serious health issues I would recommend seeing a doctor first; however, if you are interested in Ayurveda and what it can do for your health wise, fill your boots and have a nosey on below!
Ayurveda started in India during the prehistoric times or reportedly even earlier. It was a type of early medicine which looked at the body as a vessel which requires balance. To keep your body in balance means to increase longevity and will keep you healthy in a holistic way.
In Ayurvedic medicine there are three principle dosha’s which represent three elements of the body. When these three doshas are in balance the body would be safe from disease. The three doshas are:
Want to find out what mix of doshas you are? Follow the link to the online test below:
There are also six main tastes in the Ayurvedic cook book:
Sweet – earth and water. Nuts, oils, grains, meats and most dairy
Sour – fire and earth. Pickles, yoghurt
Salty – fire and water. Sea salt, seafood
Pungent – fire and air. Chillis, ginger, black pepper
Astringent – earth and air. Most beans, pomegranate, cranberries, under-ripe bananas
Bitter – air and ether. Leafy greens, turmeric
Vata – cold, light, rough, subtle, clear, dry, astringent
Vata means ‘wind’ in sanskrit, so people who are naturally are usually light. This dosha is the energy creator that kick starts the other two doshas into action. Those with predominantly high vata struggle to put on weight, struggle with circulation in their hands and feet and have dry skin. They are very quick people and like the wind like change and impulsive actions. They are full of energy, have clear eyes and communicate clearly and with ease.
Vata out of balance
If your vata is in excess you may lose weight quickly, be dehydrated, over bloated or skin may be drying out. You also may struggle to sleep as the light-winded nature of vata keeps you up at night. Too little vata in your system and you may feel sluggish, put on weight, not be able to communicate effectively which could cause isolation and depression.
How to balance your vata
Eat the opposite of the above descriptions of vata to help decrease and excess of this dosha- so anything warm, heavy, soft, wet and sweet. This would include oily fish, warming spices, nuts, oils, grains – anything from the tastes that balance out the air element. To increase your vata eat more pungent, bitter and astringent foods – these include chilis, raw veggies and beans of any kind.
Pitta – hot, sharp, oily, greasy, fast
Pitta is meant to be the perfect balance of the two opposing elements, fire and water. The pitta dosha moves the energy that the vata dosha has created and puts it to good use. Pitta people are typically of medium height and weight with an athletic shape to their body, as pitta is the transformative dosha which fuels the body’s heartbeat, hormones and body temperature. Those with pitta dominance have delicate skin which can go red very easily and burn quickly in the sun. Their hair may be thinning and go grey early.
Pitta out of balance
Too much pitta and you may suffer from hot flushes, have red irritated skin, suffer from heartburn or irritated eyes. Your blood pressure could be high and have a consistent sour taste in your mouth.
Too little pitta and your digestion could be affected and your body temperature could drop. You may suffer from hormonal imbalances too.
How to balance out your pitta
As pitta is explosive and transformative by nature, we need some cooling, calming foods to help bring that fireiness down. Things that are sweet, bitter or astringent will help balance the fire. If you need some more pitta in your life, up your salty, pungent and sour foods. Introduce sour cream or cultured milk, raw onions and hot peppers to your dinners. Olives are a good snack to help balance you out.
Kapha – cold, wet, stable, slow, solid
The kapha dosha is in charge of storing the energy that the vata dosha created and the pitta dosha utilised. It keeps the body together, literally, helping the cells knit together and forms muscles, skin and bone. Those naturally blessed with kapha are usually stocky in frame with wide shoulders and hips. Their hair is typically soft, their eyes are large, plus they enjoy deep sleep and stable appetite. When your kapha is in balance you feel steady, safe and full of a calming energy.
Kapha out of balance
When you have too much kapha you will feel sluggish, slow and crave sleep. You can become congested, stagnant and potentially overweight. Too little kapha and you can become anxious, flighty, lose weight and have irritable skin.
How to balance out kapha
Increase your movement and clear out your house, being able to let go of the energy and get things moving can really help decrease your excess in kapha. You will want to reduce cold and heavy foods like butter, cheese, cream and most fruits – the best fruits are astringent ones like cranberries, pomegranates, not sweet varieties of apples and dried raisins.
If you want to increase your levels of kapha try and meditate, give yourself a cooling face mask and introduce heavier, more grounding foods to your diet, avoiding spices where you can.
As a rule, try and minimize alcohol as much as possible (once a month is fine) and artificial sugar no matter what your type.
I hope you’ve found this helpful. I’ve included a list of references below which include some exceptionally helpful food guides.
Love you, always.
- Vata balance food guide https://ayurvedichealthcenter.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/AHCWS-Food-Brochure-Vata.pdf
- Pitta balance food guide https://ayurvedichealthcenter.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/AHCWS-Food-Brochure-Pitta.pdf
- Kapha balance food guide https://ayurvedichealthcenter.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/AHCWS-Food-Brochure-Kapha.pdf
- Overview of Ayurveda https://www.pukkaherbs.com/your-wellbeing/stories/wellbeing/