Dining By Your Dosha: Ayurvedic Wisdom
Women are constantly bombarded with nutritional advice, fad diets, and the lastest cleanse. This can become overwhelming and confusing. The beauty of the Ayurvedic approach to health is that it is an individualized science. Dating back to 3,000 BCE, Ayurveda is one of the oldest whole body medicine systems and is still widely practiced today. Rather than viewing diet from the standpoint of caloric intake or specific nutrients, an Ayurvedic diet is more individualized. When we are in good health, we are naturally drawn to foods that nourish our bodies. This works best when our body channels are free from toxins and our hormones are not disrupted from excessive stress.
Ayurveda is based on the elements of nature and the three mind-body types are known as doshas, they express particular patterns of energy—unique blends of physical, emotional, and mental characteristics. They are known as Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
- Vata tends to have a thin body type, bony joints, thin skin, dryness, and a high capacity for creativity and spirituality. When Vata is in excess, one can experience dry skin, dry hair, constipation and airiness.
- Pitta tends to have a medium frame, sensitive skin, is a hard worker and a natural-born leader. When Pitta is in excess one may experience inflammation, redness in the skin, and anger.
- Kapha tends to have a larger body type, thick and oily skin, has a calm demeanor, and loves to sleep. When Kapha is out of balance, one can experience weight gain, cellulite, excess mucus in the body, joints, or nasal passages, water retention, puffiness, or swelling, depression, and general lethargy.
Whether you are trying to conceive, are expecting, or are currently breastfeeding nourish yourself with fresh, sattvic foods (organic and non-GMO fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, oils, lentils etc). Organic foods are rich in nutrients, especially trace minerals. Pesticides and agri-chemicals found in conventional produce are disruptive to the hormonal system.
While pregnant, a diet balancing Vata energy, or the elements of air and space – which rule the nervous system includes: fresh, plant-based, warm, cooked foods with a dose of healthy oils and fats such as ghee, olive oil, and coconut oil. What you eat becomes a part of you and the building blocks of your baby. Everything the mother ingests through the senses should be nourishing to the child.
After delivery, one can resume a diet according to your dosha.
Tips for Vata-pacifying diet:
Incorporate Healthy fats- such as ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts- almonds, seeds- sunflower seeds, and avocado.
Cooked Food- Stews and soups are perfect for Vata-dominant individuals. These nourishing foods are calming, warming, and grounding for the Vata dosha.
Spice it up- Classic Ayurvedic spices such as cumin, coriander, turmeric, ginger, saffron and cayenne help with Vata’s irregular digestion. They are also warming and grounding for Vata.
Tips for Pitta-pacifying diet:
Get your grub on– Eat 3 meals a day, at regular intervals. Typically leave a 4 hour gap between meals.
Cool it down- Consume coconut water, cook with coconut oil, and eat cooling foods such as bananas. Qualities that balance Pitta are: sweet, astringent, bitter, cool, heavy, dry. Increase foods like watermelon, bitter dandelion, lemon, cucumber.
Avoid: coffee, spicy, oily, excessively rich, and fried foods. Qualities that aggravate Pitta are: pungent, hot, sour, light, salty, oily.
Tips for Kapha-pacifying diet:
Detox– Choose raw vegetables, or lightly steamed bitter greens, which increase movement and elimination, naturally clearing toxins from the body and keeping the digestive fire strong. Qualities that balance Kapha are: bitter, pungent, astringent, light, and dry.
Kick the Dairy to the curb- Dairy foods contribute to an increase in mucous production.
Avoid: People with a Kapha constitution should avoid processed starches: cookies, cakes, breads, as they are prone to weight gain. Qualities that aggravate Kapha are: sweet, salty, and sour.
If you would like to discover your Ayurvedic constitution visit: www.sundaraholistic.com.
Kiera Nachman, Founder & Creator of Sundara Holistic is an Ayurvedic practitioner, Reiki practitioner, healer, and aromatherapist, based in New York City. She created Sundara Holistic after completing her studies in Ayurveda and has a private practice in NYC, specializing in natural skincare, aromatherapy, herbs, holistic nutrition, energy medicine, and detox. Kiera decided to create a contemporary Ayurvedic skincare line after realizing that the skincare market needed a more individualized approach. Sundara Holistic skincare products are designed to address the Ayurvedic doshas, or metabolic mind-body types, as well as seasonal changes in our skin, mind, and bodies.
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