Is The Ayurvedic Diet Good?
The Ayurvedic trend has been growing over recent years and has been slowly picked up by the media. It’s pegged to be one of the diet trends for the year with everyone being told to “eat for your dosha” but what does that even mean?
What is Ayurveda?
In Sanskrit, Ayurveda translates to “knowledge of life” and is a philosophy of balance. It’s an ancient practice that is closely linked with yoga and believes that every person is made up of three doshas: vata, pitta and kapha. These doshas correspond to physical features and personality types.
Each dosha corresponds to two of the five elements (air, fire, water, earth). The idea is to keep your doshas balanced, because according to Ayurvedic philosophy if your doshas are out of balance you’ll develop health problems. These can be anything from skin problems and digestive issues through to anxiety and insomnia.
Ayurvedic medicine is still very common throughout India, where fixing your doshas is often the doctor’s first prescription for what ails you.
What dosha am I?
Let’s breakdown each dosha and look at their characteristics.
Vata is composed of Space and Air.
Those who are the Vata dosha are:
- Of a light, slim build
- Prefer warmer, humid climates
- Often are cold
- Have dry skin
- More active
Problems with too much Vata:
- nervousness, anxiety, panic attacks
- twitches and spasms
- dry and sore skin
- constipation, gas and bloating
- dry, hard stools
- low body weight
- always cold
- light, disrupted sleep
Pitta is composed of Fire and Water.
Those are the Pitta dosha are:
- Of a medium, muscular build
- Are easily irritable
- Prefer cold, dry climates
- Of fair skin
Problems with too much Pitta:
- Acid reflux and heartburn
- Acute inflammation in body or joints
- Either constipation or diarrhoea
- Discomfort upon missing meals
- Irritability and frustration
- Impatience, criticism, judgment, intolerance
- Bad breath and body odour
- Excessive sweating
Kapha is composed of Earth and Water.
Those who are Kapha dosha are:
- Of a heavy build
- Stable and methodical
- Prefer warm, dry climates
- Have oily skin
Problems with too much Kapha:
- Excess mucous
- Slow bowel movements
- High body weight
- Struggle waking up in the mornings
- Feeling slow, lethargic or foggy
- Being overly sentimental
- Tend to emotionally overeat
You can take a number of online quizzes that can help you identify which dosha you are favouring. Once you know if you Pitta, Vata or Kapha you can modify your diet to balance it out with the other two doshas.
So what should you change in your diet?
How to balance a Vata dosha?
As Vata is a rough, cool, dry and light dosha you need to choose foods that will appease those qualities. Go for foods that are warm, moist, oily and smooth. Minimize raw, cold foods in favour of cooked pasta, porridges and soups.
How to balance a Pitta dosha?
Avoid hot and spicy foods, anything fried and sour/fermented foods. Go for organic and fresh ingredients, avoided packaged and canned products. Consume as many juicy and cooling foods as possible. Pitta dosha is pacified by sweet, astringent and bitter tastes so try to fill your diet with those.
How to balance a Kapha dosha?
Go for foods that are bitter and spicy. Choose warm foods and avoid cold drinks during meals. Avoid dairy, sugar and fried foods. It's a good idea to get moving after a meal as we - go for a walk instead of resting or sleeping to avoid that sluggish feeling.
How seriously should we be taking all this?
Our opinion? It’s just a different way of saying “eat a balanced diet”. We’re big believers in balance and everything in moderation, so we're in favour of that. We’re also big fans of keeping things simple so doshas and elements may not be for us. But anything that encourages some healthy behaviour can’t be bad, right?
So we may be seeing much more of Ayurverda this year but you can probably count us out of jumping on the bandwagon. Who knows, maybe it’ll revolutionise the way we eat and become a part of modern culture. Perhaps one day asking someone what dosha they are will be akin to “What’s your star sign?”
For now, though, we’ll be here sipping on our vitamin tea and getting our 5 a day – much easier.
What’s your verdict on the Ayurvedic diet?