The Right Diet for Your Dosha

Do you have friends who thrive off daily smoothies while just a sip of one can make you bloated? Or maybe you know people who eat cheese without a problem while, post every indulgence, you’re destined for the worst acne? This is due to each of our uniquely individual mind-body types — called “Doshas” in Ayurveda. A diet that may be medicine for one person may be poison for another.

According to Ayurveda, we each need different diets corresponding with our three different Doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.

Here is a closer look at the three types of Doshas and the foods they prefer…

Vata (the airy Dosha) is cold, dry, and ever-moving like the Fall wind.

Mentally, Vatas are creative freethinkers who require constant change, and who easily become bored with the mundane. Ideas circulate through their minds like the autumn leaves, and sometimes it’s difficult to organize the tornado in their heads. They’re big over-thinkers and when they find themselves out of balance are prone to anxiety, eating disorders, and insomnia. Vatas have vivid dreams, especially between the hours of 2-6am, when Vata time is highest.

Physically, Vatas are cold and dry. They have dry skin and hair and often feel cold. Their appetite varies, sometimes strong and other times meek. They love movement and exercise but can easily overwork themselves becoming fatigued and weak.

Internally, Vatas are prone towards accumulation of air (bloating and gas) and dryness in the colon (constipation).

Vatas focus on warm, grounding, and moist foods with sweet, sour, and salty tastes like:

Cooked vegetables that are steamed, roasted, or sautéed with oil — particularly root and winter vegetables such as sweet potatoes, turnips, onions, garlic, beets, carrots, green beans, spinach, and kale.

Ripe, sweet fruits like bananas, figs, mangos, grapes, plums, peaches, or stewed fruits.

Cooked grains like rice, quinoa, and oats.

Plant-based proteins like (soaked) mung beans, adzuki beans, tempeh, tofu, chickpeas, chickpea pasta, lentils, and black beans.

Healthy fats like sesame oil, tahini, sunflower seed butter, almond butter, nuts, seeds, avocado/avocado oil, flax oil/seeds, coconut oil, butter, and meat.

Warming spices like cinnamon, cumin, ginger, cardamom, cloves, and black pepper.

Vatas tend to avoid:

Cold, raw salad.

Smoothies — particularly with frozen fruits.

Cold foods and beverages.

Chips, popcorn, granola bars, and dried foods.

Celebrity examples of Vatas: Steve Jobs, Natalie Portman, Orlando Bloom, Ashton Kutcher, Keira Knightley, Will Smith.

Pitta (the fiery Dosha) is fierce like the summer heat.

Mentally, Pittas are driven hard-workers who thrive on competition. They’re task-oriented realists who will do whatever it takes to get the job done. Excessive heat accumulation can cause them to become impatient and agitated, though they’re generally very strong leaders. However, don’t get on their bad sides as they are prone to anger attacks, like an erupting volcano.

Physically, Pittas contain a great deal of heat that needs to be released. You can often see the signs of fire in their body manifesting as red tones in their hair and a flushed face. They become overheated easily and cannot tolerate hot, humid days. They perspire more than the other Doshas and are naturally well-muscled. They require strenuous exercise to cool down their bodies and can become addicted to exercise. They have oily hair and skin that is prone to acne.

Internally, Pittas contain a great deal of fire and are able to digest just about anything. They often expel superfluous stomach acid, suffering from heartburn and hyperacidity. They do best in routine… so make sure they eat on time because their fire comes out when they miss a meal!

Pittas focus on cool, dense, grounding foods with sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes like:

Bitter summer vegetables that are raw or cooked — particularly brussels sprouts, asparagus, broccoli, parsley, sprouts, and zucchini.

Sweet fruits like mangoes, melons, cherries, prunes, and raisins.

Grains like wheat, barley, and oats.

Healthy fats like coconut oil, butter, meat, flax oil/seeds, avocado/avocado oil, sesame oil, tahini, sunflower seed butter, almond butter, nuts, and seeds.

Plant-based proteins like legumes or beans — particularly (soaked) mung beans, adzuki beans, tempeh, tofu, chickpeas, chickpea pasta, lentils, black beans, tempeh, and tofu.

Cooling herbs spices like cilantro, coriander, mint, dill, caraway, and parsley.

Pittas tend to avoid:

Spicy foods or beverages — including chili, hot sauce, and sriracha.

Red meat.

Tomato, garlic, and onion.

Fried foods.

Celebrity examples: Madonna, Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt, Kobe Bryant, Cristiano Ronaldo, Donald Trump.

Kapha (the Earthy Dosha) is moist, soothing, and cold like spring.

Mentally, Kaphas are patient, kind, and loyal. They are humorous good-listeners and are who everyone comes to when they need a rock. I call them Oprah or Grandmother energy. They love giving to others and are that friend you just want to hug. However, Kaphas tend to suppress their throat chakras and lock in caged emotions, feeling lonely and depressed. They are prone towards self-indulgent behaviors and binge-eating, convincing themselves it’s a better idea to stay home and start their workout routine on another day. They’re slow to initiate change and find comfort in their routine.

Physically, Kaphas tend to overeat and are prone towards water retention, sluggish metabolism, and weight-gain. Kaphas have cold hands and feet due to poor circulation and often have a hard time losing weight. Unlike Vatas they do not have dry and rough — but rather moist and soft — skin. In fact, Kaphas have the best skin of the Doshas and tend to age fantastically!

Internally, Kaphas have a slow metabolism, often feeling sluggish after a meal. They are attracted to rich, creamy foods like dairy and desserts which have similar characteristics to Kapha energy, making them feel more heavy.

Kaphas focus on light, airy, dry, and warm foods with pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes like:

Non-starchy vegetables that are either steamed, lightly sauteed, and sometimes raw — particularly kale, cabbage, okra, peppers, eggplant, squash, brussel sprouts, spinach, bok choy, ginger, and turmeric.

Astringent fruits like raspberries, lemons, limes, cranberries, and pomegranates.

Grains like quinoa.

Plant-based proteins like legumes or beans — particularly (soaked) mung beans, adzuki beans, tempeh, tofu, chickpeas, chickpea pasta, lentils, black beans, tempeh, and tofu.

Small amounts of healthy fat like ½ an avocado a day (but no more than 2 tablespoons of oil total a day).

Spices and herbs like ginger, turmeric, cardamom, parsley, cilantro, black pepper, clove, caraway, dill, and coriander.

Kaphas tend to avoid:

All dairy — particularly milk, cheese, and butter.

Excess oil in cooking.

Excess sweet or white potatoes, squash, starchy vegetables, and rice.

Excess nut butters or avocado.

Use of sweeteners like honey, agave, or maple syrup.

Bread, pasta, muffins pastries, cookies, and processed wheats.

Fried foods.

Celebrity examples: Deepak Chopra, Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, Robin Williams, Shaq, Oprah.

So what if you relate to all three Doshas?

That’s normal! In fact, most of us are a combination of all three Doshas, yet in varying amounts. Just like in astrology where you aren’t just one sign, in Ayurveda you aren’t just one Dosha, but rather a combination of them all.

Sahara Rose is the best-selling author of the Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda and has been called “a leading voice for the millennial generation into the new paradigm shift” by Deepak Chopra. She is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner and host of the #1 spirituality podcast on iTunes, Highest Self Podcast. Discover your mind-body type with her interactive quiz on IAmSaharaRose.com and connect with her on social media at @IAmSaharaRose.

Comment