Perhaps the greatest quality that humanity possesses is its diversity and uniqueness — no two human beings are exactly alike. This has been true since the beginning of time, and yet, today’s modern world promotes a culture of “one size fits all” cures for health and wellness. An Ayurvedic lifestyle rejects this notion, and instead acknowledges the diversity of humanity, and knowingly seeks to embrace it.
In Ayurvedic medicine, the human body possesses three overwhelming energies, otherwise known as doshas. Every person contains one specific energy in more abundance than the others, thus bringing those differences to light. Each dosha type is affected by foods differently, which is why it is important to understand which Ayurvedic foods to avoid based on your dosha type, in order to reap the benefits of Ayurvedic medicine fully.
Pitta Dosha Foods to Avoid
Pitta dosha types tend to be the fiery, outspoken voice in a group. They enjoy meals in abundance and will often stop at nothing in order to be heard. These are your leaders, your presidents, your coaches and teachers.
If this is you, avoid fermented foods such as kimchi, tempeh and yoghurt as well as hot and/or oily foods similar to curry. Pitta doshas are naturally hot tempered and fiery, which is why it’s important to balance these elements with more cooling foods such as raw fruits and veggies. Also, while there are many benefits to reap from ghee and honey when consumed separately, avoid eating them in equal ratios as this is considered a dangerous combination according to Ayurvedic practice.
When it comes to sweeteners, stay away from white sugar, and instead opt for calming foods like dates and maple syrup in order to find the greatest balance.
Vata Dosha Foods to Avoid
In contrast, Vata dosha types are cooling in nature and tend to eat in small, snack-like portions. They are talkative, sometimes self-questioning, and outspoken in their own right.
As a Vata dosha, stay away from raw fruits and vegetables as these can contribute to lifestyle imbalance and a decrease in energy. That’s not to say that you can’t still indulge in the many benefits of delicious produce. Just make sure to cook them ahead of time. If you find yourself craving fresh produce, figs and dates are the perfect option.
Unlike Pitta Dosha types, Vatas are encouraged to eat warm foods in order to offset their cold qualities. Try cooking moderately heavy foods with added fats and sweeteners like ghee and honey for optimal stabilization.
Kapha Dosha Foods to Avoid
Kapha doshas are the nurturing, paternal figures. They are often checking up on loved ones and go out of their way to make those around them feel special, sometimes neglecting themselves in the process.
Kapha doshas should limit heavy foods like red meat and oily foods, and avoid overeating. Often, a vegetarian diet can be beneficial to Kaphas as they are able to indulge without creating imbalances.
Kaphas should also avoid most sweeteners, opting only for honey as this is the most balancing sweetener for kaphas.
Remember that ayurvedic practices are centered around living a balanced lifestyle and celebrating the uniqueness of humanity. For example, although certain combinations of ghee and honey may work well for some dosha types, this is not always the case for everyone. It is important to also remember that dosha types can change throughout the many seasons of a person’s life, so be attentive when caring for yourself. Food is a beautiful opportunity to center yourself, reach optimal levels of creativity, and heal oneself using the elements of the earth.
Reviewed by Dr. Jayant Lokhande, MD (Botanical Drugs), MBA (Biotechnology)