Ayurveda teaches that we are each born with an inherent balance of the three doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. This is called prakruti. In addition, we each have a vikruti, which is the current balance of our three doshas. One’s vikruti is affected by many factors, such as the season, climate, and time of life. In order to bring balance to any dosha that has become excessive, or vitiated, it is important to choose foods that pacify that dosha. This article will give an overview of some foods that are good for balancing Vata dosha and offer ideas for Vata recipes. If you have a predominantly Vata constitution or suspect that you have a Vata imbalance, you may wonder what to look for in a Vata recipe. Vata recipes balance out the inherent qualities of Vata dosha. The light, cool, and dry aspects of Vata dosha are balanced by foods that are warm, moist, and somewhat heavy or nourishing.
What Are Vata Balancing Foods?
Vata-balancing foods include warming spices, such as cinnamon, ginger, clove, black pepper, turmeric, and truly most spices in moderation. Also, Vata recipes generally include oil or at least a watery component, as moisture balances the dryness of Vata dosha. Ghee, ghruta, and sesame oil are especially balancing for Vata dosha. In addition, heavy foods such as whole grains and nuts balance the lightness of Vata dosha. Good choices include oats, whole wheat, rice, almonds, and cashews. As far as veggies are concerned, many Vata-types will gravitate to salads and leafy greens, which tend to be light, bitter, and drying. Small amounts of leafy greens are fine for Vata dosha, but greens should be cooked and salad is best eaten with an oily dressing. In general, root veggies and starchy vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, parsnips, and squash will be better suited to Vata dosha.
Vata Recipes: A Few Ideas
The foods mentioned in this article are certainly not an exhaustive list of Vata-balancing foods, but provide a few ideas as to some places to start when you wish to keep Vata dosha in check. Here is one Vata recipe that makes a great treat or snack. This recipe comes from the California College of Ayurveda. I received this recipe during my training there and have handed it down to many clients who have attested to its tastiness. Treat this recipe as an initial guide—feel free to come up with your own variations!
Nourishing Nut Butter Date Balls
- 8 ounces almond, cashew, or sunflower butter
- 4-6 soft Medjool dates
- 1/8 cup honey or maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon ghee/ghruta
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1/8 teaspoon cardamom powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1 tablespoon adaptogens (such as maca, ashwagandha, or shatavari) - optional
- 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
- Put all ingredients into a food processor. Blend until evenly mixed.
- Move mixture into a bowl. Refrigerate covered for 1/2 hour.
- Roll into bite-sized balls.
- Optionally, coat with raw cacao powder or cinnamon.
- Store in refrigerator for up to one week or freeze.
- Eat 1-2 when you need a nourishing snack or wish for a healthy treat.
These Nourishing Nut Butter Date Balls are just one idea for a Vata Recipe.
More ideas for Vata recipes include:
- Kitchari with ghee and Vata-balancing vegetables, such as carrots and sweet potatoes
- Almond butter toast
- Rice pudding
- Roasted squash served with cinnamon and ghee
- Roasted sweet potatoes with sauteed kale and mustard seeds
And more ideas for a Vata balancing breakfast!
Greta Kent-Stoll is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner (NAMA), as well as a writer, editor, and Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher. She is the co-owner of Iyengar Yoga Asheville. You can learn more about Greta's work at Asheville Ayurveda.