What We Can Learn About Eating Well From These Cultures

Have you tried every way of eating out there and you still experience every chronic health problem there is? This is where Western society can definitely learn from the Eastern world’s philosophies and healing practices.

Consider taking a page of the world’s oldest existing piece of literature, the Veda, containing knowledge about the ancient healing system of Ayurveda.

Like a mother caring for her children, Ayurvedic medicine cares for all creations. This is why Ayurveda is referred to as “the mother of all healing.”

That’s quite the statement but the ancient system is over 1,200 years old. It began in India with the focus on life (ayur) and knowledge (veda). From birth to death, all aspects of life are understood through the deep wisdom of Ayurveda.

What does Ayurveda have to do with eating well?

The science of Ayurveda helps explain the diet, medicines, and behaviors that benefit or harm your life and consciousness. Your dosha is your Ayurvedic mind-body type or individual constitution, determining your unique characteristics and traits. The three Ayurvedic doshas are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.

What dosha are you? I will briefly describe each dosha for a greater understanding of how they affect your food and diet. Remember that you can share other characteristics with more than one dosha but there should be one that best describes you.

The Vata Dosha

You will most likely be very thin if you are the Vata body type and you probably find it difficult to even gain weight with your bony structure. Vatas like to bundle up because they tend to always feel cold. They are also quick to learn but they easily forget. They also appreciate change and love to explore their creativity. Vatas enjoy being physically active and they are also a light sleeper. When under stress, the Vata tends to be fearful or anxious.

When Vata individuals are out of balance, they may experience poor digestion with constipation and bloating. Dry nasal passages, insomnia and fatigue are also symptoms familiar with the Vata.

To help keep the Vata mind-body in order, it is best to have consistent meals every two to three hours. They should avoid crunchy or dry foods, carbonated beverages, and raw or cold vegetables. They will thrive on a healthy eating diet of warm or cooked meals such as oatmeal, steamed vegetables, or soup. Triphala is an herbal supplement that may also help digestion for the Vata.

The Pitta Dosha

The typical Pitta will have a medium proportioned frame and they have a good muscle tone. It is generally easy for them to lose or gain weight and they always feel warm. From a mental aspect, Pitta can be described as intelligent, focused, and a true leader. They tend to value perfectionism and when things don’t go as planned, they get irritable. Regular exercise keeps emotions in check.

Pitta will appear excessively angry and may experience symptoms of inflammation such as rashes or headaches. When they reach this unbalanced state, they may become over-stressed and get digestion issues such as diarrhea, ulcers, or acid reflux.

They generally have a strong digestive system, so they can eat whatever they like. There are foods that help the Pitta body running at its best such as sweet juicy fruits like oranges, mangos, or melons. They also agree better with colder veggies such as kale, lettuce, and cucumbers. Foods that aren’t best for the healthy eating Pitta diet include acidic foods (citrus and tomatoes), hot spices, vinegar, coffee, and alcohol.

The Kapha Dosha

The Kapha Dosha will generally have a bigger body and a stocky figure with wide hips and shoulders. But you can’t slow them down because they generally have a lot of physical endurance. Kaphas are slow learners with strong memories. Slow and steady wins the race with these people. They are usually very loving and compassionate, creating loyal, stable, and reliable relationships. Because of this consistently loving nature, they tend to avoid most difficult situations.

Kaphas experience imbalance with sluggish digestion, which lead them to obesity more often. Sinus congestion is also a problem for them. Garlic or garlic supplements can be effective solutions.

If you are a Kapha, you love your veggies. You also enjoy cooking with lots of spices, and foods high in fiber such as lentils, and other legumes. They will usually avoid kidney beans and black lentils. It is also best for them to reduce sweets, salt, and oils or fats to help improve slow digestion. It’s not all about eating well for Kaphas, as they must keep an exercise routine for a healthy weight.

So, what dosha are you? I took the dosha mind-body test and I’m a Vata-Kapha. It is a great idea to fully understand your dosha for healthy eating. Find your dosha mind-body type and take the Dosha Quiz. The dosha dietary recommendations will make more sense when you know your dosha.

Chaudnary, K., M.D., “The Ayurvedic Diet: eating for Your Body Type,” The Dr. Oz Show web site, Feb. 28, 2012; http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/ayurvedic-diet-how-eat-your-body-type.

“Ayurveda Dosha Test — find out your type,” Ayurveda Dosha web site; http://ayurvedadosha.org/doshas/ayurveda-dosha-test.
“Ayurveda — History & Philosphy,” Health and Healing NY web site; http://www.healthandhealingny.org/tradition_healing/ayurveda-history.html.
“Discovering Your Ayurvedic Constituion,” The Ayurvedic Center web site; http://www.holheal.com/ayurved3.html.
“The Dosha Quiz,” The Chopra Center Marketplace web site; http://doshaquiz.chopra.com/.