Should You Follow An Ayurvedic Diet?

July 10, 2013

As a vegan and a devoted shopper of Whole Foods and natural food stores, I run into a lot of products that claim to be Ayurvedic. Ayurveda is a 5,000 year old tradition from India that defines three distinct types of energy-mixes called “dosha” for each individual: vata dosha (space and air), pitta dosha (fire and water), and kapha dosha (water and earth). Ayurvedic practitioners believe that following a certain diet and behavioral guidelines to balance your dosha leads to physical and emotional well being.

As soon as I read the elements behind each dosha, I knew I had to be pitta (fire, duh). And the short descriptions of pitta on WebMd also fit me perfectly. For instance, pitta strength is “digestion” (check). But then here are pitta weaknesses: spicy foods, fatigue, and my Achilles heel, “spending too much time in the sun.” Uncanny! vegan ayurveda spices diet

I took this test on and it said…


My dosha is…pitta!

“Pitta people enjoy physical activity and have a strong appetite—often for sweets and cold drinks—and hardly gain or loose much weight. They quickly absorb information, know how to use them and have a good memory for things that are important to accomplish their goals.”

And to balance me, I need to stay cool and eat sweet, mild, cooling foods–no meat (done!), cooked veggies like asparagus, pumpkin, fennel, corn, leeks, and legumes like lentil, mung beans, and tofu. All grains like rice, quinoa, millet, barley, oatmeal, etc are acceptable except wheat (of course). Spices like these help balance ALL doshas: cumin, turmeric, fennel, coriander, saffron, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and black pepper.


If your dosha is vata (space and air), your energy governs the circulatory system. You should watch out for “dried fruit,” “staying up too late,” and “eating too soon after a previous meal.” (poor you).


If your dosha is kapha (earth and water), your energy governs the muscles, growth, and weight (what the what?!). You should avoid eating too much, daytime sleeping, or overly sweet foods, and you could be at risk for obesity, diabetes, cancer, and asthma.


If you are interested in following Ayurveda, you can find out more about dietary and lifestyle guidelines here. I am not sure I will give up broccoli or tomatoes (a pitta no-no), but I’m definitely intrigued enough to incorporate some of the suggestions!
Juhea is the founder and editor of Peaceful Dumpling and the author of bestselling novel Beasts of a Little Land. Follow Juhea on Instagram @peacefuldumpling, @juhea_writes and Pinterest.


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