In Ayurveda it is believed that the way you start your day is the way you will feel for the rest of the day and I am a big believer of this. There is such a big difference in my how my day unfolds when I start it the “right’ way. This means practices that support me and make me happy, rather than skipping my morning routine and hastily eating a gluten-free doughnut on the way to work. It leaves me feel unsettled and rushed for the rest of the day, making me mindlessly eat all day and be lazy after, feeling sluggish and skipping the rest of my daily rituals, too.
Ayurveda states that our bodies are naturally in rhythm with the sun. In the morning, the sun is just beginning to rise. That’s why it’s important we gently kindle our weak digestive flame with spiced teas and a warm breakfast before anything else. The sun is highest in the sky during mid-day and that’s when our biggest meal of the day should be-lunch. Then again it sets at night and we should have a light dinner to prepare our bodies for sleep.
If you don’t know your dosha, you can get to an Ayurvedic practitioner who will help you but also Deepak Chopra’s online dosha quiz is a great way to learn about your dosha, too. Once you know your dosha, you can follow the specific suggestions for it.
Basic principles of an Ayurvedic breakfast
Nutritious, light, warm porridge forms the basis of an Ayurvedic breakfast for every dosha type. But there are some people who feel better and mentally fitter without breakfast, you can stick to that. Instead of eating a meal, you can enjoy a warm, nutritious glass of nut milk or “Golden Turmeric Milk.”
Drinking a glass of boiled water (at drinking temperature) when you wake up is beneficial for all dosha types, too. This activates the digestive system and balances out fluid loss. You can add lemon juice to taste. I like to fill a thermos flask the night before and enjoy the lukewarm drink while still in bed.
For non-vegans, try not to mix milk products with acidic fruits. It’s better to eat fruits on an empty stomach or steam them (make sure not to boil them so the nutrients remain preserved).
Vata is the body type that tends to be cold, light, dry and anxious. When Vata energy runs high, you’ll have dry skin, cracking joints, constipation, indecision, scattered energy and/or cold hands and feet.
If you’re vata dominant, warm, wet, unctuous, well-spiced and hydrating foods help prevent brain fog and fatigue. Foods that grow below the earth, such as root vegetables, are perfect for Vata because they provide a grounding quality not only to the body but also to the mind. Vata thrives when breakfast includes plenty of lubricating fat and stabilizing protein.
Try having some cooked grains with sliced walnuts, banana, chia seeds, cinnamon and cardamom. You’ll need something grounding and stabilizing, so breakfast should be warm and rich.
Or rice porridge with dates and cinnamon, or sweet potato with collard greens. If you prefer something more savory try a vegan omelette on toast is a Vata staple and can be made a bit more nourishing by adding avocado and sautéed spinach or try oats with warm plant milk, cinnamon, almonds and flax seeds.
Spiced bananas are great start too. Spices like cumin and cilantro aid with digestion and prevent gas. Banana is a wonderful source of nutrition that works as a mild natural laxative. The earth and water elements of bananas counterbalance vata’s air and space ones. They also ensure good elimination, as bananas are oily and add bulk. This is important since vata types are vulnerable to constipation. For this simply slice or mash a banana and mix it with a tiny dash of cumin, lemon juice and rock salt and garnish with fresh cilantro.
Skip the smoothies! They’re too cooling for your body type and will make you bloated, constipated and anxious throughout the day. Try a warm fruit soup instead (basically cooked fruit blended together).
Pitta dosha tends to be hot, sweaty, oily and frustrated. When Pitta energy is high, you’ll have oily skin, headaches, loose stool, irritation, skin rashes, inflammation, and pain. Compared to the other energy types, your appetite is larger and digestion stronger.
Pitta thrives on cool, clean, juicy, high-fiber, mildly spiced foods. Foods that are high in protein but low in fat, such as millet, green algae, fish, sea vegetables and lentils, are great for Pitta because they fuel the body without clogging the liver. Pitta also thrives when breakfast includes cool fats and clean protein.
Try having some overnight oats in coconut milk, raw almonds, goji berries, cinnamon and sliced apples or a green smoothie. Poached pears with spices like cinnamon and dates as sweetener are amazing as well. Try a traditional kitchari or even semolina with saffron and raisins for breakfast.
Breakfast should be light and cleansing. Avoid greasy vegan meat replacers, which will put your digestive system in overdrive.
And hate to tell you this but absolutely no coffee! Trust me I feel you, I am pitta dosha and love the taste of coffee but it messes me up in the morning. They’re too heat-inducing for Pitta’s system, making you more agitated, overheated and acidic throughout the day.
Kapha body type tends to be cool, heavy, slow and congested. When Kapha energy is thick, you’ll have clammy skin, edema, water retention, slow metabolism, lethargy and/or poor circulation.
Kapha feels best with warm, light, high fiber, well-spiced foods. Foods and herbs that grow above the ground, such as bok choy, cabbage, spicy sprouts, lentils and asparagus, are wonderful for Kapha because they provide an uplifting quality to the mind and body. A vegetable-rich diet, particularly vegetables that possess a pungent, bitter or astringent flare, should be eaten in abundance.
Try a bowl of fresh fruit (heaps of berries, pineapple and kiwi) or maybe a green smoothie—with NO banana or avocado as it would be quick to aggravate your gentle nature—to keep your calm, thoughtful mind balanced. Another option is sliced grapefruit, cardamom and ground ginger. Spiced new potatoes with spinach is awesome, or black beans with roasted asparagus.
Breakfast should be on the lighter side and is actually optional. If you aren’t hungry, no need to eat. Wait until your body is ready for food. Some matcha tea or lemon water is a great option.
Even if you’re not vegan, stay far away from dairy as it will leave you feeling heavy and tired for the rest of your day. Beware of classic breakfast foods like toast, cereals, and heavy carbs as they will make you and your bowels sluggish which will test your usually perfect patience.
Kapha may be tempted to skip breakfast—but morning is an essential time to balance blood sugar. If you do decide to skip breakfast, make yourself a warm lemon, ginger and turmeric tea by slicing up the ingredients and adding hot water. This will not only put something in your stomach but will boost your normally slow metabolism.
I hope these ideas inspire you and help you come up with Ayurvedic breakfasts that are perfect for you!
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