In a world where countless dieting trends dominate the online space, it’s easy to feel lost in a sea of conflicting information.
As we strive to achieve our health and wellness goals, an alternative approach emerges—a journey that transcends mere weight loss and dives into the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda. Join us as we embark on a captivating exploration, tracing the steps of those who began their quest scouring the internet for dieting solutions, only to stumble upon a profound revelation—the concept of doshas.
In this article, I’ll be sharing ancient wisdom and personal experience so you can:
- Discover how understanding these elemental energies can revolutionize your approach to well-being
- Understand how to bring balance, and harmony to your everyday meal planning
- Create a sustainable, newfound appreciation for your unique mind-body constitution
When I first learned about my Ayurvedic dosha – I was eating completely backward. No wonder I felt exhausted and bogged down every day. Seemingly “healthy” and “trending” foods left me feeling empty of love and satisfaction. As a yoga teacher and empath, I understood energy exchange when it came to my customers, students, friends, and family – but for food?
“I wasn’t sure the hocus pocus would make a difference as I worked toward my toned, tan and beautiful goals. Until it did – right away.”
So what are the elements? We often categorize them from lightest to heaviest. This will also apply to foods and tastes later.
Space: Ether (literally the space between atoms in the universe)
Air: Ether with Force “wind” (the movement of the unseen nothingness around us)
Water: Liquid, fluidity with the ability to turn to steam when adding fire
Fire: Thermogenics, combustion, the result of friction or activity (burning calories)
Earth: Dense soil, land, the example of physicality, something with weight or substance
Using my personal descriptions, and a little imagination – You can begin to see how the science of nature all around us can apply to you daily. The heat from the sun on your skin, impacts the water in your cells, releasing heat and oil on the skin. We are nature. It’s time to understand yourself better with my support.
It is believed humans are the host of all the 5 (for the sake of doshas let’s stick to 5 – really we can include metal or gold as well making it 6) elements inside our body. Our “constitution” begins to take shape as we grow older and life pulls us in and out of balance energetically. For example, in youth, we begin to see predominant doshas shown in the personality like a young talkative child (Vata/Pitta) vs. a quiet thoughtful one (Kapha). These evolve through life transforming us into who we are, and what we prefer to do for work, enjoyment, and for meals.
Are you more of a salty craver than sweet? Hate sour? Can’t eat without a hot sauce near by? These are the beginning signs of knowing your constitution and if it is in or out of balance.
In Ayurveda, each dosha is associated with specific elements. The elements represent the building blocks of nature and are believed to manifest in different proportions within the doshas. Here are the elements associated with each dosha:
- Vata Dosha: Vata is primarily composed of the elements of air (Vayu) and space (Akasha). It embodies the qualities of movement, lightness, dryness, and cold.
- Pitta Dosha: Pitta is primarily composed of the elements of fire (Agni) and a small amount of water (Jala). It embodies qualities of heat, intensity, sharpness, and transformative energy.
- Kapha Dosha: Kapha is primarily composed of the elements of water (Jala) and earth (Prithvi). It embodies qualities of stability, heaviness, coolness, and lubrication.
The combination and balance of these elements within each individual’s constitution determine their dominant dosha and influence their physical and energetic attributes, as well as their tendencies toward health and imbalance.
The skill becomes recognizing what your natural best feels like and then modulating your diet to not be overflowing with that energy pattern. Many people when quizzed will reveal a particular 1-2 doshic tendancies. For myself, I’m a Vatta/Pitta. I’m naturally outgoing, busy and driven toward accomplishments – so when I’m out of balance I need Kapha foods to modulate my anxiety or fiery attitudes.
Ayurvedic doshas are three fundamental energies that exist in our bodies and impact our overall well-being. The three doshas are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
Vata is associated with movement and governs functions like breathing, circulation, and digestion. When Vata is imbalanced, it can lead to anxiety, restlessness, and irregular digestion. To balance Vata, include warm and nourishing foods like cooked grains, soups, and stews. Three specific foods to balance (bring more Earth) to Vata are:
- Cooked vegetables: Such as sweet potatoes, carrots, and beets.
- Healthy fats: Like ghee (clarified butter), avocado, and coconut oil.
- Warm spices: Such as ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom.
Pitta is related to metabolism and controls digestion, energy production, and hormonal balance. Imbalanced Pitta can cause irritability, anger, and indigestion. To balance Pitta, focus on cooling and soothing foods. Three foods to balance (cool down, throw water on) Pitta are:
- Sweet fruits: Like melons, grapes, and pears.
- Leafy greens: Such as spinach, kale, and lettuce.
- Cooling herbs and spices: Like cilantro, mint, and coriander.
Kapha governs structure and stability in the body, including body weight, immunity, and lubrication. When Kapha is imbalanced, it can result in lethargy, depression, and weight gain. To balance Kapha, incorporate foods that are light and warming. Three foods to balance (get moving, fire up metabolism) Kapha are:
- Spicy foods: Such as chili peppers, ginger, and mustard seeds.
- Light grains: Like quinoa, millet, and buckwheat.
- Astringent fruits: Such as apples, pomegranates, and cranberries.
Do any of these stick out to you right away? Are you feeling unwell and eating a lot of a single category? Talk to an expert now.
It’s totally normal to want to throw in the towel when yet again there is something new to bring into habit about your health. If you’ve been trying to lose weight for a while, know I’ve been in your shoes wondering which solution I would actually stick with this…weekly.
The truth is – this is rooted in nature, physiology, and biology. So whether you have 50 lbs to lose or 5 lbs to gain, eating for your dosha and understanding how metabolism adjusts for your body is incredibly satisfying.
Like I tell all my clients, this does NOT change the fact that if you’ve gained weight, it is because you’re eating more than your necessary calories for your body frame. To stay where you are at – burn as much as you eat. To begin to get a smaller frame, eat the necessary calories for the smaller you – a daily deficiency. Fat is not an identity, it’s a tissue. You can and should take the burden of excess fat off your body to protect your organs and longevity.
Eating intuitively for your doshas does NOT give a fix-all to high cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, GI discomfort, and dysbiosis or replace medical advice from your practitioner.
What it does support, is your satisfaction – because as you go from 9 oz of chicken to 4 oz, you’ll have the flavors that resonate with your natural tendencies and pleasure. You’ll feel energetic satisfaction sooner, and break up with emotional eating, overactive tastebuds, and sugar/fat addictions.
Losing weight is no easy feat. If you’ve come to this part of the blog, then I know you’re hungry to get more out of your life. You will be hungry, you will feel uncomfortable changing from the person that got you to the weight you are. You can’t repeat the same habits, beliefs, and attitudes and expect different results. My favorite part of working with people is exploring the vision of what’s next. 2.0 you – because the more you talk from that place, the more you make decisions from that new mindset. Once this starts, the farther away from “the you” that made the mistakes – the critic who thinks they can’t do it, who is disempowered and doesn’t want to work so hard…gets.
I work with new nutrition clients to equip their minds and fuel their bodies for daily vitality. Here’s my invitation. Let’s take a dosha quiz and review it together! I’ll ask you a series of questions that help both of us understand why you’re not getting results. You’ll walk away knowing so much of THE RIGHT AND RELEVANT information for your daily lifestyle changes.
Be well, I’m cheering for you
Mia Loya, MSHN