Food for Doshas

VATA

Naturally cold, dry, rough and mobile Vata needs food which has the opposite qualities.

They need warm, moist, dense and oily food.

Through food they can change their negative qualities which are dry skin, bloating, gas, indigestion, anxiety, insomnia and others.

Fruits

Choose sweet and nourishing food. Avoid overly bitter and astringent fruits such as cranberries. Same goes for dry fruit, it has to be completely avoided.

Apples can be eaten cooked, bananas have to be well ripe, watermelon during hot weather only. All the fruit should be eaten 30 minutes before meals as it helps its digestion.

Vegetables

All the vegetables have to be cooked as they are easier to digest. Raw vegetables should be avoided or eaten in moderation when the digestive system works well and is at its peak (lunch time). Root vegetables are very good for Vata.

Grains

Grains in general are well tolerated by Vatas as they are grounding, nourishing and easy to digest. They have to be eaten warm and barley should be on the bottom of the list as it is a rather cooling kind of grain.

Legumes

Legumes are easier to digest than meat, but in Vatas in weaker digestive system they could wreck some gassy havoc. If cooked they have to be well done and with the use of spices such as cumin as it helps assimilation.

Dairy

Choose ghee, goat’s milk, goat’s cheese and goat’s yogurt, kefir and unsweetened-regular yogurt. Avoid frozen yogurt, ice cream, and non-organic dairy products.

Nuts and seeds

Any raw and unsalted nut is great for Vata as they have all the characteristics they need.  Soaked almonds are the best for them.

Avoid salted and roasted nuts.

Animal products

Favor meat that is moist, sweet and easy to digest.

Chicken. Beef, eggs and fish are great.

Avoid venison, lamb and pork.

Oils

Oils are very good and pacifying for Vatas. The best choice is almond oil, EVO, Coconut oil, mustard oil and sesame oil.

Avoid canola, corn, palm and peanut oil as they are too light and tend to be rather processed.

Spices

Spices are very good for Vatas, they only have to be careful about overly spicy food and use in moderation some spices such as:

Cayenne, chili powder, fenugreek, horseradish and neem.

 

PITTA

Pittas are hot, oily, sharp, and pungent. That means cool, juicy, sweet and dry food.

They need food to counterbalance their negative properties such as oily skin, heartburn, hyperacidity, impatience, overheating, ulcers and others.

Fruits

Pitta should favor sweet, juicy and astringent fruits. They should avoid sour and acidic fruits.

All the fruit should be eaten 30 minutes before meals as it helps its digestion.

Apples should be sweet and ripe, so should be bananas, berries, cherries, grapes, mangoes, oranges and so on.

Pittas do better without excessive sour fruits like grapefruit and lemon or the above-mentioned ones if they are not sweet.

Vegetables

Sweet, bitter and/or astringent vegetables are the best for Pittas. They do best with raw vegetables.

Pittas need to avoid vegetables which are pungent, heating and spicy or sharp such as garlic, chilies or onions. Also, nightshades are not recommended for them. Vegetables to reduce or avoid are:

Daikon, eggplant, leeks, mustard greens, peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, raw onions, radishes and turnips.

Grains

These should be a staple in Pittas’ diet. Favor those which are cooling, drying and grounding. Avoid those which have heating properties and yeasted bread.

Therefore, Pittas should go for amaranth, barley, couscous, oats, quinoa, rice, spelt and wheat. They should avoid buckwheat, corn, millet, polenta, rye and yeasted breads.

Legumes

Legumes are fantastic for Pittas. They have to avoid the processed form. Choose black beans, chickpeas, lentils, mung daal, split peas, tempeh, tofu.

Dairy

Pittas should go for soft cheeses and avoid sour dairies.

Choose butter (unsalted), ghee, goat’s milk cheese and yogurt and organic yogurt (homemade, unsweetened).

Avoid frozen yogurt, salted butter, buttermilk, hard cheese, sour cream and store bought yogurt.

Nuts and seeds

Nuts are not ideal as they are oily. Seeds are good though s they are cooling.

Choose almonds if they are soaked overnight, chia seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds.

Animal products

Pittas do not do well with animal products. They should be very limited and restricted to chicken, eggs and fish (saltwater)

Oils

In moderate amounts. The best choice is EVO, Coconut oil, flaxseed oil and ghee.

Avoid canola, corn, soy and peanut oil as they are too processed.

Spices

Pittas love spicy food as it stimulates their internal fire, they should keep the level at bay as it throws them off balance. Eat in moderation. Avoid cloves, garlic and pepper.

 

KAPHA

Kaphas are dense, heavy, oily and sweet. They need more light stimulating, dry, bitter pungent and astringent food to balance their lethargy, weight gain, swelling, mucus build-up and slow metabolism.

Fruits

Kaphas should favor fruits which is light, and minimally sweet or sour. Fruits like apples, apricots, berries, cherries, cranberries, lemons, limes, pears and pomegranates. They should avoid avocados, bananas, coconut meat, dates and mangoes.

Vegetables

Vegetables should be the center of Kaphas’ diet. Thy should avoid vegetables which are oily, heavy, dense or watery such as stews, mashed potatoes, tempuras and stir-fries. Their digestive system is weak so it’s better if they go for lightly cooked dishes such as steamed or roasted vegetables. They are better off avoiding raw food. Kaphas should avoid olives, pumpkin, potatoes, and squashes.

Grains

Kaphas should mind their grains portions. Stay away from pastas, breads and pastries.

Legumes

Legumes are fantastic for Kaphas as they are astringent. Cooked with cumin will make them more digestible. They should avoid miso, kidney beans, soy beans, soy cheese, soy sauce and tofu.

Dairy

Kapha should avoid dairy completely.

Nuts and seeds

Better avoided, they can choose soaked almonds, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

Animal products

Kapha should limit the intake of animal products as they tend to be particularly heavy for them. Chicken ,eggs and freshwater fish could be an exception as long as taken moderately.

Oils

In moderate amounts as Kaphas are oily in nature. The best choice is EVO, Almond oil, flaxseed oil and ghee.

Avoid processed heavy oils.

Spices

Spices are very good for Kaphas. They have real medicinal properties and Kapha should particularly enjoy ginger, cinnamon, coriander, chili powder, cayenne. They should try to limit the intake of salt as much as possible.

 

 

Chiara G. (Pitta) May 2018

Healing herbs in my kitchen

I have been reading a lot about Ayurvedic cooking and constantly trying to balance the food I cook for my family. My mother and now my mother in law, almost every mother in Indian family would pass this message to their children – “Food can bring healing and balance”.

I still remember those days when I was a naughty little kid and when I have cough, my mother use to give me turmeric in warm milk before I go to bed and I felt a lot better the next day. Now I feel it’s my time to take care of my family, whenever my husband has a sore throat I prefer to go for a ginger tea than an over the counter medicine.

Here is the list of few herbs/spices which I use in my kitchen and they are Tridoshic:

  • Turmeric
  • Coriander
  • Cumin

Turmeric:

Turmeric is one of the best medicine in Ayurveda. It can be used by all doshas. Turmeric is a powerful antiseptic, can be used to cure cough, cuts, wounds and skin problems.

I use turmeric in almost all dishes I cook at home.

Coriander:

It has good digestive properties.

Aromatic tea made by boiling 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds in 1 cup of boiling water (Can add palm sugar or old jaggery for taste), this herbal tea can cure cough and an excellent digestant.

Cumin:

Cumin plays a major role in Indian cooking. It helps relieve problems of gas, digestive complaints and a mild pain reliever.

After a delicious feast, it is always recommended to have a clear soup (Rasam) with cumin and pepper to kindle the digestion process.

I believe that happiness is homemade! Real food can heal you.

Happy feasting!

Devi

Pitta: cooling the fire

One of the many benefits of YTT has been moving the focus of our time away from a purely Asana based practice and to explore new areas. I find myself finding and spending more time with myself in quiet thought. Less Television and more Lotus!

One of these new areas that I have been introduced to is the ancient concept of Ayurvedic medicine and diet. As we went through the characteristics of the three ‘Dosha’ I recognised myself immediately.

FIRE

Focused; competitive; aggressive. But as all three can be advantageous in many circumstances, how to control the fire inside, how to dampen the Pitta. All I can say was this dampening, this control, was mighty concerning. Gone were so many favourites: pungent spices, alcohol, coffee. Was I about to be stuck with a lifetime of plain rice and water?

I have found the concepts of Ayurvedic medicine and diet interesting. Although I still enjoy the odd Butter Chicken (I especially recommend ‘Mustard’, 32 Race Course Road, their prawn vindaloo is to die for) and the odd bottle of Volnay, I have made a concerted effort to improve my diet on many levels.

And so I will leave you with a quick and easy drinks recipe to calm the Pitta characteristics.

GINGER BASIL LIMEADE

1 Lime (Whole)

1 small handful of (chopped) Basil

2 teaspoons of sugar

2 tablespoons of grated, fresh Ginger

Grate the lime skin to produce 2-3 teaspoons of lime zest. Juice the lime and add the lime juice and zest, grated ginger, sugar, most of the basil to 250ml of water in a blender. Blend smooth.

Add 750ml of cold water and stir before serving over ice. Add any remaining basil as garnish.

(Serves 6). Cool.

Namaste! Alex.

The Great Vegetarian Experiment: Five things I learned when I stopped eating meat for one week

When I was a university student, I went meat free for six months because I wanted to see if I could. I love vegetables, tofu, legumes, grains, etc. and did not have a problem dropping meat from my diet. The only reason why I chose to eat meat again at the end of six months mainly because of the social aspect of eating – nobody in my family and social circle was vegetarian, and it was difficult for me to avoid meat whenever I ate with them.

Fast forward ten years later: I am finishing my Yoga Teacher Training course and decided I would try dropping meat from my diet again. It has been one week since I have stopped eating meat; here are the five things I have learned:  

1. It’s not that hard to find vegetarian food when eating out in Singapore.

I have found this to be true regardless of the price range.

Under $10: For the cheapest option, you can never go wrong with the vegetable, tofu or egg dishes from the Economy Rice stall in coffee shops, hawker centres or food courts. Occasionally you will chance upon an Indian vegetarian food stall or Chinese Vegetarian food stall.

Under $20: With the popularisation of the healthy, fit lifestyle among twenty to thirty-somethings in Singapore, vegetarianism is catching on and becoming very trendy. Lunch places that cater to working adults in the Central Business District such as SaladStop! and The Sandwich Shop all provide vegetarian options. These days you can even find vegan fast food joints like nomVnom that serve really decent burgers, and of course, Indian vegetarian food is always available and inexpensive. I’ve developed a newfound love for palak paneer and dhal with chapati!

The Sandwich Shop: http://thesandwichshop.com.sg
SaladStop!: https://www.saladstop.com.sg/en
nomVnom: https://www.nomvnom.com
Gokul Vegetarian: http://gokulvegetarianrestaurant.com

Above $20: Thanks to the average Singaporean’s obsession with good eats, quality cafés and restaurants abound in Singapore. There are vegetarian restaurants serving different cuisines all over the country, as you can see from this list (which is just the tip of the iceberg!) here:

Afterglow (Western): https://afterglow.sg
HRVST (Western): http://kilteravenue.com/hrvst
LingZhi Vegetarian (Chinese): http://www.lingzhivegetarian.com
The Boneless Kitchen (Korean): http://thebonelesskitchen.com
Original Sin (Mediterranean/Italian): http://www.originalsin.com.sg
Whole Earth (Thai-Peranakan): https://wholeearth.com.sg
Herbivore (Japanese): https://www.herbivore.sg

2. The average supermarket is vegetarian friendly.

Apart from the fruits and vegetables section, the tofu section is full of options – tempeh, tau kwa, tofu puffs, tofu skin, silken tofu, etc. In the Fairprice supermarket near my home in the heartlands, I could even find vegetarian mock meat, like mock mutton and mock shrimp! 

3. Digestion feels faster and quicker.

As much as I love eating meat, after my meals I always feel like the meat I’ve eaten has sunk to the bottom of my stomach and that feeling does not go away for some time. A meat-free diet on the other hand feels a lot lighter and I do not get that “heavy” feeling!

4. I pay more attention to my nutritional needs.

I don’t do this when I am an omnivore because I take it for granted that I am getting the essential nutrients and vitamins I need. The second I drop meat, however, I start paying more attention to my diet, trying to ensure that my diet is balanced and I get enough calcium, iodine, iron, vitamin D and B-12, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids.

5. Being a vegetarian is not hard. Being a vegetarian when your entire social circle isn’t, is hard.

I still struggle with the social aspect of being vegetarian. My family and social circle has not changed since I was in university, i.e. there are still no vegetarians in my life (my yoga teachers do not count!) I work in the food and beverage industry, so business entertainment is a common part of the job and finding vegetarian options each time will be difficult. I do not know how long this will last, but I think the best I can hope for in the long term is to eat meat only when necessary, such as during family functions like Chinese New Year, or dedicating a specific day a week to avoid meat #MeatlessMondays.

 

Rachel, March 2018 Weekend YTT

Pitta in me

Is interesting to know what’s our body type and start working on it, to balance it out with a healthier diet.

By understanding my body type as a Pitta dosha, I have better control on both my body and mind.

The characteristic of Pitta:

The Pitta dosha controls digestion, metabolism, and energy production. The primary function of Pitta is transformation. Those with a predominance of the Pitta principle have a fiery nature that manifests in both body and mind.

  • Pittas are usually of medium size and weight. They sometimes have bright red hair, but baldness or thinning hair is also common in a Pitta. They have excellent digestion, which sometimes leads them to believe they can eat anything. They have a warm body temperature. They sleep soundly for short periods of time and have a strong sex drive. When in balance, Pittas have a lustrous complexion, perfect digestion, abundant energy, and a strong appetite. When out of balance, Pittas may suffer from skin rashes, burning sensations, peptic ulcers, excessive body heat, heartburn, and indigestion.

In order to keep a balance, I am trying to make the changes to my lifestyle. To allow my mind to calm down with some free time everyday, and not skip meals. Eat more cooling food (sweet fruits & melons). Keep some plants and fresh flowers, cooling and sweet aromas (sandalwood, rose, lavender) at home. Laugh a lot, and stay happy.

Choose the food that help to balance the heat.

  • Dairy can help balance the heat of Pitta. This includes milk, butter, and ghee. Sour, fermented products such as yogurt, sour cream, and cheese should be used sparingly as sour tastes aggravate Pitta.
  • All sweeteners may be taken in moderation except molasses and honey.
  • The best oils to pacify Pitta are olive, sunflower, and coconut. Use less sesame, almond, and corn oil, which are more heating.
  • Wheat, rice, barley, and oats are the best grains to reduce Pitta. Eat less corn, rye, millet, and brown rice.
  • Stick to sweeter fruits such as grapes, melons, cherries, coconuts, avocados, mangoes, pomegranates, fully ripe pineapples, oranges, and plums.
  • Reduce sour fruits such as grapefruits, apricots, and berries.
  • The vegetables to favor are asparagus, cucumbers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables, pumpkins, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, okra, lettuce, green beans, and zucchini.
  • The vegetables to avoid include tomatoes, hot peppers, carrots, beets, eggplant, onions, garlic, radishes, and spinach.
  • Pitta types should use seasonings that are soothing and cooling. These include coriander, cilantro, cardamom, saffron, and fennel. Hotter spices such as ginger, cumin, black pepper, fenugreek, clove, salt, and mustard seed should be used sparingly. Very hot seasonings such as chili peppers, and cayenne are best avoided. Chew on fennel seeds after meals to cool down acid in the stomach.
  • For non-vegetarians, chicken, pheasant and turkey are preferable while beef, seafood, and eggs increase Pitta and should be minimized.

More information on Pitta:

https://chopra.com/article/understanding-pitta-how-feed-your-inner-fire

“Eat Healthy, think Better” anonymous

Jess Chua

200hrs YTT weekend March 2018
 

What I eat Everyday

Being an Asian is very hard to eat healthy especially when you live in the countries (MY and SG) where have so many delicious local food. Also, the healthy trend was not hit here back then I am so glad that there are many healthy restaurants in SG now.

I started eating healthily since 3 years ago. I make my own meals every day, eating out occasionally (once or twice a week). I do not eat at fast food chain or any instant meals for almost 4 years. I love fruits and vegetables since young thanks to my mom J I do not like to eat meat as I do not like the smell of meat (especially red meat) but I like fish.

My Favorite Breakfast  (Almost every single day):

Cooked Rolled Oats topped with Chia Seed, Flaxseed Meal, Cinnamon powder, Ashwagandha /turmeric/matcha/cacao powder (I will switch these every time) and some fresh fruits like kiwi/blueberries/banana or avocado.

My lunch is stir-fry different types of vegetables (usually up to 5), protein will be tofu/chickpea/lentils/mushroom/egg, and carbohydrate will be sweet potatoes/quinoa with brown rice/buckwheat pasta.

My usual snack is plain greek yogurt, fruits or nuts. I make energy balls as snacks sometimes, because it’s very easy and no baking is required.

My favorite dinner is pan fried fish and vegetables. Sometimes I will make a bowl of warm soup noodle. My noodle choice is Soba/Quinoa and Rice Vermicelli/ Millet and cook with vegetables, egg or sometimes sliced fish and tofu in Miso soup.

My daily meals sound very boring but I do enjoy very much J I’m looking forward to move back to JB to discover healthy and delicious dishes in my own kitchen. I’m super excited whenever I think about it.

 

 

 

The three gunas and food

In Ayurveda, it is believed that the food we eat, affects our mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. They are categorized into 3 gunas: Sattvic, Rajasic, and Tamasic.

Sattvic foods are mainly pure, organic foods, such as fresh vegetables, fruits, legumes, wholegrains, and lightly cooked vegetarian fare. Eating these foods make us feel happy, calm, healthy, and fresh.

Rajasic foods on the other hand, are foods that are sour, bitter, hot, and pungent in nature. It includes onions, garlic, spices, stimulants (coffee, tea), and even tobacco. Consuming these foods overstimulates the mind, and makes us feel emotions such as anger, greed, jealousy, and egoism.

Lastly Tamasic foods, are foods that are stale,impure, putrid, and rotten. Some examples are mushrooms, fermented foods, meat, intoxicants (alcohol, opium), and convenience foods (frozen, canned, contains preservatives). These foods make us dull and inert.

From a yogic’s perspective, we strive to be sattvic in nature (relating to the 8 limbs of yoga), as we want to feel calm, refreshed, healthy, and alert during our practice, and in our way of life. It is then important to include more fresh/ organic foods in our diet.

However, it is also important to have the Rajasic and tamasic attitudes in our lives, under different circumstances. Also, according to studies, spices are not just seasoning for food, they contain many health benefits, and some even healing properties. As for tamasic foods, I feel that it is all right to give in to our cravings from time to time (that cupcake, or some chips).

As for me, I would try to include more fresh foods (fruits and vegetables) in my diet. Not to take life with just a pinch of salt, but add a little spice in my life, and be kind to myself by having a snack from time to time. Eating in moderation is the key to a healthy lifestyle 🙂

(Cassandra Mai  YTTC200 – January 2018)

Eat Like A Yogi

My first yoga retreat was in Bali and it was also my first experience of acroyoga workshop.

Bali is a paradise for yogis and surfers. Everyone seems to be very health conscious here. Yogis I met here mostly eat raw, alkaline and organic food, gluten free and dairy free, even for dessert. Therefore food found here are pretty amazing and so much packed with plant goodness that is satisfying to both taste buds and body.

Eat clean and avoid processed food can help body to detox. Processed food are:

  • – mostly low in nutrients;
  • – high in sugar, fructose corn syrup, refined carbohydrates and trans fats;
  • – low in fiber;
  • – packed with artificial ingredients; and
  • – fast to digest without the need of much energy.

They are so “hyper-rewarding” that lead to overconsumption.

Love yourself, love your body, do not stuff your body too much burden with junk food. The path of food yoga is about reconnecting with your food in such a way that it nourishes your body, mind and soul. In essence, food yoga is a discipline that embraces all spiritual paths by accepting one core truth – that food in its most pure form is divine and therefore an excellent mean to spiritual purification.

Eating can also be a form of yoga. May the food you eat be your medicine. Look young, eat real. 😎 xoxo

 

Shu (aka Sharon Chong)
200hrs YTT, Sept 2017 (Weekend)
— Blog 3/4

Diet and lifestyle for Vata

I learnt the Dosha and Ayurvedic diet in the theory class with Satya the other day. It was a brand new field to me and I found the whole concept very intriguing. To fully understand and master the knowledge of Ayurveda may take years of dedicated studying. However, a basic understanding on my own dosha type and live a balanced life accordingly will for sure have a positive effect on my physical and mental health.
Universal life force manifests as three energies, known as doshas, which are vata, pitta, and kapha. Everyone has an unique combination of the three doshas, whereas the proportions of each may be affected by genetics, lifestyle and mental activities. The goal is to balance our doshas so that optimal level of energy, physical and mental health could be achieved.
I took the dosha quiz and found out that I am dominated by vata. Vata means to blow or move like a wind. The elements of vata are air and space. Therefore, vata people tends to be thin with narrow bones and dry skins. Their minds and actions run fast, resulting in the difficulty to meditate. They also enjoy changes and dislike routine life. With that being said, it is important to balance the vata dosha to avoid excess of vata qualities.
The principle of balancing dosha is to increase the qualities opposite to vata. The tools we can use include dietary, herbal, aromas, mantras, massages and lifestyles. What I can do daily is to eat vata-friendly meals. In general, vata should avoid foods that are raw, cold, pungent, bitter and astringent. Emphasizing my diet on sweet, sour and salty, as well as good fat. Besides, daily practice of hatha yoga to hold the asanas and meditation may also do good on achieving the balance. Changing our eating habit and lifestyle might not happen in a switch, but putting efforts to keep our dosha balanced will definitely show the positive effects in the future.
Carina Wang
YTT 200, Sep 2017

Changing my eating habits

by Jie Zhong, YYT 200 hrs, September 2017
Since I practice yoga, I have a much higher self-awareness and am much more mindful about my body. Pranayama and asanas don’t only exercise my body, but also my mind. They let me develop a keen interest and awareness of what makes me feel light and energetic, and what makes me dull and lethargic. Through practicing yoga I have become able to hear my body’s voice and to follow healthy eating habits.
In addition, I have also learned from my peers through communicating with them and from talking about our individual diets. And from studying the theory of yoga and Ayurveda I know what foods are good for my own dosha type and how they should be prepared and flavoured. This newly gained knowledge has profoundly changed the way that I eat.
I have also become more aware of addictions, of how addictions highjack the brain’s reward system to their advantage. I do not mean addiction to alcohol or cigarettes. Rather, I mean junk food, sugar, fat, red meat and other tasty but unhealthy food choices. Practicing yoga has helped me to suppress the craving for these.
I believe that every time I do my exercises, new neural connections are formed in the brain. Thus, a new brain pattern is gradually shaped. Ultimately, it becomes stronger than my bad-habit pattern and thus helps me to get over bad habits and to lead a healthier, more fulfilling life free from unhealthy food addictions.
Practicing yoga thus brings health benefits with it that go far beyond “only” exercising my mind and body regularly.