Ayurveda classifies health as:
Having a balanced mind, having a well formed body, having good elimination. When the mind and body are in harmony and when the dosha’s are balanced. And then and only then are we in good health. To keep healthy we must eat the Spring Foods for your dosha.
Eating specific foods can help balance your dosha—and also eating according to the season keeps us balanced. As we move into Spring let’s take a look at these diet tips that can help you adjust to a new season and keep your dosha balanced.
Eating for Your Dosha
Your dosha provides a blueprint if you like – once you know your metabolic constitution (or dosha), its like having a roadmap whereby you can use that roadmap to eat the right foods for you, to engage in the right lifestyle for you and to know what works best for you.
In Ayurvedic teaching, each dosha is balanced by specific diets and tastes.
Vatas should favor foods that are warm, heavy and oily and are sweet, sour and salty. Minimize foods that are cold, dry and light and that are spicy, bitter and astringent.
Pittas should favor foods that have a cooling nature and have tastes that are sweet, sour, bitter and astringent. If you are Pitta, you will need to minimize foods that are sour, salty, and spicy. Acidic foods like coffee and tomato sauce should be avoided as well as alcohol, fried foods and processed foods.
Kaphas need to have a nutritional plan that favors foods that are light, dry, and warm and tastes that are pungent, bitter and astringent. Kaphas will need to minimize foods that are heavy, and oily – and reduce foods that are sweet, sour and salty.
Changing Your Diet with the Seasons
We also need to at seasonally to stay in balance and each season of the year is associated with a dosha, which will have an effect on the balance of your dosha. Let’s explore this a little more.
· Spring – Kapha Season (late winter through spring).
· Summer – Pitta Season (late spring through summer).
· Fall – Vata season (Fall through early winter).
Whatever your dosha is, you can keep your dosha in balance by eating foods that nourish and support your constitution, as mentioned above—and if you need an extra boost during seasonal transitions, its time to add foods that belong to the season as well.
· Spring: Consume more astringent, bitter, and pungent foods. (think spring greens, dandelion leaves, new berries). These all have a bitter quality which is detoxifying and are natural allergy antidotes.
· Summer: Try to add light, cooling foods to your diet. (Think cooling berries and ripe veggies). These foods combat the heat and moistness of the summer, so are a natural coolant for us.
· Fall: Think of the nourishing, warming and heavier root vegetables and grains that are designed to combat the cold, dry, windy conditions of Fall.
· Winter: To combat the cold, dry air of Winter – we eat more heavy, oily and sweet foods such as the heavier grains like oatmeal and wheat.
It’s perfect isn’t it? Nature understands these cycles – we just have forgotten how to eat according to these cycles.
Foods to Balance Your Dosha – Springtime
If you’re feeling a bit imbalanced as you transition to spring, no matter what your dosha, you can eat more foods that help calm the heavy, cold, and oily Kapha qualities.
Enjoy fresh, steamed veggies (not raw veggies), greens (including broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage), broth, brown rice, and a variety of legumes, which are astringent and bitter. All designed to combat the damp heaviness of Spring. Eat fewer foods that are sweet, sour, salty, heavy, cold, and oily, including fried food and cold or frozen dairy, such as ice cream.
Luckily, many people tend to want to eat light, fresh foods in the springtime after a long winter of heavy carbs and sweets, so it may not be too hard to make the switch.
The following recipes are intended to help pacify Kapha during the spring months.
Breakfast: Ayurvedic Potatoes (from the Chopra Center)
Makes 6 servings
These potatoes and black beans help to balance all three doshas.
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ cup water
- 1 red, 1 purple, and 1 white potato, scrubbed and diced
- ½ teaspoon smoked sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained (choose cans that aren’t lined with BPA)
- 3 collard green leaves (or other greens), shredded
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups baby salad greens
Heat the coconut oil in a heavy skillet over low heat. Add the cumin seeds and stir constantly, about 1 to 2 minutes, until browned.
Add the water and increase heat to boiling. When water is boiling, add potatoes, sea salt, pepper, turmeric, oregano, and basil.
Reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the black beans, collard greens, and diced garlic. Cook until the potatoes are soft, continuing to stir often. Add a tablespoon or two of water as needed to prevent potatoes from sticking to pan. Divide the salad greens among 6 plates and top with the cooked potato mixture.
Lunch: Spring Vegetable Soup (from the Chopra Center)
Makes 6 servings
This soup provides a refreshing, light way to help pacify Kapha in the spring.
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- 1 large radish, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 stalks bok choy, chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 8 cups of water
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- ½ head green cabbage, shredded
- 4 to 6 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tablespoon lime zest
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, minced
Melt the coconut oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add radish, celery, bok choy, and onion, and sauté. Add the water, carrot, cabbage, garlic, grated ginger, lime zest, sea salt, and black pepper. Increase heat to high, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add fresh parsley and remove from heat. Stir, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Snack: Ginger-Pear Muffins from Ayurvedic Cooking for Westerners by Amadea Morningstar
Makes 12 muffins.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash and dice, 1 ½ cups fresh pear, finely chopped (about 2 ripe pears)
Mix together with 2 teaspoons fresh ginger root, peeled and finely grated. Beat 2 eggs And stir into them:
- 1 ½ cup fresh yogurt or soy yogurt
- ¼ cup apple juice
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
- ¼ cup sucanat
Stir well into this wet mix: 1 teaspoon baking soda, add the pears and ginger, then:
- 1 ½ cups rice bran or oat bran
- 1 cup rice flour or whole wheat pastry flour or oat flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Stir well. Spoon into an oiled muffin tin, bake until done, about 25 minutes (a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin will come out cleanly).
Dinner: Fresh Spinach Cucumber Salad with Tarragon Honey Mustard dressing, Quinoa-Asparagus Pilaf, Steamed Artichokes from Ayurvedic Cooking for Westerners by Amadea Morningstar
Fresh Spinach-Cucumber Salad:
Wash well and dry: 2 cups fresh spinach. Wash and peel: ½ cucumber, Cut it lengthwise and then slice into half-moons. Arrange the spinach on salad plates with the cucumber slices on top.
Serve with Tarragon Honey Mustard Dressing:
Blend together in a blender:
- 1 tsp. dried tarragon or 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- ¼ – ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/8 tsp. dry mustard
- 2 tsps. Raw honey
- ½ cup olive oil – sunflower oil can also be used
Quinoa Asparagus Pilaf:
1 cup dry quinoa, bring the quinoa to a boil in a small saucepan with:
- 2 cups water
- ½ tsp salt
Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until done, about 15 minutes. Wash and cut
- ½ – 1 lb. asparagus in 1” pieces
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 1 tbsp. fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped or 1 tsp. dried
- 2 tbsps. Onions, finely chopped
As the quinoa continues to cook, warm in a large skillet: 2 Tbsps. cold-pressed olive oil. Add the onion and rosemary and sauté until the onion begins to get translucent. It’s time to put in the carrot. Let it cook on medium hat in the skillet, covered, until tender – about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus, cover and cook another 2-3 minutes until it is tender, yet slightly crispy. When quinoa is done, toss it lightly into the vegetables in the skillet, using a fork to fluff it. Serve.
Enjoy these Spring foods – if you would like to know more about what foods are right for you – schedule a complimentary 20 minute phone call with me.