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Kapha Vata Diet: Everything You Need To Know

Kapha Vata Diet: Everything You Need To Know

The Ayurveda Experience September 05, 2017

One of my clients, who has a Kapha Vata prakriti or dosha type, as it is popularly called, shared a very intelligent observation during her first consultation with me. She said that she was having dry snacks regularly made from roasted seeds as she had read that any food that is dry pacifies Kapha.

But one day she realized that she could be aggravating her secondary dosha Vata as Vata gets aggravated by dry foods. I was so amused by her keen observation that it became the focal point of our talk as to how to tackle two constituent dosha with many opposite properties.

Kapha and Vata have many opposite properties.

Don’t know your Prakriti (Ayurvedic body type)? Take this free quiz and find out!

Which Dosha Do You Prioritize?

It becomes challenging for one to design a diet plan which can be used to cater to two dosha having so many opposite properties. It is just like a mother trying to accommodate two siblings having different food choices! So, what does she do? She would just try to heed to one’s choice at one time, and to the other at another time.

Alternatively, she will prioritize according to the situation. Say if one is malnourished, or sick or one has come home from school, or is more aggressive, then she will give preference to this child.

This is exactly what you must do; you have to see if any of these two dosha needs your immediate attention, that is, if it may be aggravated or may be depleted. In both conditions, you should ignore the other for the time being and plan your diet for the day or the next meal according to the latter.

Not only the condition of the dosha in question, the time of the year (season) and time of day (whether it is Kapha time or Vata time) also matters in planning a meal.

All this is to be considered if a particular dosha needs immediate attention.  But in other situations, you may have two separate dishes in a meal that cater to either dosha. Or you can mold the recipe of a dish in a way that it caters to both dosha. For example baked apple with cinnamon can be good for both dosha.

Don’t know your Prakriti (Ayurvedic body type)? Take this free quiz and find out!

How To Pacify Both Kapha And Vata

We know that there are six tastes in all. Out of these sweet, sour and salty pacify Vata but aggravate Kapha. On the other hand, the other three, pungent, bitter and astringent aggravate Vata but pacify Kapha. That is why having a Kapha Vata prakriti poses a great challenge to decide on the food to be selected. Generally, foods which are heating, irrespective of their taste will be pacifying for both the dosha as coldness is one property that is common to both.

How To Create Balanced Meals For Kapha And Vata

It is not necessary to always go for pacifying foods for the constituent dosha. If constituent dosha are not aggravated, you may eat those foods which have properties like a particular dosha, along with other antagonizing foods (with antagonizing tastes) that will not allow them to aggravate the dosha in question.

In the case of Kapha Vata or Vata Kapha prakriti, in normal circumstances, we can afford to use foods with all the six tastes without fear. This does not happen in other dosha types except for the tridoshic prakriti.

The only caution is to be a little biased towards the dominant dosha as it has more chance of getting aggravated than the other, just as our hypothetical mother may listen more to the more aggressive child.

As cold is one property that is common to both these constituent dosha, cold or cooling foods will have a dampening effect on Pitta, the dosha with the ‘hot’ property which controls the digestive and metabolic ‘fire’. So the Kapha Vata prakriti warrants that you always be wary of heavy to digest foods that may ‘douse’ the already weak ‘digestive fire’.

All said and done, we do have certain rules which if followed will see that both dosha generally remain in balance. This will be followed by a list of foods which can be frequently taken, less frequently taken and sparingly taken in normal circumstances.

Don’t know your Prakriti (Ayurvedic body type)? Take this free quiz and find out!

General Rules For The Kapha Vata Diet

Eat only freshly cooked and warm food.

Eat in small quantities, at regular intervals rather than eating big meals at one go.

Sit in a calm place and eat slowly, taking care to chew your food properly.Doing otherwise makes you easy prey to indigestion, heaviness and gas formation.

Drinks

Liquids should be taken an hour prior to or an hour after meals, so as not to dilute the digestive juices. A few sips may however be taken. Drink boiled and cooled water as it becomes ‘lighter’ and is easy to get ‘digested’. Have water in small quantities, a number of times during the day.

Cooked Foods

Choose lightly cooked food over raw food and use spices like garlic, ginger, fennel, cumin, turmeric, fenugreek seeds, and caraway seeds, asafoetida, and peppers in the diet. Do not eat food that is totally bland.

Fats

Fats like sesame, olive, coconut oil and mustard can be used in cooking. Ghee made from cow’s milk is also recommended in small amounts. Your food should always contain some fats to keep Vata in balance. The intake of fats needs to be restricted, to a maximum of six teaspoons per day as excessive fats will aggravate Kapha. In the case of kapha aggravation, mustard oil may be used.

Dairy

Dairy products need to be consumed in moderation. Using the low fat variety, which is easily digestible, ensures that the primary dosha Kapha, is in check and Vata is balanced.

The Six Tastes

Hot tastes with sour, salty and pungent flavors need to be included in the diet of a Kapha Vata person. Cold tastes with sweet, astringent (raw salads) and bitter (like bitter gourd) properties, should be used sparingly. However certain spices which are bitter and hot like turmeric and fenugreek, as said earlier can be balancing for both dosha.

Pitta Dosha

One thing worth mentioning here is that while planning for the constituent dosha we forget the tertiary dosha, which is Pitta in a Kapha Vata type. The tertiary dosha may also get aggravated if one is exposed to Pitta aggravating causes. So, in the case of Pitta aggravated conditions marked by symptoms like inflammation or fever or burning sensation, aphthous or mouth ulcers, hold off on the pungent and sour tastes. Salt (in moderation), bitter, astringent and sweet tastes can be used.

Sweet taste does not mean sugary stuff only. Most cereals and most vegetables also have the sweet taste in them. So while avoiding sugary foods, include the sweet taste with cereals and vegetables and some fruits that are not too sweet. Similarly, while incorporating the astringent taste through leafy greens, cook them so they don’t aggravate Vata and at the same time provide balance to Pitta (and Kapha).

Quantity Of Food

Keep breakfast and dinner light and lunch the heaviest meal of the day. Eat only when you are hungry or better still when the previous meal has been digested. You’ll know this by a marked return of the appetite, a clear burp and a feeling of lightness in the stomach.

Fruit

All fruits, except those that are too sweet, are good for you. Two servings of fruits should be eaten in between meals. Diced papaya with salt and cumin powder sprinkled on top is a good appetizer.

Vegetables

Almost all vegetables are good for you. Tubers and roots are to be restrained a bit as they can increase the blood sugar level and also Kapha in the body. Similarly, too fibrous vegetables can aggravate Vata in certain people and cause flatulence. So they should be consumed as per individual digestive capacity. Give preference however to cooked vegetables over raw salads and vegetable juices.

Meat + Eggs

Meats are heavy to digest. Consume them in small amounts and less frequently. Choose white meats over red meats and organ meats. Seafood is Kapha aggravating and should be minimized. But those who have had seafood since childhood may afford to consume it without any Kapha aggravation. This concept is called Satmaya or conditioning in Ayurveda.

Buttermilk + Yogurt

Drink fresh buttermilk before lunch. Add roasted cumin powder, salt and mint leaves to it. Yogurt can be taken similarly twice a week. Fruit yogurts are best avoided.

Ginger Pickle

Chew upon 2-3 juliennes of ginger pickle before lunch and dinner to kindle the digestive fire. To make ginger pickle cut ginger into juliennes. Add some rock salt, caraway seeds and lemon juice to it. Keep for one day in direct sunlight in a glass jar. If sunlight is not available just let it stay for a day before use. After one day it is ready to use. Shake periodically before eating to check for the growth of fungus. It can be stored for a week in the refrigerator, after which you should make a fresh batch.

Grains + Carbs

Wheat, rice, barley, oats, quinoa and amaranth can be used as grains and can be consumed as ready to cook cereals or breads. Barley helps one to lose weight. Pearled barley is a convenient option to include. You need to boil it and use it in a salad along with vegetables and lentils or meats.

High fiber sources of carbohydrates like sweet potatoes may also be used in place of grains. Carbohydrates though are considered to increase Kapha and are avoided by those watching their weight, but some amount of carbohydrates are needed in the meals to calm Vata and thereby the mind and stop sugar cravings.

Caffeine

Restrict the intake of coffee and caffeinated tea to one or two cups as excess of these can aggravate Vata. Avoid taking them at bedtime as they are likely to interfere with sleep by aggravating Vata.

Alcohol

Wines and other alcoholic drinks except beer can be taken in small quantities. Most of these have a tendency to aggravate Pitta which should be kept in mind. Excess alcohol aggravates Vata dosha and should therefore be avoided.

Don’t know your Prakriti (Ayurvedic body type)? Take this free quiz and find out!

Sample Menu For Kapha Vata Diet

A suggested sample menu may look like this.

First Things First

Start the day with a glass of warm water with a tablespoon of honey and a dash of lemon juice. If you have problems with either of these, you may just have a glass of warm water. This can be followed by 10 raisins and 10 almonds that have been soaked overnight in water. This helps to kick start the day.

Your Friend Tulsi Tea

This should be followed by a coriander and holy basil or dried Tulsi leaf tea. Rather it can be taken 2-3 times in a day as it checks the aggravation of Kapha and Vata and keeps possible aggravation of Pitta also in check.

For this you need to boil 1 teaspoon of coarsely ground coriander seeds and 1/2 tsp of dried Tulsi leaves in one and a half cups of water. Reduce to half. Strain and drink hot. Add 1/4 tsp of organic sugar if desired.

Breakfast

Breakfast can be a cereal with milk or eggs. Keep it light and save meat for lunch when the digestive fire is at it’s peak.

Lunch

Lunch can be grains, proteins in the form of white meat, lentils or beans and cooked vegetables. Lentils and beans should be spiced using spices mentioned above.

Dinner

Dinner can be same as lunch but lighter and can include soups.

Cheat Sheet: The Kapha Vata Diet

Even after going through the general guidelines regarding the Kapha Vata diet, it still might be unclear what to eat and what not to eat. So here is a quick list of foods which you can eat according to your prakriti.

Don’t know your Prakriti (Ayurvedic body type)? Take this free quiz and find out!

 

 


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