Ayurveda holds and elemental view of the universe and believes that we are made up of various combinations of the following five elements: air, ether, fire, earth and water. The combination of these elements make up the three doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha and we tend to have a dominance in one particular dosha.
The elements that make up Vata are air and ether and this dosha is characterised by qualities such as light, dry, rough, cold, moving and subtle. These qualities translate into things like cracking joints, difficulty maintaining weight, cold hands and feet and restlessness or nervousness.
Because of the elements of air and ether, Vata is the cold and dry dosha, so to pacify these elements, eating richer more nourishing foods is important.
Warm rather than cool
Vata types should eat foods that are warm not only in temperature, but that also have warming energetic qualities with pacifying spices. Stay away from cold and raw uncooked foods or foods. Vata types should also stay away from cold drinks and should only drink room temperature or warm beverages. Drink plenty of room temperature water and take herbal tea rather than coffee, which is too stimulating and drying for this dosha.
Moist rather than dry
Vata types also tend to be very slender and light, so eating extra butter and other good fats is encouraged. High quality oils or ghee and oily foods such as avocadoes, coconut, whole milk, cheese and nuts are beneficial to pacify Vata. Stay away from dry foods such as crackers, popcorn, white potatoes, beans and dried fruits.
Dense rather than light
It is important to ground the lightness of this dosha with sustenance, rather than with indulgence. Think of solid, stable foods to balance the moving energy of Vata.
Smooth rather than rough
Another quality of Vata is roughness, and so eating rough foods should be avoided – even some cooked foods contain a lot of roughage, and should be avoided, eating instead, smoother foods such as bananas and pureed soups.
Sweet foods tend to be grounding, nourishing and satisfying and form the foundation of the Vata pacifying diet. Sour foods awaken the mind and senses and improve digestion. Salty foods stimulate the digestion and help to retain water which is a blessing for the dry Vata type. Stay away from astringent, pungent and bitter foods as they will dry out the system.
Avoid pungent drying foods, bitter cooling foods and astringent cold foods.
Vata types need routines and eating can become a balancing ritual. Eat at the same time each day and make it a time for quietness paying attention on your body being nourished.
Breakfast... think eggs and buttered toast or a warming porridge with cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom
Lunch... think split mung dal, pasta or gnocchi or a potato soup
Dinner... think carrot soup with quinoa, baked and buttered sweet potato
To find out your dosha please fill out the form on the ‘Dosha Form’ page.