The world around us is fast realising the secrets of Ayurveda and that it holds the key towards living happier, healthier, and more balanced lives. The truth to this is provided in the three doshas called Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. We are all composed of varying quantities of these doshas but generally one or two of these doshas takes the prominence in our body much like a zodiac sign for our personality. Following the lifestyle guidelines for our dominant dosha is the best thing that we can do to maintain bodily harmony and balance.
Kapha Dosha – Water and Earth
This dosha carries the qualities of being heavy, slow, cold, oily, dense, and static. This means that Kapha people need to engage in activities that are warm, stimulating, lightening, and enlivening.
Do’s for Kapha:
- Perform vigorous exercise daily to avoid being slow and heavy.
- Wake up early, rise with the sun. The energy at that time of the day is lighter and healthier.
- Eat light and healthy foods with pungent, bitter, and astringent flavours to balance the diet.
- Spend time outdoors where the air is lighter and more invigorating than indoor air.
- Spend time with friends and family regularly to enliven your mood and stimulate your mind.
- Consider engaging in volunteer work. It warms the heart to help others.
- Perform garshana (dry brush massage) daily. This helps encourage lymph flow.
- Regularly clean out your closets and give away things you don’t use to lighten up your home.
- Engage in a more vigorous yoga practice, hot yoga is for you. Hot yoga helps you to liquefy some of that stored Kapha in the body and it keeps you warm.
Don’ts for Kapha
- Don’t take naps or encourage feelings of heaviness and sedation.
- Don’t sleep past sunrise, the energy gets heavier till 10am and makes it much harder to get up.
- Don’t spend time in front of the television or on the computer to avoid mental stagnation.
- Don’t eat desserts after every meal to avoid gaining weight.
- Don’t eat when you aren’t really hungry. This also encourages weight gain.
- Don’t consume oily or fatty foods as Kapha has an inherently oily quality.
- Don’t overeat.
- Don’t devote all of your yoga time to yin and restorative classes. They make you feel good but they are also likely to put you to sleep. You need to move more.
Foods to eat and avoid
| ||Foods to eat|| ||Foods to avoid|
| ||Major||Minor|| |
|Vegetables||Arugula, asparagus, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, burdock root, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, celery, chili peppers (hot), collards, corn (fresh), eggplant, green beans, jicama, bitter gourd, landcress, lettuce, mustard greens, okra, onion, parsley, peas, pokeroot, spinach, sprouts, turnips, turnip green, watercress||Artichoke, cassava, gourd squash, plantain, summer squash (yellow crookneck or zucchini)||Beet greens, cucumber, mushrooms, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, taro roots, rutabaga, winter squash (butternut, buttercup, spaghetti, acorn)|
|Fruits||Apples, apricot, figs (dried), persimmon, pomegranate, raisins, quince, pears, peaches, dried fruits, berries, cherries||Grapes, limes, kiwi, lemons, oranges, mango, strawberries, tamarind, tangerine||Avocado, bananas, melons, papaya, pineapple, plums, soursop, grapefruit, coconut, cranberries, dates, figs (fresh), rhubarb, fruits (excessively sweet or sour or watery)|
|Grains||Barley, corn, rye, buckwheat, millet||Amaranth, basmati rice (brown or white), quinoa||Whole wheat flour, wheat, rice flour, oats (whole cooked), brown rice|
|Legumes & beans||Aduki beans, black beans, lentils (red), chickpeas (black or yellow), moth beans, split peas (green or yellow)||Black-eyed peas, tofu (cooked), urad dal, white beans, toor dal, munge dal (split or whole)||Kidney beans, soybeans, tempeh, lentils brown|
|Nuts and seeds|| ||Coconut, pumpkin seeds (roasted), sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sunflower seeds (roasted)||All nuts|
|Dairy products (Dairy products are to be used sportingly by Kapha types)|| ||Ghee, goat’s milk, yoghurt drinks (spiced), goat’s cheese (unsalted)||Butter, cow’s milk, ice cream, buttermilk, dairy products, sour cream, cheese, yoghurt|
|Animal products|| ||Fresh, organic white meat chicken, turkey, eggs and seafood||Red meat|
|Oils / fats|| ||Canola, mustard, sunflower, corn, safflower||Almond, coconut, soy, apricot, olive, walnut, avocado, sesame (dark or light)|
|Sweeteners||Honey (raw and uncooked)||Amasaje (rice milk), dates, fruit juice concentrates, maple syrup, dried fruits, barley malt, brown rice syrup||Brown sugar (unrefined), white sugar, molasses, fructose, sucanat, honey (cooked), sugarcane juice, sugar substitutes (Ssaccharin, Sweet’n Low and NutraSweet)|
|Herbs, spices, and flavourings||Carom seeds, turmeric, anise, asafoetida, curry leaves, dill leaves or seeds, ginger (dried), garlic, garam masala, eucalyptus, orange peel, oregano, paprika, parsley, peppermint, mustard seeds, neem leaves, onion, nutmeg, hot peppers, cumin, coriander, cloves, cinnamon, cayenne, cardamom, pippali, saffron, thyme, spearmint, sage||Fennel, tamarind, fenugreek, mint, wintergreen, ginger (fresh), vanilla, mace, mugwort||Mango powder|
|Condiments|| ||Black pepper, chili pepper, kudzu, garlic, sea salt, rock salt, vinegar (brown rice or herbal), wasabi, yoghurt (spiced), rose water, mustard, mint leaves, lime juice, cilantro, horseradish, daikon||Almond extract, coconut milk, cow’s milk, olives (black or green), salt (iodised), yoghurt, vinegar (commercial), gomasio, miso, tamari|
|Seaweeds (All seaweeds are highly salted, so use sparingly, Rinse and cook seaweeds thoroughly before eating)|| ||Agar-gar, hijiki, riverweeds, arame, kelp, seaward, dulse, kombu, wakame|| |
|Brews and beverages (Fruit juice should be diluted with water for Kapha types)||Allow-vera juice, carrot juice, pear juice, amasaje, cherry juice, pineapple juice, apple juice, coconut milk, pomegranate juice, prune juice, cranberry juice, apricot juice, berry juice, soy milk, carob drinks, mixed vegetable juice||Alcohol. Caffeinated drinks, almond drink, grape juice, mango juice, yoghurt drink (spicy), vegetable broth (unsalted)||Banana shake, cold drinks, orange juice, carbonated drinks, fig shake, papaya juice, grapefruit juice, chocolate drinks, coconut milk, lemonade, tomato juice, salted and sour drinks|
|Teas (Do not use chamomile if you are allergic to ragweed)||Carom alfafa, basil, twig, ginger (dried), orange peel, peppermint, hibiscus, eucalyptus, jasmine, lavender, mormon tea, nettle, saffron, raspberry, cloves, cinnamon, chamomile, barley, chicory (blends), chrysanthemum, dandelion, lemon balm, pennyroyal, rose flower, sage, spearmint||Borage, ginger (fresh), ginseng, fennel, burdock, lotus, hysssop||Pungent teas, liquorice, comfrey, marshmallow|
|General considerations||Foods of pungent, bitter and astringent tastes, warm, light and dry foods|| ||Foods of sweet, sour and salty tastes, cold, heavy and oily foods|