In Ayurveda, Vata, Pitta and Kapha, collectively and popularly known as the Doshas are the energetic forces of nature that make up your constitution. They express unique blends of physical, emotional and mental characteristics and can be found in everyone, but in different proportions. In other words, there is always one dominant Dosha.
According to Dr Ruchi Gulati of Sukh Ayurveda, “There are three types of Doshas which are made from the five elements of nature – air, water, earth, space, and fire. These can determine our body temperament.”
But how do you know your type? And is an Ayurvedic diet based on your Dosha really helpful? It is said that an Ayurvedic diet is basically a personalized diet that suits and balances your unique Dosha, instead of aggravating it. If your primary Dosha is Pitta, your Ayurvedic diet will include almonds, raisins, green vegetables, unsalted butter, egg whites, and coconut. Meanwhile, Vata foods comprise of dairy products, eggs, fish, peanuts, flax seeds, and ghee. Some of the Kapha food items are cheese, bitter vegetables and celery.
Dr Partap Chauhan, director, Jiva Ayurveda says, “There are two ways to determine your Dosha. You can either approach an Ayurveda doctor for a detailed Prakriti analysis, or you can take an online Prakriti test. We take a VPK test and based on that, we prepare a customized diet plan.”
But an Ayurvedic diet alone will do you no good if you are not regular about your meal timings, or eat your food without consciousness. Eating freshly cooked, easy to digest food in a clean and calm environment is equally important.
What are the basic principles of Ayurvedic eating?
There are five principles that one needs to follow while on this diet. Firstly, one has to eat according to their Prakriti. “Prakriti defines the state of your doshas, and thus your health. Second, eat fresh and local produce. Desh (location) and Kaal (time) are fundamental concepts in Ayurveda that applies to your meals too. Nature nourishes food items with Prana (life) energy, which starts reducing after they are harvested. So stale food, packaged and tinned foods have lower Prana energy compared to freshly prepared meals containing local produce,” continues Chauhan.
Next, eat consciously: sit down in a calm and clean place away from distractions. Enjoy every bite and experience the taste and texture. This further helps in digestion.
Avoid wrong food combinations. As a general rule, eat fruits separately from meals. Lastly, practice fruit fasting or juice fasting twice a month, every fortnight. This detoxifies your gut, helps you rejuvenate and makes you feel light and energetic.