What if there was a diet developed for your unique body type and backed by over 5,000 years of medicine — would you try it?
I began my studies in Ayurveda in 2009 with Holistic Skin Care through the Aveda Institute. In 2015 I made the trek to India, all the way to a remote coastal location near Kerala where I sat with an Ayurvedic Doctor and discovered further depths of this ancient medicine. It was there I further witnessed how the effects of diet recommendations, based purely on my body type, could influence my overall health.
so many diet trends – how do you choose?
There are numerous diet options in Western culture that we can select from – Raw, Keto, Low Carb, No Carb, Paleo, Atkins, Whole30 and this list goes on. Many of us have tried one or a handful of these diets with varying results. So you may be thinking, “Really, another diet to try?”
While researching, I discovered numerous current diet trends began within only the last 20 years. Yep, only 20 years. This fact really makes me question if some of them have enough data to back them up as safe.
An ancient Medical System
Contrastingly, Ayurveda is an ancient medical system that originated in India more than 5,000 years ago. The Sanskrit word Ayurveda translates as “the knowledge of life” (ayur means life, while veda means science or knowledge). Ayurvedic medicine is still practiced widely today in modern India and is now also extending its influence worldwide, including the practice of following an Ayurvedic diet.
What makes it special is that instead of having to guess which foods, supplements, and behaviors are appropriate for you as an individual, there is a simple, direct prescriptive path that is developed for your unique body type or dosha. The goal of Ayurvedic practices, including following an Ayurvedic diet, is to prevent imbalances in the doshas.
what's a dosha?
The three Ayurvedic body types, or doshas, are Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Each dosha has a unique set of characteristics. There are several ways to determine your body type.
The most accurate way to determine yours is through a detailed history and physical by an Ayurvedic physician, as I experienced in India. However, there are a handful of online tests to discover which Dosha is your dominant mind/body state: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
While all three are present in everyone, Ayurveda proposes that we each have a dominant dosha that’s unwavering from birth, and ideally an equal balance between the other two. Out of curiosity, I did an online test then compared it to the doctor analysis I received. Not surprisingly, there were some distinct differences but I feel the online test is still a decent place to start exploring Ayurveda from.
the ayurvedic dosha diet
Once you know your dosha, reference the section below and explore eating only the favorable and best foods listed.
With the removal/reduction of some and the addition of favorable foods specific to your dosha, it is suggested that you may notice distinct shifts in your body ultimately bringing you back to a healthy balanced state.
The below suggestions are from Dr. Chandanis, an Ayurvedic Medicine & Surgery graduate.
KAPHA DOSHA (Water/Earth)
* Cooked light meals.
• Warm, light, and dry food.
• Lightly cooked foods or raw fruits and vegetables.
• Any food that is spicy.
• Select dry cooking methods (baking, broiling, grilling, sautéing) over moist cooking such as steaming, boiling, or poaching.
• Preferred spices are cumin, fenugreek, sesame seed, and turmeric.
FOODS TO REDUCE:
• Sweet and fatty foods.
• Salt consumption.
• Avoid deep-fried foods.
• Avoid sugar, fats, and dairy products.
• Skip chilled foods and drinks
• Use ghee and oils in small amounts only.
• Asparagus, Celery, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Leafy green vegetables
• Beets, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Potatoes, Radishes
• Mushrooms, Okra, Peas, Peppers, Eggplant
• Garlic, onions
VEGETABLES IN MODERATION:
• Cucumbers, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and zucchini.
• Apples, apricots, berries, papaya, pears, prunes, pomegranates, and grapefruit
• Dried fruit, specifically apricots, figs, prunes, and raisins.
FRUITS IN MODERATION:
• Dates, fresh figs, bananas, coconuts, and mangoes.
Other food for kaphas
- Best Grains: Barley, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats, rye, and basmati rice.
- Grains in Moderation: Rice and wheat. Avoid hot cereals and steamed grains.
- Best Dairy: Warm skim milk, eggs, goat’s milk, soy milk, and camel milk.
- Dairy in Moderation: Egg yolks
- Best Meats: Chicken, turkey and lean fish.
- Meats in Moderation: Shrimp and red meat.
- Best Beans: All legumes are acceptable.
- Beans in Moderation: Kidney beans and tofu.
- Best Oils: Almond, sunflower, olive oil, and grape-seed oil.
- Sweeteners: All in very small quantities.
- Best Nuts & Seeds: Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and flax seeds.
- Herbs & Spices: All are good, especially cumin, fenugreek, sesame, and ginger.
PITTA DOSHA (Fire)
• Cool or warm — not steaming hot foods.
• Bitter, sweet, and astringent tastes.
• Cool, refreshing food like salads, milk, and ice cream.
• Herbal tea, specifically mint or licorice root tea.
• Cold cereal, cinnamon toast, and apple tea is a good breakfast.
• Vegetarian foods, in general, are the best.
• Consume abundant amounts of milk, grains, and vegetables.
FOODS TO REDUCE:
• Use less butter and added fat
• Avoid pickles, sour cream, and cheese.
• Avoid vinegar in salad dressing (use lemon juice instead).
• Avoid Alcoholic and fermented foods.
• Reduce coffee.
• Avoid oily, hot, salty, and heavy foods (anything fried).
• Skip egg yolks, nuts, hot spices, honey, and hot drinks.
• Asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, radishes, cauliflower, celery
• Cucumber, green beans, green (sweet) peppers, leafy green vegetables, lettuce
• Mushrooms, okra, parsley, peas, potatoes, squash, sweet potatoes, zucchini, carrot.
VEGETABLES IN MODERATION:
• Eggplant, onion, tomatoes, hot peppers, chilies, and beets.
• Bananas, avocados, cherries, coconuts, figs
• Mangoes, melons, oranges, pears, plums, pineapples, prunes, and raisins.
FRUITS IN MODERATION:
• Apricot, apples, berries, sour cherries, grapefruit, raw papaya, dark grapes, peaches, and persimmon.
• Avoid green grapes, oranges, pineapple, and plum unless they are sweet and ripe.
Other Food for Pittas
- Favorable Grains: Barley, oats, wheat, and white rice (preferably basmati).
- Grains in Moderation: Brown rice, corn, millet, and rye.
- Best Dairy: Butter, egg whites, ghee (clarified butter), milk, and fruit sorbets.
- Dairy in Moderation: Cheese, sour yogurt, egg yolk, sour cream, and ice cream.
- Best Meats: Chicken, shrimp, turkey, and river fish (all in small amounts).
- Meats in Moderation: Red meat and seafood in general.
- Best Beans: Chickpeas, mung beans, red lentils, soybean products (not fermented).
- Beans in Moderation: Black gram, black lentils, and Dal.
- Best Oils: Olive, soy, sunflower, and grapeseed oil.
- Oils in Moderation: Almond, corn, safflower, sesame, and coconut oil.
- Best Nuts and Seeds: Coconut, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds.
- Best Sweetners: All are acceptable except honey and molasses.
- Herbs and Spices: Spices should generally be avoided as they are too heating.
VATA DOSHA (Air)
• Warm, nourishing foods with moderately heavy texture.
• Butter and fat.
• Salty, sour, and sweet tastes.
• Warm milk, cream, butter, warm soups, stews, hot cereals, freshly baked bread.
• Raw nuts, and nut butters.
• Hot or herbal tea.
• All sweet fruits are OK.
• Warm drinks or hot water.
• Spices: Cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, ginger, cloves, and garlic.
FOODS TO REDUCE:
• Cold foods such as salads, iced drinks, raw vegetables and greens.
• Avoid caffeine and candies.
• Avoid unripe fruits.
BEST VEGETABLES (cooked):
• Asparagus, beets, carrots, cucumber, green beans
• Garlic, onions, sweet potatoes, radishes, and turnips
VEGETABLES IN MODERATION (cooked):
• Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, eggplant, zucchini
• Leafy green vegetables, mushrooms, peas, peppers, potatoes, sprouts, tomatoes
• Avoid raw vegetables, in general.
BEST FRUITS (well-ripened):
• Bananas, apricots, avocados, berries, cherries, coconut, fresh figs, grapefruit
• Lemons, grapes, mangoes, sweet melons, papaya, pineapple, peaches, plums
FRUITS IN MODERATION:
• Cranberries, pears, pomegranates.
• Avoid dried fruits, in general, and all unripe fruit.
Other food for vatas:
- Best Grains: Oats (as cooked oatmeal cereal, not dry), cooked rice.
- Grains in Moderation: Wheat, barley, buckwheat, corn, dry oat, millet.
- Dairy: All Dairy is acceptable.
- Best Meat: Chicken, seafood, turkey, in small quantity.
- Meat in Moderation: Red meat.
- Best Beans: Chickpeas, mung beans, Pink lentils, Tofu (small amounts)
- Beans in Moderation: Kidney beans, black beans, etc.
- Best Oils: Sesame oil, Ghee and olive oil are especially good.
- Sweeteners: All sweeteners are acceptable.
- Nuts and Seeds: All are acceptable in small amounts. Almonds are best.
- Herbs & Spices: Avoid using spices in large quantities. Minimize or avoid all bitter and astringent herbs and spices such as coriander seed, fenugreek, parsley, and thyme. Saffron and turmeric should be used in moderation.
Eating to Balance Your Mind-Body Type
Recently nominated for an Aestheticians' Choice Award by Dermascope magazine, with features on multi-media outlets of Channel 5 News, Daily Candy and Bella Sugar, Bokhara Lashi is humbled by the recognition and inspired to continue her mission to cultivate wellness, organic beauty and healthy habits with a positive impact across diverse industries.
She embraces the title Lifestyle Entrepreneur as a professional sum up of the numerous titles and credentials she passionately acquired since 2005 in the fields of Education, Business, Art and Wellness which have culminated into a career as a professional entrepreneur.
Curious what’s on the list? The many titles and credentials of Bokhara’s work as a Lifestyle Entrepreneur include: Founder of Embody Zen. Licensed Holistic Esthetician. Certified Massage Therapist. Teacher. Esthiology Science Educator at Cinta Aveda Institute. Credentialed Educator with BA in Education from FAU. Math Assessment Editor at McGraw Hill. Nature Artist, Founder of Moss Art Studio. Product formulator / co-creator of Organic Devotion. Professional Writer showcased on AnnMarie Gianni. Blogger, Life Organic Blog. And a long time ago Bubbles the Clown, spotted at kid birthday parties.
For the last 10 years, and counting, she continues to be an integral part in her clients' skin and body wellness at her San Francisco based organic studio Embody Zen. In 2018, she began sharing her knowledge, experience and unwavering passion for the organic skin care, life design and wellness fields through her features on the prestigious AnnMarie Gianni Blog. As of 2019, you can find a compilation of featured articles and additional writings on her distinctive Life Organic Blog.
Saying yes to fun adventures landed her, randomly and accidentally, in an Indian fashion and dance competition in front of 2,000 locals during her travels in India (video proof). In contrast, during her introvert recharge time, you’ll catch her in the middle of a DIY design project, jumping on her trampoline or curled up with a book she borrowed from the local library.