I have a question about combining dairy… you mention milk should be had alone. And yogurt is not ayurvedic at all. What about cheese? Please don’t tell me it shouldn’t be combined with anything either. As a vegetarian, cheese is a major component of finding food at restaurants. Pasta, quesadillas, on sandwiches…
Great question and thanks for bringing this up! I know there are lots of you who are vegetarians eating cheese as a main staple of their diet, so let’s talk more about this. In Ayurveda, cheese is considered a “sour” food. Remember, Ayurveda’s six tastes? The sour taste balances vata while increasing pitta and kapha. In addition to having a sour taste, the qualities of cheese are heavy, dense, and wet, so vatas can have it without any issue. That said, there are lots of different kinds of cheeses and some are more sour than others. The following information is from Dr. Lad’s Ayurvedic Cooking for Self Healing book. Here is the scoop on cheese for the doshas:
Vatas: Yes for cheese! Hard cheese in moderation.
Pittas: Yes for soft cheeses, cottage cheese, goat’s cheese. No’s on hard cheese or very aged cheeses (cause the older they are the more sour they get)
Kaphas: Yes for goat’s and cottage cheese. No’s on hard and soft cheese.
Now, kaphas and pittas, don’t be sad. Just have less cheese if you are eating a lot of it now and honestly, nobody should be having gobs of cheese everyday. It’s heavy, building (puts on weight), wet, and dense so too much of it is not going to keep our warm bodies flowing. And no matter what, it is most important to eat food in moderation. Moderation! It’s so simple that it’s worth emphasizing. Moderation! Eating incompatible foods sometimes is not going to kill you (that little sentence does not give you license to toss this cheese advice out the window). Neither is a Cadbury Egg. But if you frequently eat foods that do not jive, your digestion will not be happy. If your agni is nice and strong, you will have an easier time digesting many foods, even incompatible ones.
Now that I’ve gone off on the completely wrong tangent, to answer this sweet question, “Does the cheese really need to stand alone?” No. Yay! You can have cheese with lots of other foods like veggie sandwiches, quesadillas, and pastas. Just don’t mix cheese with eggs (sorry little omelette, just add veggies instead), fish, berries, hot drinks, or yogurt (which you’re not having anyway. ha!). So tell us, if you are a lover of cheese and vegetarian, how do you balance your meals without over-cheesing?