Ayurvedically Smart

A few days back, I posted that I was excited for Dr. Oz’s show on Ayurveda. Here is one of the recipes given after the show: http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/6-flavor-slimming-breakfast-sundae

Since you guys are Ayurvedically smart, what might be wrong with this meal? Tell me in the comments…stop reading now and pick out what’s wrong with this breakfast based on what you know about Ayurveda. See if you can pick out what’s wrong before reading the answers below. It’s like Highlights Magazine (remember those?), a wee puzzle, if you will.

{pause so you can think and post comments}

Okay, got your answers? Compare with the list below and see how you did.

What is wrong with the breakfast:
a) Yogurt + Fruit = wrong food combination
b) Yogurt is not Ayurvedic unless it’s turned into a lassi (and, not a mango or fruit lassi. That may be Indian, but it’s not Ayurvedic)
c) Cold breakfast puts out agni (digestive fire) rather than kindling it, especially during kapha time of day
d) Too many various seeds and nuts for breakfast! They are really heavy and hard to digest for any dosha.

Breakfast should always be warm because our bodies are warm and we want to stoke our digestive fire. Remember, malfunctioning agni is the #1 root cause of most diseases! We need to keep agni happy and strong.

Here are some examples of better breakfast choices:
a) Vatas can have oatmeal with ghee, cream of wheat OR an english muffin with ghee and a sprinkle of caradmom and/or cinnamon. Vatas need warm, grounding and easy-to-digest breakfasts.
b) Pittas can have oatmeal with ghee and almonds OR an english muffin with protein. When it’s hot out, they can have cereal with milk. Pittas need grounding breakfasts that have a bit more girth to them because their digestive fire is typically stronger.
c) Kaphas can have baked apples or pears with cinnamon. Or toast with cinnamon OR black pepper or lemon pepper w/garlic (savory!) with a touch of ghee. Kaphas might not be hungry for breakfast and if so, they should skip it and sip ginger tea to stoke their fire. Kaphas need warm, light, dry breakfasts with yummy spices to keep them satisfied with smaller amounts of food.
d) Fresh fruit is an option for any dosha during pitta season (summer), but have the fruit by itself

All this said, I am not doggin’ on Dr. Oz. Bless, bless, bless him for bringing the attention to Ayurveda on such a mainstream level. YES! That’s what we need. However, because millions of people watch the show, millions of people will make this breakfast thinking that it’s Ayurvedic (cause they don’t know! This stuff is new to them and probably Dr. Oz too!). So let’s say they try it. A breakfast like this might cause constipation (vata), diarrhea (pitta), heart burn (pitta), acid taste in the mouth (pitta), a tummy ache (any dosha), weight gain (kapha), maybe lethargy. And if that happens know what they will say? “I tried Ayurveda once and Ayurveda doesn’t work.” Good gravy, that’s counter intuitive to everything I’m trying to do on HeyMonicaB! Ayurveda DOES work – I promise with all my soul! But we need proper teachers out there.

Know what? You’re already Ayurvedically smart—you know more about Ayurveda than most people. How about THAT!? That’s right, straighten up and hold your head high! And because you are knowledgeable and smart, have the power to make decisions appropriate for yourself. You also have the power to share correct information with those you love. You have the knowledge to be able to tell authentic Ayurveda from marketed Ayurveda (yes? right?). So friends, if you have questions about Ayurvedic advice you see any where else, send it to me. If I don’t know the answer, I will find the answer for you and share on my site. We deserve authentic information so that we can live happier, healthier lives. xoxo!


17 Responses to Ayurvedically Smart

  1. […] boy…it’s my job to promote and protect Ayurveda so here I […]

  2. […] Did you know that the food you choose directly affects your mood? Maybe you did, cause you are so Ayurvedically smart (if so, permission to *high kick* with pride!). You should know that every morsel we put into our […]

  3. Bettina says:

    Hi Monica,
    Great post!

    And I second / third the menu ideas.

    I wanted to ask about eating hard-boiled eggs for breakfast.

    Some background : I used to drink fruit smoothies first thing in the morning because I had heard that one should eat fruit on an empty stomach. But I noticed that one hour later I’d be RAVENOUS.

    So then I heard that eating protein as breakfast keeps the energy level until lunch, and it’s been true for me. When I try to be vegan, I’d actually eat a tomato, chickpea, and avocado salad as breakfast, but usually I’ve been eating an egg 4-5 times a week for breakfast.

    Are eggs pitta, vata, kapha??

    Thanks for your help!

  4. Marsi says:

    Hey Monica B!

    Marsi here again. After several days of oatmeal for breakfast, my digestion is sluggggisssshhh.

    The same sluggishness happened to me earlier this year when I made kitchari and ate it every morning. I feel heavy, bloated, and tired, and I think it’s from the oatmeal. I just re-read this post and the words “light, dry, airy” for breakfast jumped right out at me because it occurred to me that oatmeal and kitchari are none of those things. Is this stuff just too wet for me? Does this mean I’m more kapha than pitta? And can someone be small boned and petite, and still be kapha? (Or mostly kapha?)

    It hit me that this darn oatmeal was slowing things waaaay down when I realized that my usual daily dose of calcium/magnesium (which I take for perimenopausal leg cramps) wasn’t giving me the usual loose “output.” (I feel like I can tell you that without even apologizing for being TMI!)

    I think I need to stick with my chia seeds, tea, and room temperature green smoothies for breakfast. This has been a learning experience.

    • Monica says:

      Hey Marsi!
      Ohhh it sounds like you have some kapha in you! It might be too wet or too heavy for your digestion. Light, dry, and airy are the qualities we want for kapha folks for breakfast. Warm, grounding, squishy/moist is what vata should have (oatmeal). And pitta folks can have either – the more grounding the better for pitta because they will easily burn up food that is light, dry, and airy – and they will be hungry in not too short of time.

      It’s either that you have kapha in you (how are you emotionally and mentally? more kapha maybe?) OR your agni is very sluggish. If you don’t have strong agni, eating these foods will weigh you down and make you tired. So, it’s one of the two. Since I don’t know you personally, stick with what works. If you feel energized and are sleeping and pooping well with whatever you were doing before, do that. As you learn more about Ayurveda, your doshas will reveal themselves – and sometimes it takes time. Took me about 2 years of discovery :)

      Also, so wait, your poo is normally very loose? Hmmmmm…it should be like a big brown floatey banana – that’s ideal. If it’s not, something is a wee bit off (not apologizing for the TMI either ;)

      Well, overall stick to what is working for you, but if you notice things going off track (your digestion varies per season too!) let me know. We could always do a mini bud (30 min for $35) to balance you out :) XO!

  5. Delphine says:

    Hi Monica!

    Thank you so much for the breakfast ideas. The hardest thing, at least for me, about Ayurveda is figuring out what to eat. Most of the recipes out there are Indian and while that’s super yummy, I don’t always want to eat Indian! Can you post some lunch and dinner ideas too?

    • Monica says:

      Hi Delphine!
      That’s a great question and one I think I would like to answer as a blog post rather than as a comment. You certainly aren’t the only one who would like more menu ideas! I will make a post in the not-too-distant future :)

  6. Marsi says:

    Oh, P.S. after reading this post this morning, I bought some oatmeal with flax on the way to the office and had it with a little ghee and spiced vanilla bean sugar. It made me happy.

  7. Marsi says:

    Thank you for your reply, Monica. Smoothies don’t upset my digestion at all, but I do have cold hands and feet due to low blood pressure, so a cold smoothie often sounds too cooling for me. I end up taking it to my office in a Mason jar and then slugging it down the hatch once it’s come to room temperature mid-morning. It’s very rare that I drink a cold smoothie.

    I have a slim build, have held my weight within a five-pound range for years, and have other pitta physical attributes — yet I never really crave cold foods, I always want warm/heated foods, no matter the time of year. I also loathe hot weather. I suppose that’s the pitta speaking. It seems so strange to have these seemingly opposing forces (pitta and kapha) at play in myself. The only exercise I truly love is vinyasa yoga, which invigorates the lazy kapha in me.

    • Monica says:

      Hey Marsi! Room temp mid-morning smoothie sounds great. Around 10:00 is perfect (or a little later) because pitta time starts then and digestion is stronger :) It also sounds like you know yourself really well – kudos to that!! That’s most of the challenge of Ayurveda is figuring out who we really are – imbalances can mask that sometimes. You know yourself, so just keep going. If it works for you, do it. If you feel an aversion, don’t do it. Listening to your body-mind is key! Keep up the great work.

  8. Marsi says:

    So, I should not, under any circumstances, be having a green smoothie every morning anymore? I am somewhere between pitta and kapha. When can I have a green smoothie during the day? I’m very reluctant to give them up (spinach, carrot juice, blueberries) because they give me so much produce and nutrients in a a compact package. It’s so convenient for me to drink my veggies. Advice, please? Thank you — love your blog.

    • Monica says:

      Hi Marsi! Great question. And good news, it’s not that black and white :) If you are pitta-kapha, you can have the smoothies in summer (pitta season, when it’s hot) for a morning snack at 10am or afternoon at 3 or 4pm if you are hungry. I would not advise ever having this first thing on an empty stomach UNLESS it’s super hot outside and you feel like pitta is overflowing. This is a very cool meal/snack only meant when agni is nice and strong. Bottom line, if you’re feeling good, keep it up. If you start having digestion or tummy issues, you will want to reduce them. OH! Be mindful of these in the spring when kapha is high in nature and in you – since this is wet and cold, it might dampen your agni. Hope this helps! xo

    • Monica says:

      Hey Marsi, one more thing. I did an article on smoothies not long ago. For you: http://heymonicab.com/2011/11/smoothies-or-roughies/

  9. Samir says:

    Hi Monica,

    I got three out of four :).

    Yogurt is not Ayurvedic unless it’s turned into a lassi.

    What’s your view on cooked yogurt (e.g., used in curries etc) – does that make it beneficial at all? Also, what about paneer?

    • Monica says:

      Nice Samir, good job!! Cooked yogurt is different – the properties change when it’s heated and churned. Makes it a lot better. Paneer is okay from what I understand – it’s not a very sour cheese (sour taste is not great for pitta and kapha) and it’s light. Also keep in mind that when you have a cooked yogurt or paneer in an Indian dish, it’s also been cooked in all the Indian digestive spices…this helps a LOT. Way more so than having cold yogurt with a pinch of ginger. Thanks for your questions!!

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