Category Archives: Pitta
Pitta Season! Ahhh, a 3-day weekend, what could be better (as you shout “a 4-day weekend!”)!? Memorial Day is often spent picnicking with family, bbq’ing with friends and enjoying the warmer weather that we know is just going to get better in the few months ahead. Fruits are looking better and fresher in the produce department as berries and stone fruits start making their appearance for the season.
We might feel energized, uplifted, as we enjoy the smells of cut grass, blooming flowers (jasmine are my favorite!), and fresh air. And of course we bust out our sunglasses and sun hats to protect our eyes and heads from the sun. Memorial Day usually marks the day that water and amusement parks open for the summer too because schools let out soon. And because we are spending so much time outside, we also apply gobs of sunscreen.
Now, if you take all these pieces and you use your Ayurvedic smarts, you will realize it’s all for good reason. Because it’s the start of pitta season! :) I know, you’re probably thinking, “Already!?” YEPPER! It has crept up on us and here we are right on top of summer. Take a moment to think about it. The fresh fruits that are in season are cooling and are the fruits that balance pitta the best (berries, stone fruits, melons). Walking on cool grass is good for pitta’s sensitive eyes–and so are the sunglasses. Sun hats protect our heads from overheating (overeheated pitta-heads will get cranky and headaches from the heat). As we enjoy more time outside the giant fire ball in the sky (pitta in nature) could burn our skin (governed by pitta) so we need to apply sunscreen. Blooming flowers and full trees are pleasing to the eyes (again governed by pitta) making us feel more at ease and less stressed (a common pitta problem). And then, the water parks! Pittas love the water because it’s instantly cooling for them.
Golly this makes so much sense, doesn’t it? Do you feel better now because you remember why you are suddenly feeling a shift?! Yesss. And friends, if you have not checked out Seasonal Bloom Pitta, there are loads of tips and lifestyle recommendations for summer.
So, what was your favorite pitta-balancing thing you did this 3-day weekend (besides wish it was 4)? We would all love to know what works for you! xoxo!
Hey Monica! I KNOW that ghee is one of your first recommendations to cure the sad balls (esp. for vatas) but I am AFRAID to eat ghee. I know it is clarified butter and that just says cholesterol and weight-gain for me. You said above that you won’t gain weight from ghee, etc. Why is that since it is butter? What about cholesterol? This post might be a bit late, like a vata in distress, I also just sent out my Christmas cards last week! (fyi, she wrote this on January 13th. Ha ha!)
GREAT question and thank you for bringing this up. Certainly you are not the only person who wants to know, “Does ghee make me fat?” Raise your hands if it has crossed your mind that eating ghee will make you gain weight. Ohhh…that’s what I THOUGHT! Look around the room, see? You’re not alone. Leave your hands up if you are a vata. Ah-HAH, just as I thought. See, vatas always ask the “Will it make me fat?!” question and the irony is that vatas are the dosha least likely to gain weight no matter what they eat. In fact, vatas need extra fats yet they are most paranoid about eating them.
Now, let me get to the answer of this question because I know you all have little vata ants in your pants. DOES GHEE MAKE YOU FAT? NO! GHEE DOES NOT MAKE YOU FAT. Feel better? ;) Let me explain.
Ghee is balancing for vata and pitta. Kaphas can have ghee in moderation. Vatas need the oil and agni stoke from ghee. Pittas need the agni stoke and the cooling effect ghee has. Kaphas need just a little ghee because they are already oily and cool.
Ghee is the only fat that actually increases agni (digestive fire/metabolism)! So imagine eating a super tasty fat that increases your ability to digest and assimilate foods as well as give a little boost in the metabolism department. Yum, magic!
Different than butter, ghee does not cling to our insides to make a cloggy mess. In fact, it very mildly pulls toxins out it goes through our bod.
Ghee “butters” the insides and helps us maintain regular digestion (per the question above).
Ghee melts when you touch it, even at room temperature and it seeps deep into our tissues to keep our bodies supple. Butter does not. You can even put ghee on a mild burn (cooling, remember) and you cannot with butter.
Ghee has a high smoke point and won’t burn in the pan, so you can sautee veggies or spices in it and add to your favorite dishes.
Ghee is a sattvic food; foods that promote total harmony in the body-mind. Our minds get easy so instead of worrying if ghee makes us fat, we can simply enjoy it. On a larger scale, our focus in life turns to enjoyment rather than worry.
In Ayurveda, using ghee is said to lower cholesterol!
Butter does NONE of these things! They are different foods. Butter and ghee are not the same thing.
But you might not still believe me. Well, let’s flashback to the 90’s. Remember when you were eating SnackWell’s cookies by the box because we were told we could eat any foods as long as we didn’t eat fat? And, remember how you didn’t lose any weight by not eating fat? Our bodies need fat—it’s essential to our vitality, intelligence, digestion, happiness (fat keeps us happy!), and strength. When we eat good amounts of fat, it tastes good going down, therefore we are satiated, and therefore, we eat less. We don’t need to gobble SnackWell’s by the boxfull because one baked apple with a touch of melted ghee, brown sugar, cinnamon and cardamom will leave our tummies and minds satisfied for hours.
Now, I’m not saying eat gobs o’ ghee, simply just substitute ghee for your butter or oil. Really! Just use it as you would any other fat, about 3-4 tblsp per day. Spread it on toast, drizzle on rice or pasta, bake it with apples or pears, use on your grilled cheese instead of butter, or put a tsp in your oatmeal to help you “go” in the morning.
Give it a try for a week and see if your sad little balls are remedied. You will not gain weight in a week, that I promise. In addition, be sure to stay hydrated too. Ghee + water are a vata girl’s best friend. Become friends with ghee, your body will thank you! Let me know if this helps! xo.
Want even MORE info? Dude, I wrote a book and it’s awesome. Check out In Your Elements, A Blooming Ayurvedic Guide to Creating Your Best Life.
NEW YEAR just started! Yahoo! Many people choose January 1 as the day to turn over a new leaf and rework their life habits. I don’t think that’s a bad plan. The only bad thing is punishing yourself or quitting all together if you get off kilter. If you made a resolution already, remember to have forgiveness and tenacity. Meaning, don’t beat yourself up for not adhering to perfection (psshhht…who’s perfect afterall) but at the same time, don’t throw your hands up and quit if it’s not easy. There is a fine line. Two steps forward, one step back is still one step forward. Right? Cool.
I put together some DOSHA-lutions that you might like if you are having trouble deciding what to work on. These are suggestions based on your dosha! So, more than a resolution, this is a dosha-lution which is based solely on what will benefit your life and body-mind. The goal is to build upon your dosha-lutions over time so you build yourself new habits and a better way of living healthy! Remember to pick just one thing to work on. Too many things just sets us up for failure, so choose one and give it a go!
Refuse to pay fees at the ATM. Vatas usually fly by the seat of their pants which can have them spending more for last minute conveniences like ATM fees. Refusing to pay fees at ATMs as a dosha-lution will help vatas plan ahead to make sure they have cash in hand and it will help them save money!
Automate your savings. Figure out how much money you need per pay check and set up an automatic transfer to savings, leaving only the amount that you need in your checking. This way, you can spend everything in your checking account (woohoo!) and you’ll never see what you’re saving. One day you will be pleasantly surprised to see how much is in there!
Put yourself second and listen. Vatas can bowl people over with their enthusiasm in sharing what’s happening in their lives. While their energy is usually infectious and positive, they tend to talk way more than they listen which can be a little overwhelming for other doshas. Why not put the focus on someone else first. Before gushing with your stories, ask theirs. Ask how they are and make it a point to listen so intently that you can recite the details the next day (or two) when you talk to them again. They will be flattered and touched that you care so much and your heart will feel awesome that you’ve touched their lives. Bonus for vata too because vatas LOVE to touch lives.
Card stash. Vatas are mega multi-taskers and while their heart is always in the right place, their brain might not be. Birthday cards, anniversaries, baby congrats, shower gifts, wedding cards, thank yous, and other courteous correspondence might fall to the wayside because of their busying and dizzying schedules. Remember, vatas love to touch lives! So, get a stash of cute, blank cards, forever stamps, even keep some birthday cards. When you want to write a note to Granny, you’ll have everything you need without having to run around town like a nutter ;)
Eat 3 square meals. Not 8 tiny ones. I know you.
Leave work on time. Pittas will work and work and work and work and work until their little heads explode and then they get pissy (wouldn’t you if your head exploded?). So why get to that point? If you are supposed to work until 5, leave at 5:00. Stress is the number one killer, people. The work will be there tomorrow and you will still have a job because you ROCK at what you do and people love you. So go home and have a nice night.
Limit talk radio. I know you like to be informed of all things happening everywhere in the world all the time (especially when you can debate about it), but dude, the constant chatter and news will increase stress levels without you knowing it. In at least one direction on your daily commute, opt for the classical or electronica chill station instead.
Volunteer. Pittas can get locked tight in their minds about their personal and professional goals and sometimes they forget there is a world out there that needs assistance. Take a time out once a month and volunteer with something that resonates. Women’s shelters need visitors, animal rescue groups need dog walkers and bathers, psychiatric wards sometimes use therapy dogs (if you have a nice doggie, talk to your local ASPCA and they might be able to hook you up), kids need tutors, or flex those muscles and move some rice bags around at your local food bank. Pittas need to be reminded to live through their HEART to find compassion. Volunteering is a great way to do that. Backbends are good too ;)
Bed by 10. I know you get your second wind after 10pm, but please sleep. Your gray hair and/or receding hairline (pitta traits!) are tell tale signs that you think a LOT. Your brain needs rest and so does your bod. If you got more sleep, you would be more alert and efficient during the day so that you can leave on time (double dosha-lution whammy!!).
Light Dinner. Kaphas digestion is slow so they tend to put on weight easily. Having a light dinner will help keep their bodies and minds light. When dinner is too heavy it sits in our guts all night long, making it tough to wake up. If dinner is smaller and easily digested, you’ll wake up like a spring chicken!
Daily walk. Incorporating a 20 minute brisk walk each day before or after work will make kaphas feel light and happy. Just 20 minutes! If it’s tough, come home and immediately put on your walking pants and shoes – and out the door! Not enough exercise results in a slew of health problems including weight gain, lethargy and depression, especially in kaphas. One of the very best things kaphas can do is to move their bods regularly!
De-clutter. Come on kaphas, you don’t need to keep the lucky socks you had in college. Okay maybe keep those but toss out the four pairs of back up lucky socks you have ;) When kaphas clean and de-clutter they feel instantly light, fresh, and renewed. Choose small, frequent projects and begin to get rid of stuff you don’t use. One project might be a junk drawer. Next project might be under your bathroom sink. Just do one tiny thing a week. If you try to tackle too much, it will take an entire day and you will hate it. If you break it down into small 30 minute bits, you won’t think it’s a pain. Before you know it your dwelling will be sparkley clean and you’ll feel like clickin your heels!
Once a week, do something new. Kahpas love routine and rarely stray from it. In fact, it makes them downright uncomfortable to have to try something new. However, branching out is a great way to infuse light and energy into a stagnant kapha. So once a week, try something new to stay on your toes. Go to a new coffee shop, take a different walking route (double dosha-lutions whammy!!), go do a different Walgreens, taste something new, even stir your tea in the opposite direction. It could be anything! Just make sure you aren’t buying something new because that will lead to more stuff that you are already trying to de-clutter. ;)
If you have any suggestions for specific dosha-lutions, I would love to hear them! There are GOBS of ideas out there and the more we come up with, the juicer life gets! Yeehaw! xoxo.
I am now 58 yrs. old with many, many more life experiences and health challenges than in my 30’s. I have a definite vata dosha now but if I had taken the quiz in my 30’s the results would have been different. Does a person’s dosha change generationally? -Deb
Ahh…”Does my dosha change?” is a great question. A person’s prakruti (natural balance of doshas) never changes. It’s innate from the time of conception. BUT what does change in our life are…seasons, jobs, relationships, food, eating habits, exercise, daily routine, emotions, etc., All these things can alter our doshas and that is where we get imbalanced. So it is safe to say that if you maintain your prakruti throughout life, you do not have any imbalances or health issues. That is perfect health. So in Ayurveda, we need to figure out your prakruti first, to understand where you started and who you are naturally. Then we examine where you are today and in how you’ve shifted from your natural state. THEN we begin to advise food, lifestyle, herbs, treatment, etc., to try and get you back to where you started. So! While your natural doshas stay the same as when you were in your 30s, you have added many more life changes which could sway your doshas from your natural state. Also, after menopause, we all enter vata stage of life, which is where you are now. So you will feel much more vata-like than you may have when you were younger. Does that help?
Hey guys! We’re in the heart of pitta season! What does that mean? It means it’s summer and it’s HOT outside, which might make us hot on the insides. Last year I created the very first Seasonal Bloom, which provides guidelines, tips, and tools to staying healthy during summer. If are a hot-bodied pitta or if someone near and dear to your heart is a pitta, you won’t want to miss the read. If you’ve already read it last year, it might be worth a refresh so that you can remember all the tools you have to use to keep you cool, calm, and collected while the heat is on!
Hola! For the past two weeks on the HeyMonicaB radio show, we we’ve been talking about the 5 senses (episode 24 & 25): sound, touch, sight, taste and smell (Don’t ask what’s up with the bunnies in these old posts. I am meaning to fix them – I created them when I was a wee young blogger ;) Also, I don’t think I wrote one on smell…um, yeah).
As mentioned during the show, Ayurveda uses therapies on specific senses to balance specific doshas. I thought you might enjoy a little recap on that because visual (pitta!) aids help us make sense of the information (also pitta!). See there? Perfect example. When we see something we remember it far better than when we just hear something. Why? Because seeing (sight) is connected to pitta dosha, which is the link to our intelligence and retaining of information. We don’t remember quite as much when we are simply listening (sound). Why? Because sound is connected to vata dosha, which captures information quickly, but doesn’t retain it for long.
Don’t forget that these doshas have personalities and qualities, as well as functions. This is how we reach the mind-body. Let’s get to it.
In Ayurveda, we balance vata through touch and sound. That’s why we use massage so often in Ayurveda. Vata is a dosha that quickly goes out of balance (and quickly back into balance) but a good hug from a loved one or friend can bring the ourt-of-sorts vata person back to center. A warm oil massage will balance and calm vata almost instantly, whether you do it yourself or go to a massage therapist.
Vatas are also very sensitive to sound afterall, there’s not much in the ears except air and space, which is what vata is made of! Lots of vata lives in the ears, so if the wrong radio station or tv program is on, vatas will feel very uncomfortable and distracted quite easily. Construction noises and garbage trucks will also drive them crazy. Also because of the connection with the ears, when vatas travel by plane, they should take special precautions prior to their journey to make sure they stay balanced.
Some vata imbalances related to touch and sound include: constipation, insomnia, joint pain, anxiety, depression, worry, mood swings, lack of concentration, ringing in the ears, headaches, general aches and pains.
We balance pitta through sight therapy. Whether that’s cleaning up a cluttered house, a messy desk or a disorganized closet, pittas love to organize. They will feel sort of “out of control” if what they see is a mess and they will quickly look to start cleaning it up. This organization and cleanliness is because pittas are very sensitive (and critical!) to what they see. Pitta folks often have corrective vision wear too because those eyes are usually on overdrive. To soothe tired, red or irritated eyes, we can light a candle or look at a blue sky (anything in nature). We can walk barefoot in the cool grass in the evening (cool and dewey grass soothe the eyes!) and one of the biggest therapies is to lay off the computer for a while! :) One of the major therapies in Ayurveda is netra basti, which is where we build a dough dam around the eyes and fill it with melted ghee. The client then opens their eyes and the ghee penetrates and soothes the eyes (you say “eu” or think it’s a wack-a-doo therapy, but if done routinely and corretly, it can return most people to 20/20 vision!!).
Some pitta imbalances related to sight include: red or itchy eyes, tension headaches, insomnia, pink eye, dizziness or lightheadedness, irritability
Kapha is balanced through the senses of taste and smell. Taste is a really important sense (and it’s a HUGE topic, so I will do my best to sum up) because not only is it a sense, but it’s closely related to the building blocks of our entire physical beings (food!). Kaphas love to eat! They love to taste foods and make foods and serve foods. The combination of a kitchen that smells divine and food that tastes even better is irresistible for kapha.
In Ayurveda, we have to make sure a kapha person’s diet is not too salty, sweet, or heavy (fatty). This is a really tough challenge for kaphas who a) love foods of all kinds and b) tend toward weight gain. The best thing kaphas can do is fill their plate with tasty, spicy vegetables and have small portions of the other foods. That way they can still taste, savor, and enjoy their food without ending up with a kapha imbalance. This is not an easy task for kapha but if they stick to it, they will notice immense changes in their body-minds.
We can balance kapha through smells as well as taste through aromatherapy. All doshas can be balanced through aromatherapy but kaphas have a special affinity for it because we can instantly (and kaphas are typically slow) invigorate a kapha simply through scents.
Is it getting warm outside where you live yet? In America, we are approaching pitta season, which means that it’s heating up both outside and on our insides. One of my favorite treats to beat the heat (that was a lot of ‘eats’) is to float cucumber slices in a pitcher of cool water. Delicious! And the water doesn’t get bitter like it does with citrus fruit. You’ll instantly feel like you’ve been transported to a luxury spa on the beach. Ahhh…
You can also add mint! mm!
‘Elo! So, understanding this dosha balancing thang can be a little confusing. I get lots of emails and questions that my readers have about their own unique balance. Sometimes I even get vatas saying, “I wish I was a kapha!” Doesn’t everyone? ;) Just kidding. Oh come on now, kaphas have their problems just like every other dosha, but sometimes we do wish we could become something we are not. Maybe we wish we were more organized like pitta. Or maybe we wish we had more creativity like vata. And of course, we all wish for more peace of mind and compassion like a kapha.
Friends I have some news…YOU are always going to be YOU. You cannot become a different dosha if it’s not in your nature. I’ll break it down for you. Quite simply the doshas can be represented by animals :)
Back to my point, none of these animals are wishing they were something else. They all embrace who they are and live by focusing on their strengths and positive qualities rather than their weaknesses. So remember that. While you are discovering who you are, embrace the way you are unique. XOXO.
If you have any acid-reflux or heartburn issues, drinking licorice tea will help! Licorice (the real stuff not Twizzlers!) is cooling, heavy, and smooth. Will cool down, weight down and “smooth” out any heat and irritation. :)
Heaven on Earth!! Eeee! Okay in many places it’s the dead (or like I like to call “dread”) of winter. This hearty breakfast will leave you satisfied and sooo happy. If you are an oatmeal fan, you MUST make this oatmeal. Please trust me. I got the recipe from my Ayurvedic Vaidya (doc) and teacher, Arun Deva, and it’s AMAZING! I had a consultation with him last week and he added fabulous accessories to my otherwise routine oatmeal with ghee.
Get THIS! Here are the rules for the World’s BEST Oatmeal!
• Take 7 almonds and soak overnight in water. In the morning remove the peels (it’s easy). Peels are hard to digest so soaking and removing the peels is like giving our digestion a head start.
• Soak a small amount (10-15) of raisins overnight. Use organic raisins found in the produce dept. Soaking them adds moisture which eases digestion and eliminates raisin gassies. Skip Sunkist or Sunmaid brands, those have sulfur and other unnecessary crap added.
• Use the raisin water to make your morning oatmeal (genius!). You can use slow oatmeal or if you are a fast American, use one packet of Trader Joe’s Organic Oatmeal.
• Add the raisins and naked almonds to your oatmeal. Stir in brown sugar and ghee. OR use honey (but not honey + ghee). You can also add 1/2 banana, a handful of blueberries, 2 dates, or any combo of those! HEAVEN I say!
The key is to add a small amount of each thing, otherwise it’s just too big. Here we have a lovely balance of carbs, protein, and fats. We also have a good amount of iron, folic acid and anti-oxidants. Ayurvedically speaking this recipe will nourish ALL the dhatus (tissues): rasa (plasma), rakta (blood), mamsa (muscle), meda (fat), majja (bone marrow), and shukra (reproductive) and your body will hum along in harmony. Best for vatas and pittas, may be too heavy for kapha types.
AND if you choose to add ghee, guaranteed you will be a happy pooper. YAY!
Pomegranates are worth the putz! Check it out, I’ll tell you why. Pomegranates are delicious, juicy, poppy, little seeds that have a special affinity for the blood, heart, reproductive system, and are cooling for the digestive tract.
The pomegranate is tridoshic but it is especially cooling for pitta in the digestive tract to help inflamed stomach and intestines. It is useful in ulcers, IBS, hyperacidity (use as an antacid), diarrhea, even hemorrhoids. Okay ready for more?! Not only all that but it strengthens the heart and nourishes rakta dhatu (that’s, blood tissue). A good clue that it works on the blood and the liver (both pitta locations!) is that the color is bright red. It’s also good to reduce hot flashes and keep tempers cool during menopause when the body moves from pitta lifecycle into vata lifecycle.
Basically the pomegranate is astringent so it dries and cools (balancing for pitta and kapha). Vatas be mindful because it can cause constipation. In fact, boiling pomegranate peels for 5 minutes then drinking the water will stop a severe bout of IBS or non-stop diarrhea instantly. If you have oily skin and/or reddish skin with pimples, splash that same “pomegranate peel” water on your face for a facial tonic. Your skin will tighten, become less red and will feel cooler :)
Since they are in season, go pick some up! Eat the seeds, drink some juice and play with the peels! If you are a vata, have a little bit less and do not ever drink “pomegranate peel” water – you will be so sad. However, if you have any pitta-type disorders, pomegranates are a God send. Make friends with them. There is a little putzing to peel them, but check out this Produce Picker Podcast (I don’t know him, but his intro is kinda funny and I liked the instructions) to learn how to get the seeds out easily. If it takes longer than you wish, chill out, sing, enjoy the process. Some things are worth a little extra effort and little pommeys are one of those things! xo
I get this question all the time, “I’m two doshas! How do I know which one to follow?”
(If you’re like, “Wait! What’s a dosha?” – Here is some help)
First, don’t panic! It’s aalll good. Many of us are more than one dosha and sometimes we are two doshas in equal parts. I’ll use myself as an example. I am an equal split of pitta/vata. I have a vata mind; creative, scattered, multi-tasking, inventive. I have a pitta body; medium build, straight slightly oily hair, sharp tongue. I have vata digestion: bloatey, tending toward constipation. I have the typical pitta “I want it my way” desire for control. They play together to make me who I am. Because I know a lot about the doshas, I can pick out where they live in my body and balance them that way. For example because of my weak/variable digestion, I know that I have to follow mainly vata guidelines for food.
So what does one do when they are a combo of both doshas but the tools that balance them are sorta opposites? There are a few things you can do, but first you REALLY understand what each dosha needs to stay balanced.
In a tiny nutshell
vatas need: grounding, moisture/oil, heaviness, heat, and stability
pittas need: soothing, cooling, a bit more dryness, sweetness, and serenity
kaphas need: movement, heat, dryness, invigoration, and spices
Great so what do you do when you are a pitta/vata and one is telling you to stay warm and the other is telling you to stay cool? Or what to do when you are a kapha/pitta and you are supposed to eat hot spices to jumpstart digestion, but hot spices aggravate pitta? THIS is where Ayurveda gets a little complicated and becomes a WHOLE science. This is where the combination of YOU comes in (and probably a good practitioner ;).
There are several ways to manage two doshas but for you to keep it simple, stay in balance with the seasons. Please see the seasonal chart for a happy visual aid. Seasons are the larger nature and we are smaller, so we are governed by them. If you are a pitta/kapha and it is summer, monitor and balance your pitta by having cooling, astringent foods like veggies. Don’t exercise in the hot sun or drink too much booze (heating). But also, mind your kapha by not having “sugars” as your sweet foods (kapha increasing), rather choose fresh fruits to balance both doshas.
I hope I am not making your head spin. Really it will all make sense once you start to know yourself. I know that salads (vata increasing) make be bloatey (vata problem) during fall and winter (vata season). I also know that I might get heartburn (pitta problem) during summer (pitta season) if I have a glass of red wine with spicy food (both pitta increasing).
So my suggestion is, read up about vata, pitta and kapha. If you have questions, ask them and I will do my best to answer. Once you know the three, you will begin to see where each one shows up in your body-mind and you can make food, exercise and lifestyle decisions accordingly. It will take time as your discoveries unravel, so don’t be anxious, just start to notice your patterns. You will begin to notice how certain foods affect you and maybe how stress affects you at different times.
Take this as the start of getting to know yourself. Hooray for two doshas! It’s fun to watch them play together and flip each other over as the seasons go by. Use this new knowledge to your advantage so you can keep yourself healthy. xo!
Thanks for the questions Magdalena!! I am happy to answer. In Ayurvedic cooking, it is recommended that veggies are cooked. Cooking veggies aids agni in digesting food because the food has the “fire” element (heat, cooking, grill, whatever) is already introduced before it hits our stomach. If we eat raw veggies, they are cold, rough, and hard which means it takes a really strong fire to digest them properly. So in general, any sort of heating your food will help you digest better.
There is a little Ayurvedic science involved in the cooking methods but when you remember that the 5 great elements (space, air, fire, water, earth) govern everything, it will make your life easier.
If you boil veggies, there is heat (fire), but what other element is there? Anyone? “WATER!” Yes hooray. Prize goes to the lady in the purple shirt. Therefore, boiling veggies is better for folks who need more moisture. Vatas are the most dry of the three doshas so a little extra water will help keep their digestion happy (don’t forget to drizzle ghee on the veggies for more lube!).
If you grill veggies, fire is the main element and there is also air involved. This will be a great method for kaphas or sluggish digestion because the fire in the grill will heat and stoke our fire within.
If you roast veggies, it will depend if you roast them dry, which is good for kapha and pitta. Or you can roast them in oil or ghee which is good for vata.
Frying is…hot oil! Which dosha needs something warming and oily? “VATA” Wow! The lady in the purple shirt is cleaning house. Vatas can actually have fried food in the winter when it’s freezing and dry outside. As long as the oil is fresh and we don’t eat too many fried foods, vata will feel comfortable and “buttered” after a little friedness.
Always remember that the 5 elements make up every wee piece of matter and energy. Just five tiny things! When in doubt, see if you can pick out what elements are involved. From there use your knowledge and choose the opposites to balance. Hopefully I didn’t confuse you too much. Slowly absorbing this information is key to really applying it. With enough practice you can be like the lady in the purple shirt…and you could win…A NEW CAR! Just kidding. I live across the street from where they film The Price Is Right. Not kidding. Aaaaannnd, scene.
HeyMonicaB.com turns two today! How fun. Any guesses on what the first post was about (no cheating by going to the archives)?
Come on guess!!
OK I’ll tell you.
It was GHEE!
haha! I think there are even non-working links on that page. What a rookie. All I wanted to do two years ago is tell people how fabulous ghee was. And look! Things have expanded and hopefully you are learning lots while being mildly entertained.
SO! That brings me to a question. What do YOU want out of the next two years (and beyond…!) from heymonicab.com? Advice column where you can ask questions? Product advice? Seasonal health guides? Tell me! I have some things in the works all ready but I want to hear from you. Afterall, Ayurveda is ALL ABOUT YOU anyway, so bring on your wishes! Let’s incorporate them. Let’s make this thang even better.
THANK YOU for your support and great questions. This is just the beginning, my sweet friends. I hope you continue to enjoy and share Ayurveda with your friends and family. First we heal ourselves, then we heal our loved ones, and then we can heal the masses…that’s MY goal anyway ;)
To start it out with a bang, I’ve created some summer pitta artwork on little cafe press store: www.cafepress.com/heymonicab
There are two designs to choose from and a bunch of products (I think they’re kinda fun). I will create more artwork for other doshas as the seasons change. I hope you likey!! Enjoy my friends and thank you from the bottom of my heart. Here’s to TWO! *clink* (that was a cup of chai btw). Namasté sweet ones.
I would love to know who’s had cereal for dinner in the past week. Anyone? Confession: Me me, I had cereal tonight!
Yesterday began summer solstice which means we are full into pitta season. Long days, lots of sun and heat begin to increase pitta’s fire in each of us. So when it comes to meals we are probably not reaching for spicy chili, heavy rice dishes, or mashed potatoes. Nope, that stuff feels too heavy and warm for us. So, we might crave something light and sweet, like cereal!
While your mom may have said that cereal is not a good dinner, I’ll tell you that cereal is actually not a bad dinner during summer! It’s light and easy to digest. The milk has a cooling effect on the body (plus, liquid calms down fire), it’s a mild laxative, and instantly calms stress and anxiety. The cereal is dry and light, so it soaks up any excess oils and heat. Both cereal and milk have what is a “sweet taste” in Ayurveda which is the best taste to balance pitta.
SEE?! Don’t you feel better? Craving cereal in summer is not strange, it’s totally natural! Our bodies call for exactly what we need. Next time you get a craving for cereal for dinner, check the weather because I bet it was a warm day
*Choose cereals wisely. Fruit Loops, Cap’n Crunch, Coco Pebbles and the like are FULL of sugar, which will jack you up and crash you down! No bueno! When in doubt, shop the natural foods section of the grocery store. You also can’t go too wrong at Trader Joe’s.
Woohoo! An Ayurvedic posting on coffee! Yesssss. Who knew such a happy thing existed?! When advising my clients, I don’t usually make them rid their coffee. Why? Because depending on the person’s dosha, coffee might not be that terrible of a thing for them.
Authentic Ayurveda says that we should not have coffee, not because of the coffee but because of the caffeine. Caffeine constricts flow, it makes you pee (diuretic to be fancy), it can make you manic/anxious, and it’s addicting. Yes, we all know that. And there is a Starbucks on every corner! THIS is why I write a little post about coffee. I know you. I know you’re going to have your coffee regardless of what myself or Ayurveda say. So! I’ll work with ya a little bit and give you the best coffee -making combinations for each dosha, to keep you balanced and happy.
Coffee’s Ayurvedic Qualities
Coffee has a bitter (cold, dry, & light qualities) taste, which is imbalancing for vata, but balancing for pitta and kapha. The bitter taste is a blood purifier (blood ruled by pitta), detoxifies the body, liver tonic (liver ruled by pitta), depletes tissues (kaphas tend to have excess tissues), especially reproductive tissues. In simple terms, bitter increases vata because it will increase the cold, dry & light qualities. Vatas need to stay warm, unctuous, and heavy, so too much coffee will be their worst enemy. The manic, scattered, jittery folks that drink coffee are most likely high vata. On the flip side coffee will cool pitta, while it dries and uplifts kapha! See the beauty of how this works?
Customize Your Cup O’ Joe!
VATA COFFEE: Vatas need lots of warm milk in your coffee to balance the bitter qualities. Start with at least 1/2 mug of warm milk and add brown sugar, stir, then add the coffee. If the coffee is strong, add warm water (use the office water cooler/heater!) to your milk and then a splash of coffee. Coffee should amount to no more than 1/2 mug. This way you get a taste of the coffee, but overall this is a nourishing, calming drink for vata without sending anxieties through the roof. As a MEGA-BONUS, vatas can add ghee to their coffee. Their coffee should always be hot.
PITTA COFFEE: Pittas can also make vata coffee because pittas will benefit from the sweet taste from milk and sugar. Pittas can handle a slightly darker coffee with a little less milk. They won’t get as anxious as vata with stronger coffee because pittas are more sturdy. Pittas are sort of in the middle. The people who are angry or crabby before their morning coffee are likely pitta people, because they need the bitter taste in coffee to “cool” them down. Pittas can also have an iced coffee during summer. Also…as a MEGA-BONUS, pittas can add ghee to their coffee too!
KAPHA COFFEE (how fun is that to say): Kaphas will actually feel uplifted from drinking coffee, rather than manic like vata. Kaphas need a little kick in the pants because they don’t like to move. They can enjoy a stronger coffee, but it should be pretty dark with less milk. Milk and sugar are NOT friends for kapha. The heaviness and sweet taste will have them craving sweets all day long. If kaphas need a sweetner, they can use honey (drying, scraping, heating)! Mind you, kaphas would love to tip the sugar shaker and hold for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5+ seconds until their drink tastes like candy. But if kaphas use the bitter taste in coffee to their advantage, they can get the energy they need without the sugar crash.
Pinch of cardamom – reduces the effects of caffeine, warming, digestive. Good for vata & kapha
Cinnamon – super spice! Tri-doshic (heating, no for pitta in summer)
Brown Sugar – saweeeeet. Good for vata & pitta
Honey – sweet, but qualities are drying, heating, and scraping. Good for kapha.
Nutmeg – aphrodisiac, heating. Good for vata & kapha
Hey! For those of you practicing or those who have been wanting to try yoga, I found this great list of 40 ways yoga heals! I got it from a super yummy book, Yoga As Medicine by Timothy McCall, MD.
Yoga and Ayurveda are ancient sisters and they work hand in hand. To put it simply, yoga is the practice that gets our minds ready for meditation. You might say, “But hey, yoga is physical, not really mental.” Well, in a nutshell (a very tiny nutshell) the physical poses in yoga work to calm the mind, so the spirit can open.
And, Ayurveda is the lifestyle that compliments yoga practice. Vice versa one could say that yoga practice completes an Ayurvedic lifestyle. Ideally in life, you would do both of them together because they sort of rely on each other. Ayurveda will encompass diet, lifestyle management, cleansing (panchakarma) therapies, herbal recommendations, pranayama (breathing techniques), and massage therapies. Yoga is the asanas (poses) that touch on the subtle channels of the body, to promote flow and help the mind calm down. Hopefully this wee nugget of info can help you understand the difference between these two lovely sisters.
For tired or irritated eyes, soak cosmetic pads in rose water and rest on closed eye lids. Cucumber slices also work. Both will reduce redness, soothe the eyes, and add sparkle!