Vata’s Vices

vatas_vices

 

Sometimes people think I have magical powers because I can often predict peoples’ diet and lifestyle habits even if I don’t know them very well. The way someone behaves (and eats!) gives me a lot of insight into their doshic make up. And not only that, but also gives glaring information about the dosha that is imbalanced. In Ayurveda, when a dosha is increased (imbalanced), the person will crave foods and habits that will keep increasing that dosha. Meaning, they will crave the completely wrong things!

Let’s take vata for example. Vata people talk a lot, move a lot, do a lot, lose focus, forget things, skip details, are creative, are dramatic/moody, love to be spontaneous, and are naturally bubbly. My brain automatically says, “Vata.” Now, when I observe one of these vata people drinking a lot of coffee, skipping meals yet eating candy as a food group, drinking lots of diet Coke or carbonated beverages with ice, I say to myself, “Vata imbalance.” Why? Because a balanced vata would not crave those things.

In my observation, the most common vices for vata are: icy and/or carbonated beverages, coffee, candy, fake sugars, and gum.

I swear it. I’ve seen it too many times and these are the vice-favorites (Vice-rites? Anyway…). They all give a fast and false jolt of energy, which vatas have enough of naturally, so these vices put them into manic over drive. Buzz, buzz, buzz!!! In addition, anxiety, racing thoughts, insomnia, extra cardio (because they are worried about weight gain), constipation, and dramatic changes in mood are all common and often arrive together. No bueno! It’s all too much movement, too much activity, too much cold.

If you are you thinking, “Um, this is me,” then welcome to holding the power of change in your own hands. :) And if you are thinking, “Naw, I like soup and yoga.” Then great! You are on the right track. Since I’ve given you vatas biggest vices, I will also give you some of their greatest virtues

In my observation, a balanced vata craves: warm food and drinks, a whole foods diet, early bed and early rise, craves a scheduled routine and downtime.
When vatas follow what balances them, their positive qualities will majorly outshine the qualities they need to work on. If there was a bubbly, dramatic, unfocused person in front of me, and they grabbed a cup of herbal tea while enjoying their morning oatmeal, I would guess that they are much closer to their original balance. Unless they just read HeyMonicaB last night and are putting their learnings into practice. ;) So there’s the secret and I’m not magical, just observant (watch, I’m going to get a bunch of pittas asking for what their vices are…just watch).

And yes pittas and kaphas, I’ll do your vices next. But while we are still on vata, any vatas out there have other vices they want to share? We won’t judge. Maybe we can give you an alternative to help you shine like the sparkly ball of energy you are! X!

40 Responses to Vata’s Vices

  1. […] poor vata-minded guy. Does anyone else feel like him with a whizzing and whirling of the mind? We are in the […]

  2. | HeyMonicaB says:

    […] things Ayurveda, but I REALLY need help with something. What I’ve learned is that I have a Vata imbalance, but it is much more complicated than that. Not only do I have ‘obstructed’ or […]

  3. Anita says:

    Hi, I’m vata-kapha and I mostly like having soups and teas with spices, but I get confused on if I am creating an imbalance since vata and kapha are opposites in my head.

    • Monica says:

      Hi Anita,
      Vata and kapha are sort of opposites, but the one thing they have in common is the cold. Both of those doshas are cold, so if you favor warm teas and warming spices (sounds like you are!), you will feel just fine. What you want to be mindful of is anything to heavy or goopy or fried or too much diary in spring – those are kapha increasing. And in the fall when it’s vata season, you have have heavier foods but just have less amounts of them. Overall warm soups, stewey foods, noodles in broth/spicy sauce, lots of veggies, baked fruits – are all really good for kapha and vata! Does this help? :)

      • R Mathiesen says:

        Thank you for this concise explanation to my conundrum! As a new student to Ayurveda the dosha balancing food choices have been the most confusing for me.
        Thanks again and love from VT

      • Monica says:

        You bet! Again, this is not the end-all be-all, but it gives a good start.

  4. Krista says:

    I am so happy I stumbled on this website. I have allota vata and I’ve been eating Kitchari for the last 4 days and it is doing amazing things to help me ground and settle… even on a day like today when we just got hit with a huge snowstorm – MARCH 20th – sheesh!
    Thanks!

  5. Liza says:

    It is very funny, kapha’s vices have 6 comments, pitta’s 15 and vata’s 30 (31 with this one, my second one). Gotta LOVE Ayurveda!

  6. Liza says:

    you completely got me on the “eating candy as a food group”!!! I am a vata-pitta and you are absolutely right! Whenever I stop doing yoga I crave for all the wrong things, candy, frappe beverages (not coffee fortunately since I gave it up about 2 years ago), icecream and candy bars. The good news is I drink hot ginger tea all day long and now that I read your post I will bring everything you mention into my awareness and change those little candy vices that still pop up ocassionally when inbalanced. Thanks a lot and have a wonderful day!

  7. Lindsey says:

    I’m a new follower but am THRILLED that I found this site! I am learning so much about my vata self and I’m still amazed at how closely I fit every description or explanation of vata characteristics. Beans and raw veggies just rock my digestive system and if I do eat them I have to take about 4 beano, which still doesn’t prevent the bloating, sharp pains, and other discomfort that goes along with it. Most recently I’ve begun experiencing painful stomach aches when I eat avocados and bananas, which makes me so sad and I’m just still trying to figure out why.

    My biggest goal right now is improving digestion, which has always been an issue for me. I’m learning so much here and look forward to learning more and more.

  8. Adrienne says:

    I have been reading thru your archives and I am finding all sorts of informational gems! I just *L*O*V*E* your writings! You are so special.
    Especially interesting was your blog about taking a rest after lunch. And how you have to lie on your left side b/c left is cold and right is heat and the heat needs to rise.
    I have a lot of “inflammation” due to many years of imbalance and ama b/c of awful digestive issues (lack of understanding).
    One thing I could never understand was why the inflammation was most problematic on my left side.
    I am usually vata cold, so I’m thinking perhaps this is why. I have been using warming oils, but perhaps not enough, and I possibly set off an imbalance by incorporating cooling coconut oil into my massage.
    Is it possible that my left side is more resistant to getting better, esp during this wild winter, b/c the left side is cold?
    Is this the reason so much pain has settled there?

  9. Adrienne says:

    Hello!

    I am feeling better using your digestions suggestions, CCF tea, and Vata Seasonal Bloom ideas. (my morning headaches are gone, and my joints no longer crackle, and more)
    However, the weather here is NY is making this an uphill battle for me. I was just outside and I am almost shaking b/ c it is so windy here. (and some wee bit o’ stress -change of routine- at work and home)
    The weather here is 50 degrees one day, and a snowstorm the next. And it is WINDY WINDY WINDY. It is absolutely gusting almost every day. It is making my well oiled skin feel thin and twitchy, and my congestion and insomnia have returned.
    I was really feeling the positive effects of all that sesame oil when this winter went off course, and now I’m feeling all that comfort slipping away.
    How can I protect myself against all this WIND?
    And now my upturned routine… ?

  10. sarah says:

    chocolate and beer!

  11. Adrienne says:

    Yay!
    I am trying all your digestion suggestions!

  12. Joyeaux says:

    Oh, Monica, I love you. I have been following your big forever and you were the woman who developed my love for down-to-earth ayurveda. Thank you!!
    I am a vata pitta and laughed at the truth of this post. I also really DO wanna read pitta vices, too, haha.
    I crave fruit and when I skip meals because I am too busy working, ahem, I want chips and salsa, or teddy Grahams or cereal.
    Also, I love cream cheese….

    And yes, just this past month I have dropped my yoga routine (got bored and couldn’t relax enough) and started doing cardio and fits of intense workouts (only bursts of 10 min)

    So weird to see how that’s my vata becoming imbalanced without me even noticing….

    Thank you!!

  13. Adrienne says:

    Thank you Monica.

    I guess that means no tofu also?

    I was raised in a “Health-food” household on salads, tofu, and margarin. (and was always so stumped why a farm fresh salad would make me so sick).
    I am trying to transition into a Vata diet.

    I’m reading Dr. Lad’s book, however I have always been somewhat overwhelmed by the Tastes.

    I’ve actually given up all the Vata vices foods already, do you have a Top 10 Happy Foods for Vatas?

    I do ok with breakfast and lunch, but I can’t seem to find a dinner meal that I can digest without creating that damn little gas bubble. (it is small but feels like a beach ball.)

    I was also wondering how Vata’s who are married to/live with non-Vata’s navigate dinner time?

    • Monica says:

      Hi Adrienne,
      Well tofu is OK depending on where it comes from and how much you have of it. The problem is that soy products can be highly GMOed. Tofu tends to make vatas gassy and bloatey. I don’t eat tofu much, I usually just substitute with extra veggies instead (for example, like a Thai dish or soup or noodle bowl of sorts). I LOVE LOVE your idea for Top 10 Happy Foods for Vata (pitta and kapha too!)!! I’m gonna do it. I’m going to write about happy lists. Thank you for that.

      For dinner, favor soups, stews, mac n’ cheese (good stuff, that you make, not Kraft!), noodle dishes with cooked veggies and yummy sauce. I’ll come up with a better Top 10 list for you. In the meantime, try eating a piece of raw ginger (size of your pinkie finger nail) with a dash of salt before dinner. Or did you ever try making CCF Tea? That should get rid of that little bubble – recipe here.

  14. Lisa says:

    Ahh, Monica. How I was afraid you’d say exactly that. Just makes common sense, so I figured it was Ayurvedically sound. Treat. OK, will work on that. :) Thanks, goddess!

  15. […] ♥ Vata’s Vices –  More spunky, fun advice and information from the beautiful Hey MonicaB.  I just LOVE her site.  I can spend hours reading thru her posts and learning TONS on Ayurveda for the modern woman and her lifestyle.  Enjoy! […]

  16. Guna says:

    Hi Monica! I just found your Website – and it is really AMAZING! I’m doing ayurveda in Latvia (for 5 years now), and I’m using your inspirations for my lectures – I hope you don’t mind! They are so funny and so not Indish style – just the way I LOVE it. So, I hope I can read some more interesting stuff, as a Pitta I am really excited what you will say about us – and I think, yourselfe, hihi:)

    Best with love
    Guna (how funny is my name :)

    • Monica says:

      YAY Guna! Indeed you have a great name! :) Yes of course share my inspirations in your lectures and be sure to share my site with your students. There’s lots to learn on here and it’s just the beginning :) Best with love, back at cha! Monica

  17. Liz says:

    Are you spying on me? ;) My faves things ARE coffee, sweets and staying up too late at night. Then I still try to get in my cardio the next morning. It only takes a couple of days to curb that sugar/coffee craving, but it can get out of whack so fast. Wish I loved herbal tea!

  18. Tania says:

    Yep, sure, it does make sense and I absolutely agree! But I really do well with my diet, have Vata diet and taking care to not agravate Pitta as well… and would like to get rid of coffee habit too :). Sometimes I change it with green or black tea with some ginger, basil or other herbs…but it still caffeine…you know. Even if i don’t have imbalance, I can feel that caffeine doesn’t make me good..it’s diuretic and stimulates bowels movement (I have Pitta digestion).
    Thank you for your answer, looking forward for Kapha and Pitta vices!

  19. Adrienne says:

    Hello!
    I find your take on Ayurveda much more accessible then most. Thank you. ( I actually searched dozens of sites and books before I landed here)

    I am Vata. Over the years I have curbed my diet. I can’t have coffee or sugar – they make me shake. I can’t even really drink green tea. (can I have ginger tea? I love that!)

    But I do love beans! It is a good protein, and I’ve read vata’s cannot have them. I’ve had them in soups and have been ok. But yesterday I made re-fried beans with lotsa extra fats and oils, and as with many meals, I got this little pressure bubble in my abdomen, just below my sternum. This often leads to a fit of sneezing.
    This also used to happen when I ate salad. Which I don’t do much anymore.

    Do you know what is happening? I have tried to treat it with accupuncture with no relief.

    I add as much fat and oil to my meals as I can. Good farm fresh oils and fats!

    • Monica says:

      Hi Adrienne! Thanks for the note and I’m so glad my site is giving some clarity. You can ABSOLUTELY have ginger tea!! Will be great for your digestion and circulation. Well, beans are in fact drying and light – tough for vata to digest. If they are soaked and/or in soups, you will probably have a better time with them, but their digestive qualities don’t really change (still dry and light) so keep that in mind. The pressure bubble is likely gas which is from da beans. Fat and oils are not going to help the digestive properties all that much, but spices like cumin, ginger, fennel, hing (careful, the stuff is potent!) will help. But even with these changes, don’t over-bean yourself cause you are vata.

      I would suggest mung dahl as your lentil/bean of choice (yellow and split) rather than bean-beans. Although if you have bean-beans (like Mexican-style), a nice dose of cumin powder should help you digest them better. :)

  20. Lisa says:

    Hey lovely, this raises a question I have been meaning to ask your thoughts on. So, I’m P, with V-K being the same (in prakriti), though I am nearly always struggling with V vikriti except in summer. So I LOVE, like love love love, might need to buy stock in it, Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Mineral Water. I could drink it all day long, and sometimes I do. I swear it makes me feel more calm, but could be like my favorite blanket. The carbonation and flavorings are natural and I drink it room temp, but I still wonder with even the *natural* carbonation if it might be V-provoking? Then there’s the BPA (guessing), but I can’t even go there yet. One step at a time. :)

    • Monica says:

      Heloooooo lovely Lisa! Yea, so carbonation in general is vata provoking. You are right about that. Rule of thumb it’s best to drink what nature has given us and that is, flat water. I don’t want to take away your beloved mineral water, but perhaps use it as a treat instead of a daily. Mineral water can also be dehydrating because of the extra salt (not sure if this one has salt?) in it too, which is also no good for vata. Carbonation overall reverses flow – it puts airy bubbles in a place where nature wants it to be smooth and hydrating. Does that make sense? I pass no judgement, I’m just giving you the scoop :) Hope this helps!! xoxo

  21. TMC says:

    Looking forward to the Kapha installment. I’m Kapha and totally out of balance!

  22. Sarah says:

    How about salty crispy chips for a Vata-vice? And popcorn?

    • Monica says:

      Good question Sarah! Salt in general helps balance vata but you’re right the dry, crispy nature of popcorn does not help vata. If you drizzled some ghee on it, you’d be in better shape but overall the crunchy munchie snackies are not ideal because a) you never get full on them b) so it encourages more snacking and c) the dry qualities don’t balance vata. However!! Provided they are eaten as SNACKS as they should be, and not a daily staple, chips once in a while can be enjoyed and will not hurt you. Helpful?

  23. Marsi says:

    Interesting! I’m going to guess, then, that kapha is out of balance when someone’s crushing on warm, oozy, sticky foods … like mac & cheese, mashed potatoes, and stuff like that. I do love those things, but man, do they amplify my sluggishness.

  24. Tania says:

    Hey Monica! I am Vata -Pitta and like to have some coffee in the morning. It’s not really a vice, i can live without it also, and i love to drink herbal teas as well. But I’m wondering if you have your favorite energy drink for Vata or Pitta to replace coffee in the morning.

    • Monica says:

      Hey Tania!

      S’ok. I’m talking about a very large coffee and perhaps more throughout the day. If you have a little coffee in the morning (balance it with milk), it’s not going to hurt you. I am vata-pitta and have coffee in the morning too. I have 1/2 mug of warm milk and 1/2 mug of coffee (like 6 oz), simply because I love the smell, taste and warmth – it’s a comfy ritual, personally. So I will not take that away from you, BUT if there is a person having huge and/or frequent coffees (black with lots of sugar maybe), then I notice that. Make sense?

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