Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Do you know your dosha type? Have you ever heard of such a thing? I was introduced to an entirely different aspect of myself about 10 years ago, when I sought the aid of a nutritionist who was studying ayurevedic medicine. Through her recommendations of a diet and body treatments geared to balance my dosha type, I discovered a completely new aspect of myself, and eventually experienced a truly life-changing experience.
Ayureveda is an ancient Indian medical theory, that relates a person's essence to 3 natural elements: earth, water and fire. Each individual has characteristics of all three doshas, however will likely be dominant in one particular dosha. For example, I am a Pitta, with a very close amount of Vata characteristics, and a very few Kapha traits.
You can find many tests online to help determine your dosha, or type, but if you are really interested you can easily find ayurvedic practitioners who will determine your dosha, and tell you all sorts of things that will help you live a more balanced life.
A very simple guide:
Vata - Associated with space and air. Skin might be dry, rough and cool. Their bones are small. they might be characterized as "wiry," and have high-strung dispositions. They make friends easily, are often chilly, and would be considered outgoing. Think Cameron Diaz, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Garner and Gwyneth Paltrow. For guys, think Jim Carrey, Ben Affleck and Will Smith.
Pitta - Associated with fire and water. Personality can be fiery, but is also flowy and often moving in many directions. Although I am ALWAYS cold, many pittas find themselves warm blooded, and would also be considered high-strung. Many pittas are entrepreneurs, and self-assured. Think of females like Madonna, Martha Stewart and Jennifer Aniston. Guy pittas include Lance Armstrong, Brad Pitt and Bill Clinton.
Kapha - Associated with water and earth. Personalities are usually calm and focused. They are heavy sleepers, have great hair, and don't like humid weather. Celebrity kaphas are Catherine Zeta-Jones, Angelina Jolie, Oprah Winfrey and Liv Tyler. Guys are Antonio Banderas, George Clooney, Tom Hanks and Jerry O'Connell. (FYI, I realize I'm very attracted to kaphas!)
So, what do you eat for your dosha? As a pitta I've learned I need healthy sweets. This comes as no surprise, given my cupcake "situation." Fruits. Dried, fresh, cooked...however. Watermelon, prunes, and all berries. Sour fruits aren't optimal, which would include tomatoes.
Any sweet or bitter vegetable is great for me. This would include things like artichokes, greens, squash and okra. I'm not supposed to eat fried foods, which is unfortunate, as I do love a fried squash or okra. Everything I've read recommends avoiding spicy foods, and coffee, which is really a bummer.
But, in an attempt to balance out my doshas, I dined tonight on an amazing spinach salad, loaded with slices of fresh strawberries, toasted walnuts, and dressed with a slightly sweet, seseme dressing. Ok, I'm not really supposed to have alcohol either, but couldn't resist a crisp glass of Chardonnay.
If I were to make a meal for my beautiful kapha sister, I would create a spicy Thai buckwheat noodle dish, loaded with sauteed vegetables, and a light, chili-laden sauce.
For my Vata aunt I'd opt for something warming, and calming. Right away I think of my baked pumpkin stuffed with black beans. Or my artichoke gnocchi would be good, paired with a side of warm, homemade bread and roasted vegetables (probably not these bitter greens).
I found this amazing site that really gives great, and extensive information about doshas, and how to determine which foods are best for balancing your nature. Just making a few of the adjustments can really make a difference.