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Vata Kapha Food Program – Managing Your Constitution

vata diet and lifestyle

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Vata Kapha Food Program

Ayurveda recognizes that each taste, (sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent) affects each dosha differently. The Vata Kapha food program reduces both Vata dosha and Kapha dosha in the body and mind.

The following Vata/Kapha food program is best if you have a Vata/Kapha imbalance, or if you have a Vata/Kapha constitution and want to eat those foods which will keep you in health and harmony.

Qualities to Reduce

Cold
Heavy
Dry

Best Tastes

Pungent

Sour

Small Amounts

Salty

Astringent

Worst Tastes

Sweet

Bitter

Foods listed as “Best” can be eaten without reservation on a daily basis.

If you are sick with a Vata/Kapha imbalance, consume only foods on this list. These foods are the most ideal as they are the most balanced for both doshas.

Foods listed as “Small Amounts” can be eaten in small portions fairly often or in larger portions once or twice a week. Eating a wide variety of these foods is better than an abundance of just one. Over-reliance on these foods can cause an imbalance resulting in symptoms.

Foods listed as “Avoid” should be eaten only on rare occasions and can be eaten once each month. They either cause an imbalance in both doshas or very significantly disturb one of the doshas.

GRAINS

vata kapha food program
Grains

It is best to eat grains cooked, though a small amount of bread may be eaten.

Best

Amaranth, barley, basmati rice, brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa, wild rice

Small Amounts

Millet, rye

Avoid

Corn, rice (sticky, white short or long grain) & wheat

DAIRY

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vata kapha food program

Dairy

It is best to use raw or organic milk products. Milk should be taken warm with a small amount of spices such as ginger and cardamom. Ghee and yogurt should also be used with warm spices.

Best

Buttermilk, ghee, 2% milk, low-fat yogurt

Small Amounts

Kefir, sour cream, whole milk yogurt

Avoid

Butter, cheese, cottage cheese, ice cream, frozen yogurt

SWEETENERS

Vata Kapha Food Program

Sweeteners

Overuse of any sweetener will eventually cause an imbalance. Those listed under “Small Amounts” are more likely to cause imbalance with regular usage and should not be used more than once each month.

Best

Raw honey

Small Amounts

Jaggery, molasses, sucanat

Avoid

Date sugar, dextrose, fructose, grape sugar, maltose, maple sugar, maple syrup and white table sugar

OILS

vata kapha food program

Oils

Oils are very important and should be used abundantly if the skin is dry. Though generally heavy, the higher oils will not aggravate Kapha dosha. Ghee should be used with warm spices.

Best

Flaxseed, ghee, mustard, safflower

Small Amounts

Almond, castor, corn, olive, peanut, sesame, soy

Avoid

Avocado, coconut, sunflower

FRUITS

Fruit

vata kapha food programFruits are best when they are sour and not overly ripened or sweet. These will bring balance to both Vata and Kapha doshas.

In general, due to their cooling effects on the body, their intake should be consumed in small amounts.

The “best” fruits may be taken in greater amounts. Fruit in general should not be a staple of the diet, but is all right for occasional use.

Best

Apricots, grapefruit, lemon, papaya

Small Amounts

Apples (baked or stewed is best), banana, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, cherries, lime, mango, sour oranges, pineapple, plums, pomegranate, prunes, raspberries, tangerines

Avoid

Avocado, coconut, dates, figs, grapes, melons, sweet oranges, peaches, pears, persimmons, plums, sweet raisins, strawberries

VEGETABLES

Vegetables

vata kapha food program

The vegetables should be cooked. However, occasional use of raw vegetables is all right as long as there is no constipation or gas.

Best

Artichoke (with a spicy, oily dressing), beets, carrots, cauliflower, chili peppers, fresh corn, green beans, leeks, mung beans, sprouts, mustard greens, onions, parsley, potato, radish, sunflower sprouts, tomato.

Small Amounts

Alfalfa sprouts, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, celery, cilantro, kale, lettuce, mushrooms, okra, peas (green & snow) rutabagas, seaweed, spinach, squash, (Zucchini, crookneck) swiss chard, turnips.

Avoid

Asparagus, bitter melon, cabbage, cucumber, eggplant, Jerusalem artichoke, squash (acorn, winter) sweet potato, yams

MEATS

vata kapha food program

Meats

Research shows that plant-based diets are healthier than meat-based diets and prevent many diseases. Limit meat consumption if possible.

Best

None

Small Amounts

Chicken, turkey, fish (fresh river and sea)

Avoid

Beef, duck, pork, lamb, shellfish

LEGUMES

vata kapha food program

Legumes

Legumes are best taken well cooked with warm spices, as they can be difficult to digest. Soak them before to improve digestibility. As they contain earth and air, they are heavy and dry which can harm both Vata and Kapha if digestion is weak. Those listed as best are easiest to digest and usually will not cause harm.

Best

Mung beans, soy milk, tempeh, tofu

Small Amounts

None

Avoid

Aduki beans, black beans, black gram, chickpeas, fava beans, kidney beans, lentils, lima beans, navy beans, peas, pinto beans, soybeans

SPICES

Vata kapha food program

Spices

Spices aid digestion and absorption of nutrients as well as improve flavor. It is the overall effect of spicing that is most important and not the individual spice used. If food becomes too hot, it may contribute to greater dryness. Hence, the hottest spices should be used in moderation. Food should never be bland.

Best

Allspice, anise, asafetida, basil, bay leaf, black pepper, caraway, catnip, cayenne, celery seed, chamomile, cloves, coriander, cumin, curry powder, dill, fenugreek, garlic, ginger, horseradish, marjoram, mustard seed, nutmeg, oregano, paprika, parsley, peppermint, poppy seed, rosemary, saffron, sage, spearmint, star anise, tarragon, thyme, turmeric

Small Amounts

Salt

Avoid

None

Condiments

vata kapha food program

Condiments

Best

Vinegar

Small Amounts

Catsup, carob and chocolate

Avoid

Mayonnaise

BEVERAGES

vata kapha food program

Beverages

Beverages are best taken at room temperature or warm, and never ice cold.

Best

Chamomile tea, licorice tea, mint tea, spicy teas, water

Small Amounts

Sour fruit, (cranberry, lemon, lime, pineapple, pomegranate), vegetable juices, diluted fruit juices preferred

Avoid

Alcohol, black tea, coffee, soft drinks, sweet fruit juices, soda pop

Vata/Kapha Food Program
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Written by Jackie Parker

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