The ancient practice of Ayurveda, the healing science tells us that everyone has a specific Dosha, or source of energy. Vata, Pitta and Kapha are the three types of dosha which has specific mental, emotional and physical characteristics. Everyone has a combination of these three dosha, but one dosha is dominant over the rest. Kapha prefer heat to cold and often complain of congestion. Weight Gain is one of the most common problem of imbalance of Kapha because kapha Dosha comprise of Earth and Water elements and have a slow metabolism. Being skinny is generally not a healthy goal, rather balancing your metabolism, increasing the ability to digest sugar and carbohydrates by adopting a Kapha Diet is a healthy way to let the body find its own ideal weight.
The main principle of Kapha Diet is to introduce some Fire element into your food and lifestyle to balance the Earthy and Watery element of Kapha. Few notes to take into consideration are:
1) Pungent Spices – We should use mildly pungent spices such as turmeric, fresh ginger, and black pepper to flavour our vegetables as these help increase digestion, reduce cholesterol and allergies, and metabolise fat. It is a spicy and hot flavour and are generally present in chillies, raw onions and most of the spices. It is dry, rough and light and helps in reducing kapha. It cleans the mouth and clarifies the senses. It helps in digestion liquefies secretions, encourages sweating and thins the blood.
2) Bitter and Astringent Tastes – Green Leafy vegetables, split mung dhal soup and astringent vegetables such as broccoli, Brussel sprout and cauliflower should be part of daily diet. Eating raw vegetables is difficult to digest and so vegetables should be cooked and eaten when warm. Astringent is a flavour of dryness that is a chalky taste that dries the mouth and may cause it to contract. Legumes like black eyed peas, pinto beans, soybeans etc. are classically astringent. As astringent is dry, rough light and reduces kapha, but it also is cold so warming spices and herbs should be added to it. The compressing, absorbing nature helps to tone bodily tissues and utilize fluids.
3) Quinoa – It has a high zinc and protein content and has the intelligence of fire to support weight loss.
4) Boil Water – We can introduce fire element by boiling water for 5 minutes and drinking that warm water the whole day. It permeates the molecules of water and thus permeate our body. This practice every day will keep us more energetic as kapha makes us feel lethargic.
5) Avoid Cold Food – We should avoid healthy and cold desserts such as cheesecake and ice cream as these will slow your metabolism and increase the cold in your body. Fried foods, refined flour, rich desserts, sugar coated chocolates, high sugar content food and cold drinks should be avoided to balance your kapha.
6) Regular Exercise and Deep Breathing – To improve metabolism and reduce weight a vigorous exercise regime should be followed as Kapha dosha often feel complacent and lethargic. Deep Breathing too improves the metabolism by opening body’s channel and infusing more oxygen into the blood.
7) Meal Time – The main meal of the day should be done when the sun is strongest that is during noon. Body’s inter digestive fire called the Agni is strongest at noon. Digestion is strongest at that time and toxic ama, the waste product of digestion is less which blocks the channels of the body and thus reduces metabolism.
8) Herbal Tea – We should avoid coffee and substitute it with green tea as it has anti-oxidants which increases metabolism and maintains overall well-being of the body.
9) Food to Avoid – We should avoid vegetables and fruits which are very sweet, sour or juicy like dates, melons, grapes, bananas, pineapples, orange, tomatoes, potatoes. We should try eliminating high starch content foods. Fatty red meat, cold cuts, soy products, fermented and aged cheese and all fat dairy should be avoided. All these foods makes your digestion sluggish.