Food For Thought
Does your stomach bother you after eating certain foods? Are large meals unsatisfying to you? Ayurveda may offer solutions. The Sanskrit ayur means "life" and veda means "knowledge." This ancient Indian system of medicine aims to prevent illness and disease by maintaining balance throughout the body.
One way to achieve this equilibrium is through diet. According to Ayurvedic theory, individuals are comprised of varying degrees of three forces: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. When these forces are in harmony, we achieve health. Using the checklist below, determine which force governs you and identify the best foods to help you uphold balance.
Which Are You?
Check the qualities that are most like you. The force checked most is your dominant one.
Choose the best foods for balance.
Quick mind and wit (but poor memory retention)
On the go (physically and mentally)
Difficulty establishing regular patterns and routines
Loves heat and the sun
To decrease Vata
Choose sweet, sour, and salty tastes
To increase Vata
Choose pungent, bitter and astringent tastes
Intelligent, alert, and organized
Loves cool temperatures
To decrease Pitta
Choose sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes
To increase Pitta
Choose pungent, sour and salty tastes
Slow, but good endurance
Calm, loving, and complacent
Patterns and routines easily established
Loves heat; bothered by cold, damp weather
Thick, large frame
To decrease Kapha
Choose pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes
To increase Kapha
Choose sweet, sour and salty tastes
The Six Tastes
dark green leafy vegetables
Sources: Stop Your Cravings by Jennifer Workman, MS, RD (The Free Press, 2002); Ayurveda: A Life of Balance by Maya Tiwari (Inner Traditions, 1995); Ayurvedic Cooking for Westerners by Amadea Morningstar (Lotus Press, 1995); The Ayurvedic Cookbook by Amadea Morningstar (Lotus Press, 1990); Ayurveda: The Science of Self-Healing by Vasant Lad (Lotus Press, 1984).