Did you know that what you eat may be your best offense, as well as your best defense, against disease, aging, indigestion, digestive disorders, and mind-body imbalances? As the practice of Aryuvedic medicine has long demonstrated, not only is nutrition a key factor in maintaining overall health and wellness, but each of us digests food differently.
The good news is that Aryuveda has identified three dominant body types or "doshas" which are associated with specific physical and emotional characteristics or tendencies. Once you identify your personal body type, you will be able to choose foods and ingredients which pacify and balance your dosha, allowing you to take control of your health and adopt a lifestyle that puts you on the road towards inner peace, harmony, satisfaction, and joy.
How to Begin Your Ayurvedic Diet
So how do you begin? Start by taking the Dosha Quiz, which will help you identify whether your intrinsic nature is Vata, Pitta, or Kapha. With this knowledge in hand, you will have a blueprint of your basic constitution and an entire set of guidelines from Aryuveda regarding what foods your particular makeup favors and rejects, and which ingredients to add, consume in moderation, or eliminate from your diet. Add to this Aryuvedic tips for a wholesome and balanced lifestyle, and what you have is sure-fire recipe for personal success and wellness.
Pitta Body Type Characteristics
If you identify with most or many of the following personal characteristics, you may indeed have a Pitta body type:
- Are you of medium size and weight?
- Are you strongly goal-oriented?
- Do you have abundant energy and drive?
- Do you have a great appetite and high metabolism?
- Are you a problem-solver?
- Do you sleep soundly?
- Is your basic body temperature warm?
- Do you have red hair, thinning hair, or baldness?
- Are you easily irritable?
- Do you get angry, impatient, or frustrated quickly?
- Can you be argumentative, outspoken, or short-tempered?
- Do you have a tendency to experience toxic emotions such as jealousy, intolerance, or hate?
- Are you at times overly critical of others?
- Is your pride easily wounded?
- Are you prone to rashes or ruddy skin?
- Do you easily overheat in hot weather?
- Do you have loose bowels?
- Do you suffer from indigestion, heartburn, or stomach ulcers?
In summary, Pitta strengths include having a strong drive, determination, charisma, enthusiasm, and endurance. On the other hand, weaknesses include overworking, burning out, becoming unduly argumentative and critical, and pushing oneself beyond one's limits. Pitta types have a tendency to overheat and may be prone to addiction.
Pitta Nutritional Guidelines
If you identify as a Pitta, (i.e. you suffer from imbalances such as indigestion, extreme sweating, irritated skin, irritable thoughts, and overheating), you want to reduce heat with an appropriate diet. Here are some recommendations:
- Favor warm or cool foods over steaming/frozen foods
- Enjoy grains such as rice, barley, wheat, and oats: limit brown rice, rye, corn, and millet
- Favor milk and butter
- Minimize sour tastes of yogurt, sour cream, pickles, cheese
- Reduce sour and spicy foods
- Limit use of salt
- Favor sweet fruits over sour fruits (i.e., enjoy cherries, grapes, oranges, pineapple, plums, coconuts, and melons; limit grapefruits, berries, papayas, and olives)
- Favor cool green-leaf and garden vegetables such as cucumbers, potatoes, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, green beans, and okra; limit spicier, more acidic vegetables such as tomatoes, carrots, onions, radishes, garlic, beets, and hot peppers
- Use lemon juice for salad dressing instead of vinegar
- Choose herbal tea over coffee
- Enjoy cinnamon and coriander; minimize black pepper, mustard seed, cumin, cloves, chili peppers, and cayenne
- Favor foods with cool, sweet aromas such as chamomile, mint, lavender, jasmine, fennel, and rose
- Opt for sunflower oil, olive oil, and coconut oil; limit heat-producing corn, almond, and sesame oils
- Choose starchy foods over fried foods (i.e. increase grains, beans, and vegetables; minimize salty and oily products)
- Eat slowly and at regular times
- Don't skip meals
- Avoid overeating
Balancing Pitta: Lifestyle Tips
We are in essence comprised of all three Aryuveda body types, however having one dominant dosha allows us to be aware of what qualities we have the most of and to make the most of those qualities. At the same time, we become aware of our weaknesses, providing us with an opportunity to minimize these vulnerabilities. In terms of lifestyle, this means learning how to cope with stress, sleeping problems, the common cold, indigestion, how to prevent illness, how to exercise, how to manage relationships, how to handle deadlines and responsibilities, how to maintain calm, and how to experience more joy.
Aryuveda lifestyle tips are designed for this very purpose!
Lifestyle Tips for Pitta Doshas
- Learn to pace yourself
- Learn to balance work duties with leisure or rest time
- Learn techniques for restoring inner calm
- Let go of perfectionism as an ideal
- Schedule time for soothing or relaxing activities
- Go to bed daily at a reasonable hour
- Remember to eat at regular times
- Take natures walks and get plenty of fresh air
- Practice meditation to calm the mind
- Learn anger management techniques
- Take time-out to breathe
- Make time to be pampered and literally 'give yourself a break'
- Create space for creativity and fun
Armed with your new self-awareness and knowledge of Pitta characteristics, you are well on your way to enjoying greater health, greater peace of mind, greater mind-body balance, greater achievement, and ultimately becoming the best version of yourself.
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