Ayruveda means science of life and is a true holistic form of health practices honoring mind-body-spirit. This is the traditional medicine of ancient India and the Hindi culture, based on nature and patterns. It embraces individualism, fosters self-awareness, and focuses on prevention and correcting the underlying reasons why an individual cannot get well. The foundational building blocks look at roughly twenty qualities that combine to create an individual’s constitution or dosha, which is a combination of the Tridosha – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. One’s constitution never changes; it is like a finger print and is unique to everyone. Throughout life, imbalances occur through change in seasons, diet, viruses, parasites, bacteria, environmental toxins, stress, aging… Utilizing Ayruvedic prinicples is another way to view the qualities of a body and systems and then use them to guide that animal toward health.
The Vata dosha is represented by air and ether. A Vata constitution lends itself to motion as it governs movement in the mind and body. These individuals often exhibit high energy in short bursts. Breeds fitting predominantly Vata would be Greyhounds, Whippets, Poodles, some terriers, Abyssinian cats, and others with a lean frame and deep chest. Food is not their number one motivator and along with the lean frame are less likely than others to become obese. They can be clever and easy learners but retention may fall short. The air aspect gives them a free spirit yet friendly in nature when all is good but will develop stress and anxiety when out of balance. A Vata enjoys sleep.
Feeding a Vata: Stick to warm and moist meals. Avoid veggies like beans, cauliflower, broccoli, peppers, and potatoes. Instead make their diet about warming foods like beef, carrots, and squashes. Blanch and puree the veggies for better digestion. Avoid lamb, mutton, pork, rabbit, venison, white turkey meat. You can also feed them Ayurvedic kichari made with rice and mung beans, add a little black pepper, cumin, coriander, and pinch of dried or fresh ginger.
The Pitta dosha is represented by fire and water. The fire gives them a strong-willed personality and quick to lash out. A Pitta is all about the food. Yes, all mine! This will make them fast eaters and often times food aggressive. They tend to be smart and quick learners who never forget once something is learned. However, can become pushy and easily angered when stressed. Their body is muscled and medium sized. Breeds that fit here are American Staffordshire, German Shepherd dog, some hounds, Siamese cat. There are typical health problems that occur when Pitta is not balanced. A Pitta is already warm inside causing them to be uncomfortable in sun and hot weather as well as a predilection to skin inflammation.
Feeding a Pitta: These breeds do better with cooling foods such as cottage cheese, chicken, river fish, duck, rabbit, turkey, and even tofu if they develop a taste. Limit: Beef, saltwater fish, lamb, pork, salmon, sardines. Blanched and pureed leafy greens work well too. Use a pinch of cumin or coriander with one meal each day.
The Kapha Dosha is represented by water and earth and it maintains body resistance or protection. These individuals have large round soft eyes, thick fur, are easy going, slow paced, affectionate, loving and forgiving. They make the best parents and are very nurturing to others with their calm stable nature. Kapha types typically have a sturdy strong heavier build. Breeds fitting this dosha are Burnese Mountain dogs, Beagles, Golden Retrievers, Persian cats.
Feeding a Kapha: Favor light, energizing foods and relatively dry (like chicken or freshwater fish), as opposed to those that are heavy, oily, or especially dense (such as beef, pork, or duck). Fresh veggies of carrots, squash, and pumpkin. Keep starch, grains, and fats to a minimum. This means a greater meat to mix ratio. A pinch of dried or fresh turmeric can be added to one meal each day.
COMPARING THE DOSHA FOOD GROUPS – If there is more than one dosha type in the home, here are the common foods in each of the categories that are similar for all three:
- GRAINS – Oats, Quinoa, Rice either basmati or wild
- LEGUMES – Red lentils, Mung beans, Mung Dal
- VEGETABLES – Asparagus, beets, carrots, cilantro, green beans, peas, rutabaga, spinach, winter squash
- FRUITS – Apples, apricots, berries, cherries, coconut, papaya, plums, prunes
- OIL – Sunflower
- HERBS – Basil, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, parsley, peppermint, tarragon, turmeric
|Apples (cooked), Applesauce, Apricots, Bananas (ripe, not green), Berries, Cantaloupe, Cherries, Coconut, Dates (fresh, cooked or soaked), Figs (fresh, cooked or soaked), Grapefruit, Kiwi, Lemon, Lime, Mango, Melons, Oranges, Papaya, Peaches, Pineapple, Plums, Prunes (cooked or soaked), Tamarind||Apples (sweet), Applesauce, Apricots (sweet), Berries (sweet), Cherries (sweet), Coconut, Dates, Figs, Limes, Mangos (ripe), Melons, Oranges (sweet), Papaya, Pears, Pineapple (sweet), Plums (sweet), Pomegranates, Prunes, Strawberries, Watermelon||Apples (sweet), Applesauce, Apricots (sweet), Berries (sweet), Cherries (sweet), Coconut, Dates, Figs, Limes, Mangos (ripe), Melons, Oranges (sweet), Papaya, Pears, Pineapple (sweet), Plums (sweet), Pomegranates, Prunes, Strawberries, Watermelon|
|Almond Oil, Avocado Oil, Castor Oil, Coconut Oil, Ghee, Mustard Oil, Olive Oil, Peanut Oil, Safflower Oil, Sesame Oil, Sunflower Oil||Coconut Oil, Flax Seed Oil, Ghee, Olive Oil, Primrose Oil, Sunflower Oil, Walnut Oil||Almond Oil, Corn Oil, Flax Seed Oil, Ghee, Sunflower Oil|
|Ajwan, Allspice, Anise, Basil, Bay Leaf, Black Pepper, Caraway, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cloves, Coriander (seeds or powder), Cumin (seeds or powder), Dill, Fennel, Garlic, Ginger (fresh or dried), Hing (Asafoetida), Mace, Marjoram, Mint, Mustard Seeds, Nutmeg, Oregano, Paprika, Parsley, Peppermint, Pippali, Poppy Seeds, Rosemary, Saffron, Salt, Savory, Tarragon, Thyme, Turmeric, Vanilla||Basil (fresh), Black Pepper (small amounts), Cardamom, Cinnamon (small amounts), Coriander (seeds or powder), Cumin (seeds or powder), Dill, Fennel, Ginger (fresh), Mint, Neem Leaves, Orange Peel, Parsley, Peppermint, Saffron, Spearmint, Tarragon, Turmeric, Vanilla||Ajwan, Allspice, Anise, Basil, Bay Leaf, Black Pepper, Caraway, Cardamom, Cayenne, Cinnamon, Cloves, Coriander (seeds or powder), Cumin (seeds or powder), Dill, Fennel, Fenugreek, Garlic, Ginger (fresh or dried), Hing (Asafoetida), Mace, Marjoram, Mint, Mustard Seeds, Neem Leaves, Nutmeg, Oregano, Paprika, Parsley, Peppermint, Pippali, Poppy Seeds, Rosemary, Saffron, Savory, Spearmint, Tarragon, Thyme, Trikatu, Turmeric, Vanilla|
|Beef, Buffalo, Chicken (dark), Duck, Eggs, Fish (fresh and salt water), Salmon, Sardines, Seafood, Shrimp, Tuna Fish, Turkey (dark)||Duck, Buffalo, Chicken (white), Eggs (white only), Fish (freshwater), Rabbit, Shrimp, Turkey (white), seasonally Venison||Chicken (white), Eggs (not fried, and in moderation), Fish (freshwater), Rabbit, Shrimp, Turkey (white), Venison|
|Durham Flour, Oats; Cooked, Sunflower Pancakes, Quinoa, Rice (all types), Seitan, Wheat||Barley, Cereal (dry), Couscous, Crackers, Durham Flour, Granola, Oat Bran, Oats, Sunflower Pancakes, Pasta, Quinoa, Rice (basmati, white, wild), Rice Cakes, Seitan, Spelt, Tapioca, Wheat Bran||Barley, Buckwheat, Corn, Couscous, Crackers, Durham Flour, Granola, Millet, Muesli, Oat Bran, Oats (dry), Polenta, Quinoa, Rice (basmati, wild), Rice Cakes, Rye, Seitan, Spelt, Tapioca, Wheat Bran|
|Lentils; Red, Miso, Mung Beans, Mung Dal; Split, Tofu (served hot), Toor Dal, Ural Dal||Adzuki Beans, Black Beans, Black-Eyed Peas, Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas), Kidney Beans, Lentils, Lima Beans, Mung Beans, Mung Dal, Navy Beans, Pinto Beans, Split Peas, Tempeh, Tofu, White Beans||Adzuki Beans, Black Beans, Black-Eyed Peas, Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas), Lentils, Lima Beans, Mung Beans, Mung Dal, Navy Beans, Pinto Beans, Split Peas, Tempeh, Tofu (served hot), Toor Dal, White Beans|
|Asparagus, Avocado, Beets, Carrots; cooked, Cilantro, Cucumber, Green Beans, Green Chilies, Mustard Greens, Okra, Olives (black), Onion; cooked, Parsnip, Peas; cooked, Pumpkin, Rutabaga, Spinach; cooked, Squash; summer & winter, Sweet Potatoes, Watercress, Zucchini||Avocado, Artichoke, Asparagus, Beets; cooked, Bell Peppers, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots; Cauliflower, Celery, Cilantro, Collard Greens, Cucumber, Dandelion Greens, Green Beans, Kale, Leafy Greens, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Okra, Onions; cooked, Parsley, Parsnips, Peas, Peppers (sweet), Potatoes, Pumpkin, Rutabaga, Spaghetti Squash, Sprouts, Squash; summer & winter, Spinach (raw), Sweet Potatoes, Watercress, Wheat Grass, Zucchini||Artichoke, Asparagus, Beet Greens, Beets, Bell Peppers, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Burdock Root, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chilies, Cilantro, Collard Greens, Corn, Daikon Radish, Dandelion Greens, Eggplant, Green Beans, Horseradish, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leafy Greens, Lettuce, Mustard Greens, Okra, Onions, Peas, Peppers; Sweet & Hot, Potatoes; White, Radishes, Rutabaga, Spaghetti Squash, Spinach, Sprouts, Squash; winter, Tomatoes; cooked, Turnips, Watercress, Wheat Grass|