Friday, March 24, 2006

Suggested Food Choices for Kapha dosha

The following list of suggested foods is by no means all-inclusive, but offers starting guidelines if you are new to ayurvedic dietary principles. We will add to this list regularly, so please check back often!

Grains: Buckwheat, quinoa, barley, millet, oats, amaranth, sago, small portions of Basmati rice, all cooked until tender

Vegetables: Asparagus, all kinds of greens, bitter gourd, green beans, lauki squash, artichoke, celery, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, kohlrabi, daikon, radish, cabbage, all cooked

Fruits: Apricots, prunes, peaches, pears, cherries, berries, apples, lemons, limes, pomegranates, dried figs, raisins

Lentils: Mung beans, mung dhal, toor dhal, red or brown lentils, small portions of garbanzos, lima beans, black beans, all cooked until butter-soft

Dairy: Whole milk diluted with water, lassi, small portions of cottage cheese or fresh paneer cheese

Oils: Small portions of ghee and olive oil

Herbs: Cilantro, curry leaves, parsley, fresh basil, fresh mint, fresh oregano, fresh thyme, sage, neem leaves

Nuts and Seeds: Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds

Spices: Turmeric, cumin, cardamom, coriander, fennel, dried ginger, Chinese cinnamon, black pepper, Chinese cinnamon, mint, saffron, dill, lime zest, nutmeg, cayenne, fenugreek, mustard seed, oregano, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, paprika, mace, cloves

Other: Raw honey in moderation, unsalted unbuttered popcorn, crackers in moderation, cooked tofu in small quantities (diced small and cooked with spices)

Kapha diet

Avoid large quantities of food, especially at night.

Dairy products: Avoid aged cheese. Avoid or reduce other cheeses and yoghurt. Low-fat milk is better. Always boil milk before you drink it, and take it warm. Do not take milk with meal or with sour or salty foods. You may add one or two pinches of turmeric or ginger to whole milk before boiling.

Fruits: Favour lighter fruits such as apples and pears. Reduce heavy or sour fruits such as oranges, bananas, pineapples, figs, dates, avocados, coconut, and melon.

Sweeteners: Honey is good (but do not heat it above 400C). Avoid sugar products.

Beans: All beans are fine except tofu (soya bean curd).

Nuts: Avoid all nuts.

Grains: Most grains are fine, especially barley and millet. Restrict use of wheat, rice and oats.

Oils: reduce or avoid all oils. A small amount of ghee (½-1 teaspoons/day) is fine

Spices: All spices are good but restrict the use of salt.

Vegetables: all are fine, except tomatoes, cucumber, sweet potatoes and courgettes.

Special advice

Milk: It is not recommended to take milk with a meal made up of mixed tastes especially salty and sour foods. It can be taken with sweet foods including grains. Milk is easier to digest after being boiled with spices such as ginger, black pepper, turmeric, and saffron.

Honey: Do not heat honey above body temperature (400C). Doing so decreases the benefits of honey and actually causes it to have a negative impact on health.

Food best avoided: Minimize heavy foods (e.g. meats, especially red meat, fish, eggs, aged cheese), refrigerated and ice-cold foods and drinks (they depress digestion), raw vegetables (easier to digest when cooked) and alcohol.

Tea and coffee: Minimize tea and coffee consumption. The negative effects of both can be very much reduced by adding a little cardamom powder.

GMOs: It is strongly recommended that you avoid food that has been produced using genetically modified ingredients. Genetic modification of food disrupts the intelligence of the food and is very likely to produce subtle deleterious effects in the long-term.

Organic agriculture: Organic food is strongly recommended. It has more sattva – balance producing quality. Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture is a system that further enhances the sattva of the food and at the same time produces balance in the farmer.

Food preparation:

1. Eat freshly prepared food, preferably organic. Avoid GM food, leftovers, pre-cooked and fast food.

2. Food is best if warm and well cooked.

3. The food should look good and taste delicious.

4. Food prepared by a happy settled cook in a pleasant environment will have the greatest nutritional value.

When and how to eat

Ayurveda emphasizes the great importance of a good digestion for health and holds that how and when you eat is as important as what you eat. It recommends:

1. Eat in a settled atmosphere and savour your food – sit, don’t stand and avoid TV, radio and reading. Let your attention be on the food.

2. Be regular in your meal times and eat your main meal in the middle of the day when the digestive fire is at its strongest. Eat lightly in the evening at least 2 hours before bedtime.

3. Do not eat until the previous meal has been digested.

4. Eat moderately: avoid overeating and do not skip meals.

5. Avoid sour foods (yoghurt, soft and hard cheese, buttermilk) at night. (Lassi is ok).

6. Walk for 10 minutes after meals.

7. Exercise without strain daily. Leave 30 minutes after exercise before eating and do not exercise energetically for 1-2 hours after a main meal.

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