Ayurveda, the ancient Indian medicine and lifestyle system, is a method to cleanse your body using natural ingredients and by managing your diet. It also involves massages, therapies and other practices that offer a holistic approach to treat and cure various ailments.
Ayurveda is extremely effective in treating digestive disorders and restoring the balance in the digestive system. The treatment for each person is different as each individual’s energy that governs their physiological activity and appearance, called doshas, are different. The three types of doshas are vata, pitta, and kapha.
So, first, you must ascertain the type of your dosha before you undertake the treatment. Some people may have a combination of two doshas, or very rarely all the three types too. Here are the specific treatment methods that help restore digestive balance for each dosha.
Vata dosha is associated with air and ether and people with vata dosha tend to be creative and energetic.
The best method for the one-day cleansing practice is to begin the day with slow breathing exercises to balance the prana (breath) or the life-force. This increases your awareness and has a calming effect on your body and mind, which enables you to deal with the day ahead. Regular yoga practice and calming walks in nature help restore your balance. Vata people should try to focus on their breath rather than movement.
Begin the day with a nourishing breakfast and consume a balanced diet consisting of warm and cooked foods through the day. During the cleansing period, minimize raw food intake. Vatas thrive on grounding foods, good fats, and oils. Consider adding more ghee and coconut oil into your diet when cooking vegetables.
Consume warming, sweet, salty, and sour foods to ground you and bring stability. Drink warm water or sip some herbal tea through the day. To achieve balance in body weight, vatas should try to eat and sleep at the same time daily and make it a habit to go to bed early.
Recipes For Vatas
An enriching cup of tea or a dish of boiled veggies can be great for treating vata dosha. Here’s how to make turmeric-cardamom-cumin tea and a dish of slow-cooked vegetables.
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cumin
- Mix the turmeric, cardamom, and the cumin powders in a mug.
- Pour a glass of boiling water into the mug.
- Allow it to steep for a couple of minutes and then drink it warm.
Slow-Cooked, Balancing Vegetables
- 4 parsnips, peeled and diced
- 2 zucchini (courgettes), chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, diced
- 185 ml (6 fluid ounces or 3⁄4 cup) vegetable stock
- 400 g (14 ounces) tin additive-free diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds or ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons wheat-free tamari
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1⁄2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
- 500 g (1 pound, 2 ounces) frozen peas
- Put all the ingredients except the peas in a slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours. If you don’t have a slow cooker, bake this in an oven at 140°C (275°F) for 2-3 hours.
- Add the peas 10 minutes before serving. This dish serves six people.
People with pitta dosha generally have a sharp mind and are good in problem-solving. But, they can often come across as quite controlling. Fire is the element associated with pitta, which displays characteristics such as warm, oily, and intense. When pittas go off balance, they often feel anger and jealousy. Cooling foods are best to cool down a fiery pitta.
Begin your day with breathing exercises that increase cooling, while focusing on keeping a relaxed and extended exhalation. Specific breathing exercises have a cooling effect that helps create feelings of compassion and kindness. Some of the best foods for pittas are sweet fruits and vegetables, leafy greens and cucumbers. Ensure that you stay well-hydrated throughout the day. In ayurveda, the aroma of mint is known to inspire and refresh the brain and it is known to help disperse fluids and heat, creating a cooling effect on the body.
During the cleansing period, pittas must avoid excess salt, hot spices, sour fruits, and alcohol and instead, focus on cooling foods to keep you in balance. As a pitta, it’s important to not miss meals as it can aggravate digestive issues and negatively affect your mind.
People with the pitta dosha should exercise regularly to achieve balance. Activities like swimming or quiet nature walks are ideal. Yoga poses for pittas include standing forward-bends and poses that focus on the abdominal area. Drinking cool water and calming herbal teas improve digestion and cool you down.
Recipe For Pittas
Egg-White Omelet With Zucchini And Mushrooms
- 45 g mixed mushrooms
- 1 small zucchini (courgette), grated
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 4 egg whites, lightly beaten
- Mix the mushrooms, zucchini, and spices with a few drops of filtered water in a frying pan on medium heat and cook for a minute.
- Reduce the heat to low and add the lightly beaten egg whites.
- Cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes, or until the egg is cooked. This dish serves one person.
Kaphas are the most grounded among the three doshas and are very nurturing. But, they sometimes tend to fear change. The element associated with kapha is earth, which is linked to damp and slowness. So, restoring the balance of the kapha dosha can take a while.
Although you don’t like change, try changing your routine. A non-sedentary way of life is crucial for you to become energetic. So, it’s important for a person with kapha dosha to stay active and exercise. Practicing heart-opening yoga poses in the morning are ideal to stretch out the throat, relieve congestion, and drain the sinuses.
Dairy products may aggravate a kapha and result in mucus accumulation. Minimize your dairy intake. Instead consider airy and dry foods, like veggies, fruits, salads, legumes, and spicy foods. Fasting is a beneficial practice that can be included into your routine. Begin with your own comfort level and gradually try fasting twice a week and consume light meals that prevent sluggishness. To balance the kapha dosha, include soups, vegetable juices, and smoothies during your cleanse. Pungent spices like cayenne pepper, mustard seeds, and ginger are good for kaphas. Ginger is an effective spice that can stimulate digestion.
Recipe For Kaphas
- 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1⁄4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- Slowly toast the spices and then grind it into a powder with a mortar and pestle.
- Warm the stock in a saucepan over medium heat to a gentle simmer.
- Add the spices and stir to blend them together.
- Strain into a cup or bowl and consume it.