Cool and stabilize your soul.
When starting a new journey, like adopting an Ayurvedic diet, it is crucial to understand the foods you should or shouldn’t consume and why. This is because, according to Ayurveda, food is medicine and nourishment for your body, mind, emotions, and soul. Here is a comprehensive guide for you to understand the basics of any diet designed for Pitta Dosha.
The correct diet to help correct an imbalance in Pitta focuses on refreshing the body, energizing the mind, calming emotions, and avoiding excess liquids in the body. Since Pitta is in charge of understanding and changing, an ideal diet will promote the brain’s health and encourage adequate energy levels throughout your body.
If you need to balance your Pitta Dosha or are looking for a Pitta-specific diet, you are in the right place. Remember that the most important parts of changing your current eating habits to healthier ones are not only related to the ingredients you choose to consume. Here are a few essential points that you should consider.
- Eating healthy doesn’t mean depriving yourself entirely of certain foods; it’s about making better choices every meal. You can always indulge in all foods you like, just don’t make it a habit.
- Feeling good and keeping your body properly nourished is the goal of good nutrition, regardless of how your body looks.
- If you have any food allergies or severe digestive issues, you should always consult with your doctor before altering your eating habits drastically.
- Creating healthy habits involves building mindfulness and consciousness around them. Listen to your body and be aware of how it responds to change.
- Small decisions are the most significant changes, don’t try to completely transform your diet from one day to the next. Instead, make small, mindful changes and track their results. This will also make the transition more manageable and sustainable.
To further understand how a balanced diet for Pitta is built, you must consider certain overall qualities that you will want to favor in your diet, not only ingredients. Balance in Ayurvedic diets is attained through counterbalancing Doshas’ qualities with their opposites. Pitta is hot, light, intense, and sharp; you need cooling, stabilizing, grounding, and mild foods to balance it.
“Foods that are great to balance Pitta are, in general, sweet, bitter, and astringent in taste. Ayurveda considers these tastes to be medicine for cooling, drying, and calming excess Pitta. Generally, all six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent) are recommended for healthy digestion.” (Templeton, Yoga International: About Pitta, s.f.)
Opt for sweet and lightly astringent fruits; avoid sour, heating fruits. Eat delicious dates, papaya topped with amaranth, indulge in delicious plums, and enjoy the exotic touch of mangos. Avoid grapefruits, tamarind, and dried fruits in excess.
Choose sweet, bitter, and, sometimes, astringent vegetables, especially at midday, and reduce spicy and sharp veggies. Enjoy roasted carrot soups and fresh celery. Add collard greens with cilantro as a side in your meals. Spoil yourself with pumpkin pie and ice cream, add kale to a leafy green smoothie, and add coriander or fennel to your meals. Avoid tomatoes, radishes, and garlic.
Go for cooling and dry grains instead of mushy and heating grains. Cook basmati rice and top it with fresh basil, enjoy pasta with mushrooms, and go crazy with granola on all your fruits. Avoid corn, don’t eat brown rice, and stay away from yeasted bread.
Try to eat plenty of legumes unless they are sour or oily. You can try all types of beans or enjoy a lentil soup with peas. Avoid miso and soy meats.
“Dairy products tend to be grounding, nourishing, and cooling, so many of them are balancing for Pitta. Those to avoid are exceptionally sour, salty, or heating. As a rule, dairy milks (cow’s milk, goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, etc.) should be taken at least one hour before or after any other food. For this reason, avoid drinking milk with meals. Almond and rice milks are good substitutes, if you need to combine milk with other foods, or if you don’t digest dairy milks well.” (Banyan Botanicals, s.f.)
Nuts are not very beneficial for Pitta because of their oily and heating nature. Some seeds like pumpkin or sunflower are acceptable in moderate amounts, and you can eat buttered popcorn without salt.
If you eat meat, favor sweet and dry meats over oily and salty options. Remember that white chicken and turkey are an excellent choice for their cooling quality, suitable for Pitta. Try to avoid beef and saltwater fish.
When it comes to oils, a moderate amount of cooling oils will do for Pitta Dosha. Avoid almond and sesame oils.
Although sweet flavors are beneficial to Pitta, stay away from refined sugars, and limit your intake to naturally sweet foods. Avoid honey and processed sweeteners.
Do not overdo spices; while some of them can be beneficial for their cooling quality, hotter spices can aggravate Pitta. Stick to fresh herbs like mint and generally reach for milder flavors.
Here are some great tips that can make your transition to a Pitta specific diet more manageable:
- Choose cold food over hot. Try not to ingest heavily spiced meals. If you can eat your food when it's warm instead of hot, better. Avoid coffee and alcoholic beverages.
- Cook with fresh ingredients. Favor raw foods in general. Having fresh produce to cook with is always better and help balance Pitta´s heat.
- Opt for solid, nourishing meals. Stabilizing ingredients such as most grains and root vegetables are great options.
- Add moderate amounts of quality oils to your food. Balance Pitta by ensuring you are not using too much oil or ghee, especially if you incorporate oily ingredients into your diet.
- Set a schedule for your meals and follow it. To counterbalance Pitta’s sometimes extreme appetite, you need to bring more structure into your routine. Try to eat three meals a day, always at the same hours. It will help avoid overeating.
Remember to focus your awareness when cooking and eating; this helps create a more peaceful and mindful environment, particularly beneficial for Pitta. Don’t pressure yourself if you can’t follow a perfect Pitta diet. Your main goal should be nourishing your body and feeling good, it takes time to build good eating habits, and it’s never a good idea to try to adopt an entirely new diet overnight. The better you eat, the better you will feel overall; and this is just one of many ways Ayurveda can help you feel amazing in your own skin.