You Are What You Eat – So What Does That Make You?

Everyone’s different and none more so than with what we eat and how we look after ourselves. Some people love eating fresh vegetables and going on daily hikes, whereas others prefer the more relaxed approach of fast food and lounging at home. We usually chalk up our differences to metabolism or personality. But we rarely attribute our physiques to what we eat, despite this being such a valuable way to vary how we look and feel. According to ayurvedic medicine, we really are what we eat and it depends on our different body types and personalities as to what we should be dining on each day. It boils down to your dosha type and keeping this in balance is the best way to stay healthy, regulate your mood and energy, and prevent a range of health conditions which plague western cultures now. Doshas are metabolic currents which drive our bodies and are called vata, pitta and kapha. We inherit these through our genetic make-up and most of us are dominated by one dosha in particular. Too much vata is associated with space, wind and air, which can make you sleepless and indecisive, for example. Eating the right foods can balance this and help you to achieve a regular sleeping pattern.

The ultimate goal of ayurveda, as with yoga, is to achieve balance – to achieve this, hardcore ayurvedics follow a strict combination of diets, meditation, exercises and herbal therapies. Although this is a more complex route to balance, you’ll be surprised what following a certain diet can do for your wellbeing and health. Fresh vegetables, dairy, grains, poultry and fish are all considered both food and medicine There’s no counting your carb intake or tracking fats with this diet, it’s also not vegan or vegetarian. You simply need to eat for your dosha and ignore the calories – your health is valued more than the amount of calories you ingest here. However, regardless of your dosha, there are some eating guidelines which ayurveda can offer to help improve your wellness. These tend to be more common sense-based than about depriving yourself of anything. For example, drink room temperature water with your meal rather than cold water, so that you digest your food properly, as ice water can inhibit proper digestion. It’s also better to avoid canned foods, red meat, white flour, white sugar and junk food – nothing you weren’t already aware of, but handy tips to remember. Once you know what dosha you’re eating for, you can begin to adapt your diet to suit it and achieve balance. To do this, you need to organise your foods into six categories – sour, sweet, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent.


Vata is associated with worry, insomnia, constipation, dry skin and anxiety. These can be balanced with warm, heavy foods such as stews or tapioca pudding. Aim for foods which include butter and healthy oils, but avoid astringent foods such as lentils, raw vegetables and cauliflower. Pitta is associated with digestive problems, anger and resentment, so temper those issues with cooling foods like casseroles and grains with limited butter or fat. You also need to minimise pungent foods such as hot and spicy foods, as well as excess salt and sour foods. Lastly, kapha is attributed to weariness, oversleeping, sinus problems and weight gain. Eat light, spicy foods such as grilled vegetables with a mild pepper sauce, and lower your intake of salty foods, red meat, dairy and sweet additions such as maple syrup. Also, pay attention to what your body is craving, as these aren’t considered moral weaknesses in ayurveda but rather your body’s way of trying to tune into your doshas.

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