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Ayurveda for Every Body

Eating for Your Dosha: Learning the Ayurveda Basics with Lentine Alexis

As we enter a new year and think about ways in which we would like to know ourselves and care for ourselves better, we sometimes turn to new fads and trends to take our cues. For this interview, we went the opposite direction and spent some time learning about Ayurveda, an ancient system of therapies from the Indian subcontinent that has varied and evolved over more than two millennia. Lentine Alexis is a chef, athlete and Ayurvedic practitioner and she walks us through the basics and how this ancient wisdom can serve us in our modern lives. 

People talk about doshas. What are they and why are they important? What is a good way to learn which type one leans towards?

Our doshas are like a bioenergetic fingerprint. Our dosha represents the earth elements that are dominant in our mind, body and spirit, and they can act as a map for how we may be likely to respond to experiences, relationships, foods—anything we interact with in our lifetimes.

The doshic explanation runs quite deep. Generally speaking, however, Vata dosha consists of air and ether, the qualities of which are rough, cold, light, mobile and subtle (balanced by smooth, warm, heavy, static and gross.) Creatives, athletes (particularly runners), and folx who love diversity, spontaneity and change are typically vata dosha dominant.

Pitta is fire and water—oily, sharp, hot, light, fleshy smelling, spreading and liquid (balanced by dry, soft, cool, heavy and dense.) Driven professionals, organized entrepreneurs, athletes, and folx who like lists, goal setting and achievement are typically pitta dominant.

Kapha dosha is earth and water—steady, moist, smooth, oily, cool and heavy (balanced by mobile, dry, rough, warm and light). Those who dislike routine, are slow to make decisions and are unrushed by the world around them are typically dominant in this dosha. Most of us are dominant in two, rarely we’re tridoshic (which means we have an equal measure of all three.)

It can be difficult to know which dosha you are (there’s a quiz on my website!) but in general we want to be watching for these qualities in ourselves—that’s really the litmus test. We all have all of the doshas.

What are some basic eating/cooking recommendations for each dosha?

This is a bit like taking a peek at the weather. We wouldn’t leave the house for the day without knowing what the weather would bring outside…we want to do the same inside. Understanding what our doshic constitution is can help us to determine what foods generally agree with us, and which don’t. But understanding how our beings are impacted by the world outside is just as important.

We want to avoid foods that are similar in quality to the dosha that dominates our being. So, if you’re a vata, you’d want to avoid foods that are rough, cold, mobile dry and subtle. (This would be smoothies, salads, snacks like popcorn and chips and the like.) As a pitta, you’d want to avoid hot and pungent foods, foods that warm the body too much. And as a kapha, you’d want to avoid cloudy, cold and heavy foods.

Find a recipe for overnight oats for all doshas and learn more about Lentine and her offering at: LentineAlexis.com/Recipe/Overnight-Oats-For-Every-Dosha

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