Managing and Feeding a Pitta-Kapha Disposition
If you haven’t yet tested for your ayurvedic dosha, go to this site, which under the purview of Deepak Chopra, offers what I think is the most accurate assessment of dosha types. Answer all the questions perfectly honestly to get an accurate result:
Without getting into anything heavy-going here, I’ll offer my easy definition of ayurvedic doshas: the doshas are the 3 energies – Vata, Pitta, Kapha - that circulate throughout the body. We have all 3 in certain quantities, but we all have a greater amount of one or two doshas that make up this physiological constitution of ours. Knowing which dosha or doshas predominate within you is the key to good health and psychological balance.
I tested many years ago and discovered that I am Pitta dominant, with some Kapha elements. The Pitta constitution is warm in nature. We’re passionate, dedicated, and smart. But we’re also often competitive, and sometimes irritable. Spicy, hot, salty foods worsen our overabundance of heat: cool and liquid foods balance the Pitta dosha. We’re moderately built, muscular, often red-headed, light-skinned, and sunburn easily.
The Kapha body endures. It runs cool. It takes illness almost in stride. Kapha is loyal and slower to anger. Kapha tends toward obesity. To balance Kapha dosha, eat freshly cooked foods that are light and dry, warm, spicy, and salty. Kapha tends to be dark and olive skinned.
I’m an interesting hybrid of the two. But there’s no doubt that I am Pitta dominant. But here’s the thing: I LOVE spicy foods, hot drinks, and the sun. I don’t have Pitta coloring: my eyes are dark, my hair dark (auburn highlighted), my skin slightly olive. I sunburn pretty quickly, though. I’m no stranger to sun poisoning. I have a Pitta body type, but Kapha teeth and eyes. I can be impulsive and enthusiastic, but am slow to anger. It’s a weird, Bardo-ish place to be.
The upshot of this is that I can get away with a lot. Spicy foods don’t make me sick or irritable. Hot drinks soothe me. I can devour cold foods in summer without feeling drained. In this regard, I’m very lucky. But then, without warning, but rarely, a really hot curry will upset my tummy, or make me feel grouchy. A cold meal with leave me feeling like I have a lump in my stomach. I’ll gain a few pounds suddenly; then they will melt off without me trying. Some summer days I tan, others I burn. I strongly favor summer, but also love snow sports. But I hate being cold. Even my eye color shifts from darkest dark to something golden in color. This often happens when I change something big in my diet, like going raw vegan for a while.
Dosha protocols have a big place in our food gardens. To soothe Pitta heat, I grow a lot of mint, sage, parsley, dill, holy basil, and lemon balm. I always grow tons of cucumbers, spinach, chard, dandelion, tomatoes, beets, and lettuce. Melons, especially watermelon, grow at the center of the garden. My husband cooks the yellow squash, but I prefer it raw and cold. Ditto for the green beans. I’ll just stand in the garden and chow raw beans; he is waiting for me to finish so he can pluck beans, boil them, and lather them in butter.
We’re planning the summer food garden now, deciding what this year will be different from last year. The food will, as always, include Pitta soothers; but potatoes and red hot peppers will have their place (I can see my ayurvedic practitioner shaking her head). We plan to add to our small fruit orchard. A variety of fresh, biodynamic food that warms, cools, and nourishes the doshas.