Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Kapha foods

To clarify, certain foods increase Kapha in any person of any dosha (so, in Vatas and Pittas as well as Kaphas), and other foods decrease Kapha. In my previous post on weight I explain that Kapha is manifested in the body as water/earth tissues, including fat and water retention. So to decrease fat in the body, Ayurveda advises to eat foods that decrease Kapha. Makes sense.

Here is a quick list of foods that decrease and increase Kapha. For a complete list visit this web page.

KAPHA-DECREASING FOODS (choose)

FRUITS ~ light, crisp fruit including apples, plums, peaches and pears but also berries and prunes
VEGETABLES ~ all light, crisp, bitter or dark vegetables
GRAINS ~ rye, kamut, barley, millet, buckwheat, corn
PROTEIN ~ lentils, beans, toasted sunflower seeds, chicken, eggs and cooked tofu
BEVERAGES ~ herbal teas, soy milk, diluted fruit juices
SPICES ~ honey, all herbs and spices especially pungent ones like ginger, garlic, turmeric, pepper, chilis, cumin


KAPHA-INCREASING FOODS (avoid)

FRUITS ~ sweet, juicy, tropical fruit including oranges, bananas, pineapples, figs, dates, avocadoes, tomatoes, coconut and melons
VEGETABLES ~ sweet or juicy vegetables including cucumbers, sweet potatoes, squashes and zucchini
GRAINS ~ wheat and rice
PROTEIN ~ all nuts, cheeses, red meats and seafood
BEVERAGES ~ excess alcohol, all dairy and pop
SPICES ~ sugar, maple syrup and salt
OILS ~ choose sunflower oil and ghee, but use sparingly and only for cooking (never cold, as in salad dressing, in spreads and garnishes, etc)


The thing to remember is that like increases like, so if your issue is fat and water retention, don't eat foods that are fatty or watery. Kapha is also inherently cold and inert, so opt for warm/hot foods that give you energy! Eat small meals, and choose snack like toasted sunflower seeds (no salt), fruits, berries, prunes, plain popcorn, raw or lightly-steamed vegetables, soup, rye toast and chai tea. Stay away from restaurant food especially Italian, sushi, bbq, burgers, fries, pizza, pub food, fast food, pre-packaged foods, and treats and desserts. Sorry!

Some encouragement: in the last few weeks of eating a Kapha-pacifying diet, I have loads of energy and my clothes fit better. This has also spurred increased activity by joining the Y!

28 comments:

veronika said...

Don't be mad at me Claudia, I've started doing yoga...but not the kind that you would recommend...but not because I'm trying to get a workout over a mind body conection...because I'm always cold! I'm cold from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep and sometimes I wake up because I'm so cold! It's damp out here and it gets to my bones so for a few hours a week I get to be wonderfully warm! So in a hot smelly room I bend and twist while an instructer yells at me to lock my knee and breath.

Will you still be my friend even though I enjoy Bikram's yoga?

Also, I think I may be a pita, but I'm not sure. I've done the ayurvedic tests to find out and depending on my mood I seem to swing between pita and vata. How can I really tell?

I miss you tons and it's great to read your blog and feel like I'm not that far away.

Frannie said...

Hi, V!! You know I could never be mad at you. My apartment's so chilly fully understand about the need for being warm -- that's so Vata! : )

It sounds like you're Vata-Pitta. I've read that if it isn't clear what your dosha is, to think about your childhood constitution when answering some of the questions. Then again, you could simply have more Pitta some days and more Vata others! The best way to tell is through pulse diagnosis which only an ayurvedic practitioner could do, but meanwhile I'd say you're Vata-Pitta!

I miss you too, sweetie! Thanks for starting a blog so you feel closer too : )

Anonymous said...

There doesnt seem to be a clear indication of whether or not Kapha types should be consuming legumes like Lentils, etc. Im a vegetarian and would like to know if consuming these items would be Kapha increasing or decreasing.

Frannie said...

Hello there!
The link to the web page with the complete list of kapha foods takes you to the info you're looking for in great detail, but I've also updated that post to reflect that missing bit of info.

Kaphas do excellently with pungent (heating spices) and astringent (drying, dehydrating) foods. Under the astringent category is legumes! That includes lentils, bean and peas, but excludes soy derivatives (cooked tofu is okay in moderation). Legumes tend to draw Kapha's fluids out of the body, including mucus and fat.

Surya said...

Ohh I'm so happy I found your blog!!! I just love it! I'm trying to live an ayurvedic lifestyle, but it's kinda lonely cause no one I know is in to Ayurveda. I live in Sweden and it's not very common here. Now to my question about kapha food. My myself am a Pitta-Kapha. My Kapha is unbalanced but also my Pitta. How do I know what diet I can choose? I mean it's not many things you can eat to not increase either pitta or kapha. I find this very diffucult so please help me with this one!
Just of curiosity-what constitution are you????
With love!!!

Claudia Davila (Fran) said...

Hello Surya! Thanks for your very kind comments, I'm really glad you're enjoying the site.

I'm Pitta-Kapha too! But predominantly Pitta. Because of this, my ayurvedic physician recommended I follow about 2/3rds a Pitta-balancing diet with about 1/3rd Kapha-balancing foods, as well as a sprinkling of Vata-balancing foods for rounding it out. Are you more Pitta than Kapha? If you are more Kapha, or you are concerned about your weight, follow a 2/3 Kapha diet with 1/3 pitta (plus a bit of Vata). I hope this helps!

I also recommend you get a cookbook guide that indicates if a food increases or decreases the doshas, such as Ayurvedic Cooking for Westerners.

Surya said...

Thank you so much fran!!! I have as well as you more pitta than kapha, but I want to reduce some fat from my body so I think I go with your advise 2/3 kapha diet. Actually I'll try a speciel cure this weekend for balancing Agni. I'm suppose to drink 30ml ricin oil in the morning and then sit at the toilet for 2hours and then rest al day long and eat only light light food. You ever tried something like that?Exciting.
Take care

Claudia Davila (Fran) said...

Sounds really interesting, I've never done anything like that! I recommend you eat kitcharee that day and the next -- just a bland porridge of rice and mung bean with some veggies, like this recipe, or have detox soup.

Anonymous said...

Hi,I have lost my sense of smell for a while now.Its been like 2 years. Sometimes i have good days and i glimpse smelling and tasting, sometimes even for a few hours..but not too often.....
I am now wondering if a chiropractor would be able to help. In the meantime, can you tell me what dosha I should be working on? What I should eat or not eat.......anything at this point.....:(

Anonymous said...

hi. i keep going to the website link for the more descriptive foods and it keeps saying that the link is no longer accessible. do you have an updated one or could you direct me on where to go. i keep finding short lists everywhere i go and am looking for a more comprehensive list and possible cookbooks for kaphas. i will need to decrease as i am almost all kapha (from a testing standpoint)...any help or direction you could give would be such a blessing...
smarzano@zoominternet.net
ty shelly ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi

Great site. I have a problem. I'm always cold and I sweat alot on the left side of my body. The sweat is greasy. I eat three times-a-day.
~ Morning- rice spaghetti
~ Afternoon- gluten free chapati + curry
~ Evening- Rice + curry
~ Curry choices- split moong dal, spinach, beef, liver, fish.

I think I am vatta. Any suggestions please?

Anonymous said...

Sorry I forgot to add that I have coeliac and I am on gluten free diet. Due to the coeliac I have osteoporosis and take two AdCal D3 tablets daily (morning + night). These are calcium and vitamin D supplements.

Thanks and appreciate your insight.

Claudia said...

To the last anonymous comments, thanks for visiting! I don't think I can diagnose anything for you, though, especially online. Might I suggest you speak in person with an Ayurvedic practitioner if it interests you? Wishing you the best of luck.

Anonymous said...

Here is the new link for the broken one above that lists food details:

Kapha: http://www.mapi.com/ayurveda_health_care/recipes/kaphaguidelines.html

Pitta: http://www.mapi.com/ayurveda_health_care/recipes/pittaguidelines.html

Vatta: http://www.mapi.com/ayurveda_health_care/recipes/vataguidelines.html

Anonymous said...

Hi,
This is a nice list of foods. However, garlic is considered tamasic and so unlikely to benefit any dosha, kapha or not (and onions aren't far behind garlic).
If you meditate or do pranayama regularly, try eating garlic and onion for a few days in a row and see how immediately they affect your practice.

qvgrinsven said...

Hi,
I found your website after googling Kapha enhancement tips. Its not for me since my Kapha is way off balance and I need to decrease my Kapha. It is for my children. One is very Vata and the other is presumably Pitta Kapha (like me) but they both seem to be devoid of any Kapha. Do you have any tips on how to enhance their Kapha in their taste spectrum?
Thank you in advance, any help is appreciated!

Claudia Davila said...

Hi to the last comment!

If your children need to increase their Vata, it should be fairly simple. They should try relaxing often (especially between noon and 4pm, the height of Pitta), and choose soothing exercises like swimming, biking, walking, plus quiet reading, etc. For diet, include soft cooked food like white (basmati) rice, dairy (ice cream, yogurt, soft cheeses, butter, ghee), fruits and vegetables in cooked form, with soothing spices like cardamom, coriander, mint.

The thing to remember is that Kapha is "cold", "heavy", and "slow", so incorporating these elements into their diet and activities will increase their Kapha.

If your Kapha is too high, do the opposite :-) Eat warm/hot foods with invigorating spices, and do invigorating activities. Hope this all helps!

And thanks to the person who left the fixed links, I will work to correct those.

Claudia Davila said...

So sorry, I meant to write if your children want to increase their KAPHA! All I wrote was to increase Kapha, not Vata. My typo!

fHeRnY! said...

I love love LOVE! Your blog, lots of information and very easy and yummi recipes! THANK YOU FOR SHARING!

Jennifer Eidson said...

I'm surprised sushi is a no no as many sushi's are vegitarian rolls. I could give up chocolate and dairy easier then sushi. Sushi is the only food I have ever in my life dreamed about lol I love sushi. Hopefully sushi once a month won't be too bad for me.

Many Luang said...

Thank you for your insightful blog ! I am a Kapha on the physical side but totally Vata on the mental one ! Si it's a bit tricky sometimes . What's more tricky is to avoid rice and tofu and soy sauce ! I'm Asian I just can't break neck to this tradition that easily ... How is it that Basmati rice is better than white/brown rice? I guess we're talking about steamed basmati rice and not fried with oil ....

Ash said...

LOVE this blog!!!!! Hope you can give me some insight. Seems I am mostly a Vata but with a tendency towards Kapha in terms of weight gain when I am stressed -which has been all the time lately.I have been literally stuffing myself lately with roasted almonds, coffee and chocolate. Seems the ONLY thing that tastes good to me and I can't get enough of it but it is packing on the pounds. Can't stand eggs or chicken and fish is great but not for breakfast. Beans, bread and rice make me just want to eat more as all carbs do. What on earth can I eat? Veggies? And cooked or raw? Thanks so much!

Frannie said...

Thanks to all the recent comments! I'm glad this post and site have been useful. It's hard to respond to each visitor so I apologize in advance if I don't get to everyone!

Ash, it sounds like you already KNOW what you should and shouldn't be eating :-) Yup, you would do well to eliminate chocolate and roasted almonds for sure. Keep nuts and seeds to a bare minimum, and make sure they're raw and unsalted. And try laying off all carbs for a while and see how you feel. Load up on raw fruits and vegetables, also vegetables that are steamed, sauteed or roasted, and fish (not battered or deep fried!). Easy on the salt!

On top of all that, it sounds like stress needs to be eased out of your life. Feeling tense and snacky? Go for a walk eating an apple. Do it every day! Stress is a waste of precious time and beautiful life energy. Best of luck!!

Ash said...

Thanks so much!!! This site and your work here are such a wonderful treasure! Do you have a Facebook page? I couldn't find a link and want to spread all your great inspiration. :)

Frannie said...

Thank you Ash, I hope this helps! I don't have any website or FB as this blog is my hobby, so to speak -- I'm not a practitioner, just an enthusiast happy to share what I've learned and experienced :-)

Ayurvedic Herbal Supplements said...

For kapha dosha,in ayurveda treatment,Meditation can be done anywhere, at any time; lying down, sitting, or walking.
Herbal Supplement for Depression

Just Creamy said...

Hello! Your blog seems such a treat - what a joy to stumble across it. I think my constitution is Vata-Pitta and whilst I think I am reasonably slim (not quite the traditional skinny skinny underweight Vata though!), I do tend to hold some weight (muscle as well as fat) around my lower body (legs and hips) which I would like to shift. Should I still focus on eating Kapha foods in order to lose this weight, despite my Vata-Pitta constitution?

I would be grateful for your input :) thank you for all the lovely things on your blog.

I wish I didn't work so late so that I could get a good 6am-10pm routine set up but I don't get home from work 'til 11pm :( any tips?

Okay okay, no more questions from me! :D sorry!

Csaba said...

Hello what a great site. Thank you. I am right now on my first panchakrma in India. My dosha is pitta-kapha too with excessive weight 430+ pounds and from pitta side with disfunctional hormone mgmnt. My western doctors were only repeating : loose weight or reserve your place in cemetery now. When I came here I was unable to walk with our t my 2 crutches, breathing with Cpap (oxygenation device), sleepy, tired, bad thinker about life. Now after 5weeks I lost 25 pounds, crutches are in the trashbin, cpap packed.
Ayurveda works only need to know change the your Western mind. My main food are raw nuts (unsalted esch 3pcs : almond,pistachio, walnut), veggies (cucumber as diuretic, tomato, carrots) and my barley chapati and hit water. Trying ti find recipes for home as I was 3x/day tenderloin meat eater :). And no w chicken, and freshwater fish is allowed. Thanks for the site.