5 dish rich in proteins and low in carbs : Pitta-Kapha

Pitta people ask me pretty often what would be an example of an ayurvedic diet that balance the dosha Pitta during summertime and that is high in proteins and low in carbs. As you may know, Pitta people can be very affected physically by the big heat. It makes the fire go up, and the consequences of this excess of heat created sweating, redness, oiliness, impatience, frustration, impulsivity and intensity. The fire imbalance can lead to angriness and combativeness as well.

To maintain the balance of the fire (and also the water element) during the intense heat, one of the best ways to do it is with a proper diet adapted to the fire element which means high in minerals, vitamins and refreshing. The dish needs to fill to calm down the fire, and, as you know, has the following taste: Bitter, Pungent, and Sweet to balance the Pitta/Kapha during the summertime. We also want a vegetarian dish (less meat as possible for Pitta/Kapha, especially in summer), with no excess of soft texture. Because the Kapha needs some « crunchy » food, I kept the dish low in sauce (it is what I like!) but feel free to pimp it with any sauce that balances your elements.

Dish 1: Grilled tofu, chickpeas with green beans

Panned tofu, chickpeas, greens beans, olive oil

Tofu is not a food that you may find in old ayurvedic literature. It’s not mentioned because soy was not cultivated in areas where Ayurveda was developed. Although a lot of people have problems digesting tofu because soy contains at least 15 different proteins that can cause an allergic reaction, it’s however a good protein option for vegetarian people that trains a lot or need a diet rich in proteins.

Dish 2: Paned tofu, green beans, tofu

Cooked kale is easier to digest than raw. When it’s cooked, kale is still making gassy but less. It’s one of the reasons that it’s not recommended for Vata. Because it’s lightly bitter, kale is a good « green » for Pitta and Kapha but it has to be chewed properly to facilitate digestion.

Dish 3: Lentils patties with zucchini pasta and avocado

Zucchinis is one of my favourite vegetables for the main reason that it is very easy to grow and they don’t need too much attention in the garden. Also, zucchinis are pretty cheap at the supermarket. In Ayurveda, Zucchinis are classified as balancing Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

You can see the recipe for the lentil patties here (in French).

Avocados are recommended in Ayurveda for Pitta dosha (because it’s cooling), but also for the Vata dosha (a smooth texture that balances the Wind element).

Dish 4: Lentils salad, tofu, sweet potatoes, green beans

Greens beans, sweet potato, lentils, tofu

Sweet potatoes are recommended for the Pitta because they bring good fibers, vitamin A and sweetness. They are also very good for Vata dosha because they are sweet, smooth and very nutritive. The skin is rich in potassium, magnesium and vitamin A and C.

Dish 5: Black beans, rice, kale, sweet potatoes, beet

Sweet potatoes, rice, beans, kale, beet

Mixing together cereals with legumes is a good protein source. There is a myth that says that beans and rice are complete proteins together, which is not so true… Beans are high in proteins. Kidney beans have 15 grams of protein per cup. Quality rice has all the essential amino acids that we need. All together, the chances that Agni, the digestive fire is filled, are higher with the mix of legumes and cereals.

Description of Agni in the Sama Vedas

This are my favorites quotes about Agni in the Sama Vedas that contains a good description of Agni, the fire God.

The powerful Agni, the immortal, the parent of wealth, and who is dear to us as a friend.

0 Agni, our purifier and our creator, liberally bestow on us, in reputable ways, food-increasing wealth, such as may make us honor, such as is desired by many and is attended with the highest fame.

Secure the approbation of your own Agni, the lord of sacrifices, the causer of grief, the invader of the gods, the faithful offered of sacrifice for the two worlds, which existed before the clouds, yet without vitality, and who shines with golden radiance.

Agni traverses, by his own mighty, the two worlds, and when he sends down rain he uses his mighty roaring to extend from the farthest to the rest extremity of heaven ; and, great in might, he grows later still in the (ethereal) abode of waters.

Thou, 0 Agni, like the Sun which is white, and another which is red ; thou manifested in the two forms of day and night, and art landed like the canopy of heaven. 0 possessor of food, you preserve the understanding of all men. 0 nourishing, grant that we may receive prosperity-causing presents this sacrifice.

Agni, hast been solemnly ordained by the gods to be invited to all sacrifices performed in the world inhabited by men.

The purifying (Agni); encircled by his white radiant along with the priests, capes from all sin ; arid like the Sun all pure, and brilliant, he shines out from behind the rainy cloud, thou with the seven priests, encircle all created form.

Agni, the trainer of happiness

To summarize, this is how Agni is described in the Sama Veda.

  • Immortal
  • A friend
  • Creator
  • Purifier
  • Lord of sacrifices
  • Causer of grief
  • Invader of the gods
  • Like the Sun
  • Possessor of food
  • White radiant
  • Brilliant
  • Shines
  • Trainer of happiness

The Sa’ma Veda, Translation by J. Stevenson, 1906

Food that may not suit you

A lot of people are dealing with chronic digestives problems and tried to recover from this disease by trying an elimination diet. This is fair. As a human, we are all different. Ayurveda said that because of our nature (prakriti), our health at the moment (vikriti), our medical history (antibiotic, depression, drugs), our environment (sport, cigarettes, alcohol) and sometimes even because of spirituals matters (past life), we all have different body and different tolerance to food. What I tried to do today it’s a quick work that I did for me and I decided to share it with you.

I made a list of food that may not suit you according to studies. So, yes, according to science. You take it or not. My goal is to share what could be the more challenging food to digest in general.

FODMAP

FODMAP means Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols, which are short-chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols that are poorly absorbed by the body. The FODMAP diet is based on the elimination or severely limited of the food to avoid for 3-8 weeks, then gradually reintroduced into a low-FODMAP diet to see if they cause symptoms.

FODMAP diet has been a very good result for some of my customers. I invite you to read more about this diet/lifestyle here but if you need scientific proof just check this study. The conclusion is: the evidence to date strongly supports the efficacy of a low FODMAP diet in the treatment of IBS. Further studies are required to understand any potential adverse effects of long-term restriction of FODMAPs.

Nightshades

Called the nightshade family of the potato family, Solanaceae may be connected with arthritis and joint pain, especially the autoimmune disease of rheumatoid arthritis. Nightshades contain an alkaloid called solanine, which is toxic in high concentrations. Some people with sensitivities or food allergies involve the nightshade family. Eliminating these foods may help those with a sensitivity find relief from their symptoms.

The same chemical compounds that cause so many problems in nightshade-sensitive people can bring benefits to people with healthy digestive systems. It is why Ayurveda tells us than Vata type people or everybody that experience a Vata Imbalance should avoid all kind of food that contains neurotoxin.

« The poisoning is primarily manifested by gastrointestinal and neurological disorders. Symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, burning of the throat, heart arrhythmia, headache, and dizziness. Hallucinations, loss of sensation, paralysis, fever, jaundice, dilated pupils, and hypothermia has been reported in more severe cases. It is suggested that doses of 200–400 mg for adult humans can cause toxic symptoms. » For more information, read here.

Ketogenic diet

Keto diet The main component of a keto diet is to lower your carb intake to 20–40 net grams per day to achieve ketosis. A keto or ketogenic diet is a low-carb, moderate protein, a higher-fat diet that can help you burn fat more effectively.

Studies prove that a ketogenic diet is excellent for managing type 2 diabetes, sometimes even leading to a complete reversal of the disease. But what interests us here, is that a Keto diet can result in a calmer stomach, less gas, fewer cramps, and less pain, often resulting in improvements in IBS symptoms.

Oxalates

Oxalic acid or oxalates are very tiny molecules that bind minerals like calcium making them insoluble and decreasing their bioavailability. It is found in a variety of seeds, nuts, and many vegetables. Oxalates can cause kidney stones but also may be responsible for a wide variety of other health problems related to inflammation, auto-immunity, mitochondrial dysfunction, mineral balance, connective tissue integrity, urinary tract issues, and poor gut function.

Having a damaged gut lining will increase your absorption of oxalates. It’s why it could be very helpful to eliminate some of the food that is rich in oxalate to rest the digestive system.

Food allergies

A food allergy is a reaction to a food protein, commonly from cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, wheat, soy, fish, seafood, and tree nuts. A food allergy happens when a person’s immune system overreacts to a protein in food. In a person who is allergic, the immune system reacts to the protein by over-producing a special group of antibodies – immunoglobulin E. These antibodies are responsible for the symptoms of the allergic reaction.

Symptoms of a food allergy range from mild discomfort to severe reactions requiring immediate medical attention. It could be a sneezing symptom, diarrhea or a severe reaction affecting one, or more organ systems, for example respiratory, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal systems. So, if you sneeze immediately after having a kid of food, you may be intolerant or even allergic.

Trigunas

In Ayurveda, a guna is an element of reality that can affect our psychological, emotional, and energetic states. All three gunas are always present in all beings. A guna can be increased or decreased through the interaction, and influence of food, lifestyle practices and thoughts. The three gunas are tamas (darkness & chaos), rajas (activity & passion), and sattva (beingness & harmony).

Tamas is a state of darkness, inertia, and inactivity. It manifests from ignorance. Some tamasic gunas are laziness, attachment, depression, addiction, sadness and grief. Tamasic food includes processed food, junk food, alcoholic beverage, some vegetables, and meat.

Rajas is a state of action, determination, and movement. It manifests from the action. Some rajasic gunas are attachment, anger, anxiety, and fear. Rajasic food includes pungent food, tea, coffee, some meat, pasta, and food that is not balanced in taste.

Sattva is a state of harmony, balance, joy, and intelligence. It manifests from love. Some sattvic qualities are happiness, wellness, self-control, and peace. Sattvic food includes this type of food in a small portion only: ripe fruits, ghee, fresh seeds, natural nuts, leafs vegetables that are not pungent or bitter, good quality, and cold-pressed oil.

Gassy Food

Some foods cause you gas after you eat them. Most foods that contain carbohydrates can cause gas while fats and proteins cause little gas. Each person has their own reaction to single foods but Vata people are very sensitive to it. Gassy food is caused but some molecules in the fruits and vegetables, but also the cooking method and the quality of food. If you used to have gas after a meal, you may also consider how you cook your food.

Proteins like gluten, found in wheat and other grains, can cause a variety of allergic responses in susceptible people, including gas. Whole grains such as wheat and oats contain fiber, raffinose, and starch. All of these leads to gas.

Beans contain large amounts of raffinose which is a complex sugar that the body has trouble digesting. Bacteria digest it by producing hydrogen and methane gas that need to exit. Smaller amounts are found in cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, other vegetables, and whole grains.

The body has trouble digesting alcohol and sorbitol. Both compounds are dominant in fruits such as apples, peaches, pears, and prunes.
Fruits also contain soluble fiber that must pass through the large intestines, where bacteria break them down to create hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and methane gas.

As you can see from this table, the list of foods to avoid health problems is not exactly the same from diet to diet. On the other hand, you can see that certain foods, like wheat, appear in several diets. Also note that I have only listed vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and fruits.

More informations

Wine in vedic litteratur

History of wine


In Vedism but also in Ayurveda, Sura (wine) has been worshiped by gods and honored by priests. In vedic rites, wine is used for the success of the sacrifice (the sautramani sacrifice_. It is an excellent solace to the gods who call it nectar and to the forefathers who call it ‘svadha’. Wine is the splendid brilliance of the Asvin twin gods. It is the power of Sarasvati, the prowess of Indra. In the vedic litteratur, wine is know as Soma, a sacred drink that only Gods and some can digest.


The Proper Set up for Drinking Wine (from Charaka Samhita) :

« The drinker should have previously processed his body (with external as well as internal procedures) and should be pure.
He should be perfumed, wearing clean apparel scented strongly according to the season.
He should be wearing various attractive garlands, gems and ornaments.
He should have worshiped the gods and brahmanas and have touched good auspicious things.
Then he should sit or recline comfortably on a bed or seat which is well covered with a bed sheet and which has a pillow, flowers and filled with fragrance of incense.
Then he should drink wine from vessels of gold, silver, precious stones or other clean and well-made vessels.
He should be attended by favorite ladies who are proud of their beauty and youthfulness.
After having worshiped the gods, chanted the blessing hymns and pouring the wine mixed with water in the ground meant for other needy beings. »

Charaka Samhita, Volume II, Edited by Gabriel Van Loon

Wine is called enjoyable ‘sura’ (wine) by the gods, demons, gandharvas, yaksas, raksasas and human beings. It is why wine must be used very carefully by humans.

Moon-Plant Sacrifice in Sama Vedas

The Samhita of the Sama Veda consists of a series of verses telling the story of the moon-plant sacrifice which is also named Somayaga. The Sama Veda is composed of different prayers to the deities who are supposed to honor the ceremony with their presence.

The ceremony starts by preparing the moon-plant juice. The first thing to be done is to collect the moon-plant (sarcostema viminalis) and the arani-wood in a moon-light night,  for kindling the sacred fire. The plant has to be harvest at the top of a mountain. The moon-plants must be plucked up from the roots. The juice is mixed with water, then strain and pour in a vessel. The juice, already diluted with water is further mixed with barley, clarified butter, and the flour of a grain. It is now allowed to ferment it till a spirit is formed. Only deities can drink this juice because it’s a very intoxicating liquor. Some Brahmins used to drink this juice for weeks during a special ceremony even this juice can bring to death.

0 lndra, this morning accept our sacrifice, accompanied with rice, curds, sweet cakes, and praises.

This well-pressed moon-plant juice, mixed with sour curds, is for Indra.

References : India and Its Inhabitants By Caleb Wright, 1853 / The Sa’ma Veda Traduction By J. Stevenson, 1906

Overeating: 5 Reasons Why we Overeat

Eating too much is something that we have all experienced in different forms: snacking in front of the TV, refill his favorite dish, etc. There are, however, cases where overconsumption of food becomes very problematic. Excess food is caused by several factors or reasons that I wanted to develop here.

Please note that the following information is based on my experience, but also, on my years of practice as an Ayurvedic naturopath. I do not pretend to be an expert on eating disorders, but simply to provide tools so that everyone can understand the mechanism that pushes them towards these bad eating habits.

1. Habit

Many people “inherited” bad eating habits when they were children. Even if what we experience during our childhood has no reason to refer to our “adult” life, there is nevertheless a mechanism which pushes us to continue to reproduce certain family patterns, and sometimes, without question ourselves.

Difficulties: It is easier to keep a habit that is several years old than to create a new one!

  •  Example 1: My family gathers every Sunday at noon for a long meal that drags on and I have become used to eating a lot even if I am no longer hungry.
  • Example 2: At home, my parents ate all the time between meals and I got used to it. When I am at home, I make several trips back and forth to the kitchen, because snacking is a habit for me.

    Habit ⟶ Mental is conditioned ⟶ Snacking is a habit

2. Repressed emotions

Because we are humans made up of a complex hormonal system, we are subject to a multitude of emotions every day. For several reasons, we sometimes avoid living some emotions that exist in us. It may happen that we experience emotions such as anger, frustration, envy, but instead of recognizing them, we ignore them by occupying our thoughts or by anesthetizing ourselves with food, for example.

Difficulties: We struggle with emotions coming from two sources: those before excess food, then those after excess food.

  • Example 1: My boss gives me too much work. I agree to produce this work, but I never tell him that it is too much. I feel anger that I am accumulating. In the evening, as soon as I think about this situation, I go to the kitchen and I eat.
  • Example 2: Whenever I go to visit my best friend, she tells me about her amazing job and her fantastic couple’s relationship. When I get home, I think about my situation as a single woman and about this job that I want to leave for so long, because it no longer suits me. I snack.

    Emotions ⟶ Do not accept the emotions ⟶  Food rage

3. Environment

If I find myself in an oppressive environment, new, foreign or simply that does not suit me, it is very likely that my desire for comfort or to feel good will be increased. As a result, I will be more likely to snack on foods that comfort me emotionally in order to alleviate discomfort or a new situation.

Difficulties: It is sometimes difficult to notice that we eat more when we are in a new environment or when changes take place around us.

  •  Example 1: I just moved in with my boyfriend. Everything is fine. We make good hearty meals in the evening. Week after week, this habit continues and I see myself taking weight.
  • Example 2: My mother-in-law is at home for a week. My relationship with her is sometimes tense. I notice that I’m snacking more since she’s here.

    Environment ⟶ Need stability ⟶ Increased snacking

4. Boredom / Emptiness / Loneliness

One of the primary reflexes that a human has is to eat. Eating is normal! Sometimes when we’re bored, we eat to pass the time. And when we love to eat, we wake up in the morning and think about the meal we are going to prepare. This same meal can turn to a buffet all you can eat!

Difficulties: When I start to associate food intake with « boredom,” it can be difficult to break this mechanism.

  • Example 1: It’s my rest day.  I have nothing planned today. I decide to stay at home to relax. But, hold on! What can I eat today? … After 1 hour in the kitchen and the pride of having prepared a good meal, it’s time to eat and my meal is so yummy! Even if I’m no longer hungry, I take more. Because after all, it’s good, I have nothing else to do so why not refill! Tomorrow I will be more reasonable! ” And a few minutes later … « I’m not going to put half a piece of cheesecake in the fridge! Might as well finish it, because tomorrow I will be reasonable! ”
  • Example 2: It’s Sunday. My kids were supposed to come to see me, but they canceled. I find myself alone at home with this meal that I had prepared for them. I sit at the table alone, but I eat a lot more than my stomach can tolerate.

    Boredom, feeling of emptiness ⟶ Need to fill up ⟶ Snacking

5. Reward

As much in pets as in children, we are unfortunately programmed in a “Pleasure / Reward” world. This is what we do awkwardly with pets and sometimes even with children. If the reward is food, this system programs the brain to associate food as a reward and will be used for any reason other than hunger.

Difficulties: It is important to find a different alternative to the food reward especially if it is associated with eating disorders.

  • Example 1: My parents took me to McDonald’s when I had good results at school. As an adult, I go to McDonald’s when I have success at work. Since I’m a good part of my team, I can eat McDonald’s every week because I deserve it.
  • Example 2: It’s Friday evening. I had a stressful week at work. I’m finally going to be able to relax. After a week like this, I deserve to eat what I want tonight! Life is hard! I work hard! So I deserved it!

    Good news ⟶ Conclusion of deserving a good meal ⟶ Meal composed of foods that are sometimes forbidden

How to get out of these patterns? How to stop snacking? How to rest the fork when you reach satiety? These are questions that I will answer in a future article. Again, I only want to bring my experience and understanding here.

How to lose weight in ayurveda

Losing weight can be a real challenge. Some people succeed easily, while others have great difficulty losing weight. In Ayurveda, this difference is explained in particular by the constitution of people, their doshas. Indeed, in people with strong Vata dominance, weight loss is easier than in people with Kapha dominance. Since each individual is different in Ayurveda, it is very important to adapt to the diet when you want to lose weight. Before seeing how to lose weight with Ayurveda, it is important to understand how the body works in cases of excess weight and obesity according to the ancient medicine of Ayurveda.

loose weight ayurveda

Understanding Overweight

Overweight or obesity (Sthaulya) is a common metabolic disorder and one of the oldest documented diseases. In Ayurveda, from 1500 BC AD, Charaka Samhita describes overweight as a disorder of fat metabolism. Overweight may be the result of overeating heavy, sugary and fatty foods, lack of exercise and hereditary predisposition, as well as lower cultural, social, psychological and emotional conditions. Some obesity may be due to disorders of the pituitary gland, thyroid, adrenal glands, gonads, pancreas and hypothalamus. Other causes may include food allergies, environmental toxins, or unbalanced metabolism.

Excess overweight or obesity can reduce longevity, premature aging, unpleasant odors, excessive sweating, shortness of breath during moderate exertion, excessive hunger and thirst, weakness, loss of vitality, loss of sexual power and mental confusion. If left unresolved, various complications such as hypertension, high cholesterol, lipomas, heart problems, hyperacidity, kidney infections, diabetes, fistula and arthritis may occur.

Ayurvedic Definition of Overweight

According to Charaka, a person is « obese » when fatty and muscular tissues drop the hips, abdomen and breasts and his vitality is less than the size of his body.

Symptoms

According to Ayurveda, an altered digestive fire produces Ama (toxins), which disrupts adipose tissue and blocks their good reform. The adipose tissue then accumulates in the body and causes overweight or obesity. The accumulation of fat aggravates Vata, which increases the appetite. So the person eats more and the vicious circle continues. Overweight can occur in people of any constitution.

Signs of presence of Vata
Many Vata people eat to protect themselves from the nervousness or anxiety that characterizes Vata prevalence.

Signs of presence of Pitta
In people with Pitta constitutions, obesity is impressive, but rare, and the weight usually fluctuates a lot. People with Pitta constitutions usually have a significant appetite. However, their metabolism is fast and they are less likely to develop obesity than people with the Kapha constitution.

Signs of presence of Kapha

People with a Kapha constitution are the most susceptible to obesity because their metabolism is very slow. Since their renal function is often weak, they tend to retain water. Excess weight is therefore mainly due to water retention rather than the accumulation of inappropriate adipose tissue. In addition, Kapha people often relieve stress or depression by eating.

Type of Diet to Be Adopted in Case of Overweight

Pro-Agni diet that involves increasing the digestive fire. Anti-Kapha or anti-Pitta diet, depending on the symptoms of the person.

Foods for weight loss in Ayurveda

The diet will be rich in astringent and spicy rasa. The spicy flavor can be found in spices, while astringency is brought by some fruits, leafy vegetables and herbal teas.

It is very important to maintain a sufficient digestive fire in the case of overweight and even at all times. This is one of the first steps. For this, drink ginger and fennel herbal teas after meals and start with a tincture of bitter plants to start the meal. Place a few drops under the tongue 15 minutes before the meal to allow the liver to evacuate enough bile to capture the fat of the next meal and digest them well.

It is advisable to observe a fast of approximately 14 hours in Ayurveda, and this, for all Ayurvedic constitutions. If you sleep between 22h and 6h (so 8 hours), you just have to spread 6 hours of fasting before or after these 8 hours of sleep or the stomach is empty. This technique, known to some as intermittent fasting, allows the body to release more easily toxins in the body.

Variety of Food

Use bitter foods to stimulate liver and gall bladder work to properly digest fat and filter out toxins. Each meal can be started with a salad of rockets, spinach, parsley or sorrel.

Add apple cider vinegar as seasoning. For Kapha, the foods that speed up the metabolism is preferred: yerba mate, coffee, tea, ginger, garlic, turmeric and all other heating spices.

Do not nibble and finish your plate. Often, the portions of overweight people are above their digestive capacity. If this is the case, it will be important to reduce the portions by starting to leave a little food on the plate. As time goes by, the person will use less and the portions will decrease.

Foods to Avoid

Sweet rasa foods. Sweet and cold foods are strictly not recommended. Refined sugar is absolutely forbidden while carbohydrates are to be reduced as much as possible. Potatoes, root vegetables and whole wheat cereals are long digestible and do not make it easy for Agni to work in a case of obesity. We must avoid them.

Fatty foods are also to be avoided. No frying, trans fat, hydrogenated oils can be consumed. Avoid heavy foods, such as all animal proteins (milk, egg, meat, fish, cheese), as well as food combinations that are difficult to digest.

In the same meal, do not mix meat with carbohydrates. The meat will combine with vegetables. Carbohydrates will also combine with vegetables.