A Simple, One-Day Meal Plan To Balance Each Of The Ayurvedic Doshas

mbg Spirituality & Relationships Writer By Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Writer
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Writer, and a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.
What To Eat For Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, Based On Your Dosha
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Ayurvedic medicine has been practiced in India for thousands of years. Nowadays, cultures around the world celebrate this health care system's preventive benefits and balancing effects. In Ayurveda, there are three main "health types," called doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha. A quick dosha quiz can help you figure out which one(s) you're dominant in.

Depending on your dosha, you'll want to eat and avoid certain foods to support your body's digestion. To make it easy, we rounded up breakfast options for each dosha, courtesy of Ayurvedic healer and the author of Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom Acharya Shunya, plus lunch and dinner options for each dosha from certified Ayurvedic practitioner Ananta Ripa Ajmera. We hope these nourishing ideas serve as a jumping-off point for your dream dosha menu.

Vata:

Folks who are vata dominant want to lean toward foods that are oily, warming, and heavy, to offer some balance to their dry, cool, and light constitution. With spiced bananas for breakfast, kitchari for lunch, and a cucumber coconut curry for dinner, you'll get your spices, warmth, and healthy fats all in one day.

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Breakfast: Spiced Bananas

Ingredients

  • 1 large or 2 medium ripe bananas
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp. rock salt
  • ½ tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. cilantro, minced
  • Note: You can also replace banana with (or add) sweet potato, figs, or ripe mangos.

Method

  1. Peel and dice banana(s) into bite-size pieces.
  2. Sprinkle cumin, salt, and lemon juice over banana.
  3. Toss and mix well. Garnish with minced cilantro.

Lunch: Late Summer Kitchari

Ingredients

  • ½ cup white basmati rice (or quinoa) 
  • 1 cup green or yellow mung dal (you can also use ½ cup each, if desired) 
  • 3 cups water, plus more if needed 
  • Himalayan pink rock salt
  • ¼ tsp. turmeric powder
  • 4 tsp. ghee, divided 
  • ¼ tsp. cumin seeds 
  • 2½ cups seasonal vegetables (white caramelized onions, carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, beets, opo squash, snake gourd, yam, and sweet fresh corn all work well)
  • ¼ tsp. mango powder (optional) 
  • ¼ tsp. pomegranate seed powder (optional) 
  • ¼ tsp. fennel seeds (optional) 
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped, to garnish

Method

  1. Rinse the rice or quinoa and dal. Add to a medium saucepan with enough water to cover the rice and dal by 1 inch. Soak for 3 to 4 hours if possible (or a minimum of 30 minutes).
  2. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to low heat. Add the rock salt and turmeric and cook, stirring occasionally, until it has a mushy consistency (about 20 to 25 minutes). Add additional water if needed, cooking until it reaches a creamy consistency.
  3. Place 2 tsp. ghee in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and the mango powder, pomegranate seed powder, and fennel seeds if you are using them. Cook until the seeds start crackling, about 10 to 15 seconds. 
  4. Pour the warmed ghee mixture into the pot of rice and dal. 
  5. Add the vegetables of your choice to a skillet with the remaining ghee and cook until soft. Add to the dal mixture and stir to combine. 
  6. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve. 

Dinner: Cucumber Coconut Curry

Ingredients

  • 2 cucumbers, diced into ¼- to ½-inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp. ghee
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 8 to 10 curry leaves
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 tsp. rice (soaked 1 hour prior)
  • ½ tsp. turmeric powder
  • Rock salt to taste
  • Cooked white basmati rice and/or warm tortillas

Method

  1. Melt ghee in sauté pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add cumin seeds and turmeric, and swirl until fragrant, about 15 seconds.
  3. Add curry leaves to pan and cook for 15 seconds.
  4. Add onion and salt, stir, then cover pan and reduce heat to medium-low; cook until onion is translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. While onion is cooking, drain soaked rice and grind to a paste using a mortar and pestle or in the blender, adding small amounts of coconut milk (3 to 4 tablespoons) to aid blending.
  6. When onions are cooked, add chopped cucumber, rice paste, and remaining coconut milk
  7. Cover pan and cook on low heat for 7 to 8 minutes.
  8. Serve with white basmati rice and/or warm tortillas. Garnish with cilantro, and eat while warm.

Pitta:

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Where vata needs warmth, pitta needs to be cooled down. Pitta-dominant people should avoid hot, spicy, or fermented foods and gravitate toward those that are more cooling. Kitchari is great for both vata and pitta, so it made it onto pitta's list as well, plus creamy semolina for breakfast and a cooling asparagus soup for lunch to keep that fire tame.

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Breakfast: Creamy Semolina

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup wheat semolina
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tbsp. ghee (clarified butter)
  • ¼ tsp. ground cardamom
  • 2 to 3 saffron threads (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. slivered almonds (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. raisins (optional)
  • Cane sugar, to taste (1 to 2 teaspoons)
  • Note: You can substitute cow milk for goat or rice milk.

Method

  1. Dry roast the semolina in a pan until lightly toasted.
  2. Slowly add milk to the pan, stirring constantly to avoid lump formation.
  3. Add cardamom and saffron to the milk and wheat mixture. Bring it to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes until a thin porridge-like consistency is achieved. If too thick, add more water.
  5. Add almonds and raisins.
  6. Serve immediately. Eat hot.
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Lunch: Asparagus Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. ghee
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds 
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups asparagus, chopped
  • Pinch of pink rock salt (to taste) 
  • 2 to 3 tbsp. almond powder
  • Cilantro leaves to garnish (optional)

Method

  1. Add ghee into a pan with cumin seeds, fennel seeds, and onion. Sauté for 2 minutes.
  2. Add asparagus and sauté for 3 minutes. Add water enough to cover everything and a little more. 
  3. Let it cook until soft. Add salt and 2 to 3 tbsp. of almond powder.
  4. Allow the mixture to cool, and blend in a high-powered blender until smooth.
  5. Serve in a bowl with cilantro leaves for optional garnish if you like. 
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Dinner: Late Summer Kitchari

Ingredients

  • ½ cup white basmati rice (or quinoa) 
  • 1 cup green or yellow mung dal (you can also use ½ cup each, if desired) 
  • 3 cups water, plus more if needed 
  • Himalayan pink rock salt
  • ¼ tsp. turmeric powder
  • 4 tsp. ghee, divided 
  • ¼ tsp. cumin seeds 
  • 2½ cups seasonal vegetables (white caramelized onions, carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, beets, opo squash, snake gourd, yam, and sweet fresh corn all work well)
  • ¼ tsp. mango powder (optional) 
  • ¼ tsp. pomegranate seed powder (optional) 
  • ¼ tsp. fennel seeds (optional) 
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped, to garnish

Method

  1. Rinse the rice or quinoa and dal. Add to a medium saucepan with enough water to cover the rice and dal by 1 inch. Soak for 3 to 4 hours if possible (or a minimum of 30 minutes).
  2. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to low heat. Add the rock salt and turmeric and cook, stirring occasionally, until it has a mushy consistency (about 20 to 25 minutes). Add additional water if needed, cooking until it reaches a creamy consistency.
  3. Place 2 tsp. ghee in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and the mango powder, pomegranate seed powder, and fennel seeds if you are using them. Cook until the seeds start crackling, about 10 to 15 seconds. 
  4. Pour the warmed ghee mixture into the pot of rice and dal. 
  5. Add the vegetables of your choice to a skillet with the remaining ghee and cook until soft. Add to the dal mixture and stir to combine. 
  6. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve. 
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Kapha:

Those who are kapha dominant want to stick with light and stimulating meals, ideally steering clear of heavy comfort foods. Mung bean pancakes for breakfast will satisfy you early on without bogging you down, and masoor dal soup for lunch, plus carrot soup for dinner, will keep things light but still nutrient-dense and packed with veggies.

Breakfast: Mung Bean Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup yellow mung beans (soaked 3 hours or overnight)
  • ½ tsp. ground roasted cumin
  • ½ tsp. rock salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • ⅛ tsp. asafoetida
  • 2 tbsp. ghee

Method

  1. Drain soaking liquid from mung beans and place in a blender. Blend on high speed for about 1 minute, adding a small amount of water (about 2 tablespoons) until smooth.
  2. Add cumin, salt, turmeric, ginger, and asafoetida and blend again briefly in the mixture with enough water so that the batter is a medium-thin consistency similar to wheat-flour pancake batter.
  3. Heat a small amount of ghee (½ to 1 teaspoon) in a skillet or griddle on medium heat.
  4. Drop a small ladle full of batter (¼ cup) onto griddle and spread in a circle. Cook on first side until edges start to brown and lift, about 5 minutes.
  5. Flip pancake with spatula and cook on second side until golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  6. Repeat steps 3 through 5 with the rest of the batter and ghee.

Lunch: Masoor Dal Soup

Ingredients

  • ½ cup split red masoor dal⁠
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder⁠
  • Himalayan pink rock salt⁠
  • 1 teaspoon ghee⁠
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds⁠
  • ½ onion, diced⁠
  • 2 carrots, chopped⁠
  • ½ kale or spinach, chopped ⁠
  • Chopped lemon for seasoning (optional)⁠
  • Seasonal vegetables such as beets, carrots, green beans, okra, white onions, squash, or yam, chopped in 1-inch-cube size

Method

  1. Rinse masoor dal until water is clear, then add to a small bowl. Add enough water to cover dal by 1 inch. Soak for at least 1 hour.⁠
  2. Put dal, soaking water, turmeric, seasonal vegetables, and salt to taste into a pot. Bring mixture to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until the dal looks mushy, about 20 minutes.⁠
  3. Heat ghee in a small skillet over medium heat. Add cumin seeds, swirl, and cook until fragrant, 10 to 15 seconds. Add diced onions, mix, and cook for 2 minutes. Add carrots; cook until they are soft enough to cut with a spoon. Then add kale or spinach and cook until soft.⁠
  4. Add cooked ghee mixture to cooked dal. Garnish with lemon for a great flavor and eat while warm.

Dinner: Carrot Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. ghee
  • ½ tsp. cumin seeds
  • ½ chopped white onion
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp. almond powder
  • 2 tbsp. roasted cumin powder
  • 1 lb. organic carrots, chopped
  • Cilantro, to taste

Method

  1. Place a pan with 1 tbsp. ghee on medium heat. Add cumin seeds and onion. Sauté carrots for 3 to 5 minutes, then add coconut milk, almond powder, and roasted cumin powder.
  2. When carrots are soft, pour the mixture into a high-powered blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Serve in a bowl, with a sprinkle of cilantro leaves if desired. 

The bottom line.

When we eat in a way that's tailored to our specific needs, our bodies (and particularly our digestive system) will thank us. On top of these dosha-complementing foods, consider incorporating other Ayurvedic practices as well, like digestive-supporting teas or oil pulling, to maximize the benefits of this tried-and-trusted system.

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