Learn about Pitta Dosha Diet

My husband and I recently traveled to Newfoundland in Canada. This part of the country has nature caressing it from every angle. Despite being happily layered between mountains, the Atlantic Ocean, and the cooler temperatures (I wore a windbreaker on some days and hoodie everyday), I felt a lot of aggravated Pitta dosha in my mind and body. I knew that my lifestyle was supporting Pitta dosha, but my diet was creating an imbalance in Pitta dosha. Ahara or diet is one of the three important pillars of health in Ayurveda.

Where did the heat come from?

Because of the geographic location as well as climate in Newfoundland, they can’t grow very many fruits and vegetables. As a result, the locals, grocery stores, and restaurants battle paucity of fresh produce. Because fruits and vegetables aren’t easily available, they are extremely pricey. From an Ayurvedic perspective, the locals eat a lot of sour, salty, and fried foods. What does that translate to in terms of meals? Think fried fish, seafood, pork, beef, fried chicken, and French fries. Alcohol. Everything is extremely salty. In the old days, locals would salt and preserve meat for the winters and eat fresh fish (especially cod and salmon) during the warmer months. Now, this diet has become a normal lifestyle, but it’s not a supportive Pitta dosha diet.

Ayurveda and diet

According to Ayurveda, with its healing properties, food is considered one of the three pillars of health. Ayurveda tries to assess whether a particular food item has a cooling or a heating effect inside the body, which in turn has an impact on metabolism and digestion. In Ayurvedic cooking, a balanced dish combines elements of sweet, salty, sour, bitter, pungent, and astringent. Depending on the season and an individual’s doshic imbalances, the proportion of the tastes are altered. Ayurveda teaches us that like increases like. Here’s a simple example: if a client has high pitta and is prone to classic pitta imbalances like heartburn or acid reflux, we will conclude he/she has too much of the “hot” ushna guna circulating in the body. In order to treat “hot”, we would employ the “cold” sheeta guna and give foods, herbs, yoga poses, breath and/or lifestyle habits to cool the excess heat. Things like aloe vera, amalaki, mint tea, coconut, grapes, shitali pranayama and trikonasana.

Diet and Pitta Dosha

Pitta is characterized by sour, pungent, and salty tastes. The food in Newfoundland was Pitta aggravating. How? An improper diet comprising food that increases Pitta (pungent, sour, salty, deep-fried, and processed food). The one local fruit that was available in relative abundance was partridgeberry, and it was tart in taste. Fish and seafood are high in salt. Fried foods vitiate Pitta. The overall energetics of most food items were “heating,” which aggravated Pitta Dosha. Because acidic and alkaline foods mixed can create a mess in our digestive system, the tartar sauce with the fish n’ chips wasn’t a suitable option. Fortunately, I didn’t sit under the sun and drink or else the acidity and sourness of wine would have made things even worse.

What happened because the diet didn’t support Pitta dosha?

Despite being mindful and practicing cooling pranayama, I felt agitated in my mind and got rashes on my neck. My mind felt over-stimulated despite the grounding hikes, time spent in nature, and daily meditation. I felt rigid about certain things that I wasn’t even consciously thinking about. I felt a tightness, which I don’t always experience. I kept getting this feeling that my period was going to start untimely because of all the accumulated heat.

Parting words…

In western nutrition, there are two main tastes: salty and sweet. In Ayurvedic cooking, a balanced dish combines elements of sweet, salty, sour, bitter, pungent, and astringent. Did you know that health issues can arise from an imbalanced palate? So, in the summer season (especially if you are a Pitta-dominant person), you will use more bitter, astringent, and sweet tastes in your cooking—the opposite tastes. When you start to eat for what your mind-body in the now, you will notice the difference in your mind and body. Preparing Ayurvedic needn’t be complicated or challenging.

When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.”

The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. The information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional. If you are looking for advice from a trained Ayurvedic Practitioner, contact me.