Samantha is a Vancouver-based health nut, foodie, lawyer, traveler, yoga lover and blogger. This month she shared her Dosha Balancing Smoothie recipes with us in celebration of Health & Wellness month at Mala Collective. Check her out on Instagram at @sammyboycebal as she experiments with nourishing plant-based recipes, some of her favourite things and new adventures!
More than a mere system of treating illness, the ancient practice of Ayurveda is an Indian system of natural healing that focuses on a balancing a number of factors including our environment, body, mind, and spirit in order to optimize health and wellbeing.
Ayurveda believes that we are made up of three different “body types” or doshas, each of which correspond with different dominant physical traits and personality characteristics. Each of dosha corresponds with a natural element: Vata (Wind), Pitta (Fire), and Kapha (Earth). Under this philosophy, we each have different proportions of the three doshas. Our most dominant dosha represents who we are in our most healthy and well-balanced state.
Regardless of which of these three is your dominant dosha, it is not uncommon for our balance to get thrown out of whack as a result of our lifestyle. When our proportions get out of balance, we may experience negative symptoms.
Ayurveda counteracts an out of balance dosha with herbal remedies and various lifestyle changes. By modifying our diet, we can help rebalance our doshas and allow our body to regain its ideal healthy state. It can also be helpful to know which foods have a balancing effect in our doshas in order to stabilize them and prevent our system from getting aggravated in the future.
In the interests of regaining (or maintaining) longevity and wellbeing, I have developed three smoothie recipes designed to help balance out the three doshas. For each smoothie, just clean and chop the fruits and veggies, pop them in a high-speed blender, blend everything up and enjoy!
The Vata dosha is associated with being dry, light and cool. Vatas often have a slim physique with dry skin, brittle hair and nails. The cold quality of Vata means that people who have this as their dominant dosha often feel colder than those around them, and have cool hands and feet.
Cold weather, cooling foods and cool seasons have a tendency to increase the Vata dosha. For someone who is predominantly Vata, this means you may start to feel out of balance and experience weight loss, constipation, restlessness, insomnia and anxiousness.
Vata can be balanced by eating sweet, sour and salty foods. These add moisture, bulk and warmth to the body. The dryness that comes with a predominantly Vata disposition can be counterbalanced by eating predominantly cooked foods and adding healthy fats into your diet.
This Vata smoothie combines traditionally warming spices with grounding nut butter, to help pacify the dosha’s dry, cool nature. If your dosha is particularly out of balance, try using room temperature ripe bananas, rather than freezing them first.
- 1 Banana
- 1 Beet, washed and peeled
- 1 tbsp Almond butter
- 1 tbsp Maca powder
- ½ tsp Cinnamon
- ¼ tsp Nutmeg
- ¼ tsp Cardamom
- 2 cups Water
The Pitta dosha’s characteristics include intelligence, leadership, sharpness and fire. Those with Pitta dominant doshas tend to have soft, oily skin, a warm body temperature, a strong metabolism and fiery personalities.
Because the Pitta dosha is associated with fire, heat and excessive oiliness can lead to throwing a Pitta’s balance. This can lead to skin rashes, high body temperature, ulcers, heartburn and indigestion.
Hot, spicy foods, extremely sour foods, and overly salted foods are especially Pitta provoking and should ideally be avoided. Pitta can be balanced by eating a diet of sweet, bitter and drying foods. These will help to balance a Pitta’s system by cooling their body and reducing inflammation.
Melons, mint and cucumber are all incredibly cooling foods which when blended can help pacify an over active Pitta. For an extra refreshing feeling, chop and freeze your Cantaloupe before blending everything together.
- 3 cups Cantaloupe
- ½ medium Cucumber
- 3 sprigs Mint
- 1 cup Coconut Water
The Kapha dosha is inherently cool, heavy, and damp. Kaphas often have cool, soft skin, a laid back temperament and are physically and emotionally grounded. People with a Kapha dominant dosha are generally stable, though they sometimes move slowly and can be stubbornness.
An unbalanced Kapha dominant dosha can lead to allergies, fluid retention and excess weight gain. Kapha types are also prone to sleep excessively, as well as suffer from asthma, diabetes and depression.
Kapha is pacified by the drying characteristics of pungent, bitter, and astringent foods. An excess of sweet, sour, and salty tastes on the other hand, can aggravate it. A predominantly Kapha person does best when eating a moderate amount of warming, easy to digest, freshly cooked foods.
Dark bitter greens are excellent for pacifying Kapha types, as are the warming spices ginger and turmeric. Adding a little apple (or even pear) gives this smoothie and fresh, tasty flavour.
- 3 loose cups of Bitter Greens such as kale, collard greens or dandelion greens
- 1 large Apple
- 1 thumb of Ginger
- 1 tsp Turmeric
- 2 cups Water