Hi today we talk about how we can use diet to balance elevated kapha dosha. I’m going to tell you what a kapha-pacifyingdiet is, how it creates balance, and give you ten tips for how to incorporate it intoyour everyday. Plus, there’s a bonus at the end– meal ideasfor breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Let’s dig in! Kapha is balanced by a diet of freshly cooked,whole foods that are light, dry, warming, well-spiced, and relatively easy to digest—ideallyserved warm or hot. These foods calm kapha by balancing mucousproduction, regulating moisture levels, maintaining adequate heat, and by supporting proper digestionand elimination. Because kapha is so substantive in nature,an appropriate diet is actually one of the most effective ways to reel it in. Kapha thrives on a fairly minimalistic dietwith smaller meals, little to no snacking, fewer sweets, an abundance of fresh fruitsand vegetables, a variety of legumes, minimal alcohol, and lighter fare all around. That said, finding a diet that is appropriatelysatisfying is crucial to your success; so it’s extremely important that you enjoythe foods that you do eat. The following tips will explain some specificprinciples about a kapha-pacifying diet and we hope they will empower you in discoveringwhat will work best for you. Pay Attention to Overarching Patterns Before we go any further, please understandthat following a kapha-pacifying diet is a practice far more than it is a collectionof absolutes. No one expects you to wake up tomorrow morningand eat a perfectly kapha-pacifying diet for the rest of your life! Even the most recognized Ayurvedic teachershave the occasional difference of opinion, which can create some discrepancies betweendifferent Ayurvedic diet and recipe resources. The point being, successfully following akapha-pacifying diet is not a matter of sticking to a strict set of dos and don’ts, or gettingoverly bogged down in the details. In fact, it is often far more helpful to payattention to the overarching patterns and generalities. At the end of the day, any strides that youtake to shift your diet toward being more kapha-pacifying than it currently is shouldbe considered wins… which brings us to our next tip: Make Small Adjustments Think of the transition process as an intentionthat you are holding, and also a powerful invitation to increase your self-awareness. We recommend that you begin by noticing whereyou might be able to make small, incremental changes in support of your healing journey—ata sustainable pace. From there, notice the ways in which thesesmall shifts are supporting you, and where perhaps some of your current habits are costingyou. If you enjoy a food that is kapha-aggravating,notice how you feel when you do eat it, perhaps keeping track in a food journal. Does it increase the symptoms of excess kaphain your digestive tract (heaviness, sluggish digestion, lethargy, brain fog, or stoolsthat feel sticky or incomplete)? Is there anything that you can do to servethis food in a more kapha-pacifying manner—by reducing the quantity, serving it warm, oradding digestive spices (like ginger, black pepper, cumin, coriander, and turmeric)? And if so, do these adjustments change yourdigestive experience? Use your developing awareness to continueto inspire one small step forward at a time, keeping tabs on how your health and well-beingare improving. As you continue to work with your Ayurvedicdiet and lifestyle recommendations, it is likely that your digestive strength will improve,which will eventually support your capacity to digest more challenging foods. Ok. The last tips offer ideas on how to approachthis, so now I’d like to introduce the qualities that you’ll want to favor in your diet,and by contrast, the qualities that will tend to be inherently kapha-aggravating. By nature, kapha is heavy, cool, oily, andsmooth, so eating foods that neutralize these qualities—foods that are light, warm, dry,and rough—can help to balance excess kapha. The following tips offer a closer look athow you can begin to recognize the qualities of different foods. The intention is to give you a more intuitivegrasp of what will reduce kapha, without having to constantly reference lengthy lists of foodsto favor and avoid. Favor Light and Airy Over Dense or Heavy Foods that embody the light quality are theantithesis to kapha’s heaviness. Lightness can be determined both by the sheerweight of a food and also by its density. Fruits and vegetables are typically wonderfullylight, so a diet that is built around a tremendous abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables—preferablycooked—is a great start. A modest amount of raw fruit may be suitable,and, in moderation, kapha is also balanced by salads and other raw vegetables when seasonallyappropriate (usually in the warmer spring and summer months). Green or black teas are quite light, especiallywhen compared with coffee. In general, foods that are a bit heavy forkapha include hard cheeses, puddings, nuts, cakes, pies, wheat, most flours, breads, pastas,red meat, and deep fried foods, which are also excessively oily. Eating too much in one sitting also leadsto excess heaviness, so it’s important to try not to overeat. A good rule of thumb is to fill the stomachone-third full of food, one-third full of liquid, and to leave one-third empty for optimaldigestion. Very heavy meals and highly processed foodsalso tend to aggravate the heavy quality in kapha and are best reduced or eliminated. Favor Warm Over Cool or Cold The warm quality can be emphasized by eatingfoods that are warm in temperature or that have a warming energetic—and by using heatingspices generously (most spices are naturally heating, and almost all of them balance kapha;see a full list of kapha-balancing spices in the link below). Cooked foods tend to offer a warmer energeticand are typically easier to digest; so cooked food is preferable to raw—especiallyin the colder months. Kapha does best to drink room temperature,warm, or hot beverages and often benefits from sipping on hot water throughout the dayas well. If you like that, you can also try sippingon warm water with a dab of raw honey in it; honey is both heating and detoxifying. On the other hand, it is best to reduce orminimize foods with a cooling energetic, cold and frozen foods or drinks, carbonated drinks,and even leftovers that have been kept in the refrigerator or freezer. The cold quality is inherently increased inthese foods, so freshly cooked is best. Consuming large quantities of raw fruits andvegetables can also be quite cooling, so it is best to enjoy these foods in moderationand when seasonally appropriate (i.e. primarily in the warmer months). But again, you have to be realistic aboutwhat you can take on, and a green salad or leftover mung dal is generally going to befar more kapha-pacifying than a freshly-cooked but heavier meal out. Favor Dry Over Moist or Oily Kapha’s oiliness is offset by exceptionallydrying foods like beans, white potatoes, dried fruits, rice cakes, popcorn, and an occasionalglass of dry red or white wine. When cooking, it is important to use as littleoil as possible. You can even play substituting water for oilto prevent sticking. Do your best to minimize oily foods like avocado,coconut, olives, buttermilk, cheese, fried eggs, cow’s milk, wheat, nuts, and seeds. It is also important not to over-hydrate becausekapha can and does retain water easily. So, do your best to drink only the amountof fluid that your body requires, according to your climate and activity level. In addition, reduce your consumption of especiallymoist foods like melons, summer squash, zucchini, and yogurt, as these can also be too wateryfor kapha. Favor Rough Over Smooth There’s a reason that fruits and vegetablesare sometimes called roughage; their fibrous structure gives them a very rough quality. This is why kapha responds so well to eatinglarge quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables. That said, these foods are often much easierto digest when cooked, so be careful not to overdo raw foods, and adapt your enjoymentof them according to the season. Some foods, like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower,dark leafy greens, and many beans are exceptionally rough and are therefore wonderful for counteringkapha’s smooth, oily nature. Conversely, eating foods and preparationsthat are smooth in texture—things like bananas, rice pudding, hot cereal, milk, cheese, andthe like—can quickly aggravate kapha. Emphasize Pungent, Bitter, and AstringentTastes Kapha is pacified by the pungent, bitter,and astringent tastes. Understanding these tastes allows us to makebetter choices. Pungent is a spicy, hot flavor like that foundin chilies, radishes, turnips, raw onions, and most spices. In fact, most spices are tremendously kapha-pacifying. The pungent taste is light, hot, rough, anddry– all beneficial for kapha. In essence, if you like spicy or fiery hot,go for it. And even if you don’t, favor a wide varietyof milder spices in your dishes– things like cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, cumin, ginger,garlic, paprika, and turmeric. The pungent taste cleanses the mouth and clarifiesthe senses. It stimulates digestion, liquefies secretions,clears the channels of the body, encourages sweating, and thins the blood. The bitter taste predominates bitter greens(like kale, dandelion greens, collard greens), and is also found in bitter melon, Jerusalemartichokes, burdock root, eggplant, dark chocolate, and in kapha-pacifying spices like cumin,neem leaves, saffron, and turmeric. It’s rough, drying, light, and generally reducing–all qualities that benefit kapha, but it is also cooling, so it’s important to add somewarming spices to bitter foods. Bitters cleanse the pallet and improve thesense of taste. They tone the skin and muscles, improve appetite,support digestion, and help to absorb moisture, lymph, muscle fat, adipose tissue, and sweat. The astringent taste is basically a flavorof dryness– a chalky taste that dries the mouth and may cause it to contract (picturebiting into a very green banana). Legumes like adzuki beans, black-eyed peas,chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, pinto beans, and soybeans are classically astringent intaste, and very kapha-pacifying. Some fruits, vegetables, grains, baked goods,and spices are also astringent in taste– things like apples, cranberries, pomegranate,artichokes, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, popcorn, rice cakes, crackers, basil, coriander,dill, fennel, parsley, and turmeric. The astringent taste is dry, rough, somewhatlight, and it reduces kapha. But like the bitter taste, it is also cold,so it’s best to add warming herbs and spices to astringent foods. In some cases (as with pomegranate), simplyenjoying these foods in the warmer seasons makes a lot of sense. Kapha benefits from the compressing, absorbingnature of the astringent taste, which also helps to tone bodily tissues and utilize excessfluid. Minimize Sweet, Sour, and Salty Tastes Kapha is aggravated by the sweet, sour, andsalty tastes. Again, understanding these tastes allows usto know how they affect us. The sweet taste is cold, heavy, moist, oilyand kapha-provoking, especially in excess. Reduce or eliminate the intake of refinedsugar and sugary sweet foods as much as possible. It would be impossible to eat a nutritiousdiet and avoid the sweet taste altogether. But it is certainly reasonable to reduce theportions of naturally sweet-tasting foods like fruits, grains, root vegetables, milk,ghee, yogurt, eggs, nuts, seeds, oils, and meats. Sweet foods tend to aggravate kapha’s tendencytoward heaviness, obesity, lethargy, and excess sleep. They can also cause excessive mucus, aggravatecolds and coughs, and depress the appetite in an unhealthy way. Minimize sour foods like vinegar, cheese,sour cream, green grapes, oranges, pineapple, and grapefruit. The moistening and oily qualities of the sourtaste aggravate kapha. It can increase thirst, create heaviness inthe eyes, cause laxity in the body, and aggravate water retention or swelling. An occasional squeeze of lemon or lime juiceis the best way for kapha to ingest the sour taste. The salty taste is almost singularly derivedfrom salt itself. Much like the sour taste, it is salt’s moistand oily nature that aggravates kapha. In excess, the salty taste can cause waterretention, high blood pressure, intestinal inflammation, ascites, grey hair, wrinkles,excess thirst, and it can impede the sense organs. Further, it tends to spark a sharp desirefor stronger flavors and can similarly trigger insatiability and greed. Stick to a Regular Eating ScheduleWhen it comes to pacifying kapha, how we eat can gave a profound impact on our degree ofsuccess, so this is an especially useful place to focus if the prospect of radically changingyour diet feels overwhelming right now. As most people with kapha digestion know,kapha’s love of food and tendency toward emotional eating can easily lead to overindulgence. For this reason, kapha does well to stickto three square meals each day, and sometimes, just two meals are sufficient. Eating at consistent times from one day tothe next also helps to strengthen the digestive fire while regulating the appetite. You can further counteract sluggish digestionby chewing a slice of fresh ginger (about the size of a nickel) with a pinch of seasalt, a few drops of lime juice, and about ? teaspoon honey about 30 minutes before bothlunch and dinner. This helps to prepare the digestive systemto receive food and to process it effectively. Eat in A Peaceful Environment During meals, it is very important to eatin a peaceful environment and to give your full attention to the act of being nourishedso that your body registers satisfaction. This will help reduce overeating and emotionaleating. Fast foods, sweets, and excessive amountsof bread and other comfort foods can be especially kapha-provoking. While you will likely not succeed in avoidingall kapha-aggravating foods, their detrimental potential can be minimized by making surethat they are served warm, in small quantities, and with the support of heating herbs. Lastly, because kapha digestion is generallya bit boggy, periodic fasts or cleanses can be very helpful—especially if you tend tobe able to sustain your energy over long breaks between meals. A short fruit or juice fast (think apple orpomegranate), or a longer mono-diet of kitchari can be very supportive. Alright, so those were our top ten tips forcrafting your own kapha-pacifying diet. But here are a few bonuses… suggested mealsfor breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast Breakfast is often somewhat optional whenkapha is elevated. Kapha benefits tremendously from the unforced,overnight fast between dinner and breakfast. If the appetite has not returned upon waking,it’s likely that a light breakfast of fresh fruit or tea will suffice. If breakfast does feel important to you, considera substantive serving of fresh fruit, using kapha-friendly fruits: stewed apples, a fruitsalad with apples, apricots, berries, mangos, peaches, and strawberries, a fruit smoothie,or some freshly juiced fruit. Another option would be a baked apple. If you need something more, hot cereals likeseasoned barley or rice porridge are excellent choices. You can even add a little dried fruit or adab of honey, if you like. Add herbal, green, or black tea to any ofthese breakfasts but be careful not to over-decorate them; a dab of honey and/or rice milk is likelyenough. Lunch Ideally, lunch is the main meal of the day,meaning it’s the largest and the most nourishing. Build your lunches around consuming lots ofsteamed and sautéed vegetables, and compliment them with beans, appropriate grains, non-yeastedbreads, a suitable meat, or an occasional egg. Try something like red lentil-lemongrass soupand a side of steamed kale. The kale can be garnished with olive oil,lemon juice, and black pepper. A simple vegetable soup made with vegetableslike onions, garlic, broccoli, celery, carrots, green beans, and asparagus is an easy option. Or try our recipe for saffron asparagus kitchariwith a side of sautéed dandelion greens with lemon and mint. Dinner Dinner is ideally significantly smaller andlighter than lunch. Soups and stews are often a wonderful choicebecause they are warm and nourishing, even when light. A smaller serving of lunch can often work,too. For some, especially when weight loss is indicated,it’s best to forego dinner altogether in favor of a healthy breakfast and lunch, orto eat a more substantial breakfast and make dinner the ultra-light meal of the day. Try dal soup with sautéed asparagus and asmall serving of basmati rice, split pea soup with rye toast, or potato leek soup with asmall salad and a stimulating dressing– like tamari-ginger. And finally, if you’re looking for a detailedlist of specific foods to favor and minimize when pacifying kapha, we’ve got you covered. Follow the link below to see our completekapha-pacifying foods list…. remembering of course, that this list is meant to helpyou deepen your understanding and begin to see overarching patterns—not to create asense of restriction or deprivation. If food lists tend to have that effect onyou, do your best to internalize the qualitative tips we mentioned in this video. Embrace eating regular meals without snackingmuch in between, eat your main meal at lunch with a lighter dinner, and make a concertedeffort to be fully present with all of your meals. That is as good a starting place as any andcan do wonders for your digestion and health. We hope that you find this information helpfuland that applying these tips to your diet brings you into a greater state of overallhealth and over all well being.