Ancient Ayurveda: Why Knowing Your Dosha Can Add to the Benefits of Juicing
By Erin Ward
Juicing has become a very popular past time for the health-conscious community — a steady regime boasts inimitable health benefits for those willing to invest time and money into this lifestyle. The good news is that buying a cold press or centrifugal juicing machine might be one of the best decisions you can make for your health. Juicing is indeed one of the best ways to easily absorb a large quantity of essential vitamins, minerals, and polynutrients found in fruits and vegetables.
There are as many juice recipes to chose from as there are restaurants in New York City. However, not all juices are created equal and not every juice will appeal to everyone. To narrow the options, one can look to the ancient eastern science of Ayurveda and its foundational principles to help the juice-curious pick concoctions that best serve the body, mind, and soul, thus helping each individual to find a juicing regimen that works best to meet his or her unique needs.
The first and most important principle of Ayurveda is that each person has a unique constitution, lifestyle, habitual patterning, familial history, etc., and so different foods and food combinations will affect people differently. To simplify it to its bare bones, there are three Ayurvedic “doshas”, or categories meant to reflect inherent personality characteristics and body compositions: Vata, Pitta, and Kappha. Each person has a tendency to be more of one dosha than the others, but all three exist in some way within each person’s life. A few moments of researching the qualities that define the doshas is enough to determine one’s own Ayurvedic lineage.
Ayurveda also states that the doshas have preeminent times of day and times of year. For example, summer is said to be pitta’s season, as the pitta dosha is associated with fire, heat, and intensity amongst other things. The fall is when vata energy is most pervasive, as vata is constantly changing and moving. Kapha in turn dominates the winter and early spring, as kapha energy is very grounded and more introverted then the other doshas.
What does all of this have to do with juicing? While Ayurveda is fascinatingly complex, and can be very beneficial to a myriad of lifestyle aspects, simply knowing your dosha is enough to help you chose juice recipes that are wholesome, balancing, and beneficial to one’s physical and emotional health.
Here are a few favorite juice recipes to try, one for each dosha, as we move into vata season. While each of these juices will have benefits for each person, the effects will differ. Take time to try them all, notice how each makes you feel, and explore for yourself what combinations work best for you.
Ayurvedic Juice Recipes
Vata – Drink Your Greens
What you need:
A handful of spinach
3-4 branches of swiss chard
1-2 cucumbers (without seeds)
1 wedge of lemon with peel
1/2″ piece of ginger
1-2 apples or pears
Pinch of cinnamon
Vata’s digestion tends to be temperamental, and since fall has an increased vata energy, extra care must be taken by those who are majority vata. This green juice is filled with warming ingredients alongside high amounts of detoxifying chlorophyll and antioxidants, which can be hard for vatas to absorb when not in juice form. For extra support, try adding warm water to juice, especially as the air begins to dry and cool.
Pitta – As Sweet as You Can be
What you need:
1 medium cucumber
1 small Kiwi
1 small Mango, peeled
1 cup of Pineapple Chunks
1/2 cup coconut water or regular water
1 tablespoon of flax oil
Pitta is characterized by a powerful appetite that can become unbalanced with heavy spicy foods and likewise can become more balanced by sweeter and lighter foods. Since pitta is also associated with fire and heat, drinking this vitamin rich juice will be a welcomed coolant for an overactive pitta. The flax oil is a great Omega 3 alternative to almond, olive, sesame, and canola oils, which can be aggravating to a pitta.
Kapha: Light and Sunny
5 mint leaves
4 oz filtered water
2 oz lime juice
Juice from half a grapefruit
1 tsp camu camu powder
Pinch of salt
Dash of cayenne
Dash of cardamom
*If the juice proves too bitter, add one teaspoon of agave
Ayurvedic specialists recommend kaphas to try drink large amounts of fruit and vegetable juice that have a slightly more bitter or astringent taste, rather than ones that are overly sweet. This light juice is a great way to stimulate a kapha and help balance natural tendencies to feel lethargic, heavy, tired and a craving for oily foods. The camu camu powder in this recipe is very high in vitamin C, helping to energize the body without the extra sweetness. Kapha’s will get an added boost from the upcoming vata time of year, and this juice can provide further support to maintaining balance through autumn.
Warning: Consumption of these juices can lead to making you feel really good 😉
About the Writer
Erin Ward is a NYC based freelance writer and Kripalu yoga teacher living in Brooklyn with an insatiable passion for outdoor adventures. After graduating from NYU in May 2012 with a degree in English and Creative Writing, Erin took the reigns into her own hands and began working as an independent writer. She has experience helping small businesses and start-ups develop their brands and communicate their visions. She has worked as a ghost writer, a travel writer, copywriter, and fiction writer. Besides writing, her other biggest passion is leading a fun, healthy, and balanced lifestyle, and she enjoys sharing her wellness knowledge with others. When not writing or teaching yoga, Erin can be found test-tasting the brews at local Brooklyn coffee shop, chasing the elusive dream of determining where to find the best cup. For more information and to contact Erin””she is always excited to meet new people “” visit her at www.erinrward.com.
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