vata diet basics

by Khushboo Aulakh-Bhatt on March 29, 2012

Continuing from our previous post on the vata dosha, let’s now understand the vata diet. This post also includes a few breakfast recipes with foods that are ideal for balancing the vata.

Several external factors can affect the vata. These include temperature, climatic conditions, frequent travel, and loud noises. By controlling or eliminating these factors completely, you reduce the risk of misbalancing the vata. Diet and food also form an important component that keeps this dosha balanced.

Vata influences biochemical and nervous processes, causing it to affect your mood and overall wellbeing. Foods ideal for vata are warm, soothing, and heavy, such as warm milk, butter, cream, soup, and stews. Avoid spicy and very oily foods.

Here’s a list of foods that are ideal for balancing the vata dosha:

Vata dosha types also need to follow a few additional steps to ensure good health:

  • Avoid soda, cold beverages, and raw vegetables.
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks. Herbal tea is best for balancing vata.
  • Drink warm milk before going to bed, if possible.
  • Never skip breakfast. Instead of opting for cold cereals or a glass of cold milk, have a bowl of hot oatmeal.
  • Spices such as cinnamon and cloves have a calming, soothing effect on the vata.

Because breakfast is a very important meal for everyone, even more so for the vata dosha, we have two easy to make warm recipes that you’ll love!

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

  • 1 large apple, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1-2 tsp honey
  • ½ cup quick cooking oats
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup milk, full fat or skimmed

Add apples, cinnamon powder, honey, and water to a saucepan. Cook on high for 5-7 minutes, until the apples are softened. Add oats and cook for another 2-3 minutes, allowing the water to get absorbed completely.

Finally, add in the milk. Stir for a minute and turn off the flame. You can top this up with another ½ tsp of cinnamon powder and honey, if desired.

Semolina porridge

  •  ¼ cup semolina or cracked wheat
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ tsp cinnamon powder
  • 2 tbsp honey (more if desired)

Lightly toast the semolina in a saucepan, on a high flame, till it becomes light golden brown in color. Add water and honey, and cook for 10-15 minutes. Add the milk when most of the water is absorbed by the cereal. Serve hot.

Semolina Upma

This is a very popular breakfast dish from South India, although you can have it any time of the day. Feel free to add carrots, corn kernels, peas, potatoes, and green beans to it.

  • ½ cup lightly toasted semolina
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • ¼ cup corn kernels
  • ¼ cup shelled peas
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp extra light olive oil
  • 1 sprig of curry leaves (recommended, but you can leave it out if you don’t find curry leaves)
  • 2 cups water

In a non stick deep bottomed pan, heat the olive oil on a high flame. Add the mustard seeds. Once the seeds stop spluttering, add onions. Sauté until soft and translucent. In the meantime, blanch the carrots, peas, and corn kernels.

Add the blanched vegetables and salt, along with 2 cups of water to the pan. Add the curry leaves, if using. Reduce flame to medium high and add the semolina. Keep stirring until all the water is absorbed.

Serve hot.

In the next post, we’ll talk about the pitta dosha in detail and follow up with a few more recipes for the vata dosha.

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