9

votes

Ayurveda and paleo

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created March 01, 2011 at 3:27 AM

Any ayurvedic practitioners out there? I'm not formally trained in ayuveda but have read as much as I can and find it absolutely fascinating and seems to be the missing link where diet advice (paleo included) fails. As we've seen, a high fat diet does not always work for everyone, and certain foods (sweet potatoes) do not work for everyone. Ayurveda accounts for these things.

My question is, what arepeople's experiences, especially dealing with or being kapha? It seems that the paleo diet works perfectly for vatas, really well for pitas, and not as great for kapha types.

thanks!

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on May 25, 2012
at 06:22 PM

@Jeff: Hmmm, I'm a kapha and I LOVE coconut products, sardines, salmon, and red meat. (Can't stand avocados, though.) I've been working on some dietary stuff to balance kapha, but that includes giving up dairy and I'm having a very hard time with that. (I'm very kapha dominant...making me somewhat depressed, sluggish, etc.)

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on March 02, 2011
at 04:00 AM

I'm of european descent, my only point was that she assumed I was Indian and was mildly offensive about it.

D83e454e794d761ab524814c0ff8f838

(531)

on March 02, 2011
at 01:57 AM

Sorry, I meant Kaphas! It was a little too late for me.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on March 01, 2011
at 09:00 PM

Thanks Lindsay!

Eea4c0f072bb5caa74c1fbe6dfab5f46

(942)

on March 01, 2011
at 04:27 PM

It's just a sensation-experience -- foods that are spiced correctly alter the mouth feel and digestion of the foods. For instance (I'm going to use a non-paleo example) fresh bread vs. toast. One of them is more dense in character than the other. Toast, being cooked and having the water levels altered is "lighter" in feeling than a huge hunk of french loaf. Likewise, using astringent & bitter herbs cumin & coriander or even lemon will have a different effect on the taste of vegetables than just butter & salt. It wasn't levitation my dear, just experiential observations made 1k years ago.

9f9fa49265e03ddd2bf2bba5477a556b

(3184)

on March 01, 2011
at 04:01 PM

But you do need to explain how a spice "lightens" the density of foods. I mean if you can lighten the density of objects by sprinkling cinnamon on them, I'm pretty sure you got a Science or Nature paper there. That is a trick almost cooler than levitation.

9f9fa49265e03ddd2bf2bba5477a556b

(3184)

on March 01, 2011
at 03:55 PM

Umm, given that until the last couple hundred years no humans outside of Mexico would have encountered an avocado or that no one outside of south Asia or the south Pacific would have encountered a coconut, and given that neither are native to Californians, nor part of the Paleolithic Californian diet, they aren't strictly Paleolithic. I believe our native Californian food includes such delicacies as mashed acorn and bear meat. Ayurveda, by the way, is totally Neolithic. Seriously though, what is "healthy" balance? We understand the how metabolism works, so prescribe foods based on science.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on March 01, 2011
at 03:35 PM

Lindsay you do not need to apologise when you provide a very informative answer!

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on March 01, 2011
at 02:45 PM

Thanks, can you mention some of the 'staple' foods in your diet? Do you eat a lot of avocados? coconuts? oils for coking?

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on March 01, 2011
at 02:41 PM

Ignacio- That's a good point, however I felt that a five minute explanation would not do it justice and then people who don't have any clue about the practice would start commenting. I think that there are way too many nuances for that to be helpful ;)

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on March 01, 2011
at 02:41 PM

Jon- I don't have any proper data, just some casual observations which is why I wanted to bring it up here. I think it's so important to be in touch with what they inherently like to eat, and I find kaphas generally don't like avocados, coconut oil, coconut cream, sardines, salmon, and red meat nearly as much as I do (as a vata). Those foods consist of pretty much my whole diet and when trying to get someone on a good eating plan I can't just copy out my menu. The crux of my question I guess is trying to find kapha-friendly paleo foods (avoid insulin spikes and promote gut health)

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on March 01, 2011
at 02:36 PM

That's a good point, however I felt that a five minute explanation would not do it justice and then people who don't have any clue about the practice would start commenting. I think that there are way too many nuances for that to be helpful ;)

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on March 01, 2011
at 02:34 PM

right side vs. left side, what time you should rise in the morning, and what times of day you should eat. These are clearly lifestyle practices for optimal health and not medicine for the diseased.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on March 01, 2011
at 02:33 PM

I apologise for my tone, perhaps I was a bit grumpy last night ;) I would like to respectfully refute your point however. While modern India may only see ayurvedic practices as medicinal, the fact that ayurvedic knowledge addresses things like which types of fruits/vegetables/meats/spices, etc. healthy people should gravitate towards or avoid speaks to lifestyle advisement. Also, it comments on which 'types' should take naps or not take naps for example, and during which times of the year. Which lunar phases are better for having sex and which are not, the effects of sleeping on your

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on March 01, 2011
at 02:13 PM

ginger is great!

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on March 01, 2011
at 12:25 PM

Jeff I am up-voting your question since the question is totally legitimate. Nevertheless I have to tell you that your question would have been much, much more successful if you had taken five minutes to explain what is it that Ayurveda calls kapha, vata or pita: the vast majority of Western people does not know these concepts.

F6c1df7d5699661bd1f0d6d0a6c17fc6

on March 01, 2011
at 11:19 AM

Do you have any actual data that kapha do not do so well on paleo? As far as I can tell, most fat people who are not skinny fat are kapha, and anecdotally they do well on paleo.

A089b683ee0498f2b21b7edfa300e405

(3895)

on March 01, 2011
at 09:58 AM

I do not wish this to be a shouting match - But I have lived in India long enough to know about Hindus and Ayurveda. No one - yes no one goes to an Ayurveda practitioner to take advise about lifestyle. An Ayurveda practitioner is known as a 'Vaid' which means doctor in Sanskrit. One consults him/her when there is something abnormal with you and they will prescribe medicines etc. The lines between lifestyle/foods/medicine may indeed be blurred - but the question was clearly about Ayurveda which is nothing but a practice of medicine for the diseased.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on March 01, 2011
at 05:47 AM

Bitter and pungent are for kaphas not vatas, but yeah you make a great point. Kapha problems do accumulate in the stomach which would be in keeping with the idea of attaining 'gut health', and those herbs/foods would help attain that.

D83e454e794d761ab524814c0ff8f838

(531)

on March 01, 2011
at 05:43 AM

I think Ayurveda recommends bitter and pungent for Vatas because besides having an unhealthy gut, they also have dysfunctional livers. Bitter, astringent and pungent includes Dandelion Root, Yellow Dock, Rhubarb, bitter melon, greens such as Romaine lettuce, spinach, and chard, ginger, turmeric, garlic, etc. All of which clear out the liver, gallbladder, and gut.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on March 01, 2011
at 05:36 AM

Thanks for your comment, you are the only one who actually addressed my question. I am a vata, and the high fat high protein diet works amazingly well for me. When I am working with kapha types I have a much harder time dialing in their diets to be as good for them as mine is for me. Also, the point of whether or not the person has serious weight issues/metabolic derangement. In that case low carb paleo is probably the way to go, but when we're talking about a healthy athlete who maybe just wants to lose 10 pounds, I think we need to look at more specific dietary choices.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on March 01, 2011
at 05:31 AM

No offense to you either, but pretty much everything you have responded is either wrong or only partly true. Believe it or not the lines between health/lifestyle/foods/medicine are not as separate as we are accustomed to. Certain foods can either cause or cure imbalances. Imbalances lead to disease. While many hindus are vegetarian, ayurveda does not as a rule advise to remain vegetarian.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on March 01, 2011
at 05:28 AM

(cont.) it suggests foods that are more likely to keep people in a healthy balance. Those foods are not exotic Indian cuisines, but specific fruits, vegetable, meats, dairy products, etc. that should work best for people.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on March 01, 2011
at 05:27 AM

No offense but you shouldn't answer questions when you have no idea about the topic being asked. 1. It is pretty commonly agreed upon that 'paleo eating' would include lots of meats, fish, coconut, avocado, etc. Since I'm from California, "paleo in my area" would include all of those things. 2. Your last paragraph is both ignorant and offensive. People throughout the entire world eat vegetables, fruits, grains, meats, fish, etc. If you bothered to even google the term ayurveda before you commented you would see that it does not 'prescribe' foods specific to indian people....

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6 Answers

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2
Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on March 01, 2011
at 01:37 PM

i find there is a lot of value in Ayurveda, and considered going to the practitioner school at Kripalu to learn more. im also kapha with a dash of pitta. some of the recommendations i find so wonderful, and the general idea to go against ones nature is immensely helpful. im firmly rooted to the earth and will practice weightlifting and yin yoga all day but will only run if someone is chasing me with a knife! i do try to incorporate some of the dietary recommendations, but overall i did not see a great result (in terms of weight or disease management) when i adopted the kapha recommendations completely. i have had more luck being paleo (as far as my weight, but also for my pitta-related multiple sclerosis) than with the kapha diet recommendations but i do employ some of the lifestyle recommendations (netti, yoga, self-massage) and drink A LOT of ginger tea! i dont know a ton about Ayurveda, but much of what ive learned seems very intuitive and shouldnt be dismissed.

ETA: i eat a lot of raw cabbage, ghee, cauliflower, ginger, brussels, daikon, rapini, kale, green onions, asparagus, lemon and lime zest and juice, cinnamon, green and red chile peppers, bone broth as a beverage or light soup, green onions, turmeric (both as a spice and as a supplement), cumin, coriander, curry, and i drink a lot of hot herbal tea throughout the day. i also will add ginger or cinnamon essential oils to my self-massage oil to make it warming.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on March 01, 2011
at 02:13 PM

ginger is great!

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on March 01, 2011
at 02:45 PM

Thanks, can you mention some of the 'staple' foods in your diet? Do you eat a lot of avocados? coconuts? oils for coking?

5
Eea4c0f072bb5caa74c1fbe6dfab5f46

(942)

on March 01, 2011
at 03:23 PM

I apologize before hand if this rambles a bit: I was raised with Ayurveda and what you have to understand (through study) is that for every proscription provided there is also an antidote, for instance, certain branches of ayurveda proscribe tomatoes or nightshades, but then say: blanche, peel, seed the tomato (the seeds are said to be hard on the kidneys) and "treat" with turmeric while cooking to negate unwelcome effects. Likewise, you can antidote meats with kapha spices: cinnamon, cayenne & paprika, which "lighten" the density of the foods.

I have a vata-kapha prakriti & I also go in and out of phases wanting red meat. I love it in the winter but I also mix it up: lamb, seafood, chicken, beef, elk, etc. But I don't need much more than 3-6 oz most days unless I'm really active.

And you also have to understand that "eating according to dosha" doesn't mean you eat just one way all year. You don't just eat kapha foods all year round, that's horribly unbalancing. You have to eat seasonally. Today we are entering Kapha season, and what's available in spring time, what grows first?

Bitter greens, sprouts, strawberries, etc. What's left in your pantry? Following an ayruvedic diet meant to mimic what mother nature does.

Kapha March-June Pitta July-October Vata Nov-Feb

If you're wanting to eat paleo in the winter regions, as our ancestors may have: you're going to need a lot more fat, proteins, root vegetables, fruit that might keep: apples, or dried fruits and nuts. Not a lot of berries unless it was already pounded into pemmican. Not a lot of broccoli or asparagus available in the January wilds. Whereas summer is full out abundance of green things, rich sources of carbohydrates and fish, herbs, etc.

It is helpful to make the distinction now, that describing doshas is really the art of observing the balance of three natural FORCES in one???s body. Vata is responsible for catabolism, (breaking down) Pitta, for metabolism (enzymatic) & Kapha represents anabolism (building). This balance is what allows an individual to experience & express health & wellness. Kapha, being the anabolic force, is said to have a predominance of "sweet" already in the body - i.e. they naturally have a tendency to "build more tissue."

It's not that they don't need protein and good fats, but the ratio needs are going to be different that a high-metabolic vata. And even if you balance and preventatively treat for Kapha metabolism, that person will never have the same metabolism as one of the other doshas. No matter how thin/fit a kapha person becomes, they will never appear as petite in bone structure as the other doshas.

Each dosha needs all the good stuff that paleo type eating recommends in the right Ratio. Each of them also need particular things to keep them each in balance, for Kapha: more vegetables and spice than a Vata needs, etc.

Cadu makes some good points as well, but doesn't take into account that sour foods are fine when taken in season, again it's not a 360 day eating design.

Rambling complete.

9f9fa49265e03ddd2bf2bba5477a556b

(3184)

on March 01, 2011
at 04:01 PM

But you do need to explain how a spice "lightens" the density of foods. I mean if you can lighten the density of objects by sprinkling cinnamon on them, I'm pretty sure you got a Science or Nature paper there. That is a trick almost cooler than levitation.

Eea4c0f072bb5caa74c1fbe6dfab5f46

(942)

on March 01, 2011
at 04:27 PM

It's just a sensation-experience -- foods that are spiced correctly alter the mouth feel and digestion of the foods. For instance (I'm going to use a non-paleo example) fresh bread vs. toast. One of them is more dense in character than the other. Toast, being cooked and having the water levels altered is "lighter" in feeling than a huge hunk of french loaf. Likewise, using astringent & bitter herbs cumin & coriander or even lemon will have a different effect on the taste of vegetables than just butter & salt. It wasn't levitation my dear, just experiential observations made 1k years ago.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on March 01, 2011
at 03:35 PM

Lindsay you do not need to apologise when you provide a very informative answer!

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on March 01, 2011
at 09:00 PM

Thanks Lindsay!

3
974b8606f0d12c6993960e6d78d0a348

(30)

on March 01, 2011
at 04:29 AM

A holistic medicinal system, Ayurveda is both a dietary and lifestyle regime. It prescribes advice on diets depending on your individual mind-body type (that is, your dosha), whether kapha, pitta, or vata. http://paleohacks.com/questions/25411/ayurveda-and-paleo#axzz1FJn8lt7y

Even for people who have slower carbohydrate metabolisms (kapha types), I think paleo is highly effective, as long as you eliminate the starch.

One of the main points of disagreement I have with Ayurveda is regarding kapha imbalance. If you're someone who gains weight easily, i.e. has a slow metabolism (a kapha-type person), Ayurveda says to prioritize "astringent, bitter, and pungent" tastes and minimize heavy, oily foods. Basically, Ayurveda proposes that imbalanced kaphas eat warm, dry, light foods like salads and light soups. This is one of the main points on which I disagree with Ayurveda, and for the following reason.

Low-carb diets that emphasize meats & seafood, eggs, low-carb dairy, and green vegetables seem to work really well for people who have disrupted metabolisms and are overweight (i.e., kapha imbalanced) in causing spontaneous weight loss. Also, sour, fermented foods are good for the gut, and people who are overweight often have unhealthy guts. However, Ayurveda advises to reduce use of sour foods if you're a kapha individual.

There's my 2 cents! Let me know if it helps.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on March 01, 2011
at 05:36 AM

Thanks for your comment, you are the only one who actually addressed my question. I am a vata, and the high fat high protein diet works amazingly well for me. When I am working with kapha types I have a much harder time dialing in their diets to be as good for them as mine is for me. Also, the point of whether or not the person has serious weight issues/metabolic derangement. In that case low carb paleo is probably the way to go, but when we're talking about a healthy athlete who maybe just wants to lose 10 pounds, I think we need to look at more specific dietary choices.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on March 01, 2011
at 05:47 AM

Bitter and pungent are for kaphas not vatas, but yeah you make a great point. Kapha problems do accumulate in the stomach which would be in keeping with the idea of attaining 'gut health', and those herbs/foods would help attain that.

D83e454e794d761ab524814c0ff8f838

(531)

on March 01, 2011
at 05:43 AM

I think Ayurveda recommends bitter and pungent for Vatas because besides having an unhealthy gut, they also have dysfunctional livers. Bitter, astringent and pungent includes Dandelion Root, Yellow Dock, Rhubarb, bitter melon, greens such as Romaine lettuce, spinach, and chard, ginger, turmeric, garlic, etc. All of which clear out the liver, gallbladder, and gut.

D83e454e794d761ab524814c0ff8f838

(531)

on March 02, 2011
at 01:57 AM

Sorry, I meant Kaphas! It was a little too late for me.

1
E5897836b94c4d7071f51ca6f7b3b8ff

(10)

on April 16, 2013
at 02:49 PM

This thread may not still be active, but I do want to add that as as self-diagnosed Kapha (with some pitta) who has been pretty strictly paleo/primal for several years, I found a tremendous change in my energy/hunger/weight levels by eliminating almonds, which I'd been relying on heavily (I love almonds!) and eating walnuts, sesame, sunflower & pumpkin seeds instead. I've also cut back considerably on coconut, only using the oil to cook with occasionally, and mostly avoiding avocados as well. I still eat a 40-50% fat diet, heavy in grass-fed red meat (some fish, some chicken), but these changes have been remarkably beneficial. As much as I love almonds, I feel so much better that I don't miss them at all. Just my personal kapha experience, such as it is.

0
A089b683ee0498f2b21b7edfa300e405

on March 01, 2011
at 03:50 AM

As far as I know, Ayurveda is a practice of medicine, not an advice on lifestyle. They classify people into the three groups you have indicated, to advise a treatment. I am not sure, but I believe they advise to remain a vegetarian while on treatment. Ayurveda, or homeopathy or for that matter any other method of treating illness has little to do with being Paleo/Primal.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on March 01, 2011
at 02:33 PM

I apologise for my tone, perhaps I was a bit grumpy last night ;) I would like to respectfully refute your point however. While modern India may only see ayurvedic practices as medicinal, the fact that ayurvedic knowledge addresses things like which types of fruits/vegetables/meats/spices, etc. healthy people should gravitate towards or avoid speaks to lifestyle advisement. Also, it comments on which 'types' should take naps or not take naps for example, and during which times of the year. Which lunar phases are better for having sex and which are not, the effects of sleeping on your

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on March 01, 2011
at 05:31 AM

No offense to you either, but pretty much everything you have responded is either wrong or only partly true. Believe it or not the lines between health/lifestyle/foods/medicine are not as separate as we are accustomed to. Certain foods can either cause or cure imbalances. Imbalances lead to disease. While many hindus are vegetarian, ayurveda does not as a rule advise to remain vegetarian.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on March 01, 2011
at 02:34 PM

right side vs. left side, what time you should rise in the morning, and what times of day you should eat. These are clearly lifestyle practices for optimal health and not medicine for the diseased.

A089b683ee0498f2b21b7edfa300e405

(3895)

on March 01, 2011
at 09:58 AM

I do not wish this to be a shouting match - But I have lived in India long enough to know about Hindus and Ayurveda. No one - yes no one goes to an Ayurveda practitioner to take advise about lifestyle. An Ayurveda practitioner is known as a 'Vaid' which means doctor in Sanskrit. One consults him/her when there is something abnormal with you and they will prescribe medicines etc. The lines between lifestyle/foods/medicine may indeed be blurred - but the question was clearly about Ayurveda which is nothing but a practice of medicine for the diseased.

0
F9a0b72f38860d7601afd5a45bb53394

(3618)

on March 01, 2011
at 03:37 AM

Which "the paleo diet" are you talking about? A lot of the paleo advice here is given to people with metabolisms that are broken in a certain way. But there is no such thing as THE Paleo diet. There have been so-called Paleolithic people all over the world; in fact, the so-called Paleolithic age has not ended everywhere. One of the mistakes that civilized people ("Takers" in Daniel Quinn's parlance--look him up, he's fascinating) often make when we are speaking of human history is speaking in terms of "we." Well, WE are not the only human beings on earth, and WE do not encompass the whole of human history. Different peoples have different cultural things going on. Some people are still very much in the Stone Age. And they eat differently than other people in the Stone Age. Mostly because they're in different areas of the world, and they have different foods available to them.

What would be "Paleo" in your area? Try that.

I'm not from India and do not feel comfortable practicing a diet they prescribe. I don't have regular access to their foods and I don't have that ancestry.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on March 01, 2011
at 05:27 AM

No offense but you shouldn't answer questions when you have no idea about the topic being asked. 1. It is pretty commonly agreed upon that 'paleo eating' would include lots of meats, fish, coconut, avocado, etc. Since I'm from California, "paleo in my area" would include all of those things. 2. Your last paragraph is both ignorant and offensive. People throughout the entire world eat vegetables, fruits, grains, meats, fish, etc. If you bothered to even google the term ayurveda before you commented you would see that it does not 'prescribe' foods specific to indian people....

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on March 02, 2011
at 04:00 AM

I'm of european descent, my only point was that she assumed I was Indian and was mildly offensive about it.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on March 01, 2011
at 05:28 AM

(cont.) it suggests foods that are more likely to keep people in a healthy balance. Those foods are not exotic Indian cuisines, but specific fruits, vegetable, meats, dairy products, etc. that should work best for people.

9f9fa49265e03ddd2bf2bba5477a556b

(3184)

on March 01, 2011
at 03:55 PM

Umm, given that until the last couple hundred years no humans outside of Mexico would have encountered an avocado or that no one outside of south Asia or the south Pacific would have encountered a coconut, and given that neither are native to Californians, nor part of the Paleolithic Californian diet, they aren't strictly Paleolithic. I believe our native Californian food includes such delicacies as mashed acorn and bear meat. Ayurveda, by the way, is totally Neolithic. Seriously though, what is "healthy" balance? We understand the how metabolism works, so prescribe foods based on science.

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