If you aren’t familiar with Ayurveda, don’t freak out. It isn’t crazy complicated or totally out-there — it’s an ancient Indian system of health and well-being. Ayurveda is based on a balance of the elements in our individual bodies and minds, which are represented by the three Doshas, or types of natural constitutions.
You are typically dominant in one of the Doshas but can often be more of one in the mind and another in the body. I’m a Vata mind and a Pitta body, for example. Here’s a quiz to figure out which one you are.
I’ve learned that we have all three of the Doshas within us and should seek to balance out our predominant one with the kinds of foods we eat, movement we do, and the way we de-stress. For example, if you run hot and are constantly overheating, add more cooling foods to your diet and chill out of the hot sauce.
One of the best guides I’ve come across is the Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda by Sahara Rose Ketabi. It’s both easy to understand by breaking the concepts down into smaller, simpler pieces AND it covers a ton of info. I really feel like I have a much firmer understanding of the concepts and systems at work in Ayurveda after reading it.
Why learn about Ayurveda?
Learning about Ayurveda has helped me immerse myself in the concept of getting in touch with the way my body feels at different points in the day, my defaults, and my weaknesses — hello Pitta hangry-ness. But rather than Ayurveda reading like a strict diet for me (i.e. a laundry list of what I can and can’t eat), it’s just made me more observant and curious as to what’s going on inside my body. From there, maybe I’ll tweak my routine a little to see how it feels.
For example, I’ve made an effort to make lunch by biggest meal on weekdays. I’ve found that when I’m eating a full lunch of lots of plant-based foods, protein, and health fats, I have more energy to focus in the afternoon and usually am not starving by 5pm and can hold out to make a nice dinner. I’ve also started eating dinner earlier when I can so that I don’t go to bed with a full stomach.
An Ayurvedic Smoothie
As I’ve delved deeper into this world of maintaining balance and honoring my body’s rhythms, I discovered that my morning smoothie bowl (a staple in the warmer months) is decidedly UN-Ayurvedic.
On weekday mornings I tend to prefer something naturally sweet with plant-based protein, vegetables, and healthy fats to keep me energized. Smoothies did that for me, but according to Ayurveda, their cold temps can quell the digestive fire that keeps us humming along. So I decided to make a warmer version with a room temperature smoothie that uses warming spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger.
You don’t have to know your Dosha to enjoy this smoothie, though. It’s great if you just want something fruit-free and more warming than your typical green smoothie but still want an easy-to-digest and slightly sweet blended breakfast.
Ayurvedic Sweet Potato Smoothie
A room temperature, fruit-free smoothie made with warming spices and sweet potato — it's a smoothie with a winter-friendly (and Ayurvedic-friendly) makeover.
- ½ cup coconut milk
- ½ cup filtered water
- 1 small roasted sweet potato cooled and skin removed
- ½ cup frozen cauliflower
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- 1- inch piece of ginger root peeled
- Maca powder optional
- ½ teaspoon Ashwagandha optional
- 1 tablespoon almond butter
- Toasted coconut flakes
- Toasted pecans
- Hemp seeds
Place all the ingredients — besides the almond butter and the toppings — in your blender and puree until smooth, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula as needed.
Once blended, add almond butter and pulse to combine. Serve in a bowl or jar and top with toppings.