Winter for Pitta-Kapha and Kapha-Pitta
If you have a pitta-kapha or kapha-pitta constitution, you will likely want to tailor your routine to be more kapha-pacifying than vata-pacifying this winter, while also taking advantage of the cold, quiet nature of the season to soothe and rejuvenate pitta. You can, of course, adapt your habits, as your climate or your personal needs change.
Foods to Favor
While you may need to have an eye on balancing vata this winter, chances are, you’ll be primarily focused on eating a kapha-pacifying diet without disturbing pitta.
- The bitter and astringent tastes are especially good for balancing kapha this winter.
- Favor fruits like apples, berries, pears, pomegranates, raisins, and soaked prunes.
- Good veggie options this winter include artichokes, asparagus, beets, greens, brussels sprouts, celery, leeks, mushrooms, okra, peas, rutabaga, and (appropriately) winter squash.
- Opt for grains like amaranth, barley, oats, and basmati rice.
- Most beans are good for kapha because they are energetically drying. Classically astringent-tasting legumes like adzuki beans, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, pinto beans, and soybeans are great choices.
- Although most dairy products are aggravating to kapha, goat’s milk and cheese are a little lighter and more kapha friendly, but they should still be enjoyed in moderation. Other milk alternatives that are less kapha aggravating include oat, almond, rice, and soy.
- Snack in moderation on light seeds like pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.
Acceptable Winter Indulgences
Spicier foods that are too hot for pitta digestion will be better tolerated during the winter for pitta-kapha or kapha-pitta types.
Caffeinated tea, coffee, or espresso can be enjoyed on occasion—especially on a wet and cloudy day.
You can also enjoy more eggs and more meat than at other times of year (chicken, turkey, rabbit, and venison are good choices for you).
Foods to Minimize
- If kapha is high this winter, reduce your oil intake and try to minimize heavy, starchy foods.
- Fresh fruits like bananas, grapes, grapefruit, and tamarind are best minimized at this time of year.
- For that matter, fruits that are commonly considered vegetables like olives, cucumbers, tomatoes, and avocados are best avoided at this time, as are traditionally heavy veggies like sweet potatoes and summer squash.
- Most sweeteners are not considered balancing for kapha, but molasses is especially so.
- Heavier grains and lentils like brown rice and urad dal are best avoided.
- Again, most dairy products can be imbalancing for kapha, especially store-bought yogurt (homemade is fine).
- Heavier meats like beef, saltwater fish, and pork are not recommended if kapha is high.
- If pitta is high, be careful with hot spices like cayenne, chilies, and dry ginger.
In addition to these recommendations, watch for signs of increasing kapha (heaviness, lethargy, brain fog) or increasing pitta (acidity, irritability), and adapt your diet accordingly.
If you have high amounts of kapha and pitta in your constitution, your task in winter will be to stay active and engaged enough to prevent kapha imbalance, while taking full advantage of the cool, quiet season to calm pitta’s tendency toward being overly precise and focused.
For exercise, the winter months are perfect for a bit of a challenge. Pace yourself and listen to your body, keeping in mind that a pitta mind often ignores the body’s limits.
Let your yoga practice be invigorating, moving at a good speed, while being careful not to overheat. Invite relaxed effort in your postures rather than straining with sharp precision.
If your climate or your life circumstances cause vata to become aggravated this winter, be prepared to slow down, ground, and nourish yourself until you feel more stability and strength.