Kapha Diet and Recipes - Ayurveda | Everyday Ayurveda

Kapha Diet and Recipes

kapha diet

Elements- Water & Earth


  • Heavy
  • Slow
  • Cold
  • Oily
  • Smooth
  • Dense
  • Soft
  • Stable
  • Sticky
  • Cloudy

Season- Later Winter, Early Spring

Time of Life- Birth to puberty

Time of Day- 6-10 AM/PM

Tastes that Balance Kapha- Bitter, Pungent, Astringent

Tastes that Increase Kapha- Sweet, Sour, Salty

In general, pacify Kapha dosha with foods that are heating, light and dry. Kapha dosha is composed of earth and water, and has no fire. It is a cold dosha and should be treated with warm food rather than raw. Consuming raw food will only serve to exacerbate any Kapha conditions. Kapha is known to have a sluggish digestive fire, therefore, the raw food can be quite taxing on the digestive system.

In general, it is best to avoid cold beverages, wheat, meat, dairy, sugar and nuts if you suspect you have a Kapha imbalance. Basically, any comfort foods that go plop on the dinner plate will vitiate Kapha. The good news? Caffeine and alcohol are okay in moderation for Kapha dosha.

Kapha Diet Shopping List

Fruits- Astringent & Tart Fruits, dried fruits

Apples, Apricots, Berries, Cherries, Cranberries, Mango, Peaches, Pears, Persimmons, Pomegranate, Prunes and Raisins.

Vegetables- Pungent & Bitter Vegetables

Asparagus, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Eggplant, Garlic, Leafy Greens, Lettuce, Okra, Onions, Parsley, Peas, Peppers, Potatoes (white), Radishes, Spinach, Sprouts

Grains- Dry, Light Grains (avoid wheat, brown/white rice and cooked oats)

Barley, Corn, Millet, Oats (dry), Rice (basmati), Rye

Animal Proteins- Avoid Beef, Pork, Lamb & Seafood

Chicken, Turkey, Rabbit, Venison, Shrimp

Legumes- All legumes are okay save for Kidney beans and soybeans

Nuts- Avoid nuts

Sweeteners- Honey

Spices- All spices are fair game

Cayenne, Cinnamon, Cumin, Fenugreek, Horseradish, Garlic, Ginger, Mustard Seeds, Turmeric,

Dairy- Ghee & Goatmilk, otherwise no dairy

Oils- Use sparingly, Almond, Corn or Sunflower oil


Kapha Balancing Recipes


Asparagus-Mung Sprouts Salad

Recipe courtesy of Manju Joshi

Note- This refreshing salad can be eaten as a meal by itself or with a khichari, rice pilaf, or quinoa.

Serves 4


  • A bunch of asparagus, cut to desired length
  • Handful of  mung sprouts
  • Handful of pumpkin seeds
  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 1 T lemon Juice
  • 1/2 T crushed black pepper
  • Salt to taste


  1. In a medium wok, heat coconut oil, add black pepper. Fry for a minute.
  2. Add asparagus and salt. Mix well and cook only for 2 minutes. Asparagus should remain crispy.
  3. Add lemon juice, toss again.
  4. Remove from heat. Let cool for a few minutes.
  5. While still warm, Add mung sprouts and pumpkin seeds.
  6. Mix well. Let cool completely.
  7. Serve at room temperature.

Note: Please use organic if possible.

Green Tonic Recipe

Recipe courtesy of Dr. John Douillard 

Makes: 2 (8-ounce) servings


  • 1-2 cups filtered water for steaming
  • 2 medium celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 whole zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cup string beans, ends trimmed and chopped
  • ½ cup fresh parsley


  • Steam all the vegetables except parsley for about 8 minutes or until bright green, tender but not mushy. Try not to overcook, as over-cooking can start to decrease nutrient value.
  • Combine all the ingredients, including the fresh parsley, in a blender using the remaining steaming water as a thinning agent. Puree until smooth, adding more water as needed to reach your desired consistency. If you have a Vitamix or a similarly powerful blender, you can make the Green Tonic very smooth. A weaker blender or food processor may result in a chunkier, less unified texture.
  • To support digestion, drink the Green Tonic at room temperature, warm, or hot – not cold. After you steam the veggies, they can be blended and taken as a hot soup right away.

Flavor Options:

  • Green Tonic Soup (Warm and Savory): Make it a “soup” by adding garlic, ginger, salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm with a squeeze of lemon.
  • Green Tonic Smoothie: Add 1 small beet with a slice of fresh ginger and the juice of ½ a lemon.

Golden Milk

Recipe courtesy of Laura Plumb

Serves 2


  • 2 c fresh Milk
  • 2 t Turmeric powder, or a 2-inch coin of fresh Turmeric root, peeled
  • A dusting of fresh cracked Pepper, or a small pinch of ground Cardamom, or both


  1. Put the ingredients in saucepan.
  2. Whisk the milk gently while bringing to a gentle boil.
  3. Serve and drink warm.

Dairy Free Golden Milk

Serves 2


  • 2 t Turmeric powder or a 2-inch coin of fresh turmeric root, peeled
  • 2 c fresh Almond milk* or Coconut Milk
  • 2 t raw Honey, optional
  • 1 t Ghee or Coconut oil, optional


  1. Add the ingredients to a blender on high speed and mix for a few minutes to heat the drink.
  2. Enjoy it warm.

For Kapha: Add generous shakes of ginger, black pepper and cinnamon

Roasted Pears & Raisins

A delicious dessert for all doshas. With so few choices to satisfy a Kapha sweet tooth, roasted pears offers a rare reprieve. The spices enhance the sweetness and stimulate a sluggish winter metabolism. Cloves directly stimulate blood flow to the extremities, revitalizing the muscles, brightening and moistening the skin.

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Plantain chips: Anytime ‘pick me up snack!’

Recipe courtesy of Manju Joshi 


  • 1 Green plantain, peeled and cut in round pieces according to desired thickness
  • 2 Tbs Coconut oil or ghee
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat a medium skillet, add the coconut oil then the cut plantain.
  2. Let cook for a minute
  3. Turn and cook for another minute. Keep turning till both sides are lightly brown or brown if want them a bit crunchy.
  4. Add salt and pepper, toss well
  5. Remove plantain chips from heat and serve warm or cool

Note: if you are allergic to bananas, you may be allergic to plantains

Kale Lemonade with Ginger & Apple (Kalemgin Apple)

When spring weather feels heavy and humid like the tropics, this refeshing juice can help you stay clear-headed and light. In spring, it’s a warm day that makes you sick. Thick, humid air makes you feel swollen, heavy, and stuffy. Your lymph nodes may even swell, indicating a congested liver and blood.

The bitter taste in kale, and sour taste in lemon and apple flush and cleanse the liver by stimulating bile release. Release of bile, a fatty substance, also aids your body yanking winter fats out of the bloodstream. After drinking kale lemonade you may even notice rhythmic contractions of the gall bladder as it pumps bile into the small intestine.

The pungent taste in ginger re-ignites circulation and digestive fire while it dries up a runny nose. As Kale Lemonade is alkalizing and Pitta-reducing, drinking it cools and refreshes the eyes.

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Best Chai Recipe!

Recipe courtesy of Suleyka Montpetit

For 4 cups


  • 6 cups Water
  • 3″ long Fresh Ginger Root, Grated
  • 5 Cinnamon sticks
  • 10 Cardamom pods
  • 5 Cloves
  • 10 Peppercorns
  • 3 English Breakfast Tea bags OR Tulsi Tea
  • 2 cups organic cow’s, goat’s or almond milk
  • Honey to taste


Grate the fresh ginger root and put it a pot with the others spices and the water.

Bring to boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the tea bags and milk, keep on simmer until hot.

Pour in cups and add honey to taste.Take some time to fully enjoy the fragrance of the spices, the miracle of the honey, the astringent quality of the tea, and the overall wonder of this unique moment.

Kitchari for the American Kitchen

Cleanse Your Body

If your belly feels sluggish after too many treats, Kitchari is an easy way to cleanse your digestion and restore freshness.

Kitchari offers a true delight to both your body and senses. It is a heart warming synergy of beans, basmati rice, and digestive spices that is easy to prepare. This time tested formula, centuries old, is a complete protein, rich in fiber, cleansing to the digestive tract, and will act to bulk up stool for easier elimination.

To maximize the many benefits your will receive from kitchari, eat it for several meals in a row, such as lunch and dinner on the same day. Once you experience the benefits of kitchari, you’ll see how feeling good again is just a few steps away. It just may become addictive! Those who avoid beans because of digestive difficulties should use mung beans or even green beans, which are easier to digest than chick peas.

Invigorate Your Metabolism

Spices are the difference between a tasty meal and a bland one, and also the difference between healthy and poor circulation. A well-spiced dish can stimulate your circulation, invigorate your metabolism, and clear out toxins. In this recipe, cloves open up your pores and enhance blood flow to the skin, reducing puffiness and lymphatic congestion. Ginger stimulates the heart. Cinnamon warms your metabolism. Reach for these spices with enthusiasm, but remember: Too much spice is harsh and can leave a burning feeling the intestines. Be aware of your body’s reaction to spices. Those with ulcers or inflammation will not benefit from too many spices, but it is helpful for those with sluggish digestion.

About Kitchari

Kitchari is Ayurveda’s perfect food, indicated in times of recovery as well as cleansing. Kitchari can even be the centerpiece of a mono-diet or fast, as it is a simple food that supplements the healing process. As with Grandma’s chicken soup, there are as many ways to make kitchari as there are reasons to consume it. Typical modifications include vegetables such as carrots, greens, zucchini, or potatoes. Spices like cumin, cinnamon, or black pepper can be included, as well as even toasted nuts or coconut. Technically, a kitchari is any dish combining rice and legumes. Traditional kitcharies use mung beans, available at most Asian food stores, because they are an easiest legume to digest.

This kitchari is especially suited to Kapha and Vata dosha.

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Courtesy of Cate Stillman

The most common question I’m asked about thistle is: “How do you get it into your blender without cutting yourself up?”

1. Don gardener gloves. The leather kind work best.

2. Get a shovel.

3. Wear shoes, not sandals.

4. Place the shovel blade at a 45-degree angle to the root, under the thistle leaves.

5. In a shift kick to your shovel, behead the thistle.

Don’t worry – you can’t kill it without chemical warfare.

Thistle is the gift that keeps on giving. Talk to your beheaded thistle plant. Thank it for it’s powerful job restoring nutrients by dredging the deep minerals beneath the disturbed unhappy topsoil.

6. With gloved hands, pick up the thistle, and shake the dirt off.

7. Carry the thistle to garden hose. Spray the dirt off, quickly. Pull off any dead leaves.

8. Keeping your gloves on, bring thistle to the chopping block. In 2 whacks, chop it and put in blender.

Now you’re done with the gloves. Add some water and fruit, and blend into your superweed smoothie.

Wild Superweed Smoothie

  • One small thistle plant (leaves only)
  • Handful of fresh dandelion leaves
  • 3 organic or local apples
  • 3 c. water
  • 1/4 of an organic lemon, derinded

Blend in a high-powered blender. Voila. If you just have a regular blender, blend. Then, strain. Voila.

Freshen up your skin for spring! Spring fever is here and rosy cheeks will soon replace your winter pallor. The warmer temperatures stimulate blood flow, especially to the skin. That’s why on hot humid days your might some notice congestion and swelling of the feet and hands. The swelling is a sign that your winter skin may benefit from some encouragement.

Cilantro Lime Salsa helps prepare your body for the warmer weather ahead by flushing the skin, liver, and digestive tract. By opening the pores, raw onions help cleanse the skin and flush our hands and feet when they are swollen. Raw onions also purge and cleanse the digestive tract. The onions in Cilantro Lime Salsa are marinated in lime to soften the sharpness. The marinade makes the onion more digestible and pleasant on the palate.

Lime, as all sours, stimulates secretion of bile, flushing the gall bladder and cleansing the liver. Cilantro’s cooling nature is well suited to the hot temperatures of late spring. Meanwhile its bitter and pungent qualities continue to purify the blood and stimulate digestion.

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Recipe: Spiced Black Bean Chili with Molasses and Chipotle

Spices and Dry Lungs

Spices are light, drying, and stimulating. They stimulate your heart and dilate your blood vessels, improving circulation and warming up your body.

Beans can be boorish without a boost from the exotic aromas of cumin, star anise, and cinnamon—all herbs frequently used in lung formulas.
As the late winter and early spring thaw causes fluid buildup in the respiratory tract, spices can help keep you dry, clear, and warm through the turmoil and unpredictable weather of this time of year.

Spices are like a colorful shawl or blanket, sheltering you from the winds of spring – and also protecting from the inner winds. Beans can be gas-forming and these lung-supporting spices are also carminatives, relieving or preventing gas formation.

Purifies Spring Blood

Beans are especially useful in late winter and early spring, when its best to choose foods that are the exact opposite of, lets say, the creamy and rich choices of the winter holidays. In springtime, your body is executing its natural cleansing actions, sloughing off the wintertime fats in favor for a new lightness and brightness. Beans support the bodys efforts, as they are astringent – the opposite of the dampening, sweet foods that cause you to put on excess pounds. The low glycemic index of beans is especially supportive, helping to keep your blood dry, thin, and free of congestion.

Filling Aid in Weight Loss

Heavy and hearty, beans satisfy a voracious appetite. Enjoy without the guilt – a satisfying portion of black beans (a cup) has only 11 percent of the recommended daily allowance for calories, but has the potential to fill you up 100 percent. Plus, beans contain cholesterol reducing and bowel cleansing fiber.


Beans and Your Bowels

The rich fiber content of beans aids in healthy elimination. ‘Bean liquor’ refers to the thick broth that forms while cooking beans – evidence of soluble fiber. The soluble fiber dissolves in water and keeps stools soft, acting as a bulk laxative. High in both soluble and insoluble fiber, the insoluble roughage stimulates bowel movements and helps to scrape the bowels. The fiber in beans also reduces cholesterol, all while increasing satisfaction.

Beans get a bad reputation for being the “musical fruit,” causing unfortunate expressions after mealtimes, but the gas-forming astringent saponins actually help the legume protect itself against insects. Saponins form the sudsy foam on the surface of a bubbling pot of beans. These saponins also prevent protein digestion, making beans an especially challenging food for some.

Vata individuals with insufficient digestive juices in the stomach may experience gas, bloating, and constipation after eating beans. Ayurveda says to avoid foods that make you gassy but also offers these tips to improve the digestibility of beans.

About Spiced Black Bean Chili

Anise, cinnamon, and chipotle chili add a warm, smoky feel, perfuming the beans, while black strap molasses adds a sweet, rich sauciness. We discovered this recipe while cooking over a campfire in northern New Mexico. A bowlful of this warming dish has the power to transport you to the fireside, under the stars, with your mouth watering in anticipation.

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Rustic Peach Sorbet with Rosemary Oil

The hearty warmth of rosemary olive oil is a stirring contrast to the bright and cheery essence of peach in this dashing adaption of peaches & cream. The aromatic rosemary is sharp & full of invigorating passion. Its warmth collides vividly with the refreshing peach sorbet, whose rosy hue offers plush sweetness.

The melange of sparkling peach and green rosemary draws your senses to rustic Tuscany, where the dry heat of the countryside slows the pace of life. As you indulge, watch as your mind sets sail to the foothills of Florence. One bite will fill you with the feeling that “everything’s perfect, just right, like a peach.”

Soothing Balm for Hay-Fever

A cold peach sorbet offers soothing relief to the back of your throat when it is hot & irritated. As ragweed starts to irritate your throat during the late summer allergy season, one of the best ways to reduce your sensitivity to fall pollen is, surprisingly, good bowel health & regular elimination. Stools harden in August as temperatures drop. You might notice more gas and bloating than during other months of the year.

Fall gas & bloating is the root of your allergic sensitivity. Gas and bloating is a sign of fermentation by bacteria, which release toxins in your blood that irritate mucus membranes, and overstimulate your immune system. This irritation and hypersensitivty of your immune system, combined with pollen in the air, is a perfect storm in the sinuses. Cold sorbet is a salve for your throat when inflamed. Peaches are so easy to digest that they are often pureed and given to babies.

As the sourness in a peach makes the mouth juicy, it also makes the digestive tract juicy, encouraging smoother, softer stools and easy elimination. The high fiber content of peaches, plus the added slick lubrication offered by olive oil further encourage easy bowel movement.

Enliven Your Heavy Mind

Pungent and slightly bitter, rosemary is a choice herb for ailments of kapha dosha. Rosemary is traditionally used to improve memory by stimulating the central nervous system. Rosemary invigorates blood and lymph circulation, useful in low blood pressure, sluggishness and helping fatigued muscles feel light once again. Pick rosemary fresh from the garden (or roadside!) and steep in a mason jar of olive oil. A beam of summer sunshine will gently coax the spicey aroma from rosemary into the oil for a delicately pungent yet rich flavor. Rosmarinus, deriving from the latin “dew” (ros) and “sea” (marinus), means “dew of the sea”. Rosemary grows in the arid Mediterranean pastures of Greece and Italy and, as its name implies, it can survive on the humidity carried to its leaves by the sea breeze. A drizzle of rosemary infused olive oil is the final touch on this Italian inspired recipe.

Peach Sorbet’s Effect by Body Type

Dry vata feels nurtured by sweet peaches & olive oil while being warmed and relaxed by rosemary. This recipe will please pitta with its creamy luxurious texture and decadent, high-class sensibilities. Pitta’s often have sensitive eyes. The high keratin content of peaches will nourish the sharp vision of pitta dosha, easing tension. The liver-nourishing and cleansing properties of this recipe will soften the sharpness of a pitta mind. Pitta should also take caution, as the heat of rosemary and peaches can also overstimulate them. Kapha, who usually discovers a little extra mucus in the sinuses the morning after a sweet treat, will relish our Rustic Peach Sorbet with Rosemary Olive Oil. The warming quality of peach is accented by pungent rosemary. Dairy-free and utilizing the sweetness of heating honey, here’s a dessert that you can believe in!

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