I’ll give you an example in the form of three case study-type examples by Dosha.
Vata Dosha – Anna
The elements of the Vata Dosha are air and ether which explains where the cool, dry and mobile qualities originate. A typical Vata, Anna is happier to snack throughout the day rather than to stop and eat proper meals. Though this means that Anna avoids feeling too full, it keeps the digestive fire (Agni) on a constant flame, thus preventing proper digestion from happening which causes uncomfortable bloating and constipation. Anna has to eat regularly to satisfy her hunger and this often leads to overthinking when it comes to food (you would be right in thinking that eating disorders are Vata imbalances). She is a restless type who likes to stay active with the intention of keeping her weight down. Due to anxiety Anna doesn’t sleep well and so she suffers from tiredness throughout the day. The need for energy fuels her hunger though this is a source of stress because she doesn’t want to overeat.
Physical observations and signs of imbalance: A naturally slim/bony frame with frequently cracking joints, cold skin to touch, thin, dry hair, quick speech and eye movement. Anxiety, dry skin, disrupted sleep, bloating and constipation.
Suggestions: A diet of warm, cooked, softer foods is going to be far more satisfying to the appetite as well as to the digestion. Anna should eat three decent meals and avoid snacking in between. Avoid nuts, seeds and raw foods.
Pitta Dosha – Andy
The Pitta Dosha consists of fire and water elements, maintenance of the fire being the main focus when looking to keep the balance. Pitta people are naturally hotter than the other types and tend to sweat more. He is very active and follows a strict training regime which involves daily stretching, regular gym or cycle sessions and sports massages. He supports this with a high protein intake as well as energy drinks and gels when exercising. Luke is an ambitious type, he works hard and earns a good wage; he saves well but also spends good money on quality items. He is naturally competitive in all that he does and would be seen as a successful type by others. He sometimes finds that frustration gets the better of him and finds it hard to control a short temper.
Physical observations and signs of imbalance: Impatience, frustration and competitiveness. Luke is more prone to aggravated skin conditions such as rashes, inflammations and infections. He finds that when he eats salad (particularly tomatoes and beetroot) he gets red patches on his skin. He often sweats, even during the night. Rich, spicy and heavy sauces often upset his stomach.
Suggestions: Avoid spicy foods and raw tomatoes (especially raw). Salads in moderation and with a dressing are preferable. Switch to coconut oil in cooking. Reduce the intake of animal protein and watch portion sizes.
Kapha Dosha – Anita
Earth and water comprise the Kapha Dosha. If you imagine a mixture of earth and water you can understand why this makes it the heaviest of the Dosha. Anita suffered a bereavement a few years back and has put on weight since which can lead to a sense of loss and detachment, becoming more introverted and wanting to engage with others less and less. Kapha people are the most attached and develop the strongest of bonds with people, pets and even belongings. She has tried various diets but has little will power and feels incredibly low when she diets. She openly admits that food is a source of comfort but she knows that she is reaching for the wrong type of food to be able to shift the excess weight.
Physical observations and signs of imbalance: Kapha people tend to suffer the effects of loss for longer than the other Dosha. Physically Kapha constitutions naturally have more adipose tissue and so store it more easily and for longer and so will gain weight easily.
Suggestions: Find someone you confide in to release your thoughts and feelings. It is harder for a Kapha to open up but will be highly therapeutic. Agree to get some fresh air on a regular basis, even if just walking but aim to raise the heart rate. Reduce the portion size of foods such as rice and potato and avoid bread, pasta, cakes and too dairy. Increase consumption of cooked vegetables, lentils and pulses.