It’s not quite time to pull out your sweaters, but summer is waning and produce is making that subtle shift. Our little garden is still giving tender lettuces and herbs galore and, while not local, the avocados are plentiful. Anticipation of change is exciting, it gives us an opportunity to re-evaluate the food choices we make and consider how we’re going to feed ourselves in the coming months.
Kapha, composed of earth and water elements.
Kapha types have a strong build and excellent stamina. Large, soft eyes; smooth, radiant skin; and thick hair are also typical Kapha characteristics. Those who are predominantly Kapha sleep soundly and have regular digestion. They have good stamina and strong, well-formed muscles and bones. But when Kapha builds to excess, weight gain, fluid retention, and allergies manifest in the body. When they are out of balance, Kapha types may become overweight, sleep excessively, slow digestion, feeling slow, foggy, dull, lethargic or heavy and difficulty breathing.
The main qualities of kapha are unctuous, cool, heavy, slow, smooth and oily. The pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes traditionally decrease kapha by drying the body and providing the opposite qualities to those of kapha.
Turmeric, basil, cumin, kale and leafy greens are bitter in taste. The bitter taste is deeply cleansing to the body because it scrapes fat and toxins. It improves all other tastes, alleviates thirst, stimulates a healthy appetite, kills germs, and clears parasites from the GI tract.
Radish, ginger, garlic, onion and turnips are pungent in taste. The pungent taste warms the body, cleanses the mouth, clarifies the sense organs, enhances other flavors, kindles the digestive fire, and improves digestion, absorption, and elimination. The pungent taste is critically important to balancing excess kapha because it can heat, dry and eliminate kapha from the body, eliminating ama and mucus, and supporting the elimination of excess fat.
Apples, chickpeas and parsley are astringent in taste. The astringent taste absorbs excess moisture, stops leakage of fluid, inhibits bleeding by promoting clotting, cleanses the mucus membranes, decongests, scrapes fat, and improves absorption.