I went on a road trip to Portland with a good friend last weekend. One of my favorite things about road tripping beside good music and great conversation are the snacks. I stopped by Whole Foods and picked up a bunch of snacks including wasabi peas. Boy was that a mistake. Here’s the thing: wasabi peas are delicious and not inherently a bad choice but for my Pitta/Vata constitution they were all wrong.
As a reminder, according to Ayurveda our nature (and nature around us) is governed by three energies: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Vata is the energy of movement and has the qualities cold, dry, light, rough and mobile. Pitta is the energy of transformation and has the qualities hot, sharp, oily, spreading and acid smelling. And Kapha is the energy of structure and stability and has the qualities cool, heavy, dull, moist and static.
So why are wasabi peas not the best choice for me?
A basic tenet of Ayurveda is “like increases like.” That means when you make diet and lifestyle choices that have the basic qualities of one of the doshas you increase that dosha. Too much of any one thing can lead to imbalance. Another basic tenet is that “opposites balance”. So why were my wasabi peas a bad choice? Well they have the qualities cold, light and dry (three qualities of Vata dosha) and they are also spicy—a quality of Pitta dosha. In addition, traveling increases Vata dosha and we are in the Vata season of fall, which as I just mentioned, has the qualities dry and cold. I was already experiencing symptoms of a Vata imbalance like dry skin, scattered thoughts and feeling a little overwhelmed due to an overload of light, cold and dry qualities. Nothing tragic happened when I ate the peas other than a little gas, boating and upset stomach but I quickly realized my mistake and made better food choices. After eating a few baked apples with cinnamon and ghee I felt much better.
Both yoga and Ayurveda teach us that self-study and awareness are the keys to creating change. I love Ayurveda because it gives us tools for understanding our nature and the nature of our choices. And through that knowledge you are empowered to create balance.
Wishing you Vibrant Living