Hey Monica B, I'm trying to breakfast easy, so I'm trying not to eat yogurt. Is non-dairy yogurt okay to eat?
In answering her question, I'd like to address two things. One, why Ayurveda does not recommend yogurt. Two, why "substitutey" foods are not a good idea.
Yogurt is really not the best thing for our digestion and can cause problems. Why?
Because yogurt digests too sour and heating for pitta. It is too sour, goopy , heavy and cold for kapha. And it is too cold for vata, it's like putting their digestive fire under a snow pack. It's just too darn cold.
You might be thinking, "Sour? No, it's sweet." No, it's sour. It only tastes sweet because they have to add a ton of sugar to it because it's naturally really dang sour :) That amount of sour taste along with the cold and goopy qualities imbalances all 3 doshas. It completely dampens/extinguishes digestive fire and clogs channels.
She knew all this, which is why she was asking the question.
I wrote back to her and said, "Why is it so important that you have yogurt at all for breakfast? I'm just curious. No judging, but why are you choosing that?" She's like, "I don't really know." Because, if it's non-dairy yogurt, that means somebody did something to the yogurt to make it non-dairy, which means that it's further away from nature than it should be.
Besides! There's lots of different foods out there. Just because you can't have the yogurt doesn't mean you've got to get a yogurt substitute.
I said, "Here's where my brain is going, if it's a non-dairy yogurt, what is that? It's not even yogurt. I don't where there made that. I don't know what they put in that."
Scrap the yogurt stuff and the non-dairy yogurt all together and just make a new choice with a real food.
She came back to me with some ideas. She's like, "Sometimes I put almond butter on an apple." I'm like, "That's great! Or what about an English muffin? Maybe even a crunchy rice cake, which is very good for Kapha, with a little bit of nut butter on it or a little sprinkle of cinnamon with some apples on the side. Or baked apples and pears.
"What even about a packet of oatmeal that you could just take and leave at your desk at work?" Any of those things would be better for you than yogurt or an altered food like fake yogurt. There are so many other food choices besides that one food you're trying to stay away from and its fake substitute.
When you're reading online articles on health foods, make sure you know what is and where it comes from. It should come from nature, like a tree or the ground. Just be sure to understand the source of the foods you eat, because if not, it's still manufactured, it's still made in a lab, it's altered to be something else than its original state. We don't digest those foods well and they turn into low quality tissues, which is what our body is made of.
When you can, if there's something that you're going to avoid, just find some other options, but don't seek a fakey version of that food. You're going to serve yourself so much better when your foods stay close to nature.
Notes: Most of our problem with yogurt is the large quantity. When an Indian restaurant serves yogurt (raita), it's only a small amount of very liquidy yogurt to be used as a condiment to cool the heat from spicy food. It is mixed with mint (cooling) and is very runny. It's not an 8 oz. container of gloppy, heavy coldness.
And, yes I know I said it's both cold and heating. It's both. According to Ayurveda, food has different qualities depending on the level of digestion. For example, the initial taste (level 1 digestion) of yogurt is cold, but once digested (level 2) it turns hot and is actually heating to the tissues. Confusing? It's ok, that's deeper Ayurveda. Just trust me.
Tip: If you are having digestive problems and are eating a lot of yogurt, try eliminating it for 2 weeks and see if you notice a difference.
As always, we're going to keep bringing Ayurveda to life!
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