Those with Vata imbalances already have light, airy properties. Vata is the strength of the wind; unlike Kapha, they have lack of grounding qualities. Vatas are therefore advised developing daily routines in all areas of their lives, including mealtime.
It is also common for Vata women to experience ammenhorea (loss of the menstrual cycle) as women’s hormones are more complex than men’s. Although men are programmed to hunt, gather, and go without food, the female hormone system is designed to recreate life.
As a result, while men could fast for longer periods of time, women’s hormones need nutrients. This is not to say that women can’t take advantage of intermittent fasting at all and need to have a feast every morning. There are certain patterns and studies that support them do not apply to everyone.
Vata Dosha describes people who tend to be creative and who always have new ideas. Vatas will usually get dry skin and experience bloating or constipation. Vatas can get overwhelmed and anxious easily under stress.
If you have a lot of Vata Dosha, going longer than 12 hours without food isn’t going to make you feel good. Vatas tend to get low blood sugar on a continuous basis and may feel detached when they don’t eat enough.
Individuals with Vata Dosha are so busy throughout the day, thus a good breakfast is super important. Vatas require daily nourishment and grounding that prolonged fasts can’t provide. Vatas will find a sense of peace and calm by building routine and order in their day.
While research and current fads may be supported by thorough evidence, allow your body’s experience to guide your decisions. The strength of the Ayurvedic health perspective is that it acknowledges that there is no standard “one size fits all” for well-being. Understanding your unique constitution can help you understand whether you can benefit from fasting or any kind of wellness practice.
Ayurveda doesn’t really suggest fasting to Vata-types or strong Vata-Pitta-types unless they are overweight. Such people cannot afford to continue reducing their body mass. They will lose weight very quickly and then have the greatest challenge in regaining what little weight they had before.
Because fasting increases the quality of light, dry, and cold, fasting can lead to Vata. Ideally, however, one should only fast under the guidance of a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner or take advice beforehand from an Ayurvedic doctor or in an Ayurveda clinic.
If you have a Vata constitution or a Vata imbalance, you should never do water fasting, or fast for more than two days. You should try fasting during seasonal change or at most once a month. If you are in good health and have a good vitality, you can mono-fast with sweet orange, mango or grape juice, all of which are Vata pacifying (In the next chapter, you’ll find a complete list of Vata pacifying foods).
Although zero fasting (no food at all) is not recommended in Ayurveda because it would overstrain the power of Agni (digestive fire), the possibilities of medical advice for your individual fasting plan are nevertheless varied and wide-ranging.
While a small, vegetarian lunch and hot ginger tea for a few weeks are adequate for one person, another person may require three meals a day, put together to provide optimum help for his or her purification. In the case of sensitive types, it may even be best to have one soup a day per week.
And if there is a health condition, it is generally better to do a mono-fast of kitchari (Kitchari is the traditional cleansing food of Ayurveda. It is a combination of split mung beans and white basmati rice with plenty of spices, depending on your constitution. Amidst all the modern diet trends happening today, this might seem like an unusual cleansing food), taking care not to deplete yourself.
Vatas can drink warm teas made with ginger, a pinch of salt and a pinch of lime or ginger and fennel tea. 12-24 hour fast is a good place to start.
Another choice that some Vatas can do is to skip a single meal, such as a dinner, or just a Prime Broth or a dinner soup. This can also be a gentle way to reap the benefits of fasting without overly aggravating Vata energy.
Anything more serious is going to increase Vata energy too much. You may feel greatly aggravated, anxious, nervous, or hyperactive, and you may stop absorbing nutrients and become nutrient-deficient quickly.
Even if you enjoy this kind of heightened state, it is stressful for your body and mind. Calming is more important than that. A daily practice of meditation is a much more effective use of the time.
Fasting is not most of the time suitable for Vata types. But if you really want to do a fast, Ayurveda recommends fasting no more than one day a week for no more than four weeks. 12-24 hour fast is a good place to start.
And if you do it in the spring, that’s even better because the weather is getting warmer. Provide Prime Broth or other moist soupy beverages for all three meals during that day. You can mono-fast with sweet orange, mango or grape juice, all of which are Vata pacifying. You’re never supposed to go without any food.