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Vata Diet – Shopping List

If you are on my online programme “7 Steps to Better Sleep”, you will have taken step 3, which is all about food and diet. You will have already completed step 1 and will be familiar with body bio-energies, in particular your dominant body bio-energy. In step 2 you learned about lifestyle balancing, which is important to support your diet changes.

And now, you will need a shopping list!

Remember to understand the general concept behind this shopping list and not get hung up on the minute detail. If overall your diet reflects the body bio-energy that you need to balance, then that is perfect. I want to empower you to be able to think on the spot and not have to carry a list with you all the time.

And, if you research deeply enough, you will find some inconsistency between lists. This is because produce varies in taste by region and time of year, for example, some strawberries are sweet, others are sour. Some produce has one cooling aspect and one warming aspect and whether to include or exclude it is based on an editorial decision. For example, olives: they are bitter and oily. You want oily/moist but you don’t want bitter. So you could say that it balances itself out and include it or else avoid it for its bitter aspect. I personally would not cut it out for lifestyle balancing purposes; perhaps choose black olives instead of green to reduce the bitter taste.

My experience is that once you have the items on this new shopping list at home, you will try and use them. I would place the new ingredients on an open shelf, so you can see them daily. The last thing you want is for them to move to the back of the cupboard.

Your motto is: “mushy & slushy” and you will want mostly moist, easy-to-digest consistency, warming and soothing. You want to remove the cold, the dryness and agitation in your body, hence avoid bitter and astringent tastes. You want lasting warmth, so spices of the warming type such as ginger are great.

Remember to say yes to things that are sweet, sour and salty, also a little spicy, and you will be balancing your vata body bio-energy.


Most fruits are great as most fruits are sweet. As a rule of thumb: sweet or sour fruits (citrus) should be either fresh or soaked for moisture and mushiness. They are best cooked if that is possible. Say no to astringent (green tasting) like pears or unripe green fruit such as raw mango, or green banana. If dried fruits are on the menu, then they should be soaked and moist, otherwise they will soak up your body’s moisture, which you want to increase not decrease. So if dried fruits are part of a recipe, then they are OK as they have probably been moistened by the other ingredients. A fruit like watermelon is not warming enough and would cool you down.

The warming or neutral sweet or sour fruits are:

  • Apples (cooked) and applesauce but not pears
  • Apricots, peaches
  • Bananas (ripe, not green)
  • Berries & cherries
  • Coconut
  • Dates, figs, raisins, prunes (fresh, cooked or soaked – not dry)
  • Lemon, lime
  • Mango, oranges, papaya, pineapple, kiwi, grapefruit
  • Melons (but not watermelon which is cooling)
  • Tamarind


Root vegetables are warming, and raw salads are cooling. Some vegetables are a bit spicy, like leeks and mustard greens. Then there are the very spicy ones such as chillies and garlic, although a little spicy is OK as it is warming. Anything raw, cold and bitter or astringent does not help you balance your body bio-energy. Base your recipe around root vegetables as your main ingredient and add other vegetables sparingly. A little bitter and OK are: artichokes, cabbages, lettuces and members of the nightshade family, tomatoes, aubergine, potatoes.

The warming or neutral vegetables are:

  • Beet
  • Squashes/pumpkin
  • Parsnip
  • Swede
  • Carrots
  • Onion
  • Leeks
  • Mustard greens
  • Chillies
  • Garlic


Grains are very good, but a few are too drying in nature, such as barley, corn, millet, buckwheat, and rye.

The best grains are:

  • Wheats
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Amaranth grain
  • Rice


Other than mung beans and red lentils, beans are generally too chunky and heavy to digest. But mushed up in the form of hummus, tofu or chick-pea flour, they are easier to digest again. Miso is a bean paste, which is a bit sour and also perfect. Red lentils are a borderline case as they are slightly astringent and cooling; to balance this add spices and oil and their qualities of light and soft will benefit.

·      Lentils, red

·      Miso

·      Mung beans

·      Mung dal, split peas

·      Tofu (served hot)

Nuts and Seeds:

All types are great and a powerhouse of nutrition.


All healthy oils are great and soothing for the nervous system. Avoid Canola oil, Corn oil, Flax seed oil, and Soy oil.


All sweet tastes really great. Consume in moderation of course, and avoid unhealthy sweeteners, like white over-processed sugar. Just a note: don’t cook or boil honey as it looses its goodness when heated.


All spices are great!