What Is "Pitta?"

Pitta is your dosha type. What is a dosha? It's simply the Ayurvedic definition for your  bio-individuality. In other words it's your body type, which includes your metabolic constitution, your personality, and your physical characteristics.  By understanding what makes us unique, we can make better decisions as they relate to our diet, our lifestyle, and our mental health. 

So I'm A Pitta What Does This Mean?

You tend to be highly focused, competitive, capable, courageous, energetic, and are a clear communicator who gets right to the point. You like to solve problems! Everybody’s problems!

You generally have a good appetite and love to eat. In fact, you hate to miss a meal, and, when hungry, can be irritable and prone to hypoglycemia, with headaches, dizziness, weakness and shaking. Your digestion is good, but when you get hot, agitated, or angry, or eat too many hot, spicy or fried foods, you may suffer from indigestion, heartburn, and loose, burning stools.

You are extremely methodical and organized. You can be rather obsessive about time and I am sure at some time or other been called a perfectionist! In do not suffer fools easily! You handle money prudently and are decisive, aggressive, ambitious and determined, often finding yourself in a position of leadership. Self-confidence and an entrepreneurial spirit are hallmarks of the balanced you!

Photo: Ed Needs A Bicycle. Creative Commons.

PITTA TYPES ARE ANALOGOUS TO water and fire. Although you can usually control your emotions, under stress you can become irritable, angry and judgmental. You can also become overly intense, overly critical and too achievement oriented, and there is a tendency to be a workaholic! You make a great friend but a feared enemy. Emotionally, you are quick to the heated emotions of anger, resentment, and jealousy. Also prone to inflammation, heartburn, acidity, diarrhea and migraines – it’s important for you to just ‘cool’ down.

Typical PITTA 

• Moderate body proportions
• Angular features
• Well developed musculature
• Intense, piercing eyes
• Moderately sized lips
• An engaging smile
• Straight hair

Matt Damon - Photo: Mark Abrahams
Tom Cruise - Photo:

How do you know you have pushed your limits?

We often think of our health in terms of symptoms. We have a headache, or indigestion, or skin irritation. However, symptoms are just that, symptoms of an underlying problem or imbalance. At The Holistic Highway we work with patients to treat the underlying cause of their imbalance and not just their symptoms.  To use an analogy, if you have a headache, we want to determine and treat the cause of your headaches, not just prescribe Tylenol for the pain. This is health-care, not sick-care, and it's the key to long term health, energy and vitality. 

Signs & Symptoms of Imbalance:

• Heat in the body • Inflammation, often starting in the stomach and intestines, causing heartburn, acidity, gastritis, and ulcers. • Inflammatory skin problems, such as eczema, urticaria, herpes and boils. • Blood disorders, anemia, high blood pressure • Eye problems such as conjunctivitis, styes and blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelid) • Hormonal problems, PMS, hot flashes • Thirst, increased appetite, hypoglycemia, dizziness, diarrhea. • Anger, irritability, intolerance, aggression, arrogance • Frustration, perfectionism, obsessions, addictions, insomnia at 10pm – 2am. • Headaches and migraines


•The primary lifestyle recommendation for balancing Pitta is to stay cool--both physically and emotionally. Avoid going out in the heat of the day, especially on an empty stomach or after you have eaten tangy or spicy foods. Avoid exercising when it's hot. Walk away from situations that make you see red because when overheated – you can exacerbate the fire that is just below the surface and increase inflammation. 

• Do not skip meals, do not fast and do not wait to eat until you are ravenously hungry. Although you can get so absorbed that you do not eat – this can increase acidity and make you irritable. Start your day with cooked fruit, followed by some cereal. Eat a sustaining meal at lunch, and a lighter meal for dinner. For snacking, choose sweet juicy fruit--fully ripe mangoes, sweet pears and sweet juicy grapes are excellent Pitta-pacifying choices. Delaying meals can cause excess acidity, so eat on time every day. The Amalaki herb helps enhance digestion without aggravating Pitta dosha. It also helps balance stomach acid and studies show that it functions as an antioxidant as well as supports the liver in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.

• Avoid alcohol, caffeine,  tobacco and recreational drugs and other stimulating substances. Stimulants, for you, aggravate acidity.

• Daily elimination is very important to prevent digestive toxins from accumulating in the body. Triphala (a mixture of fruits) helps promote regularity as well as toning the digestive system.  Triphala is made up of three fruits and is most commonly purchased as a powder: Triphala has the following effects: 

  • Assists natural internal cleansing
  • Gently maintains regularity
  • Nourishes and rejuvenates the tissues
  • Supports healthy digestion and absorption
  • Natural antioxidant

Triphala is most commonly known for its use as a gentle bowel tonic, being helpful in digestion, and supporting regular bowel movements. The combination of the three fruits has a synergistic effect to bolster many other systems as well. In addition to the GI tract, Ayurveda uses triphala to support healthy respiratory, cardiovascular, urinary, reproductive, and nervous systems. Triphala has also been shown to be a powerful antioxidant, protecting cells from the damaging effects of free radicals. The three fruits involved in making triphala are also known for their individual effects:

  • Amalaki (Emblica officinalis): Has a cooling effect that manages pitta, supporting the natural functions of the liver and the immune system.
  • Bibhitaki (Terminalia belerica): Is particularly good for kapha, supporting the respiratory system as well as kapha accumulations in all systems.
  • Haritaki (Terminalia chebula): Though having a heating nature, it is still good for all three doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha). Is known for its “scraping” effect, which removes toxins and helps maintain healthy levels of weight

• To soothe sensitive skin, to balance the emotions and to nourish and tone muscles and nerves, indulge in an ayurvedic massage every morning before you bath or shower. Use coconut oil for your massage as coconut cools the skin. If you like, you can add 3-4 drops of a pure essential oil such as sandalwood, another cooling oil, lavender or rose to 2 oz. of massage oil. Mix well before use. Two or three time a week, massage your scalp with warm oil, and let the oil stay for an hour or two before you shampoo. After your shower or bath, apply a pure, gentle moisturizer all over your body or spray your skin with pure rose or sandalwood water to keep your skin feeling cool all day long.  

• Protect yourself from the heat. Stay cool in warm weather by wearing loose cotton clothing. Cotton allows the skin to breathe and for Pittas – they need to wear natural fibers like silk, cotton, and linen. Synthetic material can heat the skin, aggravating it. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect your eyes when you go out. Drink lots of cool water and aloe-vera juice which is known to carry cooling qualities. 

• Water-based activities are ideal exercise for Pitta-dominant people. Try swimming or aqua- aerobics to stay fit but cool. Strolling after sunset, especially along a waterfront, is also a soothing way to fit some leisurely activity into your day. Being next to water is soothing to Pittas as the tranquility of water calms their intensity. 

• If Pitta dosha is out of balance, you may find that you can’t fall asleep easily and often stay up late – in fact you probably say that you do your best work late at night! It is important to get to bed early, so that you can get adequate rest each night. A cup of warm milk, with some cardamom, can be helpful before bedtime. Cardamom contains an abundance of antioxidants, which protect the body against aging and stress. In rat studies, cardamom has been shown to increase glutathione, an antioxidant enzyme found naturally in our bodies. Cardamom volatile oil has only recently come under the scrutiny of scientists curious about its therapeutic properties, but Asian and Indian cultures have reliably used it for ages as a remedy for discomfort and depression, and still rely upon it today. It is now being discovered to have amazing health benefits, and early science confirms its medicinal effectiveness.

• Balance work and play. Set aside some time for R&R every day, and do not get so absorbed in a project that you are unable to detach from it. Pittas can get pretty intense and sometimes forget to rest. That powering through no matter what is what will cause you to get run down – so go for a walk, play with the dog and rest.

• Set aside about 30 minutes each day for meditation, to help balance the heart and emotions and to enhance body-mind-spirit coordination. As Pitta’s tend to analyze everything and live in their heads – it can be useful to journal, meditate or go into counseling so that you can process emotions well. 



Roasted Sunflower Pate
A great balancing lunch for Pitta as sunflower seeds are an excellent source of vitamin E, they also neutralize free radicals and prevent asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis. The high magnesium content in them helps in blood pressure management, headaches and migraines, and promotes healthy teeth and bones. The benefits of sunflower seeds are plenty including controlling cell damage, thereby preventing cancer, due to the presence of selenium. Sunflower seeds have been shown to help reduce inflammation, plays a part in cholesterol management, and improves detoxification.

Makes 5 cups.

  • 2 cups shelled sunflower seeds
  • 3 tablespoons Bragg’s amino acids
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • ¼ cup sunflower oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons organic yogurt(plain)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fennel leaves
1.  Sprinkle the sunflower seeds on a baking tray. Place in a 300 degree oven and bake until golden brown, about 9 minutes. Add the Bragg’s to the sunflower seeds and stir together on a tray. Remove and process or grind until its medium-coarse.
2.  Put all the ingredients except the sunflower seeds in a food processor, fitted with an S-blade. Process to form a stiff paste.
3.  Add the roasted sunflower seeds and mix well.

Serve immediately with bruschetta or crackers.


Enjoy delicious, healthy meals that are specifically designed for the metabolism of a Pitta with an Ayurveda Meal Plan from The Holistic Highway. Each plan features 5 delicious, healthy meals a week that are ideal for the Pitta who is looking to eat the foods that are right for them. Enjoy foods that taste great, are right for you, and leave you energized, healthy and wanting more! 

Putting the right foods in your body is the number one factor in determining your health and energy levels. Want to eat delicious, healthy foods that are right for you all the time?  These budget-friendly meal plans include everything you need to eat the foods that are right for you every night of the week. No more "What's for dinner?" No more time consuming dinner prep or expensive take out. Just simple, easy to make dinners that are right for you. Learn more about a meal plans for Pitta's below!

  • Shopping Lists Make It Easy
    Each weeks plans come with a corresponding shopping list so that you know exactly what, and how much, to buy each week. Simply buy the ingredients on the shopping list and you will have everything you need for 5 Pitta dinners that week!

  • Adjustable For Every Dosha
    One of the challenges of eating the food that is right for you is that, as social creatures, we rarely eat alone, and therefore need to create meals that the whole family can enjoy. That's why each recipe comes with instructions on how to make easy tweaks to the recipe so that the meal is right for each dosha at your dinner table. A little dash of this herb for a Pitta, a splash of oil for a Pitta... you get the idea. One recipe with basic dinner plate tweaks allows you to prepare custom meals for the whole family with just one recipe!

  • Dinners for 1, 2, 4 and more!
    Each recipe is designed as a meal for 2. Eating alone? Simply cut the amount of ingredients in half. Feeding a family of four? Double up. Simple, easy and adjustable. 

  • 30 Minutes Or Less
    We understand that eating right isn't easy, and that we all live very busy lives. That's why each meal has been carefully crafted to take about 30 minutes or less to cook. Some may be a little longer, but they are worth it. we promise. 

Start Cooking Meals That Are Ideal For You Today!

Looking to get back on the road to great health? Fill out the intake form below so we can learn more about you and your health challenges and goals. Then schedule a complimentary consultation with with Kerry Harling, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner at the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Integrative Medicine, TED speaker and the founder of The Holistic Highway. What's the catch? Nothing. No selling, no pressure, just a conversation with an Ayurvedic Practitioner for your own benefit. What have you got to lose?