Eating Seasonally (and Ayurvedically) at Sweetgreen

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In true Vata style, “build your own” bowls and meals at restaurants can leave me paralyzed. There are just SO. MANY. OPTIONS.

Well actually, I take that back. Sometimes, there aren’t that many options. As a plant-based eater who focuses on eating unprocessed food, it’s much more likely that I face a plethora of cheese-filled or sugar-laden choices at most restaurants.


So I should actually say: “in true Vata style, whenever I look at the menu at Sweetgreen, I’m so excited by all of the fabulous options that I get overwhelmed.” Which is really not an awful problem to have.


I love Sweetgreen. They’re a DC-based, homegrown company that’s figured out how to bring delicious, seasonal, healthy food to people in an approachable and fun way. Their food is good for you AND good for your local food system: such a win-win.


In Ayurveda, it’s not just about what you eat, it’s also about when you eat, why you eat it, and how it was prepared. In general, Ayurveda would suggest that you should cook all of your own food, but since that’s not practical for 99% of us…eat food that was handled with care. That’s why I love dining at Sweetgreen: I trust their sourcing and their employee practices.


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But back to the build your own bowl issue: not all bowls are created equal, and that’s because we’re not all equal. We all are a unique combination of the five elements (earth, air, fire, water, and space), as well as three doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha).


Being a unique combination of vata, pitta, and kapha means that we need unique food, exercises, and routines to keep us at our brightest and most balanced.


eat seasonally at sweetgreen photo 2 At my most recent event at Sweetgreen in Georgetown, we discussed what these differences mean for living your best life, and more importantly, for making your decisions at Sweetgreen easier.


So today, I’m presenting three, simple, make your own salad options based on your Ayurvedic dosha, plus an explanation of why these foods are so balancing for each dosha. You can then apply these lessons to the rest of your diet and restaurant choices.


Let’s get started!


Eating Seasonally at Sweetgreen for Vata


Quinoa and Spinach. Grains are considered a sweet taste in Ayurveda and are very grounding for vata. Whole grains like quinoa have the added benefit of extra protein! Choose spinach instead of kale because it’s not as fibrous and rough on your stomach when you eat it raw.


Roasted sweet potato, marinated mushrooms, toasted almonds, chickpeas. These are all cooked and will give you some needed grounding and warmth.


Miso sesame ginger vinaigrette. This dressing is full of heating elements like sesame and ginger, and provides extra oil/lubrication to ease digestion.


Eating Seasonally at Sweetgreen for Pitta


Quinoa and Kale. Grains and the sweet taste are still good for pitta because it gets you in touch with your heart. Unlike vata, pitta has a very strong digestive system and is the dosha that’s best able to handle raw, cooling foods.


Raw beets, cucumber, bean sprouts, chickpeas. These raw veggies are all watery and light. The raw beets have nitrates to help increase energy and stamina – great for pittas who are always on the run.


Pesto vinaigrette or cucumber tahini yogurt (if you’re not vegan). Pitta doesn’t do well with too many spices, but summer spices like mint, basil, fennel seed, and parsley are very cooling for pitta and will help you feel great. That’s why I recommend the pesto vinaigrette. If you consume dairy, yogurt is also a very cooling food and can be a great addition to your salad.


Eating Seasonally at Sweetgreen for Kapha


Arugula and spinach. Kaphas are such sweet people, they don’t need any more of it in their food. Kaphas do well with lighter, spicy food, so greens like arugula or mustard seed are perfect.


Bean sprouts, spicy broccoli, chickpeas, cabbage or spicy quinoa. Kaphas also do well with warm, cooked food, but their bodies are better able to handle cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. Generously spice your food, but don’t over-oil it, and you’ll feel great.


Lemon squeeze or chili lime cilantro vinaigrette. Like I mentioned earlier, kaphas don’t need a lot of extra oil or fat, so you might want to skip the dressing and go for an enlivening citrus squeeze instead. If you do want a vinaigrette, chili lime cilantro has some bitter, light elements that will offset the heaviness of the oil, just ask for light dressing!


Taking it home

As you make your way into the world of seasonal and mindful eating, think like a scientist: try certain recipes and combinations of your meals, and ask yourself how you feel afterwards. If you don’t feel great – no stress, just make a change and test something new the next time.


If you’re having trouble landing on food that does help you feel good, consider some of the other aspects of eating

  • your energy/stress when you eat
  • the amount you eat
  • when you’re eating

These factors also impact your ability to adequately digest your nutrients and feel your best.


And of course- talking with an expert can accelerate your progress and help you find meals and food choices that make you feel amazing. If you could use some one-on-one expertise, consider working with me. I’ll take you through the steps you need to feel your best.



So what are you waiting for?! Head to Sweetgreen and try out a salad based on your dosha. Let me know on Instagram or in the comments below how you feel!


  Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,   samantha attard sig


samantha attard happy healthy humanSamantha Attard, PhD, is the founder of Happy Healthy Human. Sam is a performance coach and yoga instructor who helps people eat, move, and live with intention. Learn more here.


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