Vegan Protein for Ulcerative Colitis and other digestive issues has to be easy to digest and, according to Ayurveda, should not aggravate any of the three doshas. In Ayurveda we call light, easy to digest food that pacifies all three doshas, tridoshic, or Sattvic.

A Sattvic diet is ideal for people with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) like Ulcerative Colitis, Diverticulitis,  and Crohnes. Its also good for people with Stomach Ulcers, Gastritis, Gerd, and even IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).

The best Sattvic diet is one that stimulates your digestive fire so that you can digest it easily and fully. This is vital, because the natural  toxic by-product of incompletely digested food is one of the sources of disease in Ayurveda. We call this sort of toxic sludge that clogs the shrotas/channel “Ama” in Ayurveda. When doshas elevate and there is Ama present, the Ama mixes with the elevated dosha and spreads out into the tissues associated with those same doshas.

Diet for IBD should be light, not heavy. But it should not be raw, even though raw food is light, because raw food is cold and Agni digestive fire is damaged in cases of Ulcerative Colitis and other gut disorders.

Its should be easy to digest, with adequate herbs and spices to stimulate Agni digestive fire, but definitely not hot spicy..

Inflammatory gut issues involving ulcers and heat symptoms are Pitta elevation. If they are in the small intestine, like Diverticulitis, all the more so, because the Small Intestine is the seat of Pitta dosha in the body. In the case of Ulcerative Colitis it is a dual Vata-Pitta elevation. That is because the large intestine is the seat of Vata in the body.

How the Nervous system Somatisizes Stressors: The Gut Brain Connection.

Ayurveda describes, with great specificity, what researchers and M.D.s now call the “Gut Brain Connections.”  The Gut brain connection describes the way in which our nervous system controls our guts, and the way in which our emotional or mental states influence the nervous system.

Aggression, Frustration, Anger, and Pitta Dosha

The default emotion that Pittas respond to real or perceived danger with is aggression or anger, associated with the Fire element inherent to Pitta and the fight aspect of the fight or flight response.

Fear and Withdrawal: Flight and Freeze: Vata and Kapha

But the default for Vata dosha is fear, or anxiety, associated with the flight aspect of the nervous system and the Wind element inherent to Vata. And the default for Kapha is dealing with conflict by withdrawal. This correlates to the nervous system state we are in when we freeze out of fright, rather than flee. We cannot flee, because we are frozen.

Case Study: “Bill” A 37 Year Old Engineer with Ulcerative Colitis

Here is a dish I gave to one of my patients, lets call him Bill,  a few years back who had a very successful outcome. Bill had been following drug therapy for about 6 months with limited improvement. We then followed a course of acupuncture/moxabustion for 9 months and herbal medicines for 1.5 years.

Bill also entered counseling which he, and later his wife, continued for 2 years involving stress management and learning how better to deal with and express feelings healthfully. At the same time Bill continued his western drug therapy for the first 6 months of treatment. By the one year point, Bill was completely symptom free and had gained back his weight and returned to normal exercise.

Bill also noticed, early on, how much better he did with chicken, broccoli and rice than with a cheese burger, so pretty soon Mark became an amateur chef.

This is a Mung Dal recipe I gave him that he used over and over again with different variations.

Mung Dal is the most easy to digest legume. In India it is given to people who are ill or are on Ayurvedic cleanse retreats (Panchakarma Therapy).

This recipe employs herbs and spices that protect digestive fire, make food very digestible, and reduce any gas producing quality of the vegetables or legume. In Ayurvedic terms this dish is very Sattvic (wholesome) and Tridoshic (balanced). It nourishes Vatta, while pacifying Pitta and Kapha.

Its a great recipe any of us can use, though if you are not ill, feel free to add a little black pepper or onion or garlic to the dish.

Mung Dal and Vegetables with Healing Spices for Ulcerative Colitis


2 cups mung dal
3/4 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin seed
1/2 tsp asafetida (hing)
5 curry leaves if available (also called sweet neem leaf)
1 tsp fenugreek seed
1-2 tsp ginger powder, or 3-4 slices fresh ginger root, or both
sea salt to taste

2 cups chopped vegetables from below list:
daikon, turnip, rutabaga, nopales cactus leaf, chaote (chow chow), okra, carrot, hard winter squash, shitake mushroom, common mushroom, konbu or wakame sea vegetable

Limit to 2-3 vegetables at a time, or even just one.
This list is not sacred, but a list of reasonable possibilities for a mild to severe case


Soak the dal for a half hour or more
Pour out the water and wash the dal three times till water runs clear.
Add the turmeric and salt and boil in 6 cups of water till soft like porridge.
Add the ginger root, too, if using.
Set aside.

Saute the spices on a low flame in 1 tbsp ghee or sesame oil till the aroma fills the kitchen.
Careful not to burn them.
Put the seeds in first and let them brown a little, then the curry leaves for a minute, then lower the flame even more and add powdered herbs.
Be careful now, keep stirring and add a little more oil if you need to.
This whole step should take about 5-10 minutes
Add the spices and chopped vegetables to the cooked dal with enough water to cook for another 20 minutes till the vegetables are soft enough to digest easily, but not overcooked.

Eat with well cooked brown rice, millet, barley or quinoa. During the daytime, consider having with a tablespoon or two of plain unsweetened yogurt if you need more protein and to promote healthy intestinal flora. Vegans could use soy yoghurt.

This would also be great with a side dish of sea vegetables, which are an excellent choice with colitis.

For a good tea for people with Ulcerative Colitis see here

Vegan Protein for Ulcerative Colitis

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