Let Food Be Your Medicine at Dosha Ayurveda Cafe & Juice Bar

Dosha's quinoa salad
Dosha's quinoa salad
Courtesy of Sonia Tigero

Everybody knows food is fuel and you are what you eat. But how many of us really abide by those mottos? Clearly not enough, given the rise of chronic disease and obesity in the U.S. 

Dosha Ayurveda Cafe & Juice Bar, now open in Hallandale Beach, is here to help people heal—all through the power of plant-based eats.

Founders Sonia Tigero and Laura Gomez are both ayurvedic practitioners, and Dosha is their way of sharing their healthy, healing message with the world. Tigero, who graduated from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Miami, lost 150 pounds following this way of eating.

For those who are unfamiliar with ayurvedic cooking, it's a way of choosing and preparing food that's designed to heal the eater, physically, mentally and spiritually. And it's easy, says Tigero.

"In Ayurveda, health is defined as the dynamic state of balance between mind, body, and environment achieved thru food (diet), herbs, spices, aromatherapy, gem therapy, color therapy and lifestyle among others. Ayurveda has all the six tastes: sweet, sour salty, bitter, astringent and pungent and if we have all of them in each meal we balance our body feeling satisfied physically, mentally as well as emotionally."

The cafe's name, Dosha, also has special significance.

Chef Sonia Tigero
Chef Sonia Tigero
Courtesy of Sonia Tigero

"From the five elements, the three doshas are derived—Vata, Pitta, and Kapha," explains Tigero. "Known as mind-body types, the doshas express particular patterns of energy—unique blends of physical, emotional, and mental characteristics. In Ayurveda, health is defined as the dynamic state of balance between mind, body, and environment. Eating according to your dosha is a way of obtaining this balance and we at Dosha satisfy that need." 

At Dosha, these concepts are used to create an "intentional" menu that leads to higher energy and enhancement of "vital flow." There are two kinds of food: sattvic (made from the energy of the sun) and tamasic (its opposite).

Mushrooms, for example, are tamasic. Because they grow in the shadows and dirt, the eater acquires these properties when eating them, and consciousness goes dormant or falls asleep, Tigero says. Then there's chocolate, which includes all six tastes of ayurveda (hence its popularity).

The Argentinian-born Tigero also added empanadas ($3.50 each) to the menu, as a tribute to her roots.

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"We have cauliflower, beets, spinach and paneer (non fermented cheese) empanadas," she says. "We also have delicious soups to improve your digestion, immune soup to build up your immune system. Teas to help you with diabetes, manage weight problem, lose weight and more."

Ayurveda's signature healing dish and a staple at the cafe is called kitchari. "Kitchari ($10.50) is Ayurveda's perfect food, indicated in times of recovery as well as cleansing. Kitchari can even be the centerpiece of a mono-diet or fast, as it is a simple food that supplements the healing process," explains Tigero. "As with grandma's chicken soup, there are as many ways to make kitchari as there are reasons to consume it. Typical modifications include vegetables such as carrots, greens, zucchini, or potatoes. Spices like cumin, cinnamon, or black pepper can be included, as well as even toasted nuts or coconut. Technically, a kitchari is any dish combining rice and legumes. Typically, however, kitcharies use mung beans because they are the easiest legume to digest."

Other popular dishes at the cafe include almond burgers ($12.50) and a paneer croquette salad ($12.50), as well as the only sattvic pizza ($10.50) in Florida: pizsattvic with a barley crust.

The cafe also offers kitchen pharmacy classes the last Saturday of each month; liver and kidney flushes; meal plans and ayurvedic consultations.

Dosha Ayurveda Cafe & Juice Bar is located at 139 NE First Ave. Hallandale Beach. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Call 954-612-4888, or visit their Facebook page.

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