We’ve all heard the saying “you are what you eat.” The basis of Ayurvedic nutrition is that we are the result of not only what we eat but when, how and why we eat. Ayurveda is a balanced approach to eating that suggests we eat mindfully, healthfully and with gratitude. Our food should be fresh, digestible, prepared with care and love and satisfying to all our senses. We should eat a variety of foods and spices that are aromatic, visually appealing, and flavorful.
Here’s a quick Ayurveda 101 primer: According to Ayurveda, an ancient holistic system, food and herbs are categorized by their qualities, tastes and how they affect our mind-body combinations of Vata, Pitta and Kapha called Doshas. Figure out your Dosha with Basic Ayurveda Principles That Can Transform Your Life. Ayurveda recognizes six tastes and believes we should have all of these tastes in our diets every day. The six tastes are sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent. Each taste has qualities that will either increase or decrease the Doshas. Sweet is heavy, sour is moist, salty is warm, bitter is cold, pungent is hot and astringent is dry. Foods with qualities similar to a Dosha will increase it whereas food with opposite qualities to a Dosha will decrease it and we strive for balance. Ayurveda also prescribes eating these tastes in a particular order, from sweet to astringent (that means eat dessert first!), in order to feel satisfied and digest food properly. Not having all 6 tastes can lead to cravings, weight gain, lack of energy and illness. Got it? Good.
Ayurveda encourages us to eat mindfully, seasonally, organically, and healthfully. The way we eat and relate to food can be extrapolated to other aspects of our life. If our food is filled with life force, or Prana, we will have the health and energy necessary to live our lives to the fullest. For food that nourishes our bodies, minds and souls, try these 10 recipes which follow the principles of Ayurveda.
1. Ayurvedic Falafel
This Ayurvedic Falafel has a twist in that it uses healthy mung beans instead of chickpeas as mung beans help balance all 3 doshas. Seasoned with Ayurvedic spices such as turmeric, coriander and cumin, this dish is cooling for the body in summer.
2. Ayurvedic Sauerkraut (Homemade Pickled Cucumber)
Unlike Western sauerkraut which uses cabbage, cucumbers are the ingredient of choice in the East. Pickled with spices such as fenugreek, mustard and asafoetida, this Ayurvedic Sauerkraut is healthy and delicious.
3. Healing Turmeric Smoothie
4. Ayurvedic Oatmeal
Start your day right with this Ayurvedic Oatmeal. Delicious pumpkin and raisins are seasoned with cinnamon, cardamom and turmeric for a healthy and balanced breakfast.
5. Ayurvedic Rose Smoothie
According to Ayurveda, it’s not a coincidence rose is associated with love and caring. It balances the sadhaka pitta that governs the emotions of the heart; it’s cooling in nature and is balancing for all three doshas. This Rose Smoothie is very simple to make and you’ll be surprised the combination of pumpkins seeds mixed with rose brings out a soothing flavor that excites your taste buds!
6. Chile-Garlic Potatoes and Cauliflower With Turmeric
This dish is filled with healthy spices and flavors. The Potatoes and Cauliflower are cooked with chile, garlic and turmeric as well as cumin and mustard. It’s so flavorful and delicious, the fact that it’s healthy is just bonus.
7. Ayurvedic Garam Masala
The secret to the popularity of Indian curries lies in the blend of spices called that imparts the unforgettable zing to your taste buds. The word garam means “hot” and masala means “spice blend.” Garam Masala is not spicy hot; the heat refers to the Ayurvedic sense of the word, meaning “to heat the body” with the warm spices.
8. Ginger Elixir (An Ayurvedic Digestive Drink)
This Ginger Elixir is an easy to make Ayurvedic Digestive Drink, best to have during fall and winter season. Ginger acts wonders to fire up our digestive system which according to Ayurveda is the cornerstone of good health.
9. Ayurvedic Spinach-Mung Detox Soup
We all know how stress can take the life out of us! When we start feeling out of control, start skipping meals, have our mind starting to race, have difficulty getting sleep – our bodies are giving us early symptoms of vata imbalance. This is the time to slow down, take time to rest, enjoy nature, and savor warm soothing soups like this Ayurvedic Spinach-Mung Detox Soup!
10. Kitchari – The Nutritious Ayurvedic Detox Dish
Kitchari has been Ayurveda’s age-old signature detox dish! The word “kitchari” in India means mixture of two or more grains. This dish takes a western twist with protein-rich quinoa in place of white basmati rice, which makes this Kitchari extra-nutritious and flavorful.
When we eat balanced dishes with mindfulness and gratitude, we set up our bodies for optimal health. If you’ve been thinking about eating the Ayurvedic way, start with these delicious recipes.
Lead image source: Kitchari – The Nutritious Ayurvedic Detox Dish