Understanding Ayurvedic Cooking
Ayurvedic is a healing science – Ayurvedic Cooking
It is important to understand that Ayurvedic is a healing science. How you eat is considered a major therapeutic tool, and one of the most important things you can do to help yourself from an Ayurvedic perspective.
In Ayurvedic Cooking, you need to
- regularize absorption, assimilation, and elimination.
Amadea Morningstar, author of Ayurvedic Cooking for Westerners states “that the most important thing an Ayurvedic cook can do is to make sharing foods which are easy to digest”. Ayurveda embraces the whole person, soul, mind and body. Each of these is understood to impact the others. So when cooking with Ayurveda, the cook considers the meal’s impact on the mind as well as the body.
The assumption is that with a clear mind and a healthy body, one can easily fulfill one’s soul purposes as well.
The mind is considered the builder and according to Dr. Sunil Joshi the mind has three properties, Sattva, Raja and Tama. In Ayurveda, foods are also used to support and bring out these three qualities of the mind. Foods which help the mind become clear and stay focused are highly valued. According to Dr. Sunil Joshi, these foods are Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic foods.
As already stated when cooking with Ayurveda, it is important that the meal’s impact on the mind as well as the body. In Ayurvedic theory and practice, each individual is born with a particular constitution. This constitution influences how we look, how our bodies metabolize, and how we respond mentally and emotionally to conditions in our lives.
However, before you start down the route of Ayurvedic cooking and eating you must work with an Ayurvedic practitioner, like Emmett Walsh, from Roscore Clinic, as it is important that you correct any imbalances that may need to be corrected. Then, you can choose foods best suited to your physical constitution and this will allow you to then make good decisions on choosing the right foods best suited you your physical constitution .
One of the most important concepts of the Ayurveda is that of the Tridoshas:
The Ayurvedic Diet
One of the great things about Ayurvedic nutrition and diet is that its ability to respond to the individual’s needs and constitution.
It is very important that you begin to eat foods that are fresher and purer. Remember diet is medicine, you are what you eat.
It is very important.
- To eat fresh food free from chemicals
- Use a spice e.g., turmeric, ginger, cumin, coriander etc., with most meals
- Humans perceive Six Tastes – we have them for a reason. It is very important for health to have all Six Tastes in your diet each day.
Consume your food in the order of the six tastes as follows. Each of the six tastes has a different effect on the body.
1. Sweet – Sweet taste is cool, moist and heavy, and enhances those qualities inside us. These foods are calming, grounding, lubricating , and add or help maintain mass. In moderation, they are generally non – irritating to the gut.
Examples of Sweet foods are :
- Sweet potatoes
- Butter – unsalted
2. Sour –Sour taste is hot, wet and heavy in its action in the body. This means that sour foods can increase heat or moisture inside the body . Specifically, the sour taste will increase salivation and appetite. which stay sour after metabolism. They are lubricating and humidifying and can cause irritation or fermentation in the gut with excessive or extended.
Examples of Sour foods are:
- Cottage cheese
3. Salty – Salty taste is heating, moist and heavy as well, with fairly strong tendency to cause us to hold on to water.
Examples of Salty foods are:
- Sea vegetables
- Salt itself
- Salt Himalayan rock salt is best.
4. Bitter – Bitter taste is cold, light, dry. Few foods are exclusive bitter, which is perhaps fortunate because this taste is said to dominate all the others tastes. Bitter taste usually occurs in small amounts as it is more often found in medicinal herbs than foodstuffs. In moderate amounts, bitter taste promotes appetite and is used to clear the plate.
Examples of Bitter foods are:
- Dark leafy greens
- The herb gentian
- Swedish stomach bitters
5. Astringent – Astringent taste is cool, light and dry. Astringent foods are valued for their medicinal qualities and their abilities to calm. Astringent foods promote clarity.
Examples of Astringent foods are:
6. Pungent – Pungent taste is hot, light and drying. These foods have a drying and lighting effect after metabolism. They can cause inflammation or excess heat in the gut with extended or excessive use.
- Spices especially Ginger and black pepper
Amadea Morningstar, author of Ayurvedic Cooking for Westerners compares the tastes to different locales or climates.
- Sweet taste is like a trip to a cool lake on a hot day
- Sour taste is like a tropical jungle
- Salty taste is like the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida
- Bitter taste acts much like the winds of the North Pole
- Astringent taste is more like a cool autumn breeze than a biting winter gale.
- Pungent taste behaves like the winds of the Sahara at high noon
However based on one’s digestive capacity/ strength; some people may need to take digestive stimulants before a meal and many of these are medicinal culinary herbs and are bitter in taste.
The most important determinant of good health relates to the strength and quality of one’s own digestive capacity. This essential component must be in balance for every constitutional type and digestive capacity is maintained and regulated by an appropriate diet for each person’s constitutional type.
When digestive capacity is strong, there is total digestion directed to nourishing and supporting all body functions.
When digestive capacity is weak digestion is incomplete and toxins [the basis of all disease] are produced.
With weak digestive capacity, toxins are produced and are not neutralised and eventually overwhelm the body’s capacity to dispose of them. They accumulate, spread outside the digestive tract through the blood and lymph vessels and harm the body.
All the basic facts and science of digestion, nutrition, and their associated physiology are known to western scientists
Emmett Walsh is also a trained nutritionist and he truly believes that the ancient science of human health Ayurveda – cannot be matched by any other system of health.
Amadea Morningstar, author of Ayurvedic Cooking for Westerners summarises below:
How to Eat in An Ayurvedic Way: A step – by – step – guide.
- Start cleaning up your diet; lighten up on chemicals , fast foods, fried, fermented, and frozen foods.
- Get familiar with the difference between sattvic, rajasic and tamasic foods and begin to include more sattvic dishes in your food choices.
- Take some time to eat, relax, and let yourself digest good foods
- With the help of an Ayurvedic practitioner, begin to use foods which will address current imbalances.
- As you let your diet evolve toward one which supports your whole system, you will tend to get clearer in your thoughts and actions. This in turn, allows you to fine tune your eating. At this point, you can more specifically support and strengthen your personal constitution
- Relax, don’t try to be “perfect” or develop the perfect diet, your diet will keep changing with you. Just keep eating in this healthier way, in the ways you’ve found that work for you, changing as you need to.
- Let all this positive accumulated energy work in some great way for you, others, the planet.
If you would like to know more about Ayurvedic Cooking and recipes we would highly recommend Amadea Morningstar, author of Ayurvedic Cooking for Westerners