The practices of Ayurveda allow us to prevent illness, but the science also has a lot to say about what to do in those times when you do get sick.
Illness is a time to take care of your body. It is a signal to slow down, rest and come back to balance. It is important to allow time for full recovery -- nothing else is more important. What you do during this time matters greatly in how fast you will heal and the level of health you will reach afterward. Until symptoms subside, let go of your daily responsibilities, stay in bed, avoid looking at computers or screens and, most importantly, eat only very simple foods.
Agni, digestive fire, is weak during illness, so you cannot digest the same kinds of foods you enjoyed before. Yet as you are healing, your body needs nourishment. Kunyi, a soupy rice cooked with mineral salt and ghee, offers a meal that is very easy to digest and perfect for times of illness.
By Karla Dixon
Bananas Foster. Just typing the words makes my mouth water and ignites such fond, sweet memories.
Childhood dinners, all dressed up, out with the family. Topping the evening with the infamous flaming Bananas Foster prepared tableside.
My dear friend Frankie (sadly gone from this world), who used to make it for me in my 20s after the spectacular, sumptuous, over-the-top dinner parties we would throw.
Then, the silent ashram, pre-dawn....wait....what?
Yes! It's true! Having recently completed my Yoga teacher training at Hale Pule, I literally cried when this delicious treat was offered for breakfast a few weeks into the intensive program.
Now that I am home, we have them for breakfast a few sweet mornings a week. Here is the recipe for no sugar, HEALTHY cooked bananas that will bring you back to those decadent occasions in just one bite. I promise. Eat slowly. Savor. Chew your food. And enjoy!
In the West, it is said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This is also true from an Ayurvedic perspective.
Breakfast, the first meal of the day, means to “break the fast.” You have not eaten all night and your digestive organs are meant to be in a state of rest. In these early hours, agni, digestive fire, is like a pile of smoldering coals. Come out of this nighttime fast with care and you will turn these coals into steady flames.
What you eat for breakfast will affect agni all day long. Heavy foods, such as eggs, sausage, or nut butters, dampen your fire. Cold foods, such as smoothies, yogurt or cold milk, restrict your body’s digestive channels, weakening agni for the rest of the day. Dry, crunchy foods, such as toast, cereal or granola, increase vata. Vata and agni can support each other or create imbalance in the other, so the better your relationship is with one, the better it will be with the other.
The best choice for agni is a simple, cooked meal. A good breakfast for any morning is a bowl of warm porridge.
If you want to feel better all day, eat a breakfast that brings balance.
When you wake up in the morning, agni, digestive fire is low. Just like a fire that has burned down to embers, you must stoke agni gently to ensure its steady strength all day long. When the flames are stable, you will be better able to digest what you eat and experience with ease.
Breakfast means to break the fast, and it’s important to do so with care. The traditional Western fare of bacon, toast and eggs are heavy and hard to digest, weakening agni by expending too much of its limited energy first thing in the morning. This affects your digestion for the rest of the day, and, over time, causes imbalance that will lead to disease. Opt for a simple and nourishing meal at the beginning of your day instead. One of our favorite is steamed bananas.
How did you feel after your breakfast this morning? Nourished? Whole? Grounded? If the answer is no to any of these, it’s time for a bowl of porridge.
The first meal that you eat after waking sets the energy and intention for how you will digest your food and experiences in the day to come. After a sound sleep, agni, digestive fire, is weaker and must be gently rekindled with simple, nourishing food. Grain, cooked into a soft porridge, is the perfect meal for breakfast.
If you find you are feeling scattered or more anxious during this vata season, it’s time to use some food as medicine to calm and ground. What’s a better way to nourish your body and mind than a batch of freshly baked cookies?
The sweet taste is calming to vata dosha, and these “everyday cookies” can be enjoyed as the augmenting part of a meal (they’re also great to include in a child’s lunchbox).
Cookies can calm vata?
If you want to experience lifelong health, make vata dosha your friend.
The doshas, or three vital energies, help us understand how internal and external factors influence your health and well-being. Each of us has all three doshas, just in different amounts. While any dosha can become imbalanced in us at any time, the dosha you have most of is the one that is most likely to go out of balance. When you understand your tendencies related to imbalance, you can avoid doing those things and focus instead on what makes you feel your best.
When you are feeling imbalanced overall, vata is often the reason. With the light and subtle qualities of ethers and air elements that make up vata, it is the easiest of the doshas to go out of balance. And because of the mobility of the air element, imbalanced vata will disturb the other doshas toward imbalance.
We post recipes on HalePule.com every month. We even have a cookbook that many people use when they are beginning their journey with Ayurveda. But when we cook for ourselves, we rarely use recipes. Why? Because we prefer to connect to our creative energy and let inspiration be our guide.
When people begin an Ayurvedic lifestyle and see the positive effects of cooking meals at home, the questions they ask most are what to eat for breakfast and what to take for lunch on the go. This month, we have a recipe that fills both needs: savory pancakes.
Most people think of pancakes as a sweet dish (we have a recipe for that, too), but adding savory spices balances the natural sweetness of the wheat and aids digestion. By adding vegetables to the batter, you have a creative and unexpected way to eat a familiar food.
Breakfast sets a foundation for your entire day, yet in the rush to get out of the house in the morning, it can easily become the most overlooked meal. But before you reach for boxed cereal or frozen waffles, think about this: After sleep, your body has been fasting for 7 to 9 hours. What you need is a moderate-sized, nourishing, prana-filled meal to reset your energy and rekindle your agni.