Aparigraha can be practiced in all areas of life including our diet.
How do we practice asteya in the kitchen?
Sometimes, perhaps oftentimes, the gratification of the moment takes precedent over well-being in the long-term. We’ve all had moments when we have done something that we know won’t make us feel good later. Many people have this relationship with food. Ice cream is good now. Bad later. I know this, but I’m going to do it anyway.
Consider the idea that this behavior is stealing from yourself. You’re stealing your future well-being.
How can you be kind to your body today?
This month at Hale Pule we have been looking at ways to integrate the Yogic practice of ahimsa into everyday life. Ahimsa translates into kindness, consideration and respect. Think of ahimsa as your North Star, your guiding light - with ahimsa as your reference point, your journey will be more clear and full of joy.
By Myra Lewin
Do you feel like you get into a rut in the kitchen?
I hear this from clients pretty frequently – people tend to stick with what they know instead of trying new things, and then they get bored. And boredom can often lead to seeking pleasure by consuming overly stimulating or processed food, with negative consequences for digestion and overall well-being.
You can find plenty of Ayurvedic recipes, Ayurvedic cookbooks and Ayurvedic chefs, but as much as you look, you’ll never find Ayurvedic cuisine. That’s because Ayurveda is more than just a way of cooking -- it is a way of looking at food and life as a whole through the lens of nature’s rhythms.
Nature is always changing. If you study what is happening outside your home, you’ll notice that not a single day is the same as another. Your body and mind are a reflection of nature, so they are always changing too. In fact, the Sanskrit word for body is sharira, which translates to “that which is always changing.”
Everyone loves hummus. So many people are enjoying this creamy Middle Eastern speciality that it is showing up in the prepared foods section at many supermarkets. Picking up one of these containers might seem convenient, but you’ll feel much more satiated with our Ayurvedic homemade version -- no cans needed.
Making your own hummus is easy, and it’s a great way to become familiar with one of our favorite kitchen tools: a pressure cooker. But before we talk about how to use a pressure cooker, we want to share why homemade hummus made from dried chickpeas is so much better. There’s one big reason -- prana.
In Ayurveda, it is said that we only need five foods to stay alive: wheat, rice, ghee, milk and mung. It’s really that simple.
Dhal, as split mung is often called, is a staple here at Hale Pule. It is easy to digest, nourishing and, since it doesn’t require soaking, it is a simple choice suited for any day. Since split mung calms all doshas, it is wise to have plenty on hand when you are feeding a crowd of people.
Green vegetables are showing up everywhere lately -- raw in salads, pureed in smoothies, even baked as chips. It’s good to see more people interested in eating healthfully, but just because a little bit is good for you doesn’t mean that more is better. In fact, too many green vegetables without enough grounding, nourishing foods can quickly send vata dosha soaring.
Ayurveda teaches us to eat as a practice of vairagya, or non-attachment, an act that requires moderation and balance. The way we bring moderation (and joy) into our kitchen is by using the foundation of the Hale Pule bowl. By rotating through a broad list of sattvic foods, herbs and spices, we get a lot of variety, avoid aggravating the doshas and don’t get attached to eating the same thing every day.
Is it possible to live in the modern world while maintaining a spiritual focus? Of course. Cultivate consciousness through regular spiritual practice and bring that into everything, everyday.
Cooking can be a spiritual act with that intention. That means turning off the cooking shows, putting away cookbooks with complicated recipes, and moving into your heart, where you have all the information you need to create simple, healing food. Allow your spirit to lead the process and you will be satisfied every time.
Making friends with kapha dosha is about embracing stability, compassion and even-mindedness. Cultivate balance in kapha and you experience the sweeter side of life.
Even if kapha is not a primary part of your constitution, the qualities that make up kapha (heavy, dense, cool, wet, soft) exist in you. Your body itself is made of kapha tissues such as bones, muscles and fat. Without the structure kapha provides, vata could not move and pitta could not transform. You need to maintain balance in all three doshas to enjoy true health in body, mind and spirit.
One of the greatest investments you can make in your health is committing to eating home-cooked meals. This doesn’t need to be a complicated process. In fact, it takes little more than a quality rice cooker to create a simple Ayurvedic meal. Our favorite meal to make this way is a basic combination of split mung and rice. Try this nourishing meal when you are traveling (just pack a rice cooker and all the ingredients to make it in your hotel room). You could also buy a rice cooker to keep in your office to take the place of take-out lunches. Or toss all the ingredients together to eat well on a busy day.
Legumes are a central part of an Ayurvedic diet. High in easily-digested protein, grounding and affordable, legumes have a lot to offer. We keep our cupboards stocked with a variety of dried legumes. Mix them with different grains and a 60:40 combination of augmenting and extractive vegetables and you can create a different meal every day of the month.
Don’t beans cause gas?
Nature is our greatest teacher. By honoring the cycles in the natural world around us, we can begin to observe – and respect – those same cycles within us.
Here at Hale Pule, we invite the sattvic power of nature into our lives through daily work on Durga Farms. Guests who attend our intensives and immersions get to share this experience by working with the Hawaiian soil and enjoying the freshly harvested food at every meal. Guests leave inspired by the healing power of nature and are often ready to start their own gardens at home. But it’s not necessary to have acres of land to become a gardener – you can start with something small, such as a window box with a few fresh herbs.
By Stephanie Stillman
Aparigraha is one of the yamas, the ethics of Yoga. Its literal translation is not gripping, or non-attachment. Practicing aparigraha is practicing contentment, adaptability and presence. Being able to flow with life and stay present in the moment is aparigraha. It is the opposite of being attached to a past event or a future outcome.
By Rachel Saum
I affectionately call this “veggie pie” when my friends ask what I’m cooking. It has been a hit at potlucks, and is an easy way to get the appropriate ratio of sweet, grounding to extractive, cleansing vegetables. Serve with hummus or another legume for a balanced meal. Here I used beets and turnips, but you could easily make it with carrots or squash. Happy baking!
If you’re looking for a way to bring some new flavors to your meals, spoon on some Ayurvedic sauces.
We’ve created three simple Ayurvedic recipes for sauces that are a great addition to your plate. Our basil pesto, parsley wasabi and tahini honey sauces are crowd-pleasers that will make your delicious meals even better.
Eating for balance is a cornerstone in Ayurveda. A meal made of good quality augmenting and extractive vegetables, grains and legumes gives your body the life force it needs to function at your optimal levels. The combinations for meals made with this formula are endless and can be easily shifted for what’s in season.
For instance, in the heat of summer you may be looking for ways to lighten up your meals. Rather than reaching for a salad of raw foods, which may not be a great choice for your digestion, look instead to a lighter legume – snap peas.
Growing asparagus is a practice in faith.
Two years ago, we planted 2,000 asparagus plants on our own Durga Farms, where Hale Pule gets the freshest veggies on Kauai. This spring we finally started to harvest.
That’s right – two years from planting to harvest. We were told it was difficult to grow asparagus here. But because we had faith, we can now harvest asparagus for the next 15-20 years without replanting. So, as the asparagus spears have begun poking out of the dirt, we’ve been exploring many ways to eat the abundant asparagus that we and others will enjoy for years to come.
The practices of Ayurveda bring balance, which is why the concept of augmenting and extractive foods is a powerful way to guide the way we prepare our meals.
Augmenting foods are those that nourish and ground your body and mind. They build tissue and replenish what is lost. These foods are generally sweeter in taste – things like rice, carrots, pumpkin and avocado. Eating augmenting foods gives us vitality and energy.
At Hale Pule, we eat legumes every day as part of our fresh, balanced vegetarian meals. That’s why a pressure cooker is one of our most essential kitchen tools.