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?
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