When people come to Hale Pule Ayurveda and Yoga trainings, they often ask how we can make our food so delicious when it is prepared so simply. We say that our secret ingredient is sattva.
Sattva, or balance and harmony, is a principle in nature and all parts of life. It is the energy of sweetness in life, bringing us closer to the divine. When you cultivate this quality in your kitchen, the food you make will be much more than a delicious meal -- it will be an adventure in healing.
The way we teach students in our Ayurvedic chef training is to make sattva the first ingredient in every recipe. This includes building meals made of sattvic foods, but most importantly, setting your energy to reflect the important role you have as a cook.
Sattvic cooking is good for all doshas
We often cook for large groups of people. Our students and guests come in with different states of imbalance and entirely different constitutions. Many families face the same issue. One person is experiencing a vata imbalance, while another’s pitta is too high. Sattvic cooking is the answer. Using a variety of sattvic foods, cooking meals fresh, avoiding overeating in one sitting and setting the energy of the kitchen will support all doshas, so you can make one healing meal for everyone in your household (keep in mind that if someone in your household has extreme imbalance, it’s best to work with an Ayurvedic practitioner to outline a menu plan). With this approach, your body has the chance to naturally come back to balance, and it will often do so without additional therapies.
Creating a sattvic kitchen starts with you
Think of your kitchen as a sacred place of healing. This starts with you and your energy as the cook. Whatever you bring into the kitchen will be reflected in your food. For instance, if you come home from a stressful day at work, you might feel scattered and forget to add the salt. If you spent a day lounging around on the couch, the tamas (the quality of inertia) you are experiencing may encourage you to reach for heavy ingredients that will diminish agni, digestive fire. Be honest with yourself about your state of balance before you start cooking. Take a few minutes before you begin cooking to ground yourself and create a sacred experience with the food you will prepare.
Here are a few tips to bring sattva into every meal you make:
Cooking with consciousness is a step toward living a more awakened life. When you approach cooking as the sacred act it is, you’ll be more attuned to how healing it is to feed yourself. This is what turns a daily task into a loving spiritual practice.