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?
Ayurveda doesn’t mean you have to give up baking. But baking doesn’t have to mean you have to deal with the stimulating effects of refined sugar. Natural sweeteners in their whole form (honey added after baking, maple syrup or the mascobado sugar we’ve used in this recipe) are annupana, or a substance that takes the nutrients from what you’re eating deeper into your tissues. Moderate use of these types of sweeteners (served in meals with all six rasa, or tastes, present) also build ojas to support immunity and vitality -- exactly what vata needs.
We’ve used nourishing and grounding whole wheat flour as the basis for this recipe (try grinding your own flour for the most prana). But the best part about these cookies is that we’ve added a special vata-calming ingredient: gotu kola. Gotu kola, also known as brahmi, is a medicinal plant commonly used in Ayurvedic herbal formulations to calm the nervous system and support even flow of energy in the body and brain. With each bite, you’ll see how delicious it is to use food as medicine.
Managing your energy in the kitchen
The state of mind you are in before you start to prepare food will be present in your final product. This is a key concept we teach in our Ayurvedic chef training and it is the reason the food we cook at Hale Pule tastes so good. Be present as you are preparing this recipe and you will take in the same as you eat the cookies. Take a few slow, deep breaths or say a short prayer before you begin. Pull out all the ingredients and equipment you need and review your recipe one more time before you begin. Go inside and turn away from distractions and let this time in the kitchen be a meditation.
Makes 12 cookies
If you can’t find gotu kola, brew a cup of our Brahmi Morning Blend tea and use it in place of the water to soak the chia.
3 cups freshly ground whole wheat flour (substitute up to ½ cup coconut flour in warm weather)
½ tsp mineral salt
2 Tbsp. mascobado sugar or jaggery
1 Tbsp. gotu kola powder
1 tsp. cassia cinnamon
½ tsp. cardamom powder
½ tsp. nutmeg
2 Tbsp. chia seeds soaked in 1 cup warm water
¾ cup chopped pecans
3 Tbsp. ghee
Preheat your oven to 350 F.
Add all dry ingredients to a bowl and mix well. Add the ghee and fold in the chia seeds and soaking water or tea. Add enough additional water to form a slightly sticky, but pliable dough. Form each cookie into a small ball and press flat onto a stainless steel or stoneware cookie sheet or glass baking dish. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until slightly golden.
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