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Ayurvedic Cooking Fundas

Dr. Preeti Dass

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The Main Principles of Ayurvedic Cooking are

  • Eat a main meal at midday when the digestive system is at its strongest.
  • The meal should combine small portions of grains and pulses, cooked fresh vegetables, salad, a fruity chutney, which can be used to spice up the meal, yoghurt and something sweet.
  • You should sip warm water after the meal rather than cold water with it.
  • You should alter your diet according to the season and how you’re feeling.
  • If you are anxious and restless, you can restore the balance of Vata (which governs the nervous system) by eating more pungent, bitter and astringent foods to feel happier, more enthusiastic and calmer.
  • If you’re feeling particularly irritable and aggressive, your Pitta (which governs processes of metabolism and digestion) is likely to be out of balance. Restore it by eating sour, salty and pungent foods to feel more content, enterprising and sharper.
  • If you’re feeling apathetic and depressed restore your Kapha (which governs physical needs) by eating more sweet, sour and salty foods to restore harmony and energy

Food for Monsoons

Rainy season is considered to be a vata season. Therefore diet in rainy weather should include foods to pacify imbalances caused by vata. Sweet, sour and saline tasting foods pacify vata. Following are some of the food items, which can be included in the diet to pacify vata:

Soybeans. Soya beans are richer in proteins than the other dals. They are heavy to digest, strength giving, vata decreasing and pitta promoting. They are easy to digest after germinating slightly.

Urad Beans. Urad dal bring downs vata. Special care should betaken to prepare urad as it can make one sick. Its flour is easy to digest when mixed with rice flour (Dosa and Idly).

Cress. Used mostly salad, cress is slightly pungent in taste and cures vitiated vata and kapha.

Fennel. Fennel is light to digest, promotes liver functions and cures vitiated pitta and vata.

Okra. Okra increases kapha but decreases pitta and vata. It is heavy to digest and should not be taken excessively. It should be prepared with ginger.

White Gourd Melon. This is also known as pumpkin, but it is white inside, whereas pumpkins are yellow. It is eaten as a vegetable as well as a dessert. It regulates the three humours. The seeds cure vitiated vata and kapha and strengthen the nerves. The seeds are eaten as are other nuts – after removing the shells. They are recommended to people who have chronic headaches. A daily dose of seeds should not exceed more than 1/8 ounce.

Almonds. Sweet almonds cure excessive vata.

Apples. Apples bring down vata and pitta, but they also increase kapha. Sour apples, however increase pitta.

Apricots. Apricots regulate vitiated vata.

Bananas. Bananas decrease vata if the fruits are ripe. Slightly over-ripe fruits increase Vata and cause distention. Over-ripe bananas should be avoided.

Figs. Figs are also cold in their ayurvedic properties. They regulate excessive vata and pitta.

Lemon. All lemons promote digestive power and cure vitiated vata and kapha. A regular use of lemon saves one from vata and kapha ailments, and purifies the blood.

Peaches and plums. They are slightly pitta promoting, but they regulate vata and kapha.

Pineapple. Pineapple is strength giving, vata decreasing and kapha promoting. It is laxative, and freshly pressed pineapple juice has antibiotic and antiparasitic qualities.

Pomegranates. Pomegranate properly ripe fruits establish humoral equilibrium.

Butter and Ghee. Ghee is used to cure an excess of vata and pitta. It enhances the effect of ayurvedic medicines. According to ayurveda , ghee is the best of all cooking fats.

Chicken Eggs. Chicken eggs are pitta promoting and decrease vata.

Herbs and spices. Among herbs and spices that cure vitiated vata are ajwain, anise, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, dill, fenugreek, garlic, ginger, kalongi and mustard.

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