What Is Ayurvedic Cooking?

| Diet & Nutrition

An ancient culinary style based on the harmony of nature’s elements and the human body, Ayurveda reaches past the kitchen and into daily self-care practices, too. It’s a practice stemming from at least the 8th Century in a text, "Madhava Nidan", on disease classification and prevention, particularly in pediatrics and toxicology. It is practiced today to offset modern health problems like adrenal issues, depression, low energy, skin problems, GI irritations, weight loss and more. It is a vegetarian-based diet that focuses on health benefits and human biology. Between the food preparation and the medicinal discipline, Ayurveda is growing.

(Photo: ayurveda cooking Photo by BreatheBooks)

The easiest way to understand Ayurveda is by going through one day, replacing the usual with Ayurvedic. You can prepare your meals following the Ayurvedic guidelines, but it won’t be as effective without the inclusion of your actions. 

Mornings: Wake up without grabbing your phone or rushing to put your feet on the ground. If you can get up before the sunrise, that would be ideal. Let your body come to an awareness and take a few minutes to meditate. This doesn’t need to be the leg-over-leg, middle-finger-to-thumb kind of meditation, but a time set aside for you to think positively and reset your mind while setting the pace for the day. Hygiene is important, both physically and spiritually. Wash your hands, face and mouth. Try oil pulling and using products that don’t possess high amounts of processed chemicals. Click here for four organic skincare companies you should know!

>> Read more: A Beginner's Guide to Meditation

Breakfast is a must, and it would be something like a cinnamon oatmeal with almonds and milk or maybe a banana smoothie with lime and cardamon. It all depends on your dosha.

Wait, what’s a dosha? This refers to your energy, which dictates your physiological self. There are three types: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. There are online quizzes or deeply detailed texts that will help you figure out your dosha. Essentially, each is based on physical build, personality and tendencies. And you won’t be just one of the three, you are usually a mix of two. Even if you and your best friend are both dominantly Vata, you might not have similar routines or food preferences. You are still unique.

Throughout the day, you’re seeking balance. If it’s cold outside, you wear a thick sweater and have hot soup for lunch. If your to-do list explodes, you step back, breathe and reapproach the list with a new perspective. Include exercise to promote circulation, like yoga or stretching. It’s a time to bring the body together.

For lunch and dinner, the two meals can look something like a quinoa and chickpea salad for lunch and zucchini on shiitake noodles for dinner. Dinners should be light. Portions are moderate and light. Click here to get inspired with five fresh spring salad recipes, not quite Ayurvedic, but certainly gateway plates!

(Photo: turmeric pesto Turmeric Pesto Bowl by Wild Vedic Living)

The difference in Ayurvedic cooking compared to traditional cooking is the way the food is prepped. A roasted carrot will have far less nutrients than a raw carrot, so keep the carrots raw or steamed, at most. But it goes so much deeper than that. There are spices specific to Ayurveda, like turmeric, cumin, ginger and coriander. Click here to find out about the potent abilities of the yellow root, turmeric.

There’s a method to the madness that can be explored in dedicated texts written by experts like Eat, Taste, HealEasy Ayurveda Cookbook and The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Remedies.

Like any lifestyle change, if Ayurveda is something you're interested in adapting, be patient. Do the research, find classes and like-minded groups to help you figure things out. Many people shift to this style of food prep to improve their health, including chronic illnesses with pain and fatigue, even rosacea and other pesky rashes. Be open to a palatable change!