There is a famous quote “We are what we eat” but Ayurveda says: “We are not only what we eat, we are what we digest and assimilate”. Ayurvedic cooking is a rational way of preparing food keeping in mind the dietary needs of the individual according to their body constitution. prakriti.
Prakriti is a unique concept and fundamental philosophy of Ayurveda, which shows individual combinations of tridosha in an individual. Prakriti is a set of physical, physiological and psychological attributes that are unique to an individual. It is determined at the time of birth and cannot be changed during life.
Ayurveda is based on the concept that every physical creation is made up of five basic elements or the Panchmahabhuta—Prithvi (Earth), Jail (the water), tej (Fire), Vayu (air) and Akash (space). Everything comes from these elements and everything breaks down into these elements. These five elements are then grouped in various combinations of each other into three doshas: Vatacombining air and space; Pitta, a combination of water and fire; and Kapha, a combination of land and water. Each of the three doshas exists in every living being in varying degrees. However, a dosha generally predominates.
A balanced balanced diet tridosha and thus maintains the homeostasis of the body. Each food item or food behavior has either a dosha– an aggravating or pacifying or balancing action on the human body.
Ayurveda recommends a diet capable of maintaining the balance of the tridosha, because any imbalance will lead to diseases. Ayurveda classifies foods as Satvik, Rajasik and tamasic depending on their constitution and the effect it may have on the human body and mind.
Ayurveda places great importance on food processing. According to Charaka Samhita, the transformation of a food substance leads to an alteration of the intrinsic properties of the food; he is known as samskara. For example, heating honey, frying potatoes is contraindicated in Ayurveda as it becomes toxic to the system. Ayurveda believes that cooking food in an open container method makes food lighter for digestion and metabolism.
Foods should be smooth, i.e. they should include healthy fats like ghee,
coconut and nuts and seeds. It improves the taste and also helps in the
movement of food because Vata needs lubrication. In Ayurveda, the
the head is considered the root of the body, and we know that fats are a
important fuel for the brain. So when we nourish the root which is the
brain, we give strength to the sensory organs, which helps the whole body system to flourish.
Food combinations are an integral part of Ayurvedic cooking. He believes that unsuitable and incompatible foods cause toxic compounds to build up in the body and act like a slow poison. For example, milk with salt, fruit or fish and meat is a Virudha aharwhich means it is not advised.
Food should include all six rasas or tastes – namely, sweet, sour, salty, spicy, bitter and astringent – in the daily diet. Excessive consumption of either rasas can upset the balance, leading to certain health problems. For example, excessive consumption of sugary foods can lead to obesity and those pungent foods to acidity.
The following is a blend that contains the six tastes described in Ayurveda. It is also beneficial in restoring loss of taste and increasing appetite and helps relieve morning sickness, migraine and nausea.
One can easily consume half a teaspoon of it a day.
Serving Size: 6 teaspoons
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Grated fresh ginger: 2 teaspoons
Carom seeds: 1 teaspoon
Fresh lemon juice: 1 teaspoon
Black pepper powder: ¼ teaspoon
Himalayan pink salt: ¼ teaspoon
Honey: 1 teaspoon
Mix the above ingredients together and store them in a glass jar in the fridge for up to a month. Take a small amount before each meal.
In the nutritional dynamics of Ayurveda, a good metabolism is the key to good health and digestive fire (Agni). Agni is of paramount importance in Ayurveda because no matter how balanced your diet is or how good the food you consume is, if you do not have the ability to digest food, the body does not benefit. Optimum Agni is mandatory for optimal digestion. Therefore, an integral part of maintaining health is undoubtedly maintaining the Agni. The unique feature of Ayurveda is that along with treating various diseases, it also emphasizes the preventive aspect.
(The authors have just published The Ayurvedic Kitchen: Ancient Wisdom to Balance Body, mind and soul with Westland.)