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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ayurvedic Cooking Western Style

I just bought the best Ayurvedic cookbook. It's by Amadea Morningstar and it's called "Ayurvedic Cooking for Westerners. Familiar western food prepared with Ayurvedic principles." I already have another book by her "The Ayurvedic Cookbook" and have found the information on the different food groups and individual foods invaluable and really don't know why it's taken me so long to get this one.  Both books give an introduction to Ayurveda that is easy to understand and all recipes indicate the effect they have on each dosha and how to make adjustments if needed.  The book I got today also has a section on the gunas with a list of Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic foods and all recipes indicate which of the three they are. It's a great book for anyone wanting to understand the principles of Ayurveda and food. This information alone makes it a great book.

The recipes are great, lots of stuff we have eaten all our lives, know and love. There are recipes for pancakes, pasta, cakes, bread, salads, everything we western people eat on a regular basis. And they are easy too! What more could you want?

So inspired by my new cookbook I made a lovely simple dinner. I had mashed sweet potatoes with nutmeg and honey. I would have never thought about adding nutmeg or honey to my mashed potato, but I can tell you I will be doing it again, it was so delicious! I also had broccoli, summer squash (the cute little yellow ones) and snow peas lightly cooked in butter and then tossed in lemon juice and pepper. It was a quick, simple and really delicious meal. Perfect for the end of the day.

I think a lot of people think  they have to eat Indian food to follow an Ayurvedic diet but that is not the case at all. As the cover of the book says, all you have to do is follow Ayurvedic principles. Chili is chill and increases Pitta not matter if it is in a curry, pickles, tacos or a pasta sauce. Ayurvedic cooking is all about the ingredients and their taste and how they relate to the doshas, so it doesn't matter what you cook, Indian, Italian, Japanese or Thai, it's all about how your body reacts to it. I for one do not cook Indian food everyday. I love Indian food but also love other food too. But when I cook I am thinking about what I am using, how I am feeling, what my doshas are and try to use ingredients that I know will not aggravate me in any way. Of course there are times when I will eat or cook with something I shouldn't but I am still mindful of what I am doing and will undoubtedly notice how my body or mind reacts afterwards. It's like when we eat a big piece of cake or drink a bottle of wine, we know we shouldn't but do it anyway. It's OK to be naughty sometimes as long as it's not always and you balance it out with lots of healthy food that is right for you most of the time. Life is meant to be enjoyed after all.

So if you are interested in learning how to cook in a way that will balance your doshas and bring harmony to your life then this is probably the best place to start. Happy reading, happy cooking and happy eating!