An After Thought, Healthy & Well

Ayurvedic Cooking: The Basics of Forgotten Food Science!

Ayurveda the stream of medicine that means one that is for the longevity of life. Its origin is said to be around 6000 B.C.E with the first documented mentions of the science found in the revered Vedas. Of course, the relevance of treatment procedures written in Charak Samhita & Susruta Samhita, till date, have ensured that this stream of medicine is still practised in modern India & across the world.

Ayurveda is the science of life that gives remedies and knowledge for an advantageous - disadvantageous life, a happy & unhappy state of health and mind. -  Basics of Ayurvedic Cooking
Ayurveda is the science of life that gives remedies and knowledge for an advantageous – disadvantageous life, a happy & unhappy state of health and mind. – Basics of Ayurvedic Cooking

This stream of medicine covers many aspects of human well-being. ‘Aahar’ or food is in fact considered as one of the three pillars for good health in Ayurveda; the other two being sleep & sexual abstinence. Kitchen in olden days was also considered as an in-house pharmacy or Dawa khana. This was because most Indian spices & herbs have medicinal properties apart from the flavour and aromatic use.

The in-depth study done by many Ayurvedic sages is listed in ancient books of Ayurveda. The mentioned tips here have been compiled after reading & listening to several articles about Ayurvedic Cooking from authentic Ayurveda related publications and thought leaders of this field. However, I do not possess any degree in Ayurveda. So the below tips related to food and its preparation need the readers’ discretion to follow or not.

Ayurvedic Cooking Tips & Revelations: 

  • There are 6 kinds of tastes as described in Ayurveda namely salty, sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, and astringent. For a balanced diet, food with a composition of these flavours is a must.
  • Every food has a cooling or heating inherent capability (taseer). Identifying it and consuming the food accordingly can help for a disease-free life.
  • The human body is basically divided according to three doshas Vata, Pitta & Kapha. One should eat according to these doshas that are a combination of physical & psychological energies.
  • One should not mix hot and cold foods.
  • Food should be eaten only once the body has digested the previous meal. Overeating should also be avoided.
  • Food should be eaten mindfully and the focus should be on the food. So use of gadgets, talking during the mealtime should be restricted.
  • Adding as many colourful ingredients in food as possible is highly recommended. The dish not only looks visually appealing but the value is added in terms of nutrients responsible for their vivid colours.
Basics of Ayurvedic Cooking
Basics of Ayurvedic Cooking

Some Food Combinations to be avoided:

  • Dairy products and fresh fruits should not be consumed together.
  • Meat & Dairy should not be consumed together.
  • Boiled water should be used for drinking purposes and preferably it should be stored in a container before.

Some of the must-to-be stocked ingredients in the kitchen that tastes great and are good for health as well are:

Ghee (clarified butter) is best when teamed with regular exercise as compared to cooking food with any refined oils. Turmeric, Ginger & Cardamom should be always available in the kitchen for their anti-inflammatory properties. Whereas, Asafetida (hing) apart from being a superb digestive ailment safeguard is anti-cancerous and can lower down blood pressure. Similarly, Ajwain (carom seeds), fennel (saunf), coriander etc. also have medicinal properties which I will be detailing out in another post soon.

In India, some traditional recipes that have been passed on generations after another are still made in the same way. The contribution of such traditionally cooked dishes to our body’s wellness is known in some cases but mostly the scientific purpose has been lost.

Traditional Rajasthani Thali
Traditional Rajasthani Thali

For example, if one analyzes any Indian regional thali, the basic spread of dishes in terms of taste is the same. Every region’s thali is a combination of the same 6 tastes as mentioned in Ayurveda despite the varying dishes with the changing region.

Another classic example that in India, Ayurveda style of cooking which we follow are the different processes of food preparation. Sauteeing, sprouting etc. are deemed good in this stream of ancient medical science.

Though this science behind cooking might have forgotten in the sands of time & ignorance, thankfully Indian traditional food still complies and uses ingredients that support body healing, are anti-oxidants, are fibrous in nature, have probiotic quality in them and more. The onus is on us to return back to our roots. We need to preserve & revive the traditional recipes that are a combination of science & simplicity for a sustainable life!

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(17) Comments

  1. Indian cuisine has its roots in Ayurvedic cooking. The ancient science of Ayurveda has naturally ingrained in our culture so many medicinal ingredients like turmeric, cinnamon, and manyother spices etc..

  2. This post has busted many myths via Ayurvedic cooking methods. Never know that dairy and fruits shouldn’t be consumed together

  3. Very true. I do believe in ayurveda and trust that most of the healthy things can be derived from our kitchen

    1. GUNJAN G UPADHYAY says:

      True that, this post has busted many myths people might have. I remember my mother talking about most of these, like avoiding fruits With dairy and about taseer..

  4. shubhada bhide says:

    What a lovely post! Ayurveda teaches us ways of life that are easy to follow and always true …

  5. My mom and me always take care of foods that should not be mixed together while cooking.

    1. That is great to know indeed.

  6. I feel Ayurveda has not yet been given it’s due. Love how well you’ve explained the do’s and dont’s. Very valid explanations, from a practical point of view too.

  7. I believe in Ayurveda and the three doshas Vata, Pitta & Kapha. I am also cooking according to my body type and incorporating fresh natural ingredients beneficial for health.

  8. Ayurvedic food is always good to go and the healthy food and ingredients we use in our kitchen.. . Very nice information and loved the thali pic it’s so mouthwatering ❤

  9. Cindy says:

    Interesting! I’m not sure if we have dairy and fruits together except in desserts. What kind of desserts does Ayurveda have?

    1. I will have to check but if we see our Indian Mithai they are made on lines of Ayurvedic concept only. Like Panjeeri K laddoo, gone k ladoo are eaten in winters only because they are hot in tasseer.

  10. I love your choice of topic buddy and feel so good that we Indians are already cooking and eating as per the principles of Ayurveda

  11. Thanks for sharing such an insightful post, I was not aware about mixing products ingredients Ayurveda teacher us a lot

  12. While reading, I couldn’t stop myself nodding on our Ayurvedic facts for a healthy body. Mixing of hot and cold is what people do often, while it is wrong for our body’s composition

  13. It’s interesting that some of the innovative combinations we enjoy now are actually not endorsed by Ayurveda. Time to understand basics to live healthier and longer.

    1. Yes especially dairy and fresh fruits.

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