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.
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.
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.
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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