Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing

Overview

Ayurveda, the ancient healing art of India, teaches that food plays an essential part in one's health and sense of well-being. Here is an authentic guide of the Ayurvedic approach to food and tasty vegetarian cooking. The recipes are formulated using herbs and spices to help balance the constitution of each person. The effects of the foods on individual constitution is included with every recipe together with the medicinal properties of many of the foods. This is a cookbook and ...
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Overview

Ayurveda, the ancient healing art of India, teaches that food plays an essential part in one's health and sense of well-being. Here is an authentic guide of the Ayurvedic approach to food and tasty vegetarian cooking. The recipes are formulated using herbs and spices to help balance the constitution of each person. The effects of the foods on individual constitution is included with every recipe together with the medicinal properties of many of the foods. This is a cookbook and much more. Included in this book are chapters on:
  • The principles of Ayurveda and individual constitution
  • Maintaining one's health, digestion and constitutional balance
  • The importance of proper food combining for optimal well-being
  • Setting up an Ayurvedic kitchen and planning menus inclusive of every member of your family
  • More than 100 recipes of delicious Ayurvedic cuisine
And these important sections for even more benefits from Ayurveda:
  • Nearly 300 simple remedies for everything from the common cold and skin problems to stabilizing blood sugar in diabetics, all using familiar household herbs, fruits and vegetables!
  • A chart for determining your individual constitution
  • Comprehensive food guidelines for basic constitutional types
  • A listing of the qualities of foods and their affects on the doshas
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781883725051
  • Publisher: Ayurvedic Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1997
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 490,856
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 2

FACTORS THAT AFFECT OUR HEALTH

Ayurveda is a way of healing and a way of life that always takes into consideration the whole person. According to the teachings of Ayurveda, every aspect of life contributes to overall health. Poor health seldom has a simple or single cause. This chapter will cover just a few of the things that may affect one's well-being. Some factors will respond to changes, like diet, and some are beyond individual control, like the weather. With the latter, there are actions that can be taken to reduce or eliminate the impact. Of course, it is not possible or wise to try to change everything at once. Ayurvedic literature states slow and steady is the best route to successful change. Most people find that diet is the best place to begin an Ayurvedic lifestyle.

The Doshas

One's sense of well-being reflects the inner state of health. Good health is the maintenance of one's unique combination of the doshas, a bal-anced condition of agni, of the seven body tissues, of the three waste sys-tems (urine, sweat and feces), as well as balance in the mind, senses and consciousness. It is equally important to one's well-being to have love, happiness and clarity in daily living.

Doshic imbalance governs internal biochemical changes that will even-tually lead to either high or low metabolism.

Pitta dosha governs all physical and biochemical changes that take place within the body. Through this process foodstuffs are transformed into energy, heat and vitality. Pitta performs these functions throughout one's life, but is especially prominent during the adult years. All these activities of pitta depend upon "digestive fire" oragni. Poor agni means poor health. Wrong diet such as hot spicy foods, wrong lifestyle such as living in a hot climate and repressed emotions can alter the normal function of pitta.

Anabolism is the process of building up the body. It is the repair, growth and creation of new cells. This process is managed by kapha and is most active in the baby, child and teen years. Kapha dosha can be dis-turbed by excessive intake of dairy, cold and oily foods.

Catabolism is the destructive, but necessary, stage of metabolism. Larger molecules are broken down into smaller ones. This molecular death is governed by vata dosha and is most active in old age. Repeated intake of vata-provoking food, such as salads and popcorn, and over-exercising can escalate vata and disturb health.

Improper Eating Habits

1. Overeating
2. Eating soon after a full meal
3. Too much water or no water during a meal
4. Drinking very chilled water during a meal or, indeed, anytime
5. Eating when constipated
6. Eating at the wrong time of day-either too early or too late
7. Eating too much heavy food or too little light food
8. Drinking fruit juice or eating fruit with a meal
9. Eating without real hunger

1. Emotional eating
2. Eating incompatible food combinations
3. Snacking in between meals

Time of Day and Time of Season

The body's biological clock is regulated by the doshas. The time of maximum activity of kapha is during early morning and early evening, 6 to 10 am and 6 to 10 pm. The pitta period is during midday and midnight, 10 am to 2 pm and 10 pm to 2 am, while vata hours are dawn and dusk, 2 to 6 am and 2 to 6 pm. Thus a pitta-type disease, like ulcers, may cause the most discomfort late at night in the pitta time of the bio-clock. The reverse is also true, in the sense that experiencing a sharp pain in the stomach region late at night may signify ulcers or another pitta-type aggravation.

After food is ingested, it passes through various stages of digestion, each one involving a specific dosha. To digest one major meal takes 6 to 8 hours. For approximately two-and-a-half hours after eating food, the dom-inant dosha is kapha, which is associated with the stomach. Roughly two-and-a-half hours later, pitta dosha is dominant. This period and dosha are associated with the small intestine, where bile and intestinal enzymes are at work. Ultimately, the digestion is completed in the colon, the pre-dominant site of vata, where absorption and elimination occur. This stage is a time of vata domination. Gas, a quality of vata, will often occur here if food is not properly digested.

The seasons have attributes much like the three doshas and can cause aggravation and imbalance. For instance, the summer is hot, sharp and bright which provokes pitta. So pitta diseases like sunburn, hot flashes, exhaustion, acne and diarrhea may occur. Psychologically, people may respond to trifles with anger and hate.

Autumn is dry, light, cold, clear and windy, all aggravating qualities to vata dosha. Aches and pains in the joints and muscles may materialize, and the mind may become fearful, anxious and lonely.

The heavy, cold, dampness of winter can provoke kapha, leading to cough, cold and sinus congestion. Attachment and greed may develop in the mind when kapha is aggravated.

The watery quality of spring also provokes kapha and some people will tend to have spring colds, allergies and respiratory ailments at this time.

The change from one season to another may require shifting one's diet for a period of time to restore balance.

Getting The Right Amount of Exercise

Exercise, too, should be in harmony with the specific constitution. Kapha individuals can perform the most strenuous exercise, pitta a medium amount and vata the gentlest. Aerobics, swimming, fast walking and biking are all good exercise for pitta and kapha, but not for vata. Vata tends to love jumping and jogging, but exercises like yoga, stretching and T'ai Chi are better choices. For people with serious vata and pitta disorders and for those whose age is over 80 or under 10, exercise should be very gentle. Walking is probably the best exercise of all for any constitution.

Even for a healthy individual, Ayurveda suggests a workout that is one-half of one's capacity, just until sweat appears on the forehead, under the arms and along the spinal column. This amount of exercise stimulates gastric fire, improves digestion and relieves constipation, as well as induc-ing relaxation and sound sleep. Sweating helps to eliminate toxins, reduce fat and make you feel good. Over-exercising may cause dehydration and breathlessness, even chest pain and muscle aches, eventually leading to arthritis, sciatica or heart conditions.

Choosing a Balanced Lifestyle

Lifestyle has its own definite rhythm in each person's life. Waking too early or late, irregular food habits, staying up late, job stress, untimely bowel movements and suppression of natural urges are a few habits that can unsettle one. Regularity in sleeping, waking, eating and elimination, indeed following a daily routine, brings discipline and helps to maintain the integrity of the doshas and good health.

Ayurveda has some definite suggestions about the role of sex in one's life. Sexual activity should be avoided after heavy meals, during hunger or in anger, for this could be detrimental to health. The right amount and right time is important. Vata should not make love more than once or, at most, twice a month, pitta once every two weeks and kapha two to three times a week. The best time for making love is between 10 and 11 pm. Too fre-quent lovemaking reduces ojas, the vital energy, and leaves the person weak and open to disease. Ojas should be restored after sexual activity through massage and nourishing drinks, such as almond milk.

Relationships and Emotions

Daily life is relationships, both the relationships we have with one another and the one we have with ourselves. Ideally, clarity, compassion and love should characterize these relationships. It is often easier to love and respect others than one's self. Relationships are mirrors to use for self-learning, inquiry and investigation. Through that very learning, radical transformation of one's life can take place. If our relationships are unclear, confusion and conflict will affect our well-being.

Emotions, such as anger, fear or anxiety, arise from reactions to our daily relationships. These reactions appear due to inattention to the moment. Each person needs to pay total attention to his or her thoughts, feelings and emotions. If one doesn't, these emotions will be undigested and just as capable of poisoning the body as bad food combinations. Each emotion is a biochemical response to a challenge and may provoke the doshas. Fear and anxiety will provoke vata, anger and hate will upset pitta and attachment and greed will aggravate kapha.

Meditation and Well-Being

Meditation plays a most important part in daily life and is a powerful tool to help maintain health. While the dictionary says that the term medi-tation means to think, to ponder, to go through and examine, this definition does not impart the profound meaning of the word. Mediation is an action of clear perception, an observation with total awareness and without any conclusion, judgment or criticism. Meditation demands that you be utterly one with the moment. In this oneness, there is radical change in one's psyche. In this moment-to-moment awareness, there is a cleansing of the body, mind and consciousness. This cleansing will bring one to that state of peace which is joy, bliss and enlightenment. At that point, life becomes a movement of spontaneous meditation.
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Table of Contents

Foreword .............................................................................. 9
Preface ................................................................................... 11
An Introduction To Ayurvedic Cooking ................ 13

Chapter 1
Your Individual Constitution .............. 15
The Elements .................................................................... 15
Tridosha - Vata, Pitta and Kapha ................................ 16
Prakruti and Vikruti ......................................................... 17
Determining Your Constitution ....................................... 18
Characteristics of the Vata Individual ........................................ 18
Characteristics of the Pitta Individual ......................................... 20
Characteristics of the Kapha Individual ..................................... 22

Chapter 2
Factors That Affect Our Health ........... 25
The Doshas ...................................................................... 25
Improper Eating Habits ..................................................... 26
Time of Day and Time of Season ................................... 26
Getting The Right Amount of Exercise ............................ 27
Choosing a Balanced Lifestyle ......................................... 28
Relationships and Emotions ............................................. 28
Meditation and Well-Being ............................................. 29

Chapter 3
Taste And Digestion ................................... 31
Qualities of Food ............................................................. 31
The Concepts of Rasa, Virya,Vipaka and Prabhav ...... 32
Agni, The Digestive Fire .................................................. 39
The Process of Digestion ................................................. 42

Chapter 4
Food Combining ......................................... 45

Chapter 5
Setting Up An Ayurvedic Kitchen And Pantry 49

Chapter 6
Menu Planning ............................................. 51

Chapter 7
Recipes .............................................................. 59
Helpful Hints about Ayurvedic Cooking ......................... 59
Soups ................................................................................ 61
Kitcharis ............................................................................ 75
Mainly Rice Dishes .......................................................... 81
Vegetables ....................................................................... 99
Raitas .............................................................................. 135
Pickles and Chutneys ..................................................... 141
Breads ............................................................................. 151
Sweets ............................................................................ 155
Beverages ....................................................................... 171
Extras .............................................................................. 183

Chapter 8
Foods For Healing ................................... 187
Fruits ............................................................................... 187
Vegetables ..................................................................... 202
Household Herbs ........................................................... 206

Appendix .............................................................................. 217

Determining Your Constitution ...................................... 217
Food Guidelines for Basic Constitutional Types ........... 220
Qualities of Food Substances ........................................ 232
Glossary ............................................................................. 239
Bibliography For Further Reading In Ayurveda ... 243
Index ..................................................................................... 244
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