The Art of Ayurvedic Cooking: Nourishing Body and Soul with Sattvic Foods

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  • Doctor! I am consuming salads and sprouts regularly at dinner time in the last 6 months for achieving my target weight but now a days I am having some serious digestive issues which are not resolving. I am in doubt with my new diet plan. Is it so? An IT engineer of age 45 years, who is having sedentary lifestyle and late dinner habits was asking for the solution with lot of frustration.
  • I am taking palak soup/ cooked green leafy vegetables / beetroot/ fruits in my meal everyday in order to achieve good haemoglobin level. Doctor had suggested few dietary changes for maintaining good haemoglobin levels and I am following those but still struggling daily with complains of anaemia. A 42-year-old lady with history of early menopause was asking with lot of stress.

Food – An Ayurvedic perspective:

Your diet Is not only what you eat. It’s what you watch, what you listen to, what you read, and the people you hang around. Be mindful of the things you put into your body emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

Ayurveda believes in very similar way with respect to diet. The main and unique key feature of Ayurveda is, Ayurveda not only thinks about nutrients, nutritional value, calories of particular food but it explains effect of particular diet on the body and mind after process of digestion. It also considers prakruti, habitat, occupation, geographic habitat, season and its impact on body. Ayurveda always emphasizes on different type of diet according to individual prakruti, habitat, season etc.

Food is responsible for nourishment of each and every cell of the body. For achieving proper growth and development of body as well as mind, it is important to understand the impact of particular food on body at minute level.

Elaborating more, Ayurveda mentioned the concept of Satvik, Rajasic and Tamasic food based on qualities of food and its impact on body and mind after digestion.

Type of food and its impact on health:

Apart from nutritional value, Ayurveda believes that its is important to understand the impact of food created on body and mind after digestion.

Sattva, Raja and Tama are three gunas, or primary qualities, that are said to exist in all natural things. Each represents a different quality: Sattva is purity, Rajas is activity or passion and Tamas is inertia or darkness. In every material object, person and action, characteristics of all three gunas are present; one, however, is always dominant. Whether a person’s diet consists of Sattvic foods, Rajasic foods or Tamasic foods will determine which guna influences their thoughts and actions.

Many qualities of mind such as sharpness, decision making capacity, wisely action, consciousness etc. got impacted by food that we consume. So, for better quality of life, for supreme efficacy of mind and for spiritual harmony, one must consume food which is having good impact on body.

Let’s have a look into types of food and its impact on health according to Ayurveda:

  • Sattvik food: – A sattvic food is simple, least processed, light, easy to digest type of food and have good impact on health. – In Ayurvedic practice, sattvic food is thought to increase energy, happiness, calmness, and mental clarity. – Things that are vegetarian, nutritious, fresh, seasonal and with authentic recipes with minimal cooking are Sattvik in nature.
  • Rajasic food: – Rajasic is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘rajas’ meaning full of passion and activity. Ayurveda considers Rajasic foods as a balance of pure and impure, neither too nutritious nor too unhealthy. – Spicy, salty & sour foods are considered rajasic as they can give a boost to the body, both physically and mentally. Too much rajas leads to stress, overstimulation, and overexcitement.
  • Tamasic food: – Tamasic—meaning that they may cause certain potentially harmful mental and physical impact on health. It’s associated with pessimism, weakness, and laziness. – The Tamasic food includes meat, fish, onions, garlic, curds, mushrooms, alcohol and any other fermented foods, including vinegar, bread, pastries and cakes. Any stale, over ripe or under ripe, tasteless and rotten foods are also considered tamasic. Any foods that have been processed, including those that are preserved in any way, canned or frozen are tamasic food.

Food - Body and Mind correlation:

Ayurveda believe that a person who eats primarily Tamasic foods is doing harm to both their minds and their body. Ayurveda teaches that such a person will lose Prana, or life energy, and will be filled with strong, dark urges such as greed or anger coupled with a lack of proper reasoning skills and a sense of inertia. Such a person is not thought to be capable of achieving the enlightenment needed to transcend the gunas.

A Tamasic diet is thought to destroy the body’s ability to fight disease, to disrupt the proper functioning of the immune system and to destructively alter the normal pathways of the brain.

“Healthy mind has a healthy body,” so it is very important to select the right diet as per your health. The intake of the right diet will help you to make you physically and mentally strong.

Art of Ayurvedic cooking:

Art of Ayurvedic cooking is not complex if you are aware of which ingredients compliment your Dosha and also if you are well known about qualities of food.

According to Ayurveda, it is not possible that there be a one-size-fits-all diet for a human race that is so unique, diverse and has different needs. What works for a million other people may not be right for us, as each of us is a unique being. This is the beauty of Ayurveda — it recognizes our uniqueness and gives us a knowledge and perspective that is empowering; that allows us to manage our own health in a very personalized manner. Ayurveda’s understanding of the Doshas (constitutions) helps us to recognize which foods are good for us, in what quantity and why.

Apart from that Ayurveda breifly describes role of Sanskaras on food that is authentic food processes and its importance in improving food qualities and eliminating bad qualities. Any process which brings continuous positive change in a given material (Dravya), is called Sanskar. Different Sanskaras will play important role in art of Ayurvedic cooking. Ayurveda briefly describes logic behind not just in what we eat, but also how and when we eat, and how we prepare our foods. In Ayurveda, our connection to food becomes a holistic act that truly looks to food as a gift and respects it as life encapsulated.

Mindfulness while eating by chewing carefully, enjoying every piece, and avoiding distractions like screens or difficult discussions are also important which impacts health. Observe your physical, mental, and emotional responses to various foods and avoiding particular type of food is very important.

In Ayurveda the diet plays as big a role as medication and therapy. Ayurvedic treatment must be accompanied by diet based on Ayurvedic principles will be responsible to increase the effect of the treatment.

Nourishing Body and Soul with Sattvic Foods:

There are several advantages of following diet based on principles of Ayurveda including promoting mental and emotional wellness in addition to physical health.

Better Processing:

An Ayurvedic diet reduces digestive discomforts such as bloating and indigestion by promoting optimal digestion and absorption through food selections that are in line with individual prakruti.

Increased Vitality:

The body receives vital nutrients from eating fresh, complete, sattvik foods in their original condition, which maintains consistent energy levels throughout the day without the crashes that come with processed meals.

Proper weight distribution:

Ayurvedic teachings encourage people to eat mindfully by teaching them to pay attention to their bodies’ signals of hunger and fullness. This knowledge encourages a healthy connection with food, which helps people control their weight and avoid overindulging.

Balanced Mental Condition:

Emotional stability, cerebral clarity, and inner peace are all maintained by eating wholesome meals that match one’s dosha. Herbs and spices from Ayurveda medicine also help to maintain emotional equilibrium and brain function.

Eating according to one’s dosha type – determined by their unique combination of vata, pitta, and kapha – can help balance these energies throughout the day. In addition to providing nourishment for the body, this mindful way of eating also offers emotional benefits such as increased satisfaction from meals and improved stress management skills.

Ayurveda is rooted in the belief that food should be tailored specifically to each individual’s needs, focusing on natural remedies and whole food as medicine. As such, many elements of Indian cuisine are based on this philosophy; everyday staples like grains, vegetables, legumes, herbs, nuts, and seeds provide essential nutrients for overall wellness. Furthermore, Indian cooking utilizes numerous spices known for their medicinal properties – from turmeric, which has anti-inflammatory benefits, to fenugreek which can strengthen digestion – creating complex flavours while providing holistic support.

Living an Ayurvedic lifestyle means understanding how food impacts not only your physical well-being but also your mental state; it’s about taking control of what you eat so you can truly enjoy every meal while reaping the many rewards associated with good nutrition.

“Food is medicine when consumed properly.” If we eat food uniquely suited to our physiology, and follow a sattvic (life-supporting) routine that enhances digestion, our bodies will reap the benefits and we will find that our days will be happier, healthier and filled with vigor and vitality — for the rest of our lives.