Thinking of exploring the world of Ayurvedic eating? It may be easier than you think. Many familiar recipes that we know and love are made to Ayurvedic principles. Here are a few of our favourite Ayurvedic recipes to get you started.April 27, 2022 4:27 pm September 28, 2021 4:46 pm
The principles of Ayurvedic eating
‘Ayurveda’ is the name for traditional Indian medicine. Its name derives from two Sanskrit words, ‘ayus’ and ‘veda’, and literally translates as ‘the science of life’.
As the name suggests, Ayurveda is an all-encompassing belief system which covers all aspects of life, from diet to personality to the seasons of the year.
Unlike Western medicine, which aims to treat specific diseases, Ayurveda focuses on maintaining our overall wellbeing. Essentially, Ayurveda tells us that we shouldn’t wait to get ill; instead we should be constantly making an effort to take care of ourselves!
This is perhaps why food and diet is so important in Ayurveda. After all, the food we eat has a tremendous influence on our health.
If you’re new to Ayurvedic eating, we suggest you head over to our in-depth article on the topic. This will provide you with the basics of Ayurvedic foods and eating.
It’ll also help you identify your dominant dosha, or body type.
Remember to balance your dosha
In Ayurveda, all matter is made out of a small number of elements. These elements combine to make doshas, or essential life forces. These are called Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
Everything in the world is made up of a combination of these doshas, and the balance is unique to each person, object or phenomenon.
Thus, you have a unique balance of doshas, and finding out which dosha is dominant can help you to achieve balance with the others.
It might seem logical to think that if you dosha is Kapha, then you should seek out and eat Kapha foods, as they ‘match’ your body type.
However that would be quite wrong!
The aim of Ayurvedic eating is to balance your doshas. So, if you tend towards the Kapha dosha, you should actually aim to eat more Pitta and Vata foods to balance you out.
One easy example is a person with a dominant Pitta dosha. These people tend to be quite fiery-tempered. Thus, the advice for them is to avoid very spicy foods and instead focus on cooling and calming foods from the Vata and Kapha doshas.
Ancient wisdom, modern eating
Ayurveda has been around for thousands of years, so you could be forgiven for thinking that Ayurvedic recipes would be rather old-fashioned.
However, many common and popular modern-day dishes are made to Ayurvedic principles – whether deliberately or not!
This is perhaps because Ayurveda places lots of emphasis on healthy, home-cooked dishes made with plants and whole foods. Many feature classic Indian spices, but others focus on cooling foods such as yoghurt and milk.
Now that we mention it, Ayurvedic eating does traditionally include quite a bit of dairy, reflecting Indian eating patterns. However, it’s perfectly fine (and very easy) to make Ayurvedic dishes vegan. Simply substitute in your favourite plant-based milk or yoghurt.
In short, while Ayurvedic foods are made with ancient principles in mind, many of them are brilliantly suited to hectic modern-day living.
Here are seven of our favourite easy, non-intimidating Ayurvedic recipes for you to make at home.
Yes – incredibly, porridge is a great example of an Ayurvedic dish. It’s especially good for you if your dominant dosha is Vata or Pitta.(1)
Porridge is considered to be a heavy, sweet and sticky food.
If your dominant dosha is Kapha, you should approach porridge with caution as your natural tendency is towards heavy, comforting foods. You can still enjoy it in moderation, but avoid it in the Kapha-aggravating season of winter.
As in our recipe, you should eat your porridge with cooked, rather than fresh, fruit if you want to follow Ayurvedic eating principles.
Our porridge recipe makes a few extra healthy additions, such as raw almonds. From the perspective of modern nutrition, almonds provide protein, fibre and vitamin E to your breakfast.
Meanwhile, Ayurveda tells us that they can make porridge more sustaining for Pitta types who burn through their breakfast energy in a flash. They can also help balance Kapha doshas.(2)
2. Golden milk
Chances are that if you frequent a trendy coffee place you will have seen golden milk on the menu at some point.
Golden milk (sometimes also called a turmeric latte) is simply the Western name for haldi doodh, a traditional Ayurvedic combination of turmeric and milk. Granted, modern coffee shop incarnations often contain quite a few more ingredients than the classic recipe.
Turmeric is an incredibly important spice in Ayurveda. It has a fabulous history, dating back 4000 years and earning a mention from Marco Polo. In the modern day, one area of India – Erode – produces so much Turmeric that it has become known as the ‘yellow city’.(3)
As well as being a culinary spice, turmeric has been used for an extraordinary number of medicinal purposes including boosting energy, regulating menstruation, and relieving digestive issues and arthritis.(3)
Milk is an excellent anupan or ‘vehicle’ for turmeric thanks to its complementary cooling and sweet qualities. Once again, balance is key!
One tip for getting the most out of your golden milk is to add a twist of black pepper, which contains the bioactive component piperine. Studies have shown that piperine makes the bioactive compound in turmeric, curcumin, up to 2000% more bioavailable in humans.(4)