Raw cow or goat milk is high prized in Ayurvedic nutrition as it nourishes all the bodily tissues, builds vitality and the intellect. It should never be taken cold, out of the refrigerator, but instead cooked with yummy spices to enhance it’s digestibility.
Sometimes, we just don’t have time to do much cooking. Sometimes we don’t have the inclination. But, Ayurveda recommends freshly cooked foods as often as possible. So, here is an easy way to make kitcharee for yourself without a lot of fuss.
Energetically warnming and light--a good spring balancing dahl.
Concern for what and how we should eat is at an all-time high, and this is fueling interest in all kinds of nutritional philosophies. Ayurveda—the time-honored medical science from India—has used food as a medicine for thousands of years and so many are curious about its unique understanding of food as an integral part of health.
Ayurvedic nutrition is based on a profound understanding of the effects, or karmas, that foods exert in the body. Each type of food, known in India, has been studied and its qualities and effects observed and described.
Some qualities act in concert with one another and cause effects that are not desirable. Two of these effects are called abhishandi and vidahi.
Abhishandi foods are those that increase sticky secretions and moisture in the body. These foods combine the heavy, sour and oily qualities which then increase sticky secretions and moisture in the body. An example of this is molasses. Yogurt is said to be abhishandi. Tomatoes and white potatoes are quite possibly abhishandi.
Vidahi foods cause burning and combine the sour, pungent, heavy and oily qualities which then cause burning—coffee and tomato sauce are examples of vidahi foods. These foods are easier to identify because they are often triggers for burning in the chest, or sour, burning liquid that comes up into the esophagus or throat—commonly known as heartburn or acid reflux.
It is recommended that foods that are either abhishandi or vidahi be consumed only occasionally and if there is a disease or imbalanced condition in which they are directly implicated, not at all.
Unfortunately, tomatoes are in both categories.
Wow, what do we do with pasta then? No more spaghetti sauce, are you kidding?
No problem, you can actually make a tasty “red” sauce without tomatoes!
Tomatoless Red Pasta Sauce
- 1 Roasted Butternut Squash
- 1 Roasted Beet, peeled and cut in to small chunks
- 1 medium onion or 1 leek, diced
- 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons of mild-tasting oil—olive, grapeseed, etc.
- 1 vegetarian bouillon cube and 2 cups of water or 2 cups of vegetarian broth
- 1 to 2 teaspoons of crushed dried basil, as per taste, or 2 to 3 Tablespoons minced fresh basil
- Other spices you like to put in tomato sauce
- 1 lemon, cut in half
- ½ to 1 teaspoon of Pink Himalayan Sea Salt, depending on taste
- Scrape the butternut squash flesh into a bowl and reserve.
- Put the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot and heat to a low-moderate level. When the oil shimmers, add the diced onion or leek and sauté until the onion starts to brown.
- Add the minced garlic and sauté for a few moments
- Add the basil and stir it into the onion-garlic mix
- Add the butternut squash flesh and stir it to mix all the ingredients well. Sauté 5 to 10 minutes, stirring enough so that nothing sticks to the bottom
- Add the bouillon cube and water or the broth. Stir to mix the ingredients and then simmer for around 20 minutes—until the mixture has cooked down to a thicker consistency. Stir occasionally so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.
- Remove the pot from the heat and place on a pot holder on your counter:
- If you have an immersion blender, let the mix sit for about 10 minutes and then use the immersion blender to blend it to a smooth, thick consistency
- If you have a regular blender, then remove the pot from the heat and place on a pot holder on your counter. Let the mix sit for 20 to 30 minutes to cool down. Then blend the mixture in batches, blending each batch to a smooth, thick consistency.
- After your sauce is blended into a nice consistency. Add one chunk of beet to the mix and blend. If the color of the sauce turns to the reddish, tomato-sauce like color you like, then return the pot to the stove and heat to cook down the sauce a bit more. If you would like a redder color, then add another chunk of beet and blend, assessing the color. Stop adding beet chunks when you attain the color you like.
- Note: I’ve found that adding 1 quarter of a beet gives a nice orangey-red color, but you may want your color darker. Adding the whole beet makes it beet-colored, which is fine, but this may not work for people, like kids, who like things to look like what they expect.
- Now, just heat your sauce on low and bring to a simmer. Obtain the juice from ½ of your lemon, and add a teaspoon of it to your sauce. Add ½ teaspoon of salt and stir well. Simmer another couple moments and then taste for tartness and saltiness. Adjust the amount of lemon juice and salt to your taste.
- Serve over pasta, vegetables or other grain.
Tis the season to think about dieting. Or is it? Many of us are thinking about New Year’s resolutions that revolve around weight. Thinness is the Holy Grail of our time and there is immense pressure from the medical community, media and our peers to join in the quest. We know that if we don’t try to lose weight we won’t be healthy or beautiful—we’ll be at risk for a myriad of diseases, we won’t be able to wear the cutest styles or have a love life. Our idols are airbrushed to an impossible level of thinness, but we don’t care, we believe the hype. And, if necessary, we’ll nip, we’ll tuck and we’ll starve ourselves because we want to be happy and beautiful.
Ayurveda is often misused in the war on weight. If we just eat the appropriate tastes or the right combination of foods, then, magically, our bodies will transform into that thin, happy version of ourselves that we yearn for. Funny thing though in Ayurveda, weight on its own is not really considered to be a parameter of health.
I talked to Dr. Yashashree Mannur, BAMS, my teacher, about what Ayurveda–the Ayurveda based upon the texts that are thousands of years old—has to say about this. Here’s what she had to say…
Continue reading “Tis the season….”
In springtime, according to our digestive fire and constitutional nature, we can incorporate a little more of the lighter, rougher and dryer qualities in our meals because Kapha dosha, the water and earth elements, is at its peak. Yellow Split Peas are a good source of the astringent taste and are therefore Ruksha or drying. They also have a bit of the Khara or rough quality. Turmeric is drying and warm, while fresh ginger adds some umph to your digestive fire. These qualities can be helpful during mid-Spring when accumulated Kapha is in its liquid stage after the late-winter/early spring build up. Continue reading “Spring Mediter-Indian Split Yellow Peas”
At your core, deep inside your gut, you have a garden…a plethora of bacteria creating your very own bio-network. The health and happiness of this intimate ecology influences your health, your likelihood of being obese and a myriad of other health concerns. All of us live in a grand symbiosis where we play host to a trillion little one-celled creatures—they outnumber the cells that make up our tissues by ten to one. We provide the little guys with a place to live and regular access to food, and they help us with digestion and influence how our metabolism and immune system works. But you are not just a passive host—the choices you make about food are your contribution to this system that, in turn, supports your health. Continue reading “Gut Check: Biodiveristy in Your Own Belly”
Yes, it’s true, when I tell people that I am an Ayurvedic practitioner, the most common response is, “A what? What is that?” So I thought I’d tell you a little bit about one of the world’s oldest medical systems—Ayurveda.
The science of Ayurveda was born in India, a few millennia ago—long before modern medicine developed–and is informed by a robust reliance on observational science. It consists of a sophisticated and complete body of knowledge focused on eight clinical specialties: internal medicine (Kayachikitsa), surgery (Salya Tantra), diseases of eye, ear, nose, and throat (Salakya), pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology (Kaumarabhtrya), psychiatry (Bhutavidya), toxicology (Agada Tantra), nutrition, rejuvenation and geriatrics (Rasayana Tantra) and sexology (Vajikarana). This body of knowledge is largely contained in medical encyclopedias—the earliest existing text, written around 600 BCE, the Caraka Samhita, is said to be a revised edition of an encyclopedia compiled by Agnivesa, implying that at the time of its writing, the Caraka Samhita was based on an already fully developed medical system. This system was developed over the centuries using the principles of observational science: direct perception (Pratyaksa), logical inference (Anumana), testimony (Aptopadesa) and experimental evidence (Yukti). Continue reading “Ayurdooda!?!”