Ayurvedic Food

Ayurvedic Hibiscus Cooler

Ayurvedic Hibiscus Cooler

The hibiscus flower has many health benefits. It’s used in Ayurveda to improve appetite; dissolve phlegm; and help relieve colds, heart and nerve diseases, upper respiratory tract pain and swelling (inflammation), fluid retention, stomach irritation, and circulatory disorders. Hibiscus is also useful as a gentle laxative and diuretic.

As a resident of Mexico, I find that hibiscus tea—or agua de jamaica, as it’s called thereis served almost everywhere—in homes, in restaurants, and on the street. One explanation for its popularity is that people in very hot climates often lose their appetite, and this tangy, cooling, drink is just the thing to bring it back. As a diuretic, hibiscus tea also helps relieve the fluid retention that often occurs with heat exhaustion. Another likely reason for this drink’s ubiquity in tropical and subtropical regions is its antimicrobial properties, which protect against the bacteria and worms that thrive these zones.

Try our spicy twist on this traditional Ayurvedic beverage!  

Ingredients:
2 quarts water
3 tbsp dried hibiscus flowers
2 tsp dried tulsi leaf
1 tsp licorice root
3 large slices fresh ginger root
¼-inch cinnamon stick
1 tsp cardamom seed
1 tsp golden raisins
1–2 tsp coconut sugar or raw honey

Directions:
Place licorice, cinnamon, ginger, and raisins in 2 cups of water, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add all the other ingredients except the honey, and simmer for 30 minutes. Pour liquid out through a strainer into a 2-quart vessel. Now add the rest of the water. Drink at room temperature or slightly cooled.

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.

Warming Ayurvedic Breakfast for the Cold, Dry Winter Mornings

Warm Ayurvedic Breakfast

Roasted Rice with Dates, Cinnamon & Cardamom

  • 1 cup basmati rice

  • ¼ tsp black pepper

  • ¼ tsp cardamom

  • ¼ tsp cinnamon

  • 4 whole dates

  • 1 Tbsp ghee

  • 1 to 2 pinches of mineral salt

  • 3 cups of water

Preparation

Chop dates. Heat a medium saucepan on low, and add ghee. When it melts, add uncooked rice. Stir continually for 2–5 minutes, until it smells sweet and all the rice is coated with ghee. Add the spices and dates. Stir for 1 more minute. Add water and bring to a boil. Cover pot and lower to a simmer. Cook until rice is tender (about 20 minutes). Serve with warm coconut milk or rice milk. And top with slivered almonds or nut of choice.

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease. 

Eating for the Season: Recipes to keep Kapha in Balance!

Eating for the Season

Ayurvedic dietary principles call for us to largely avoid refined sweets and excessively cold, dry, unctuous, salty, and fatty foods. I know this seems hard during the holidays, but if you keep this wisdom in mind, you may notice the ease that it brings to your body and mind. Because winter is considered a primarily kapha season, the meals you eat during this time should incorporate slightly more of the pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes that pacify this dosha. However, winter’s heavy, moisture-laden atmosphere frequently gives way to the dry, windy conditions of the vata dosha, so it’s also important to focus on vata-balancing foods and tastes on days when this type of weather prevails. Overall, you should eat warming meals that balance kapha and vata and help you adjust to the predominant weather conditions. Also be mindful of your agni, or digestive fire. Since kapha conditions can contribute to sluggish digestion, eat at regularly scheduled times without skipping meals or overeating. As always, eat your largest meal at lunch, when the digestive fire of pitta is strongest.

Here are some simple, tasty recipes that will make it easier and more enjoyable to maintain a dosha-balancing wintertime diet.

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup (serves 4)

·      ½ gallon water

·      1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

·      ½ cup rolled oats

·      1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro

·      1 tablespoon cumin powder

·      1 teaspoon coriander powder

·      ½ teaspoon turmeric powder

·      ½ teaspoon finely ground black pepper

·      1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

·      juice of 1 fresh lemon

·      1 tablespoon rock salt

·      1 tablespoon soya oil

·      2 scallions, chopped

·      parsley

·      watercress

Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add squash, oats, cilantro, and spices, including black pepper and salt, fresh ginger, and lemon juice. Cover and simmer on medium heat for 35 minutes. Transfer to the mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Return to pot. Heat oil in a small skillet, and sauté scallions for about 2 minutes; then add to the pureed soup. Cover and simmer 5 minutes. Serve hot and garnish with fresh parsley and watercress.

Seven-Grain Bread (serves 4)

·      1 tablespoon natural yeast

·      ½ cup warm water

·      2 tablespoons sesame butter

·      ½ cup spelt flour

·      ½ cup unbleached whole wheat flour

·      ½ cup soya flour

·      ½ cup millet flour

·      ½ cup oat bran

·      ½ cup rolled oats

·      ½ cup cracked wheat

·      1 tablespoon Sucanat

·      ½ teaspoon rock salt

·      1½ cups warm water

Dissolve the yeast in warm water; then dilute the sesame butter in the yeast solution. Combine the flours, bran, rolled oats, cracked wheat, Sucanat, salt, and remaining water; then add the yeast-sesame butter mixture. Knead into a sticky dough. Transfer dough to a large oiled bowl. Cover securely and let rise in a warm place for 40 minutes. Punch down the dough, cover, and let rise again for 40 minutes, until it doubles in size. Form dough into four rolls, and place on oiled baking trays. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Whole Mung Dhal (serves 4)

·      1 cup whole mung dhal

·      2 ¼ cups water

·      ¼ teaspoon turmeric

·      1 pinch sea salt

·      1 tablespoon ghee

·      1 minced green chili pepper

·      ½ teaspoon grated ginger

·      1 tablespoon masala

·      1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Wash mung dhal until water runs clear. Soak in 3 cups of cold water overnight. Drain. Boil 2 cups of water and add dhal, turmeric, and salt. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 50 minutes. In a small skillet, heat ghee, green chili pepper, and ginger for a few minutes. Add the masala toward the end of browning. Add to dhal with lemon juice and remaining water. Cover and continue to simmer for an additional 30 minutes over low heat.

Sautéed Golden Beets with Masala (serves 4)

·      4 golden beets

·      1 tablespoon sunflower oil

·      1 tablespoon masala

·      2 yellow onions of shallots, cut into half-moon slices

·      1 teaspoon rock salt

·      1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

Scrub the beets and cut into bite-size pieces. Heat sunflower oil in cast iron skillet. Stir in masala and cook until slightly browned. Add shallots, beets, and salt. Stir in two tablespoons of water. Cover and allow to cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, garnish with fresh parsley, and serve hot.

Caraway Brown Rice (serves 4)

·      2 cups long-grain brown rice

·      3½ cups boiling water

·      1 pinch of sea salt

·      2 teaspoons of caraway seeds

Wash rice until water runs clear and add to boiling water. Add salt. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 25 minutes. Dry-roast caraway seeds in a small cast iron pan until golden. Add to rice mixture and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Red Cabbage and Onion Soup (serves 4)

·      ½ gallon of water

·      1 small red cabbage shredded

·      2 red onions, chopped

·      1 tablespoon coriander powder

·      ½ teaspoon cayenne powder

·      1 tablespoon dried dill

·      1 tablespoon dried parsley

·      2 cloves of garlic

·      1 tablespoon of rock salt

·      ¼ cup cashew butter

·      1 red onion, cut into thin half-moon slices

Bring water to a boil in a large soup pot. Add the cabbage and onions, along with the coriander and cayenne powders, dried dill, parsley, and salt. Lightly crush the garlic cloves with a handstone and remove the skin. Add the lightly crushed cloves of garlic to the soup mixture. Cover and simmer on medium heat for 35 minutes, until onions are practically dissolved. Add cashew butter to the soup and stir until it dissolves. Garnish the hot soup with thinly sliced red onions; remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve hot with a heaping dollop of Millet Supreme.

Millet Supreme (serves 4)

·      3½ cups water

·      2 cups millet

·      ¼ cup fresh peas

·      ½ teaspoon turmeric

·      ½ teaspoon cumin powder

·      ½ teaspoon ajwain seeds

·      1 teaspoon rock salt

·      1 tablespoon sunflower oil

·      ¼ cup currents

·      ½ cup roasted almonds, slivered

·      juice of ½ lemon

Bring water to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Thoroughly wash the millet, and add to boiling water, along with the peas, turmeric, cumin powder, ajwain seeds, and salt. Cover and simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes. Heat the oil in a small skillet, and add the currants and almonds. Stir for another few minutes until currants begin to swell. Add the lemon juice. Add to the millet, and continue cooking for 10 minutes more. Serve warm.

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease. 

5 Easy Ayurvedic New Years Resolutions

We all have health goals that we would like to achieve, it is important to be realistic about what we can change that is practical and easy! Ayurveda is full of natural health tips that are actually very easy to integrate into your daily life that don't require massive sacrifice or effort that can totally change your life.  

1.  Start your day with the right breakfast. What you eat first thing in the morning sets the tone of your entire day.  Your digestion can either be boosted or totally extinguished depending on what you eat or don't eat in the morning. Ayurveda teaches that the root cause of all disease starts with improper digestion. A hot, whole grain porridge such as congee is the ideal breakfast to kindle your digestive fire, improve absorption, and balance your metabolism.  It's easy to cook in a crock pot overnight so that when you wake up, it's all ready to go! 

2.  Sip warm water with meals. You've heard how important it is to drink plenty of water.  But maybe you haven't heard that you should avoid iced water and drink warm water instead.  Ayurveda teaches that iced or refrigerated drinks actually inhibit digestion, and that warm water improves it.  It is especially important while you're eating a meal to drink warm water to aid in the digestive process.  Drinking too much water during a meal dilutes the enzymes necessary to fully break down food, so sipping is considered healthier than gulping big glasses during the meal.  Gulping can be done in between meals!  It only takes a little getting used to asking your waiter for water with no ice, or better yet, a mug of hot water with lemon, and you will feel how you are digesting your meals much more efficiently and without any gas or bloating.

3.  Soothe your sinuses daily. Ayurveda teaches that it is extremely important to keep all of your internal cavities well oiled to prevent illness and maintain optimal health for a long life. Many people can relate to having various sinus problems, whether it's seasonal allergies, chronic congestion, sinus infections, or headaches. Considering that the mucus membranes in the sinuses are the first line of defense as air enters our body, we want to make sure that they are doing their job for our immune system.  Dryness and inflammation are actually a huge contributor to congestion and allergies. Neti pots are getting a lot of press these days as a great way to keep our sinuses clean. Less well known is that it is important to insert a few drops of herbal oils into the nose each day to keep the sinus tissues healthy and supple.  If done on a daily basis, even twice a day, you will avoid many of the common colds, coughs, and headaches that keep you from fully enjoying good health during the year.

4.  Give yourself a warm oil massage.Continuing the "oil your body" theme, a great Ayurvedic practice for your mind and body is abhyanga, a self-massage using warm oil.  It's best to apply the warm oil all over your body right before a hot bath or shower so that the oil can easily penetrate into the deeper tissues and joints. Abhyanga serves to calm the nervous system, strengthen the joints and connective tissue, and stimulate the internal organs.  It's best to choose the type of oil that is appropriate for your Ayurvedic constitution, or you can simply use raw sesame oil, which is good for all types.  One of the best things about abhyanga is that by doing this healing practice several times a week, you are paying close attention to your physical body in a loving and attentive way.  We all could benefit from more self-love, and this self-massage is an excellent way to practice this and reap some serious health benefits as well.

5.  Daily Detox. If you never did anything else for your health besides taking Triphala, you'd still be better off than most people. Triphala is one of the most important Ayurvedic herbal formulas because it serves as a powerful detox for the digestive tract while at the same time rejuvenating the entire body. A clean internal environment is necessary for all other bodily systems to function well. Composed of three herbs, it is extremely high in Vitamin C and is balancing for all constitutional types. Triphala is unique in scraping old toxins out of the intestinal tract so that nutrients can be properly absorbed and waste can be regularly eliminated. It cleanses the liver and the blood and benefits the eyes as well. There is a saying in India that goes something like this - "No mother? Do not worry if you have triphala."  Triphala provides such a breadth of nourishment, while cleansing toxins from the body, that it has earned this profound comparison.  It's best to take Triphala one hour before bed so that its cleansing action can occur while there is no new food being eaten.

After sticking with this list of easy Ayurvedic New Year's Resolutions for even just a few weeks, you will notice such incredible improvements in your overall health that you won't have to worry about falling off the wagon.  A new sense of well-being comes from making these small but profoundly effective changes.  Making lasting improvements in our daily routine does require some discipline, but when the benefits become obvious so easily, it requires little effort to make them seem just like normal.

Congee Recipe
How do I prepare congee?
Congee is easily prepared overnight in a crock pot. If you do not have a crock pot, it can be simmered on the stove over very low heat. It is important to use clay, enamel, glass or stainless steel for cooking. Do not use aluminum or iron pots, as chemicals from these pots can leach into your food.

Suggested cooking ingredients for 1 serving:
1 part grain (1/4 cup)
5 parts water (1 ¼ cup)
Combine in crock pot and cook on low overnight (8 hours). You should adjust the proportions of grain to water until you get the consistency of congee that satisfies you the most. Increase serving size as desired. For added flavor, you can add your favorite appropriate spices (see suggestions below). Your health care practitioner may suggest specific flavorings or added nuts, fruits, vegetables or herbs that would be most beneficial to you.

Suggested congee grain combinations:
To reduce excess water weight, try brown rice/barley, cinnamon, and ginger. To strengthen the adrenals and warm digestion, combine millet/buckwheat/rye, allspice, and cinnamon.

Some options:
GRAINS: rice, millet, barley, rye, oat groats, spelt, quinoa, amaranth, wheat berries
SPICES: cinnamon, bay leaf, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, cloves
NUTS/FRUITS: jujube, lyceum berries, walnuts, dried cherries, almonds, pumpkin seeds
VEGGIES: sweet potato, carrots, pumpkin, spinach, squash
FLAVORINGS: molasses, honey, maple syrup, rice milk