Food is the fuel for the human body, for growth, for life, for survival. A tiny body of 10 pounds will grow, due to food, becoming a 150 pound body.
The word used for food in both Ayurveda and Yoga is āhara. Āhara is derived from the Samskrit root, hru, which has a wide meaning, it includes the earth, water, heat or fire, air and space, all of the five elements of this universe which support and benefit our growth.
The ancient Indian medical science of Ayurveda guides us in how to keep the body and its systems in a healthy condition in order to support Liberation. Yoga guides us in how to support the inner system, the mind, in direct support for our Liberation. Thus, both Ayurveda and Yoga are supplementary towards each other. Indian cooking has evolved out of the principles of these two sciences. This is why it contributes to the perfection of our health as a whole.
Humans live in varied places on this earth with different properties, vegetation, climates, etc., and because of this, foods also vary. Certain basics foods are common to all human beings, so this traditional way of Indian cooking may be developed anywhere with minor changes. As an example, there are some vegetables with identical basic properties, and these may be interchanged.
Each meal should have some cereal or grain, vegetables and fruits. One of the most important features of a meal should be the variety of tastes and vegetables used. It is recommended to use the foods which are grown in the area in which we live.
Forming new food combinations is a great responsibility due to the difficulty in knowing the properties created in new combinations. In India, many of the traditional dishes have been established and approved by yogis since ancient times. New combinations accepted by established yogis may become part of this tradition. Carrot is an example of a new food being introduced to Ayurvedic cooking that has been cross checked by yogis.
The right combination of dishes in a meal is no less important than the foods chosen. A meal should support our constitution for proper growth as well as the maintenance of our whole system. Each constitution possesses different characteristics, such as a tendency towards physical work, talkativeness, sleeplessness, or a tendency to think deeply. Food should support an individual’s natural tendencies and constitution. Consumption of improper food may strain or damage some of the natural activities of an individual.
In this day and age, wheat and rice are the main food articles which are sattvic. Sattvic foods support us to lead a calm and peaceful life. Based on the climate in which we live, one of these two should be our main food, while the other would be secondary. At a high elevation, and in cooler climates, wheat is preferable, as one moves closer to the equator, rice will be. A highly recommended sattvic supplement to each meal, is one teaspoon of ghee
Time Tested Preparations
All the recipes introduced here are completely traditional, time tested over centuries and are based on Ayurvedic principles. For the humankind they support health, if used in an ideal way. For a yogic practitioner, they will support one’s Yoga practice by keeping the mind calm and quiet. These dishes may be considered as sattvic foods, suitable for all Yoga practitioners. The greatness of these preparations is that not only sattvic in nature, they are also delicious!
Though cooking is an art that should be learnt with the guidance of an expert to ensure delicious and ideal results, a few dishes can simply be learnt through the basis of trial and error. We hope that these receipts offer clear guidance and we wish you good luck.