Ayurvedic cooking is an art as well as science at the same time. Ayurvedic food is not only aromatic and flavored but also appetizing and has healing effect when served in an inspiring atmosphere. The core objective of Ayurvedic food preparation is the cleaning of toxins present in the body and the electrochemical vitalising of the body.
The core principles of Ayurvedic cooking are mentioned below:
The five elements namely the three doshas, the three gunas, the seven dhatus and the six taste. Ayurveda views the process of cooking, digestion and nutrition as integrated and therefore it always recommends eating in sequence where the focus is on easy digestion and the body capability of extracting the maximum nutrition from the consumed food.
In Ayurvedic cooking adherence to vegetarianism is non negotiable factor. It also recommends that vegetables be eaten in cooked form rather than raw form. This is because cooking enhances digestion and efficient digestion helps vitamins and minerals to be properly assimilated.
According to Ayurveda, the taste of food is vital source of information for the body. This is because every taste has specific impact. The six major Ayurvedic tastes are sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent and pungent. A balanced diet will have the perfect combinations of these.
The environment is also vital factor in the preparation of Ayurvedic food. Different diets will be recommended for different seasons to help the body acclimatize and adjust the changing seasons. This also helps in avoiding season specific diseases.
One of the principles of Ayurvedic cooking is to eat fresh food. Stale, processed and long preserved foods lack vital energy and are hard to digest whereas fresh food rewards the body with the maximum amount of energy. Ayurveda advises against eating leftover and processed food on regular basis. Impractical as it may seem for busy people to follow this principle, the comparative long term benefit on one health could be well worth the extra trouble.
Ayurveda advocates that food consumed in adequate amount in the right combinations and proportions provides us long life and youthfulness. The three core focuses of Ayurveda are prevention, healing and healthcare, and Ayurveda categorizes all food under three kinds which are Satvic, Rajasic and Tamasic.
- Sattva is quality of the mind which induces harmony, balance and clarity. Fresh fruits, vegetables, milk, dry fruits, nuts, honey, jaggery, herbal teas are few of the food which promotes sattva.
- Rajas are a quality of mind which induces energy and action and the need to create. Ready to eat canned food, ice cream, paneer, garlic, vinegar, pickles are examples of food which promote rajas.
- Tamas is quality of mind which evokes darkness, inertia, resistance and the need to stop. Alcohol, meats, fish, eggs, tea, coffee and fried food promotes tamas.
The recommendations of Ayurveda in terms of food and its way of cooking are applicable to all individuals. However, certain food may turn out to be useful or harmful depending on body type. Traditional Indian recipes coming through several generations perfectly illustrate the influence of Ayurveda in Indian kitchen to balance both taste and health.