I have always been a big believer in the concept that you are what you eat. The food choices we make drastically effect our health, both physical and emotional. The concept of Ayurveda is simple: it is based on the concept that one’s physical, mental, and spiritual well being comes from a number of sources, including a healthy diet that is based on your own personal constitution. The Tastes of Ayurveda: More Healthful, Healing Recipes for the Modern Ayurvedic is an all vegetarian cookbook that includes many recipes using both whole grains and raw foods to help improve your health and overall wellbeing.
Tastes of Ayurveda
Title: Tastes of Ayurveda
Subtitle: More Healthful, Healing Recipes for the Modern Ayurvedic
Author: Amrita Sondhi
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press; 1 edition (July 3, 2012)
Pages/format: 336 pages (paperback)
My Review: 4 out of 5
From the Publisher:
Ayurveda, the 5,000-year-old healing tradition from India linked to the development of yoga, is based on the concept that one’s physical, mental, and spiritual well-being comes from a number of sources, including a healthful diet based on one’s individual constitution.
In this all-vegetarian cookbook, Amrita Sondhi, author of The Modern Ayurvedic Cookbook (now in its fourth printing), provides new twists on traditional Ayurvedic recipes that are also inspired by the growing popularity of whole grains (quinoa, spelt, and barley) and raw foods.
The Ayurvedic diet is based on the concept of three “doshas”: vata (air), pitta (fire), and kapha (earth). Each of us has a primary dosha that we can strive to maintain at a healthy balance, but which can cause problems in excess. The book includes a questionnaire so readers can determine their own primary dosha and then look for recipes that will help them to maintain or reduce it for optimal health.
Recipes include modern interpretations of Indian cuisine (spicy paneer zucchini kabobs and mango & coconut kulfi), and Ayurvedic spins on vegetarian fare (barley rainbow pilaf and raw zucchini hummus). The book also includes yoga and breathing exercises easily done at home or at work, full-colour recipe photos, and information on sprouting/fermenting techniques and backyard gardening.
The Tastes of Ayurveda offers simple and delicious ways to achieve a more healthful, energetic, and serene life.
About the Author:
Amrita Sondhi is a certified yoga instructor and Ayurvedic cooking teacher; she is also owner of Movement (movementglobal.com), a cutting-edge clothing line specializing in sustainable fibers. Her first book, The Modern Ayurvedic Cookbook, was published in 2006. She lives on Bowen Island, BC.
Let me just say right from the start that The Tastes of Ayurveda is more than just a cookbook. While the primary emphasis is certainly on the food and it’s preparation, there is also a significant amount of information about Ayurveda itself, along with yoga exercises to facilitate your overall health.
The book starts out with helping you identify what sort of dosha predominates in your body. Basically, this is sort of a personality test to help you be more attuned with your body. There is a questionnaire for you do take to help you determine this. Ayurveda divides food into six tastes including sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent. Each one effects our doshas differently. This cookbook helps you keep your doshas in balance using the whole, natural ingredients that are in these recipes.
The Tastes of Ayurveda includes lots of the basics you need to know before diving into these recipes. There is an extensive section on ingredients and terminology which is quite helpful. Each recipe is marked with a symbol to indicate which dosha it helps balance: Vata, Pitta, or Kapha. This makes it quite easy to skim through the book and find a recipe that would appeal to you on any given day. The cookbook is divided into traditional chapters like Breakfast, Appetizers, Soups, Sweets, etc. Many of the recipes include useful tidbits of information like what exactly is a wheat berry or what healing property a certain ingredient may have. There are also a few nice, colorful pictures scattered throughout.
The last 40 or so pages of the book include sample menus, yoga suggestions, information on cleansing and food guidelines for basic constitutional types. There is also an index to search by recipe name.
Overall, I think this is a very well put together cookbook/health primer to help you get started on the road to Ayurveda. You do have to be willing to try some new and exotic flavors along with some ingredients you may have never heard of before. You will find ‘traditional’ recipes (like the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies) and some bean burritos but you will also find a few more exotic recipes like the Yellow split mung bean and spinach dal. There seems to be a nice balance though so I think most people will find things they enjoy.
I tend to be a person who eats what I’m in the mood for and not necessarily what my body tells me I need so I’m not sure how successful I would be at trying to design my diet on the principles of Ayurveda. I know I will enjoy these recipes, whether it helps balance my doshas or not!