March 23, 2010

On God and Ayurveda

My 4-year-old daughter L has this to say about God: I want to be God. He doesn't have to wear socks.

I think that sums it up way better than that stupid Lord's prayer about dying in your sleep.

Last weekend I attended a class on Ayurveda cooking. The instructor was in her mid-to-late 40s and had clear, unlined skin and calm, alert eyes that caught my attention. In the past I have pondered why so many health food junkies who eat lots of raw vegetables always look gamey instead of healthy. Ayurveda philosophy answers this question and others.

Ayurveda boils down to three key points, or at least these are the three points I came away with:

1) Love food. Prepare food with love, eat with attention and enjoyment. (Parents of small children have permission to laugh here.) When you cook, the food receives your energy, positive or negative. Stir with intent.

2) Be satisfied after a meal. This means you have to include all flavors (sweet, sour, spicy, salty, bitter, etc.) or you will be left wanting. Order is also important - for example, it is best to end a meal with a bitter flavor so you feel satisfied and don't keep eating, which means salads do better as a final course than a starter.

3) Take care of your digestion. Eat foods that are quickly digested in order to get rid of inevitable toxins as quickly as possible. This is the key to staying healthy. Completely raw food is not recommended because it takes longer to digest. Ditto cold food.

Some of the healthiest foods are: organic chicken, olive oil, radiccio (that bitter purple cabagey thing you use in salads), tumeric, garlic, organic milk, oats, walnuts, broccoli, salmon, herbal tea, apples, lentils.

Some general tips for more Aryuvedic eating:

1. Drink warm water once or twice a day.
2. Don't cook honey. (It's apparently toxic)
3. Speaking of toxic, don't cook with olive oil or butter, either. Olive oil is very healthy but not when cooked. Use ghee or coconut oil to cook.
4. Never use sunflower oil, cooked or otherwise.
5. Avoid eating animals that can't sweat, such as pigs and mussels. They build up toxins.
6. Eat dairy products alone, don't mix with, say, fruit. An exception is mangos, so mango lassis are very good - just throw fresh mango, plain yogurt and a bit of water in the blender. Yum!
7. The fresher the better.
8. Eat real food, not processed. So, raw sugar is better than white processed sugar.
9. Go easy on raw and/or cold food. Don't mix fruit with other foods, give it time to digest first.
10. Try not to use a microwave - it pretty much kills the food. Best is fresh cooked meals, if you must reheat use a pan or a steamer.
11. Don't eat until you're hungry, then eat until you're satisfied.
12. Your stomach is about the size of two fists. Try not to eat more than that at each meal.

How to make your own ghee:

Ghee is butter that has been cooked to produce curds then filtered to remove them. The curds are basically animal fats and additives and are toxic when cooked, not to mention high in cholesterol. Starting with a good organic butter, cook it in a small pot on the stove. As it melts scoop off the foam with a spoon. It will boil and slowly clarify, producing small white curds. When the curds just begin to brown, filter into a jar using an unbleached cheese cloth or coffee filter. You can cook with this - nice flavor - and it never goes bad.

Now, this is a lot of work but what convinced me is that the remaining curds can be used as a moisturizing facial scrub and mask. Of course, if you don't wash it off thoroughly you will smell like rancid butter but your skin will be luminous.


  1. Not that I'm a huge pig or mussel fan, but chickens don't sweat either. That said, I think I've got numbers 1 and 2 nailed down - especially number 1!

  2. Does coffee count as drinking warm water? If so, I'm good on that one.

  3. I've only dabbled with the Ayurvedic ideals. It's interesting, though.

    Thanks for sharing what you learned.

    I wish it were easier and cheaper to get away from processed foods!

  4. Interesting stuff, especially about salad being eaten last because of its "bitter" flavor.

    Mixing dairy and fruit is one of my favorite things, so that would be hard to give up. Plain yogurt just doesn't cut it.

  5. Oh ghee - thanks for sharing! I drink Ayurvedic teas but that's the extent of my organization...

  6. Those don't sound to bad, many of them make sense. At least if you choose one or two, you are making better choices than before, right?

  7. I got some valuable tips from your post. The guides were really very useful. I have read them carefully and have bookmarked the page too.
    Thanks for sharing

  8. Interesting post. I may be in a bit of trouble considering the way I cook with olive oil, butter and garlic at almost every meal. I do eat fresh however. Maybe there is still hope for me yet.

  9. Well, nice blog with good content. Your tips are useful too. I'll try to make ghee at home. Your ideas are so unique.
    Thanks for sharing

  10. It's a very interesting post.Your tips very useful. I take herbal tea everyday. But I cann't drink warm water.

  11. I went through the complete article.
    Interesting article. Thanks to provide the tips which are really very useful. The method to make ghee is very interesting.
    Thanks, Have a good weekend.

  12. Chinese believe in drinking warm liquid only too. My SIL still forbids her children from drinking any cold drinks, including soda pops. They are in high school. I wonder how long that's going to last. But in Taiwan, oftentimes soda bottles come out to be warm, then you add ice cubes to the glasses. Sometimes you get warm beer. My husband thinks that's disgusting. LOL

  13. interesting....good info! i've always enjoyed eating raw when i did for a few months...maybe it wasn't long enough to get a pasty look.


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