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By Deva Khalsa
Ayurveda is the science of life—maintaining the balance among body, mind, and spirit. It recognizes that food is medicine. Food and herbs can be used to purify, correct imbalances, and heal. Every time we eat, we are creating our future selves—you are what you eat! In Ayurveda, foods are divided into three categories according to their inherent qualities.
- Sattva means purity, calmness, alertness, kindness, and compassion. Examples of sattvic foods are fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
- Rajas is the energy to accomplish, achieve, or create. Rajasic foods are stimulating herbs and spices including onions, garlic, and ginger.
- Tamas is inertia, decay, and indulgence. Examples of tamasic foods are alcohol, intoxicating drugs, and meat.
For people who live a quiet, contemplative life, a pure sattvic diet is perfect. For those who wish to maintain a meditative mind but also wish to live and work productively in the world as families and householders, a diet of primarily sattvic foods with some rajasic foods is best.
Often dis-ease in the body is due to sluggish digestion (agni) and elimination (apana). Adding kitcheree (mung beans and rice) to your basic diet soothes the digestion and provides complete protein with all essential amino acids. Kitcheree is ideal for rebuilding strength during and after illness, when digestion may be weak and health-promoting food is especially needed. The oil or ghee is added after cooking because cooked oils cause free radical damage, which can lead to premature aging. Use of unrefined oils is recommended because most commercially refined oils are rancid and a source of free radicals that inhibit the immune system.
Kitcheree accompanied by a green salad with green goddess dressing, homemade flax crackers, and key lime tarts make a healthy and lively sattvic meal.
Ayurvedic Kitcheree aka Mung Beans and Rice
1/2 c basmati rice
1/2 c mung beans
6 c filtered water, or more if you want it soupy
2 stalks celery
1/2 bunch kale, broccoli, chard, or other greens
Spices—1 tsp of each: cumin powder, coriander, turmeric, curry powder, and black pepper or chili pepper (ground or flakes)
1 inch ginger root grated
2 cloves garlic chopped finely
2 Tbsp Braggs or tamari
1 stick of kombu or other sea vegetable
1 pinch of hing (asafetida) to prevent gas
Garnishes: 1 Tbsp olive oil or ghee (clarified butter), 1/4 C cilantro, 1/4 C onions
Rinse mung beans and rice separately. Add mung beans to water and cook for 1/2 hour. Then add the rest of the ingredients and continue to simmer for 1 hour stirring often. Cook until the mung beans have opened up. You can soak the mung beans overnight to make them even easier to digest. Garnish and serve warm. Yields 2 - 3 servings.
1/2 bunch arugula
1/2 c sunflower sprouts
1 c mixed mesclun salad mix
Green Goddess Dressing
1 clove garlic
juice of one lemon or lime (approximately 1/4 c)
1/2 c cilantro (unchopped)
1 c parsley (unchopped)
2 Tbsp Nama Shoyu Tamari or Braggs
1/2 tsp umeboshi plum vinegar
1/2 c cold pressed olive oil or 1/4 c flax seed oil and 1/4 c olive oil
1/2 c water
Blend all ingredients in a blender for 30 seconds. Add more or less water for desired thickness. Chill and serve.
1 c flaxseeds
1/3 c fresh cilantro
3/4 c sun-dried tomatoes soaked for two hours minimum
1 Tbsp Nama Shoyu or Braggs or 1 tsp kelp or dulse
1 jalapeno, with the seeds if you want them spicy
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic
Soak flaxseeds in 2 cups of water. Set on kitchen counter for 4-24 hours or until the mixture is thick and fermenting, with little bubbles on top. While the flaxseeds are soaking, place the rest of the ingredients into a blender or food processor and puree. Once the flaxseeds have thickened, mix in the other ingredients.
Spread the mixture on parchment paper and place in the oven on the lowest temperature possible. Flip over when dry on the bottom. Cut with scissors or break apart with your hands when done. Yield: 1-2 large sheets of crackers. They will keep for 3-4 weeks.
You may also use a dehydrator. Spread mixture onto solid dehydrator sheet. Dehydrate at 105 degrees for 8 hours or until top is dry. Place a mesh dehydrating rack over top of the crackers and flip the tray over to dry the other side of the crackers. Then put the crackers back in the dehydrator on the mesh sheet until they are crisp, usually about 5-8 more hours.
Flax is our richest source of omega-3 essential fatty acids. Our bodies do not manufacture omega-3 essential fatty acids so it is vitally important to obtain them from outside sources. They play a key role in how oxygen is carried throughout our bodies, and they are important for normal brain function, the transmission of nerve impulses, and the regulation of hormones. Omega-3 is heat sensitive, so do not cook with it but add it after cooking or add to salads, dressings, or spreads.
Key Lime Tarts
3/4 pound dates or raisins
1/2 pound almonds
1/4 c maple syrup
Blend nuts and dates in food processor. Press into muffin paper cups or into a pie pan. Blend avocado, the juice from all 4 limes, and maple syrup. Pour into pie pan or muffin cups. Freeze for 3 or 4 hours. Remove 1 hour before serving. Garnish with slices of kiwi or lime or sprinkle with bee pollen or shredded coconut.
[Published in Aquarian Times, Spring 2004]
Since 1992, Deva has studied vegetarian cooking and practiced a lifestyle based on the technology of Kundalini Yoga. Deva and her husband, Dr. Kartar, have a cleansing and detoxification program called The Cleanse. Deva provides a vegetarian lunch program to the community they live in near Santa Fe, New Mexico, and a mail order program of healthy snacks and cleanses. For more information, call 1-800-563-3327 or e-mail: [email protected].
 From Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford.