Ayurveda recipes and the five elements
According to Ayurveda, the human health is influenced one’s overall lifestyle, which has a number of external factors – the climatic conditions they lives in, what and how do they work, how do they manage to combine work with rest and spiritual activities, their relations with others, different events in their life.
According to Ayurveda however, the food one consumes and the way it is consumed is vital to health.
In Ayurveda, eating is a kind of communion between man and nature – one draws from her vital forces to exist and develop. Moreover, Ayurveda sees the humans as created to live in harmony with natural laws, processes, cycles, they are their micromodel.
This determines an essential point in the varied ayurvedic recipes – products should be as close to nature as possible – fresh, without severe processing. It is not accidental that the consumption should be up to three hours after the dish is prepared – after that its natural energy is lost.
Another important principle in the different ayurvedic recipes, related to the unity of man and nature, is the perception of the five elements. They construct the whole matter not only of the Earth but also of the creation of the universe.
Ayurveda sees each person with their unique combination of five elements, set at birth. The first is space (ether), the second is air, the third is fire, the fourth is water and the fifth is earth. They manifest in the body as energies grouped in different combinations and one or two of them are predominant. They define all the functions of the body and are set for life, they cannot be changed.
The main combinations are ether and air, fire and water, earth and water. They define the three “pure” Doshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha, but there are a number of other groupings. Thus, the different ayurvedic recipes take into account the corresponding Dosha /combination of the five elements/for each person.
Foods that have the characteristics of the dosha – such as hot and spicy for the fiery Pitta – can increase it, disturb the balance and cause illnesses. In addition, foods suitable for one Dosha should usually be restricted to others.
Ayurveda diet and doshas
The preparation of ayurvedic food recipes is fully consistent with the type of Dosha and the specifics of the given body type for the different seasons. There are rarely people with a triple Dosha type who can use the diet regimen of all three doshas – people usually have one or two dominant Doshas, and their food should be consistent with this.
As a whole, ayurvedic food is varied – cereals, especially sprouted wheat; legumes – beans, lentils, “green soybean” chickpeas; fruits and vegetables – fresh and dried; dairy products, honey, nuts – hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts. Breads are whole grains, fish, seafood, lighter meats such as chicken are also included. It depends on the Dosha what will be the selected and combined food.
For Vata useful food includes cereals, vegetables, but not raw – they should be steamed – sweet potatoes, carrots. To balance this Dosha, the menu can include rice – brown, basmati, fresh fish, dates, avocados, cherries, almonds. Legumes, which are generally popular in Ayurveda, are not recommended for this type of Dosha. Vata foods should be hot, this is also recommended for drinks. The dishes should be relatively greasy.
For Pitta Dosha, food and drinks should be cooler. Meals should be moderately greasy, too oily and heavy foods are not recommended. The fruits should be sweet – for example, figs and red grapes, citrus fruits should be avoided. For balance, the Pitta menu also includes curd, okra, mushrooms, parsley, etc. Bread should be free of raising agents.
Kapha Dosha‘s food should be warm, light, with little fat of vegetable origin – such as corn or sunflower oil. Greasy and oily foods, dairy products and milk as a drink should be avoided. Drinks should not be very cold for Kapha. Preferably, this Dosha should have vegetarian food, especially useful are the leafy and dark green vegetables, soups are also recommended.
The 6 tastes in the various ayurvedic recipes
To be varied and tasty, the food should have all 6 flavors. These are sweet, bitter, astringent, sour, salty and hot. Each of them, however, must be present to varying degrees in the different types of body, because they affect the Doshas.
In addition to the taste of food, different ayurvedic recipes are also complemented by a number of spices, because in many cases seasoning should be very carefully executed.
Flavors are also based on the five elements:
- Sweet comes from a combination of water and land; the sour – earth and fire;
- salty – water and fire;
- pungent – fire and air;
- bitter – air and ether; and finally
- astringent – by air and earth.
The rule that a similar is increased by similar applies here. This is taken into account when compiling the different ayurvedic recipes for everyday illness prevention as well as in case of treatment.
For example, sweet foods increase Kapha and lower Vata and Pitta. In appropriate quantities and combinations, these foods act soothing to the nerves, and help build the tissues.
Sour is recommended for Vata, in small quantities for Kapha and very limited to Pitta. Generally, it is helpful for detoxication and minerals extraction.
Consuming pungent foods is useful for Kapha, but should be limited for Vata and in extremely small quantities for Pitta. Its overall effect is digestion and metabolism activation.
In small quantities, salty foods must be present in the diet of all Doshas. It should be noted, however, that it increases Kapha and Pitta are increasing, and is more suitable for Vata. Salt contributes to the mineral balance.
In small quantities, bitter is recommended for all body types, making it the most useful for Pitta and helping to detoxify tissues.
Astringent should be minimal in food, especially for Vatta. Like all other flavors, astringent is associated with different processes in the body, but one of its effects may be weight loss.
Eating and Diseases
Ayurveda does not recognize chronic diseases – it heals everything. What is specific about it is that it does not just focus on the symptoms, but the overall recovery of prakruti – the ideal energy ratio for the individual. Thus, the natural functions of the body are restored, organs and systems begin to function normally which eliminates the basis for disease development.
When making ayurvedic diet recipes for the patient and preparing the dishes, their Dosha is always taken into account. The aim is to select foods and spices to balance it. In each case, combinations are considered by the ayurvedic experts according to the type and extent of the disturbances, but some general rules may be mentioned.
Vata, for example, should avoid eating light and cold food, dried fruits, because they increase it and disturb its energy balance. Unbalanced Vata leads to constipation and gases that swell the abdomen. Memory problems, headaches, bone problems, locomotor activity, anxiety, insomnia, chills, weakening of muscles, etc. also occur often.
Increasing Pitta leads to impaired metabolism. It affects the digestive system, the liver, the brain and others. Acids occur, together with burning sensation in different parts of the body – for example, hands and eyes, rashes, bitter taste in the mouth. Dissatisfaction increases, one becomes easily irritable, even hostile to others, angers quickly. Pitta is increased by foods related to fermentation, citrus fruits are especially contraindicated. Meals should not be hot, it is also very important to limit hot foods, and spicy foods are not recommended.
For Kapha, diseases are related to water retention, respiratory problems, obesity, puffiness, fatigue, headache, diabetes. In case of Dosha disbalance, people easily fall into depressive states. Maize foods, bitter and pungent vegetables, apples are al useful in balancing this Dosha. Oily and heavy foods such as meat, as well as dairy products, should be avoided.
Easy and useful ayurvedic recipes
It goes without saying that there is no way to count all varied ayurvedic recipes. They are all delicious, useful and not difficult, because in Ayurveda there is no complicated food processing. However, it is worth mentioning some recipes which are easy to prepare and with powerful effect. some very easy but powerful effects can be mentioned.
Ginger chutney is done for 5 minutes, but Kapha should be careful with it because it is sweet and cooling. It is consumed with many Indian dishes.
It is made using pitted dates – one cup, pre-soaked in water between 4 and 8 hours. The amount of ginger is two tablespoons, freshly grated. You’ll also need half a teaspoon sea salt and some fresh lemon juice – two teaspoons.
Drain the dates from the water they were soaked in, cut them and place them together with the other products in the blender, adding water is optional. Ginger, as it is well-known, has multiple healing properties – it is a powerful antioxidant, has antiviral properties, anti-inflammatory action, and so on. Lemon is useful for problems with sore throat, kidney stones, obesity and many others
In just minutes you can also prepare an eggplant dish, suitable for Pitta and Vata. You need around 200 grams of eggplant, 10 gr. onion, 5 gr. garlic, half a cup coconut milk, a table spoon of coconut oil, a teaspoon of roasted powdered curry, half a teaspoon salt and a quarter of a teaspoon of turmeric and fenugreek seeds, cinnamon.
Wash the eggplant and chop it to small pieces. To the same with the onion and garlic and sauté them in the heated oil. Add the eggplant and cook for 5 minutes. Add the seeds and spices, and after that the milk. Bring it to boil, let it simmer for a couple of minutes and remove from fire. Eggplant is useful for digestion, treating anemia, balancing blood sugar, etc., and the useful properties of onion and garlic are very well-known.