Mother Earth Living

The Ayurvedic Kitchen

Age-old practices let you enjoy good karma and good food.
By Jennifer Rabin
September/October 2004
Add to My MSN

Photo By Povy Kendal Atchison

Content Tools

Related Content

Groupon for Greenies: A Site to Save You Money

Green America offers savvy shoppers daily discounts—and reassurance that they're buying green—throug...

The Great Food Race

Chicago and New York City vie to be the first to pass a green food resolution.

Why We Use Bamboo for the Natural Home Kitchenware Line

Natural Home chose bamboo for its kitchenware line because it's both sustainable and beautiful.

False Green Claims On the Rise, Study Finds

TerraChoice’s annual Sins of Greenwashing study finds that 95 percent of the products claiming to be...

When “greening” a kitchen, we tend to concentrate on building materials and other elements that harmonize our external environment. Often overlooked, though, are efforts to harmonize our internal environment. To truly embrace natural living, think about how you can use your space to promote balance within yourself. Think about remodeling the way you procure, prepare, and consume food in your kitchen.

The ancient science of ayurveda—a 5,000-year-old healing tradition from India—offers insight into principles and practices that complement a natural home and kitchen. It offers Westerners specific tenants we can borrow to live more in accordance with nature.

Rightly Procured Food (Lalshya)

Ayurveda teaches that where our food comes from is as important as what we do with it. Focus on foods that grow in your area and eat them in season. Be sure your produce is fully ripe and at the pinnacle of freshness; a food’s vitality affects its digestibility. Fresh, local foods have the most healing qualities.

Co-op groceries, community-supported agriculture programs, and farmer’s markets are excellent ways to get sustainably produced food.

Right Preparation (Kaarana)

Eastern Indians believe the most important feature of food preparation is the cook’s attitude. Ayurvedic philosophy assumes the cook’s ability to infuse his or her food with positive or negative energy; an angry chef is more likely to prepare a meal that’s hard to digest. Often mantras are said over the food while it’s cooking, imbuing it with healing properties.

Be mindful of your mental state when preparing food. If you’re having a bad day, try playing your favorite music while you cut the vegetables. If you’re having a good day, stir that energy into your stew. Take a second to think about who you’re cooking for and what you hope the dish will provide for them.

Right Quantity of Food (Raashi)

A basic tenet of ayurvedic medicine is that the body can successfully digest only a certain amount of food at one time. Consistently exceeding capacity can lead to improper digestion and disease. Ayurveda offers a sure-fire way to determine the correct amount of food to eat at each sitting: The serving size is called one anjali. Put both hands together with pinkies touching in the shape of a bowl and imagine a rounded serving of food filling that space; that is exactly one anjali.

Right Conditions (Bhaara)

Concentrate on when, where, how, and with whom you eat. In ayurveda, the digestive process is seen as one of transformation—the food is literally being broken down and changed into molecules the body can more readily use—and, as such, we must create an environment conducive to that process. First, it’s important to eat only when you’re hungry. Second, digestion is affected by mood, so avoid eating when upset. As a general rule, ayurveda advises eating in a quiet, soothing environment with people you trust, as eating is considered an act of intimacy.

Post a comment below.


Subscribe today and save 58%

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living!

Welcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.