School of Ayurvedic Diet & Digestion
A Universal ChoiceSometimes it seems overwhelming to try and make an Ayurvedic dish that is good for everyone at your table. Isn't Ayurveda so powerful because it understands that everyone is different? Luckily, there are dishes that incorporate healthy ingredients for all three constitutional types, just like this one!
Regular DigestionSweet Potato and Kale are a combination for happy tastebuds and strong digestion. Fiber and bitter taste stimulate peristalsis, encouraging regular elimination of the bowels. Sweet potato is unique among comfort foods for its Kapha pacifying lightness. This tuber is beneficial even for those with heavy digestive symptoms. Unlike dairy products, potatoes, and other common comfort foods like pasta, sweet potatoes feel light in the stomach. They still feel nourishing and comforting. Sweet potato is supportive for digestion and contains ample fiber to encourage good elimination. Besides simple starches, sweet potatoes are rich in complex carbohydrates, which means these roots can satisfy the appetite for long stretches. Despite the name "sweet," it may be a beneficial food for diabetics as preliminary studies revealed it helps to stabilize blood sugar levels.
Gentle DetoxificationThe bitter taste of kale improves the flow of bile, reducing gall bladder and liver congestion. Bile also stores blood born toxins after they are neutralized by the liver. Flushing bile releases these toxins from the body. In many cases, dishes that are considered "detoxifying" are very light and leave you feeling unsatisfied. By combining detoxifying kale with sweet potato and tahini, you can rest assured that your body is being cleansed while enjoying that satisfied feeling you crave at the end of a meal.
Hearty TahiniTahini is warm and hearty, and is an excellent base for rich, nourishing sauces. It can even stand alone, as in this recipe. It is most often used in Middle Eastern dishes- for example, in savory hummus and baba ghanoush, as well as in sweet desserts like halvah. A sauce is often used to bring cohesion to a dish with different flavors- in this case, bitter kale is softened by tahini and to sweet potatoes, it adds rich depth.
Sweet Potatoes WorldwideNext to the stuffed turkey, nothing conjures Thanksgiving more than grandma's sweet potato casserole whether candied with maple syrup, topped with roasted pecans, or served mashed with butter. The sweet potato is an important and nourishing vegetable in many countries. As an ingredient in cakes in Spain, a fried street food in Cairo, a sweet jelly in South America, and a snack dish in Southeast Asia, all across the globe, sweet potato is a staple food throughout winter. The young leaves and shoots are sometimes eaten as greens. However, it is the root that offers the versatility and nutritional integrity to many diets worldwide.
1. Boil the kale until leaves turn a bright green. Remove from heat and strain the water. Lay the kale leave out on a plate to dry.
2. Dice the sweet potatoes. Place them a separate pot, and add just enough water to cover them. Add black pepper, 1/8 tsp salt and boil until soft. Remove from heat and save the sweetwater.
3. In a small saucepan, saute 1 clove of chopped garlic and ginger in sunflower oil for thirty seconds, then add cooked sweet potato and gently mix.
4. Puree the tahini, cumin, 1/4c of the sweet water, remaining garlic clove, salt and cumin in a blender.
5. Carefully wrap spoonfuls of the sweet potatoes in leaves of kale. Drizzle with the tahini sauce and serve.
Increases These Qualities (Gunas)
Ayurveda helps you assess how you feel through the 20 main therapeutic feelings or qualities called gunas. Through the gunas you can articulate, experience and develop sensitivity to the signals your body sends you. Imbalanced gunas are the root of your imbalances. Every guna has an opposite which balances is (i.e. hot balances cold). You create balance by favoring diet and lifestyle choices that increase the opposite guna.
The 6 Tastes
Taste has meaning in Ayurveda, and brings physical and emotional changes to your body. Taste is experienced on the tongue and is your body's reaction to foods much in the same way that your emotions are mental reactions to experiences. Sweet taste causes physical satisfaction and attraction whereas bitter taste causes discomfort and aversion. Kapha should use less sweet taste while Vata and Pitta would benefit from using more sweet taste. One of the first signs of illness is that your taste and appetite for food changes. The six tastes are sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent. Do you crave foods with any of the tastes below? Food and herbs with the following tastes could aggravate your symptoms.
The Three Doshas / Body Types
Your body type shows how your strengths, as well as how your body typically goes out of balance. It also shows how your body responds to the environment. Your body type is comprised of certain qualities and affects every part of you - your physical and mental characteristics as well as your personal strengths and weaknesses. This is because your body type is based on how your body uses energy. Ayurveda has 3 body types (doshas), called Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Vata spends energy. Pitta burns energy. Kapha stores energy. Vata people tend to be easily stimulated, hyperactive, underweight and dry. Pitta people tend to be hot, focused, driven, and easily inflamed. Kapha people are heavy, stable and grounded, but if they store too much energy, they could gain weight easily and have congestion.
HAS THE FOLLOWING
ALKALIZINGAn herb or food that makes the urine more alkaline (higher pH). This herbal action can be helpful for a number of inflammatory conditions.
PRANAPrana is the Sanskrit word for vital life energy, similar to Qi in Chinese Medicine. Many herbs stimulate your energy, or improve the flow of prana through your body. Generally, prana needs to be increased in spring after a sleepy winter.
DIGESTIVEHerbs that encourage healthy digestive.
STOMACHICAn herb that increases appetite or settles a nauseas or nervous stomach. These generally increase the digestive fire, therefore relieving symptoms of sluggish or difficult digestion.
|Energy Vitality Strength|
STIMULATES-ENERGYThis category groups thyroid and adrenal stimulating herbs
BUILDS-STAMINAPromotes strength, endurance and resistance in the body. Rebuilds weak tissues after a time of depletion.
NUTRITIVEAn herb that is strengthening and nourishing.
|Heart & Circulation|
VASODILATORA vasodilator is an herb that widens the blood vessels by the relaxation of smooth muscle cells within the vessel walls, thereby increasing circulation systemically or to a local area.
ALTERATIVELiterally, an herb that restores the proper function of the body. In practice, alteratives are usually blood cleansers and blood chemistry balancers. They were traditionally used to revitalize and detoxify after a long winter.
BLOOD-TONICAn herb that produces more blood cells in the body or otherwise strengthens blood. Helpful for anemia and other types of deficiency.
|Liver & Gall Bladder|
CHOLAGOGUECholagogues stimulate the release of bile from the gall bladder for improved digestion.
GALACTAGOGUEIncreases production of breast milk.
About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. His online course Balance Your Ayurvedic Diet in a Week provides tools for gracefully healing with Ayurveda to thousands. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.