These Mumbai foodies are making Ayurvedic meals to beat the heat this summer; Find out how
Are your insides feeling hot and bothered? These foodies, who are making Ayurvedic meals accessible, say it could be the best way to cool down this summer
When we enter food blogger Amrita Kaur's Versova home, we are greeted with a fresh glass of cucumber chaas. It helps us forget the biting heat we've just escaped. The food blogger has invited us over for an Ayurveda meal, and we are looking forward to eating a light, vegetarian lunch to help us tide over the Mumbai summer.
"I first got a break in my career because of bacon jam, which became a trending topic in Mumbai's food scene. But then, at one point, I realised I had to make a lifestyle change, just so I could be more healthy. I had lesser stamina and I had gained weight. I realised I needed to be mindful about what I was putting in my body.
Food blogger Amrita Kaur holds up her barley and mango salad. Pic/Sneha Kharabe
I turned 30, and I decided to become vegetarian." But, that would also mean the end of bacon jam, which was now a flourishing business. "But, how could I be true to it if I was a vegetarian? If I was going to watch out for my health, I wanted to do that for others, too." So, in June 2016, after she heard of a friend whose headaches had been attributed to her acidity by an Ayurveda doctor, Kaur decided to know more about this science that paid attention to what you ate and how you felt. She went to Kerala to do a one-month course on Ayurveda therapies, which are usually based on complex herbal compounds, minerals and metal substances. The word actually means 'knowledge of life and longevity'.
"So, the meals I ate in Kerala were only typical south Indian recipes. I wanted to take the Ayurveda principles and apply it to everyday food. If I have to eat Italian food, I can still use Ayurveda and figure out what kind of herbs are helping us digest better. I really wanted to understand the science." Today, Kaur shares Ayurveda recipes and wisdom on her blog and Instagram account, @amritaoflife. Although she says it's beneficial to identify your body type according to Ayurveda, so you can use the science better, this is how Kaur feels Ayurveda can be used in everyday life in general. "Firstly, eat only local and seasonal fruits or vegetables.
Sameer Pasad of Vegan Bites serves up green salad, Hyderabadi Biryani and Salan. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
For example, apples are done, eat mango right now. Secondly, don't overeat, or under-eat. Ideally, eat lesser than you can. Don't have any cold drinks with your food. If you have cold water, you put out the fire of the digestive juices. So, have water 20 minutes before and after the meal." She also says that according to Ayurveda, dairy and sour fruits don't go together, and neither do bananas and dairy. Also, summer is the time to indulge in water-rich fruits such as watermelon and tadgola.
Ayurveda on the plate
We sit down to lunch and are served dessert in the form of makhana kheer first. "Ayurveda says to eat dessert first, as it starts the digestive process and is hardest to digest." As main course, we are served moong dal falafels on a bed of jowar dalia with anar and cherry tomatoes. "Moong dal is the best dal to be eaten in summer, as it cause less acidity." She also serves us a barley and mango salad, and says, "Mango produces heat, but having it in small quantities is great." We feel full after eating a small quantity, and feel lighter thanks to the fresh, spice-free fare. "The entire purpose of Ayurveda is to digest what you eat. You are not what you eat, but what you manage to digest or not."
Order a meal
If you can't be like Kaur and prepare your own Ayurveda meals, you can order a tiffin from Samir Pasad's Vegan Bites. Pasad and his team whip up Ayurveda meals for Rs 400 onward that can be delivered to your home or office. "In this weather, it's best to avoid spicy food, which will create acidity. Even dals such as rajma and chole and wheat and maida should be avoided," says Pasad. At Vegan Bites, they focus on working with millets and rice, and prepare dishes such as Hyderabadi biryani and millet upma. "Eat veggies like doodhi, pumpkin and cucumber, all of which are water-rich and create coolness. Why everyone should adopt Ayurveda is simple: it's scientific and helps one create a balance in one's life."
Identify your body type
In Indian Ayurveda, there are mainly three body types:
* Vata (wind energy): You will have dry skin and hair, and could suffer from constipation and menstrual disorders. You have a sweet tooth.
* Pitta (fire energy): You will have soft skin and hair, but early greying. You have a strong appetite, and a natural craving for both sweet and bitter food items, and eat large quantities. You could suffer from acid reflux, gas and indigestion.
* Kapha (water energy): You will have fair complexion and lustrous and oily skin. You have slow digestion but good stamina. You may suffer from constipation and nausea.
'In this weather, maintaining an Ayurvedic diet helps a lot. Sattvic aahar increases your sattvic guna (qualities such as creativity, positive attitude and serenity). My advice would be to drink dhania-jeera water and nariyal pani. Also, eat veggies such as doodhi and white pumpkin, basically from the squash family. All this will help you digest better and keep you cooler'
Dr Neetu Patel, Ayushakti Ayurved Health Centre
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A walk through Mohammed Ali Road's Khau Galli