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Ayurvedic Cooking for the Whole Family

Whether you’re the primary chef or the primal eater, the effects of our meals are significant and meaningful.

You already know that food is a HUGE topic in Ayurveda with an emphasis on digestive health. What and how we eat create the building blocks of the entire body, allowing for healing and growth. The understanding of personal constitutions allow specific outlines for each individual.
However, the extension from personal care to family care often solicits questions like: What does Ayurvedic cooking for the whole family look like?

How do I prepare a meal to feed my friends or family?

Do I have to make completely different meals?

It’s hard to resist the enthusiasm that comes along with eating fresh local Ayurvedic inspired food and we know it can be challenging to understand where to start when it comes to bringing it home for friends and family. If we come on too strong they may resist and if we don’t try to share perhaps we feel like we’re holding back. They deserve to enjoy and reap the benefits of Ayurvedic practices too!


Ayurvedic cooking for the whole family

Making a Meal for All

When approaching dietary shifts, great or small, it can seem overwhelming even for yourself. But what about when partners and especially children are involved. Don’t they deserve to enjoy and reap the benefits of Ayurvedic practices too? People often wonder if working with an Ayurvedic Health Practitioner will limit their experience, connection and most importantly ease around meal planning and eating pleasure.

The Good News is Ayurvedic Cooking for the Whole Family is NOT about Restriction! It is about Delicious, Fresh Local and Easy Meals that CAN be Prepared in YOUR Home!

We are going to give you the run down on our personal approach to Ayurvedic Home Cooking and how you can begin sharing your love of health and food with friends and family today.

Save Yourself: Reduce Packaging

The first step we take is to cut back on premade meals, packaged snacks and single portion disposables. Not only is this better for your health, but its better for the planet too! If we want future generations to enjoy lush lands of plenty we need to make sure to keep the earth clean and cutting out plastics is a great step towards taking personal initiative. Ayurveda is not about restricting tastes, food groups, or experiences but rather maximizing them. By making things you may have bought in a package before like juices, chips, crackers, granola bars, cereals, or breads at home you can optimize nutrient intake, reduce waste and eat something delicious!

A few of our favorites include Fenugreek Roti, Chickpea Pancakes, Ojas Bliss Balls and the Cardamom Rose Date Smoothie. All of these recipes take just moments to make, have a serious WOW factor that packaged foods lack and tastefully ease the initiation into Ayurvedic cooking for the whole family.

Kid Tip: At first your children might complain; but try to trust us and this process. Fresh baked goodies are the fasted way to shift your snack cabinet over to a delightful food pantry. Simply make banana bread each week and watch how much they enjoy it over a cereal bar or packaged snack! Baking creates such joy and feeds the soul in a way that lasts. Children also gravitate naturally to fresh raw fruits and vegetables. While they can be harder for adults to digest, active kids thrive off the structured water and hydration within them. Create a fruit or veggie snack platter and watch them come running!

   Ayurvedic cooking for the whole family    Ayurvedic cooking for the whole family

Eat Fresh Local

Ayurveda shares a seasonal approach to health that can make meal-making easier! Eating with the season and finding fresh local produce is always the best approach. This helps you naturally balance out the climate and temperature shifts that occur in your home or travel environment while supporting health for all. One enjoyable activity for the whole family is going to the farmers market! This allows everyone to actually see and experience what is growing locally near you. It also helps determine meal planning for the week that coincides with nature itself. What’s fun is this approach challenges you in simple ways to think outside the box, ebbing and flowing through recipes with the season.

One of the simplest ways to eat an Ayurvedic Diet and incorporate Ayurvedic cooking for the whole family is to take fresh local vegetables (roast, sauté, steam or bake them), serve with a grain and protein (fish, chicken, meats, tofu or legumes) and serve chutneys with various tastes on the side so each person can pick their own sauce. It’s that easy!

Ayurvedic healing with food may appear challenging at first but if you integrate this essential principle of practice: like increases like, you will swiftly understand the root of this ancient healing knowledge.

Using opposite therapy through cooking can reduce imbalance. This is called Samana and Vishesha Siddhanta. Consumable items or feelings in the body are always enhanced by eating or drinking things with similar qualities or reduced by using things of dissimilar or opposite qualities. We discuss this thoroughly in our post on the Qualities of Nature.

A wise application of Samana –Vishesha principle is a key component in choosing the most effective plan of treatment that involves food, activities and medicine.- Dr Amruta Athale 

What this means is understanding your health, the health of your family and WHAT TO DO TO CREATE BALANCE is actually as simple as understanding this concept of similarity and dissimilarity. For example if your digestion feels heavy, sluggish and slow you can cultivate the opposite by eating something that makes you feel light and stimulated like digestive spices. Alternatively, if you feel ungrounded, dry and light, or perhaps weak, eating something that is heavy, grounding, oily and nourishing like roasted sweet potatoes with ghee or coconut oil can help you nurture these opposing qualities. Ayurvedic cooking for the whole family can seem challenging until you realize this essential principle of the practice. If this sounds or feels challenging, reach out for an Ayurvedic Consultation! You and your family deserve to experience the ease and delightful balance of Ayurvedic cooking.

Add Chutney Cause You All Know Condiments Matter

Ayurvedic cooking for the whole family

Condiments are one of the easiest ways to make a meal adjustable for the entire family. and they simply make things taste good! Chutneys are the main Ayurvedic condiment because they offer digestive support, fresh herbs or spices and deliciousness to a meal. Fresh green chutneys, sweet and savory chutneys, spicy chutneys, you name it, they got it!

In consideration of the law of similarity and dissimilarity we can use chutney to create a balanced meal that may be different for everyone.

Let’s paint the picture of our Ayurvedic dinner spread for the whole family!

On the table there is fresh baked naan, steamed beets, roasted sweet potato, garlicky ginger green beans cooked in ghee, baked tofu or chicken with a simple curry seasoning and a side of basmati rice. To compliment accordingly there are sides of mint chutney, peanut chutney, tamarind chutney and turmeric digestive chutney all on the table. (Pre-make the chutneys for the week and make dinner easier!)

The kids might just want to eat the naan (the sticky quality of wheat helps kids grow strong and build tissue which is why they want to eat it all the time), roasted sweet potato, protein and a healthy dose of basmati rice. They might LOVE the sweet deliciousness of the mint chutney to lighten up the meal and add some greens or maybe even sprinkle some of the peanut chutney on the rice for extra protein and a shake of digestive spice.

If you had a late lunch and feel like your digestion is sluggish you could start with the turmeric digestive chutney to stimulate your appetite and follow with more vegetables, a small serving of grains and some protein topped with the sweet and sour tamarind chutney to get you salivating, increasing the tastiness of the meal.

If your partner had a strenuous day of work (and after working out is very hungry!) they could choose to take all the food options with mint chutney to lighten up the dish with freshness. They may even choose to take a nibble of the turmeric digestive chutney after the meal to help facilitate digestion and processing.

This is the meaning of food as medicine.

Bringing thoughtful approaches to the action of eating and creating an experience you all can enjoy. This is what Ayurvedic cooking for the whole family looks like.

The HOW of eating is just as important as the WHAT. The Ayurvedic Healthy Eating Guidelines offers clear insight that can easily be applied and shared at home. Maybe start by setting the stage, sitting down as a family together for dinner each night without distraction. From there fine tuning eating times, quantity, pace and practices surrounding meals can swiftly add consciousness to the food experience and create patterns that easily become routine, optimizing digestion, assimilation, nourishment and whole body healing.

Healthy Eating Guidelines

  1. Begin meals with grace or by simply taking 3-5 slow breaths. This prepares the body to receive the food.
  2. Eat in a calm environment where there is little distraction. It is best to avoid having the television or radio on. Avoid excessive conversation especially if it involves heightened emotions. Avoid reading while eating.
  3. Chew food to an even consistency. This requires your attention to be involved with the process of eating. There is no magic number, however food should become liquid in quality and liquids should be chewed like food. This improves digestion and absorption.
  4. Eat at a moderate pace and only until 75% full. Overeating is one of the major causes of disease in our society. When we eat too much digestion slows. When we finish eating we should not feel heavy or hungry. We should feel satisfied. This can be obtained by consuming 50% food, 25 % liquids and leaving 25% free for air.
  5. Following your meal let your food digest before moving on to the next activity. It is best to wait 15-20 minutes. During this time engage in light conversation or read something joyful; enjoy Nature or go for a gentle slow walk. If you are rushed, center yourself with 3-5 breaths before beginning another activity or rushing out the door.
  6. Consume small amounts of liquid with meals. Half a cup of room temperature or warm water on average. Dry meals may require slightly more while moist meals (like soup) require none at all.
  7. Take all water and liquids at room temperature or warm. Cold drinks reduce the digestive fire and decrease digestive function. This is true not only at mealtime but throughout the day.
  8. The body’s rhythms mirror those of the universe supporting peak digestion around noon with the midday sun. It is best to eat the largest meal at noontime with lighter, easy to digest meals in the morning and evening.
  9. Allow at least three hours between meals. One good sign to eat is feeling hungry! This means that the previous meal has processed and the body is ready to intake again. This allows most individuals 3-5 meals per day depending on metabolic function and balance of the dosha.
  10. Eat food prepared with love. The energy of the cook is always in the food. Avoid eating food prepared with stress, anger or resentment. We eat not only the food but also the emotions of the chef. The same applies when you are cooking for yourself or others.

  Ayurvedic cooking for the whole familyAyurvedic cooking for the whole family

Feeding Picky Eaters

If you have kids, know kids, or remember being a kid you probably have experienced picky eating! There is hope however for even the most challenging of eaters and our first tip is patience. Patterns do not change overnight. We can set good examples and offer the best of foods but sometimes resistance is there, and that is OK! The #1 most important part of eating is enjoying it. We never want to shame anyone about what they are eating because the fundamental purpose of food consumption is nourishment.

So even if your child is currently living off of macaroni and cheese or eight bowls of cereal, it’s important to remember that their palate will grow with them! Instead of creating labels or negativity around their eating experience let them enjoy it! Offer alternatives in a light-hearted way so that when they are ready they can try them with internal ease. Try some of the Ayurvedic cooking suggestions shared above: supplementing packaged foods for fresh baked home treats; take them to the farmers market; create an exciting taste test of new things; make eating and life enjoyable by encouraging health with happiness!

Communication is Key

We often find that opening conversation on how things are making us feel offers significant insight to the food preparer for what to serve to support family health and enhance our approach toward Ayurvedic cooking for the whole family. Often people eat things out of habit without evaluating whether it best serves their body right now. Noticing patterns of behavior along with open communication around how foods make you feel encourages others to do the same. This can be extremely beneficial in a family setting where everyone is different. Likes and dislikes, cravings and gravitation towards certain food groups tell us something. Talking about food, how we digest food and what our bodies need is important!

Ayurvedic Cooking for the Whole Family Can Change Your Life!

A critical point to remember: our intake of food is a sacred and essential activity. The way it looks, smells, tastes and feels is what builds our bodies to look, feel and experience life with grace and goodness. Slowing down to create ritual, joy and introspection on what to eat is one of the most empowering and important gifts we can offer ourselves and our families. We all know the ease of grabbing a meal out. However, it is incomparable in experience and nourishment to a good home cooked meal enjoyed with family.

Take the time to clean up your kitchen, bring in some beautiful flowers and fresh herbs, light a candle, play delightful music and invite yourself to experience what creating healing foods mean to you. Share this with your family and friends and we guarantee food can become your medicine. You and your family deserve it! Experience and Enjoy!