Diet is a crucial component of an Ayurvedic lifestyle, so it’s important to set yourself up for success when it comes to meal planning.
With busy lives and busy schedules, people are more apt to prepare a healthy meal when they have the necessary ingredients and supplies. It’s helpful to equip your kitchen for Ayurvedic cooking by stocking it with basic dry goods and spices, kitchen utensils and equipment.
If your body is a temple, it is important to keep it clean and free of disease. You are what you eat and Ayurvedic principles of cooking and eating strongly proves this. Your kitchen may very well be your best preventative medicine.
Stock organic dry goods, spices and teas:
- Beans including anasazi, adzukis, black eyed peas, chick peas, garbanzos, black lentils, mung, split peas, urud dhal and heirloom beans.
- Dairy is best fresh and raw from cow or goat. Goat milk is more aggravating to vata dosha due to its astringent nature. Commercial, processed products are best avoided unless absolutely necessary. Butter for making ghee – unsalted and organic, raw if possible.
- Fresh, brown eggs from a local farmer.
- Dried fruits including apricots, cranberries, dates, figs, prunes and raisins.
- Grind your own grains when possible to make fresh flour, using barley, buckwheat, coconut, mesquite, oat, teff, rice and wheat.
- Dry goods and whole grains including white and brown basmati rice, buckwheat, bulgur wheat, farro, jasmine rice, millet, quinoa, steel cut oats,
- Nuts are best soaked or cooked and must be chewed very well to digest. Seeds are best ground into meal. Almonds (soak and peel for best digestion), brazil nuts, cashew, fennel, flaxseed, hazelnuts, pistachio, pecan, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame and sunflower seeds.
- Cold-pressed oils are usually best, raw or unrefined. Top picks: black sesame (warming), ghee (best if you make it yourself), coconut (cooling), macadamia nut, olive (small amounts), sesame (warming) and sunflower
- Herbs and spices should be fresh, organic and locally grown if possible. You can grow many in small pots or a garden: Basil, clover sprouts, cilantro, curry leaf, dill, ginger, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary and thyme.
- These seven spices are essential for many Ayurvedic dishes: mustard seed, cumin seed, fenugreek seed, hing, coriander, turmeric and ginger. These additional spices are also good to have on hand: Amchur (mango powder), Ajwan seeds, cardamom (powder or pods), cinnamon, fennel seeds, Garam Masala (powder mix), nutmeg, Himalayan pink salt, whole black pepper and grinder, cayenne pepper and cumin powder.
- Stick to organic, herbal teas or make your own; caffeine is an addictive stimulant to the body and should be avoided. Try fresh ginger root tea with lavender flowers or licorice.
- Other kitchen staples: Homemade almond milk, pure maple syrup, pure maple butter, raw, unfiltered honey, raw tahini, ume plums, lemons, onions, garlic and apple cider vinegar.
Kitchen appliances and tools:
- Good blender or stand mixer
- Chapati roller – Indian style or rolling pin
- Unbleached, organic cheesecloth for making ghee
- Cookware – stainless steel, cast iron, or glass; cook in iron pot, iron tawa and vessels to get an additional dose of iron naturally a large and small skillet with lids are essential for basic sautéing and medium saucepan with lid.
- Cutting boards – wooden, bamboo or glass if preferred
- Dishes – consider wood, silver or banana leaf plates and bowls to get additional minerals
- Strainers – stainless steel, fine screen for ghee or tea
- Utensils are key in Ayurvedic cooking, so you’ll also need stainless steel serving spoons, a large soup ladle, and some tongs. Additionally, buy some wooden spoons for mixing. Ceramic, aluminum and plastic utensils should be avoided in an Ayurvedic kitchen.
- Vegetable peeler
- Measuring spoons and cups – stainless steel preferred
- Food steamer
- Stainless steel tea kettle and tea ball, strainer or infuser for loose leaf tea
- Stainless steel pressure cooker
- Rice cooker
- Dutch oven
- Glass canning jars and storage containers – for ghee and storing grains, legumes, flour, nuts, spices, and leftovers
- Hand egg beater
- Electric grater for larger quantities of carrots/beets/ginger/turmeric
- Hand grater for smaller quantities of ginger/turmeric, choose stainless steel or ceramic
- Napkins – use cotton, hemp cloth, or recycled paper products
- Nut chopping bowl and tool
- Compost bin for vegetable and food scraps
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