20 Minute Recipe: Spring Pasta with Peas

Barley Pasta with Peas and Cashew CreamAs one of the oldest systems of medicine, Ayurveda sees the body as a microcosm of the larger macrocosm, essentially our bodies are a reflection of what’s happening outside.

Staying healthy means living in harmony with nature and the seasons. Each season raises a specific dosha (sometimes two). With summer being hot, pitta increases. To counteract the heat, your diet should be predominantly cooling, bitter, astringent, and sweet.

Fall is hot with residual summer heat and also dry; you see leaves change and plants wither in the dryness. Pitta, and then vata increase as a result. Winter is by far my favorite season of eating with a diet that includes heavy, sweet, oily, sour, and salty foods to counteract the cold and wind.

But the same sun that causes the winter snow to melt and spring flowers to blossom, causes kapha–heavy, earthy elements–outside as well as inside our bodies to liquify as well. Unfortunately, allergies and colds can come as a result of the excess kapha dosha, too. Continue reading

Incompatible Foods: Things That Don’t Go Together

milk-strawberry

Milk + fruit = an incompatible food combination.

Food can be poison or it can be medicine–it all depends on what you eat and when you eat it.

The concept of incompatible food combinations in Ayurveda (called virudh aahar) took awhile for me to grasp and incorporate into my own diet.

Incompatible foods are everywhere: in restaurants, on cooking shows, and even cookbooks are rife with these combos.

Foods may be incompatible because they create a negative reaction in the body, generate additional water in the body (called kleda) that can lead to skin conditions, block the body’s channels, contribute to heart disease or simply lead to indigestion.

And certain foods may be incompatible because they are simply not right for a particular season. When it comes to a seasonal diet, balancing the doshas that tend to increase or get aggravated during that time of year is key. So eating chilies in the summer is not recommended as the added heat will lead to pitta disturbances like rashes, cold sores, acne, and heartburn. Allergies can stem from eating ice cream, iced drinks, pickled/fermented foods, and incompatible food combinations, especially in the spring.

Here’s a short list of incompatible foods: Continue reading

New Blog Series: 20 Minute Recipes

Mung, rice, and veggies. In 20 minutes!

Mung, rice, and veggies. In 20 minutes!

When I give patients a list of recommended foods and a prescribed diet, first I get a blank stare. After the blank stare, the first question I invariably get is, “When am I supposed to find time to cook?” (Or, “why can’t I eat ice cream anymore?”)

Dietary changes can be a shock to your digestive system and it can be daunting trying to cook something if you’re used to grabbing a meal on the go. Trust me, I get it!

As I was preparing today’s lunch, I watched the clock and noticed that it took me a mere 20 minutes. So in the spirit of making healthy meals quickly, I’ll be doing a set of blog posts called 20 Minute Recipes where I lay out Ayurvedically sensible, seasonally sound recipes that are easy to prepare (and often ones you can just throw in a pot and set a timer).

Today’s recipe includes basmati rice, green mung dal, sautéed fennel and spring peas with a bonus addition of some chutney if you have a couple of extra minutes.

Continue reading