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.

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Defy the Aging Process with Abhyanga

Ahh-bhyangha.

Ahh-bhyanga.

Ah, youth. In the kapha time of life, which occurs from birth to puberty, synovial fluid is there to lubricate our joints, collagen makes our skin plump, and moisture in our eyes keeps them bright.

But as we age, vata increases and saps moisture and lubrication from our bodies which creates cracking in joints, wrinkles, and dry eyes, to name a few symptoms.

A practice called abhyanga (or self oil massage) can help us by replacing some of the lost moisture, lubricating joints, and keeping skin looking radiant–especially in winter.

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How to Define Health in Ayurveda

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You are what you eat — literally.

Modern medicine simply defines health as a lack of disease, injury, or pain, but it’s much more than that.

One of the reasons that Ayurveda still inspires me to this day is its broad definition of health, which is:
“Samadosha Samagnischa Samadhatumala kriyaha
Prasanna atmenindriya manaha Swasthya ityabhidheeyate”

That Sanskrit phrase is quoted from one of Ayurveda’s ancient texts the Sushruta Samhita, which was written by India’s first surgeon in 600BC.

It defines a healthy person as someone whose doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha) are all in equilibrium, the digestive fire (agni) is in a balanced state (sama), in addition to the body’s tissues (dhatus) and wastes (malas) also being in balance. The quote also states that the mind (mana) and sensory organs (indriyas) as well as a person’s spirit/soul (atma) must be also in a pleasant state (prasanna). When a person is balanced in all of those areas, he or she is considered healthy by Ayurvedic standards. Continue reading