Ayurveda’s Healing Kitchen

Posted on in On Our Radar by Acharya Shunya


These days, medicine has become the preferred and often sole way of treating illness and disease. But lifestyle change can do more good than harm—and with no side effects. While Western medicine looks at what’s wrong with the body, Ayurveda takes a holistic approach, bringing together the physiological, psychological, spiritual, and social dimensions of health. It is the medicine of universal life that is not vulnerable to fads or the latest research in the medical sciences. Through Ayurveda, we can evoke the sweet song of health.

Food is one doorway to achieve a positive health outcome. With it, we can manifest an optimal state of health and live with ease, energy, and flow. By following these seven food rules, we can begin to craft wellness for the whole body, and thus we can begin to heal.


» Eliminate unnecessary snacking. “Grazing” is a new trend hurting our health. Snacking or eating whenever we want can lead to overburdening our digestion system, which often leads to constipation.

» Eat balanced foods. Many people do not think of this when considering a balanced diet but there is an important reason why both very heavy and very light foods are harmful to your health. Heavy foods like meat, processed foods, and nuts take longer to digest. Light foods such as popcorn, fruit, and puffed rice digest quickly but lack natural fats needed in every meal.

» Avoid excessive fasting and dieting. When we partake in extreme dieting and fasting, we tax our body. Signs include constipation, physical aches, dry skin, cracking joints, fatigue, irritability, moodiness, and even depression. Many people rely on diet shakes, powders, and bars that are inefficient to meet the body’s nutritional requirements.

» Consume warm foods and drinks. Cold drinks such as frosty shakes and smoothies dull the digestive fire. If what you consume is cold (in other words, cooler than room temperature), it will constrict your body’s channels, a metabolic liability. If you suffer from constipation or irregularity, cold water will worsen the situation. Iced water, iced lattes, and cold foods are unnatural and I believe contribute to obesity.

» Add the right kind and amount of fiber. Many people assume the remedy for constipation is an increase in fiber, typically through raw vegetables. However, fiber is not the solution for constipation. In fact, it often is the cause. Fiber leads to bloating and digestive distress. It acts like a sponge, absorbing water and oil from the colon, causing stools to be even drier than they otherwise would be. The solution suggested by many experts is to increase your fluid intake. Now you’ve added water to an already clogged system.

» Drink only when thirsty. You’ve heard that drinking eight glasses of water a day is an exercise in optimal health. It’s a popular trend. But drinking too much water is a liability to digestion. Extra water dilutes the digestive enzymes, blocks the bio-channels of circulation and, in general, taxes the digestive system. The body now must spend precious energy processing each extra swallow of water. The eight glasses of water a day is a one-size-fits-all prescription that just doesn’t work.

I have seen the miraculous benefits of a well-balanced Ayurvedic diet in people previously suffering from illness and disease. If you would like to taste the healing properties of Ayurveda detox, try my delicious recipe for rice and lentil stew.

Rice and Lentil Stew

You’ll likely want to presoak the rice and lentils the night before.

1 Tbsp. ghee
1⁄2 tsp. cumin seed
1⁄8 tsp. asafetida
1⁄2 tsp. ground turmeric
1 cup whole mung lentils, soaked in 2 cups
water for at least 3 hours or overnight
1 cup rice, soaked in 2 cups water for
at least 3 hours or overnight
6 cups water
1⁄2 tsp. rock salt (plus more, to taste)

  1. Heat a large stockpot over medium heat and add ghee. When ghee is shimmering, add cumin, asafetida, and turmeric (you may want to turn the heat to low as you add the spices so that they do not burn but get only lightly browned).
  2. Drain the presoaked lentils and rice and add them to the pan. Sauté for 5 minutes on medium heat until the mixture becomes golden and aromatic.
  3. Add the water and salt. Cover and cook on low heat 25–30 minutes. You will know the porridge is ready when the rice and lentils become soft and mushy.
  4. Eat while hot. Eat two or three times a day based on actual hunger.

Acharya Shunya is an Ayurveda teacher and the driving force behind Vedika Global, a wisdom school dedicated to awakening health and consciousness. She is also the author of Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom: A Complete Prescription to Optimize Your Health, Prevent Disease, and Live with Vitality and Joy. AcharyaShunya.com

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