The mouthwatering aromas of cinnamon and nutmeg waft through homes everywhere as cooks lovingly recreate traditional winter favorites such as gingerbread and home baked cakes and puddings. Nothing conjures up fabulous memories more than meals eaten in the company of family and friends.
Did you know that eating in the pleasant company of friends and family is wonderful for your health? According to Ayurveda, the spiritual components of cooking and eating are just as important for digestion and assimilation as are the physical components. That means, for example, cooking in a joyous rather than a stressed atmosphere, giving positive attention to the process of cooking and serving the meal, saying thanks before you begin, and enjoying companionable silence or quiet, pleasant conversation with friends and family as you eat. Such a meal converts quickly to ojas, the substance that sustains life and promotes good health, radiance and bliss.
Eating wisely and well
For many people, last minute shopping and entertaining playing havoc with the daily routine. Skipping lunch and/or breakfast, eating large meals at night, eating out too often … the potential for these events that disturb the digestion so you have to be watchful. Moderation is the key to staying healthy. Healthy eating can help you avoid repercussions such as weight gain, loss of energy and lowered immunity which can persist for months afterwards.
Some tips from The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians for eating wisely and well —
- Rotate items on menus — if you vary flavors, tastes and textures, you will have fewer cravings.
- Drink lots of water through the day, but limit beverage intake with meals.
- Spike drinking water with herbs and spices for personal balance for added benefit from the water you drink, or drink one of the Maharishi Ayurveda herbal teas for balance.
- Organize gatherings at lunch whenever you can, because the digestive fire can handle heavier foods better if they are eaten around noon rather than late in the evening.
- Cook with spices–they enhance both flavor and digestion.
- Don’t skip breakfast–a warm, nourishing stewed apple or pear is a wonderful way to start a hectic day.
- No matter how hectic your schedule, take 5-10 minutes to sit quietly after a meal. It’s a good way to kick-start your digestion.
Here is a recipe that incorporates Maharishi Ayurveda gourmet mind/body foods for you to share with family and friends.
Basmati Rice Pilaf with Dried Fruit
Serves 4-6 as a side dish
- 3 Tbl. Maharishi Ayurveda Ghee
- 4 celery stalks (chopped into bite-sized pieces)
- 1 1/2 cups basmati rice
- 3 1/4 cups water
- 2 tsps. Maharishi Ayurveda Organic Pitta Spice Blend
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 dried apricots (chopped)
- 1/2 cup pecans (coarsely chopped)
- 1 tsp. salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Melt the ghee in a saucepan and add the Spice Blend mix. Fry lightly and add the rice. Stir continuously and coat the rice in the spices for about 1 or 2 minutes. Add chopped celery, salt and water. Bring to a rollicking boil and add all the dried fruit to the mixture. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cover tightly for 20 minutes. After the time is up, remove from heat and stir in the pecan pieces and the fresh ground pepper to taste.
Organic Pitta Spice Blend can be substituted with Organic Vata Spice Blend or Organic Kapha Spice Blend.
Happy cooking and eating!
PS Don’t forget to let me know about your experience with this recipe.