These days, healthy eating options are a dime a dozen. Yes, it seems every day there's a new trendy superfood or diet that promises to reset your body and mind from the inside out. That said, despite all the buzzy minutia, sometimes the best methods for true wellness and health are actually the most traditional. Take, for instance, ancient Ayurvedic meal recipes that individuals have sworn by for centuries.
“Ayurvedic medicine is one of the oldest healing traditions and methodologies in existence dating back over 3,000 years in Indian culture," says Lisa Richards, nutritionist and author of The Candida Diet. "It is founded on whole body healing with a belief that health and wellness are based on a balance between body, mind, and spirit. Because Ayurvedic medicine understands the ties that connect all body systems there is a focus on nutrition as part of the healing process. Out of this focus has come a dietary pattern founded on healing foods that stimulate the body's ability to self-repair and rejuvenate."
According to the holistic nutrition expert, Ayurvedic meals tend to incorporate foods that have "natural healing properties like antioxidants and phytochemicals. These naturally occurring plant compounds work to purify the body by reducing toxins and fighting free radicals." Said nutritious plant-based ingredients include (but aren't limited to) lemons, dates, ghee, mung beans, and leafy greens.”
Although the practice of Ayurvedic and mindful eating may seem like a complicated process, rest assured, it's easier than you think. In fact, there are plenty of traditional holistic meals that include minimal ingredients and little to no prep time. To prove it, ahead, six ancient recipes updated or recreated by Ayurvedic nutritionists for the modern mindful individual.
Alle Weil, certified Holistic Nutritionist with a background in Eastern Modalities says this nutrient-rich meal is one of her favorite Ayurvedic meals. “Inspired by traditional Chinese medicine, the five phases or elements, and the fundamentals of macrobiotics, this balanced bowl reinvents our obsession with comfort food,” she says of the recipe on her blog, Flora Ex Machina.“Each of the five Earthly elements are represented, creating a balanced and nourishing plate that reduces cravings, keeps you sated, and provides a wide spectrum of bioavailable nutrients as well as probiotics. You’ll feel grounded, energized, and full longer.”
Also, the holistic nutritionist adds that, because of the pure, unprocessed ingredients used, your body is better able to “absorb their nutrients (such as sprouting and fermentation), your body will digest them efficiently and with ease – meaning, no bloat, indigestion, or cravings, providing a juice-free detox.”
Another fave of Weil's is actually perfect for the colder months ahead. "There is an Ayurvedic practice which promotes a heartier cooked cleanse, incorporating kitchari (also known as khichadi, kichari or khicharee); basically a vegetarian stew paired with cleansing herbs that support the body in colder months while still effectively detoxifying the whole system," says Weil of the stew-like meal on her blog. In incorporating low-fat, high-protein foods, this thick soup, "is quickly digested and nutrients are easily absorbed. Because less energy is spent breaking down foods, the body can spend its energy detoxifying and healing itself," she writes. "Typically kitchari is part of a deeper five-step cleanse, panchakarma. However, kitchari can be made and used on its own as a delicious warming and easily digested meal or as part of a whole cleansing practice."
Baked Pear With Cardamom
Who doesn't love a recipe with only two ingredients? This sweet treat is ideal "for someone who is of the Kapha-Vata Dosha (for example, someone with irregular hunger and slow or irregular digestion)," says nutritionist Tara Roscioli. All it requires is two whole pears and half a teaspoon cardamom, which is known for improving tummy issues. Simply halve pears, lay them down on a baking dish, and sprinkle them with cardamom. Bake in a preheated oven of 350 degrees until tender (about 25 minutes or so).
Quinoa Salad With Mint, Cilantro, and Red Onion
Another take on a nutrient-rich bowl, this mix includes hearty fiber-filled quinoa to fill you up and aid in digestion."Boil two cups water, place quinoa in, and reduce heat to cook for 15 minutes, instructs Roscioli, who designed the recipe. "Finely chop mint, cilantro, and onions. Gently mix, adding olive oil, salt, and pepper."
Wild Rice & Beet Salad
Martha Soffer, Ayurvedic doctor and founder of Surya Spa in Los Angeles is a big fan of this healthy dish. "This colorful salad is simple and delicious," she says. "You can feel free to use different herbs to season the salad!" See her recipe (as disclosed to The Zoe Report via email) below:
- 3 Beets
- 5 Cups Water
- 1/4 Cup Basil, Minced
- 2 Tbs Olive Oil
- 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
- 1 tsp Salt
- 2 Tbs. Lime Juice
- 1/4 Cup Cilantro
- 1 Cup Cooked Wild Rice or Quinoa
- 1/2 Cup Chopped and Toasted Almonds*
- Bring water to a rolling boil. Place beets in the water, simmer until soft (check softness with tip of a knife). Once soft, drain the beets in a colander and place under cold water. When cool enough to handle, remove the skins — they should slide off.
- Slice the beets into 1/4-inch thick slices and place them in a bowl.
- In a small bowl whisk the olive oil, salt, black pepper, herbs, and lime juice.
- Place all the ingredients (except the almonds) in a wide bowl and toss them gently.
- Garnish with toasted almonds (and wildflowers if you’d like!)
- *Pre-heat the oven to 350’. Place almonds in a baking tray and toast them for eight minutes or until golden.
Austin Vantastic, Ayurvedic chef and consultant swears by a veggie-rice medley as a holistic take on a classic dinner side dish. The mixture includes carrots, parsnip, bean sprouts, and cauliflower to help aid digestion and deliver nutrients to the body. Bellow is the easy step-by-step recipe as dictated to The Zoe Report:
- 1 Carrot
- 1 Parsnip
- 1 Cauliflower
- 1⁄2 PT Bean sprouts
- 4 Shiso Leaves
- Roughly chop carrot, parsnip, and cauliflower.
- In a food processor, process each of these vegetables individually. Pulse each ingredient until a small, rice-like texture is achieved
- Place your processed vegetables in a steamer, and let them steam for approximately 10 minutes or until desired tenderness.
- While veggies are steaming, chiffonade your Shiso leaves.
- Season your veggie rice to your liking.
- Garnish with bean sprouts and Shiso leaves.