This time of the year marks the transition in seasons and the human body tends to be more prone to viral attacks and bacterial infections. As per Ayurveda, this calls for an overhaul of our diet and lifestyle to stay healthy through the transition period. The diet during April days must also be changed to suit the changes in the climate. In Ayurveda, this time marks the transition from Shishir Ritu (extreme winter between mid-January to mid-March) to Vasant Ritu (spring from mid-March to mid-May).
According to Ayurveda, imbalance in the three bio-energies or doshas who get their identities from the five elements- vata, pitta and kapha over time lead to illnesses. The three doshas combine in differing proportions to make up an individual's constitution or prakriti. This includes all factors-- physical, mental and emotional-- that express an individual's uniqueness.
During Shishir or deep winters, the kapha dosha (earth element) tends to accumulate and then after the onset of spring, it tends to spiral into aggravation. So our diet must switch to kapha-balancing foods and recipes around this time.
Before the recipes, here are a few Ayurvedic diet tips for the season:
1. Reduce your sweet intake, especially, white sugar in this season and take plain, easily digestible foods like Jawari Pops (recipe explained below), baked gram and dates and coconuts to your heart's content. This diet has the ability to dry up kapha, as they are non-greasy and kapha-destroying.
2. Foods ideal for the season according to Ayurveda include barley wheat, honey, grains like jawar or sorghum, bajra, pulses like green gram, brown-skinned lentil, pigeon pea, carrot, (Daucus carota), snake gourd, mustard, fenugreek leaf, spinach, coriander and ginger-all in moderated amount.
3. Avoid: new grains, cold, unctuous, sour and salty food, curd, black gram, potato, onion, sugarcane, new jaggery, buffalo's milk.
4. Avoid consuming sweet, oily and heavy to digest food.
5. Do not give peppermint, chocolate or ice-cream cones to young children, as they produce kapha. The kapha dosha is known for maintaining body resistance. Kapha is primarily responsible for anabolism, the process of building the body, growth and creation of new cells as well as cell repair.
6. Do not sleep during the day. It aggravates kapha.
7. Get a pulse diagnosis done and if you find you have excessive kapha, stick to an alkaline diet. Alkaline diet dilutes and dissolves cough, and is subsequently discharged. Steamed or raw vegetables could also be effective.
(Also Read: Is Quitting Sugar Completely A Healthy Option?)
Now that you have your diet sorted, we share some extremely simple and easy-to-make recipes along with diet tips keeping in mind the change of seasons, and how it affects our body:
1. Protein Balls
Preparing Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
-Roasted Chana - 1 cup
-Dates - 1/4 cup
-Desiccated coconut - 1 tbsp
-Rub the chana on a plate to get rid of the brown skin.
-De-seed the dates.
-Grind chana and dates in a grinder.
-Take the mixture out on a plate.
- Make small balls out of it by rolling them in between your palms.
-Coat the balls with the desiccated coconut.
-The dish is ready to be served.
2. Jowar Chatpat
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 7 minutes
-Jowar puffs (dhani) - 5 cups
-Oil - 2 tsp
-Mustard seeds (rai/sarson) - 1 tsp
-Curry leaves (kadi patta) - 6
-Asafoetida (hing) - 1/4 tsp
-Roasted chana dal (daria) - 2 tbsp
-Turmeric Powder (haldi) - 1/2 tsp
-Chili Powder -1 tsp
-Salt to taste
-Roasted chana - 1/4 cup
-Heat a deep non-stick pan, add the jowar puffs and saute them on medium flame for 2 to 3 minutes.
-Remove the puffs and keep them aside.
-Heat the oil in the same pan, add mustard seeds, curry leaves and asafoetida and saute on a medium flame for 30 seconds.
-Add the roasted chana dal, mix well and cook on a medium flame for 1 minute.
-Add the turmeric powder, chili powder and salt, mix well and cook on a medium flame for 10 seconds.
-Add the roasted jowar puffs and roasted chana, mix well and cook on a medium flame for 1 to 2 minutes, while stirring occasionally.
-Cool completely and store in an air-tight container. Use as required.
3. Ratalu Balls
Preparation Time: 40 mins
Cooking Time: 10 mins
-Ratalu (Purple yam) - 500 gms
-Sweet Potatoes - 200 gms
-Fresh coriander leaves - 1 tbsp
-Green garlic (optional) - 1/2 tbsp
-Green chili Paste - 1/4 tsp
-Lemon Juice - 1 tbsp
-Ginger Paste - 1/2 tsp
-Sesame seeds - 1 tsp
-Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
-Salt - 1/2 tsp
-Raisins - about 15 pieces
-Oil - 1 tbsp
This is actually a Holi recipe and the the ultimate flavour of the dish comes from the traditional cooking process wherein the roots get cooked overnight on low heat in the Holi fire's burnt coal.
Alternatively, the other process could also be steaming the roots.
-Wash and cut the roots in big pieces.
-Steam ratalu for 25 to 30 minutes and sweet potatoes for 15 minutes.
-Peel and grate them.
-Obtain finely chopped green garlic and fresh coriander leaves.
-In a pan heat the oil, add mustard seeds and sesame seeds, then add green chilies and ginger. Cook for half a minute.
-Add raisins, mashed roots, green coriander leaves, green garlic and salt.
-Mix well and cook for 5 minutes.
-Turn off the gas and add lemon juice. Mix it well.
-Give round shape and serve.
4. Healthy Thandai
Preparation Time: 05 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
It is a fennel-fragrant concoction that has a natural cooling effect on the body. A mix of melon seeds, rose water and rose petals, this summer cooler is undeniably delicious!
Here is the recipe to make it:
-Green cardamoms - 10 whole pieces
-Fennel seeds - 1 1/2 tsp
-Black peppercorns - 1/2 tsp
-Coriander seeds - 1/4 tsp
-Melon/sunflower seeds - 1 tsp
-Skinned almonds - 50 gms
-Brown Sugar - 5 Tbsp
-Rose petals - 3 Tbsp
-Rose water - 2 tbsp
-Milk - 750 ml
-Muslin cloth (optional)
-Roast spices lightly on a tawa.
-Soak all ingredients except milk in enough water to cover.
-Set aside for 2 hours. Grind it into a fine paste.
-Add milk to the paste and stir in a jar.
-Pour the liquid through muslin cloth in glasses.
-Decorate with rose petals and serve chilled.
So try these recipes to bring in good health and happy summers!
Kaushani Desai is an Art of Living Ayurvedic cooking expert and author of the popular work-Sattva The Ayurvedic Cook Book.
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