As the world celebrated Yoga Day in style, it’s useful to remember that eating right is a big part of the Yogic way of life. Our wise ancestors laid down the principle that we are what we eat and that the right food can help us along the route to wellness of body and mind.
Here are some recipes ideas for Sattvic dishes, which contribute to the maintenance of Sattva guna — the state of being calm and peaceful.
Tabbouleh, a healthy salad
Photographs: Food Stories/Creative Commons
- 1 cup broken wheat (dalia)
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
- 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Soak the wheat in water for an hour or so. All the water should be absorbed. Drain, if there is excess water. Add all the other ingredients and mix well. Allow to stand for half an hour for the flavours to develop. You can add some pomegranate kernels to give this salad a sweet twist.
Yogic Chocolate Orange Cake, a sweet that’s good for you
Photographs: Stephanie Kilgast/Creative Commons
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder, preferably organic
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup raw sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2/3 cup orange juice
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- Zest of 1 orange
- 2 tbsp fruit vinegar
Grease and line a 9-inch cake tin. Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C. Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Stir all the liquids, except for the vinegar, in another bowl, whisking until smooth. Fold liquids into dry ingredients and then add the vinegar. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 25-30 minutes. Turn out once cool. This cake can be topped with melted dark chocolate.
Dal and palak soup, a nourishing meal
Photographs: Angus Dwyer/Creative Commons
- 1/2 cup moong dal, washed
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- Pinch of asafoetida
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 inch piece ginger, chopped
- 1 green chilli, chopped
- A pinch of turmeric powder
- 1 bunch palak, cleaned and chopped
- Salt to taste
- 1 tbsp lime juice
Heat the oil in a pressure cooker, add the asafoetida and the cumin. Follow with the ginger and green chilli. Add the dal and turmeric, saute for a minute. Add two cups water and pressure cook for 6-8 mins.
Release pressure, and mash the dal. Add the palak and the salt. Add more water if soup is too thick. Heat until the palak is just cooked, add lime juice to taste and serve. You can add a spoonful of cooked rice to the soup bowl to turn this into a substantial meal.
Tips for Yogic cooking and eating
- Avoid animal products, overly spiced and greasy foods
- Eat freshly cooked foods
- Do not consume stale food, food that’s been refrigerated too long or microwaved food
- Eat local and seasonal
- Do not cook in a state of anger or distress
- Eat calmly, slowly, mindfully
In order that one might do selfless service (seva), a little eating(bhoga) has to be gone through. Such eating is a part of sacrifice(yajna). To make this body-machine function, the fuel of food(anna) has to be used. Food is not sacrifice, but it makes sacrifice possible. Therefore, eating food is not to be laughed at as catering to greed, as feeding of the stomach. It is part of worship. Worship(puja) is not merely plucking a flower and placing it on top of the image; the gardener who toiled to nurse the plant that gave the flower is also a worshipper. Even the means for a sacrifice is an offering. Eating doesn’t mean placing food on the tongue; it is worthwhile only when chewed, swallowed, digested, assimilated into the bloodstream, and transformed into muscle and bone, into strength and vigour. So too, spiritual understanding must permeate and invigorate all moments of life. It must be expressed through all the organs and senses.