who should read it
Anyone who wants to learn more about Ayurvedic practices and cooking.
Note: Ayurveda is the traditional Hindu system of medicine, which is based on the idea of balance in bodily systems and uses diet, herbal treatment, and yogic breathing.
recipes i tried
Yogi tea, spring spice mix, queen green soup.
Learning about the general principles of Ayurveda (i.e. eating seasonally, balancing foods and flavours, using ingredients for specific reasons like cooling or warming the body).
This book fell into my lap one evening while chatting with a friend. The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook peaked my interest because of the word “Ayurveda”. It’s a word health goths utter on Queen Street. My yoga teacher may have mentioned it a few times and I heard it once on a Rich Roll podcast. Yet, I never explored further. It sounded complicated.
This book is uncomplicated. At its core The Everyday Ayurvedic Cookbook is a cookbook like any other — buy the ingredients, chop the veggies, cook the food. If you want to go deeper then read the introduction. This is where author, Kate O’Donnell, gets into terminology, history, theories, etc.
I found that I naturally do a lot of the things O’Donnell recommends. For example, serve heavy foods with something lighter or spicy foods with something cooling like yoghurt. However, the book covers several practices I never considered such as tongue scraping or oil pulling.
My only reservation was whether a book on Ayurveda, by a white woman whose recipes are adapted to modern living in Boston, was appropriative. The upside is that O’Donnell makes the whole Ayurvedic system more accessible to people such as herself. The downside is that people cling to these ideas and shape them into the next oppressive, money-grabbing, diet-fad. We need to be aware that when we share knowledge we do so for the benefit of all.
Oftentimes, when demand for a certain product spikes in the Western world there is pressure on developing countries to export that product, which might otherwise be a staple in their diets. Or else, the way North Americans prepare and serve the product is marketed to the country who initially provided it. Essentially, we make Ayurvedic curry in a box and sell it to Indian consumers. This is, indeed, a growing trend in India where many traditional recipes are converted to convenient processed-food products by companies such as Nestle. While practicing healthy eating is wonderful we must strive to understand the implications of what we consume and how we consume it.