Tasting Your Way to Balance

Here I am again, hope you all had great fun in Christmas and I am sure you all are having great plans for New Year too…. So celebrate this new year with a resolution of healthy life.

The fun of this new resolution in life is in experiencing a great emphasis on the sensations and pleasures of eating nutritious food and a balanced diet. From the Ayurvedic perspective, a balanced diet isn’t just about getting the right amount of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and vitamins – it is also about another extremely important quality: taste. So guys I am not going to ask you here to do dieting or eating boring food but will show you the interesting way for enjoying your every meal while still being healthy.

Ayurveda recognizes six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent. Including all six tastes in every meal not only ensures that all major food groups and nutrients are represented, but it also provides us with the feeling of satisfaction in eating. When we finish a meal feeling satisfied, we are much less likely to find ourselves raiding the cupboards or refrigerator two hours later because Sweet gives us comfort, strength and fortitude. Salty gives us protection, lubrication, stability, and helps us “taste” life. Sour gives courage, clarity and the power of digestion. Pungent gives enthusiasm, adds spice to life and increases metabolism, helping us convert elements and experiences into things useful and beneficial. Astringent helps us pull it together, focus, extract the essentials from food and the essence from life. Finally, Bitter gives expansion… but only by helping us let go, release, detoxify and purify.

How It Works

The human brain sends hunger signals when it becomes aware of the need for energy and information. As we eat, our taste buds send messages to the brain informing it if we have ingested foods that provide the energy and information we need. The six tastes are the codes that inform our nervous systems of a meal’s nutritional content. If we sample foods that correspond to each of these tastes throughout the day, our meals will provide a wide assortment of health-promoting nutrients. If we do not have all flavors available, the brain is not satisfied and continues to send signals to eat more. As a result, we take in too many calories but remain malnourished.

Here are examples of foods containing each of the six tastes:

Sweet: whole grains, starchy vegetables, dairy, meat, chicken, fish, sugar, honey and molasses.

Sour: citrus fruits, berries, plums, tomatoes, pickled foods, vinegar, alcohol, cheese, and yogurt.

Salty: soy sauce, seaweed, salted meats, fish, and any food to which table salt has been added.

Bitter: bitter greens, endive, chicory, spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, leafy greens, celery, broccoli, sprouts, beets and tonic water.

Pungent: peppers, chilies, onions, garlic, cayenne, black pepper, cloves, ginger, mustard and salsa

Astringent: lentils, dried beans, green apples, grape skins, cauliflower, figs, pomegranates and tea.

In every category of taste, some foods are highly nutritious and others should be eaten more sparingly. Favor fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, cereals, breads, and nuts. If you do not want to become vegetarian, reduce your intake of red meat, favoring cold-water fish and lean poultry cuts. Minimize your intake of highly refined sugar and wheat products.

In order to include all six tastes in your meals, you may need to experiment with different food and new spices. The recipes included in this article include a variety of tastes to inspire you. If you find it difficult to include all six tastes in a particular meal, at least experience each of them at some point during the day. Once you get started, you’ll find it easier and easier to incorporate all six tastes.

APPETIZER

Spinach and Asparagus Kebab

ENTRE

Chana Masala

DESSERT

Tea Poached Pears

Recipes—

Spinach and Asparagus Kebab

Spinach and Asparagus Kebab

Ingredients

100 Gm Spinach (blanched, squeeze and chopped)

½ cup Asparagus (Fine chopped)

1 cup Boiled Potato (graded)

1 tbsp Ghee (clarified butter)

1 tsp Cumin

1 tbsp Ginger (fine chopped)

To taste Green Chili

To taste Salt

Method:

 

Heat a heavy pan and add ghee when hot add cumin and allow them to splatter.
Add ginger, green chili and saute them for a while.
Add asparagus, spinach, potato and cook them nicely to remove any excess water.
Allow it to cool, make equal size cakes and grill them with little ghee.

Chana Masala

Chana Masala

Ingredients

1 lb chana (garbanzo beans)

3 tbsp mustard oil

½ tsp Ajwain

1 tsp cumin

1-2 no bay leaf

3-4 no cloves

3-4 no cardamom green

2-3 no cardamom Black

1-2 no cinnamon stick (1 inch long)

1 cup red onion (chopped)

2 tbsp garlic paste

1 tbsp ginger paste

1 tsp turmeric

1 tbsp coriander powder

2 tbsp chana masala

½ tbsp. garam masala

To taste Salt

½ cup tomatoes red (chopped)

1 bunch cilantro (chopped)

Method:

 

Soak chana in water for overnight or for at least 6-7 hours.
Strain chana once with fresh water and put it in a heavy pan with 1-inch water above them and allow them to boil.
Skim the froth over chana and add 1 cinnamon, 2 green cardamom, 2 cloves and one gay leaf and cover with lid on slow flame for an hour.
While chana is boiling take a heavy bottom pan and add mustard oil and let it smoke a bit, slow down the flame and add the remaining whole spices and allow them to splatter.
Add red onion and saute till golden brown, add ginger garlic paste and sauté again till oil leaves the surface.
Add powdered spices and saute them on slow flame for a while, until nicely cooked spice fragrance starts coming or it starts sticking to the bottom.
Add tomatoes and saute till tomato gets mashed and mixed completely with gravy. Then take of from the flame for a while until chana is cooked.
To check if chana is cooked, take out one grain and put it on worktable and press gently with the back of knife. If it’s not cooked it will split into two or it will get mashed which means now is the time to take it off from the flame.
Add chana to the gravy and cook it for another 10-15 minutes to completly get the whole Flavor.
Finish with fresh chopped cilantro and serve with steaming brown rice or organic wheat chapatti.

 

Tea Poached Pears

Tea Poached Pears

Ingredients

1 cup Balsamic vinegar

2-3 no cinnamon stick

3-4 no cloves

3-4 no cardamom green

2-3 no bay leaf

5-6 no holy basil leaves

2 no masala tea bags (I used tetley tea)

1 no ¾ inch ginger

2 tbsp Jaggery (unprocessed sugar)

2 tbsp honey

2 no pears

Method:

 

Heat a thick and narrow bottom pan with all the above ingredients till Jaggery becomes liquid and allow them to simmer.
When the liquid is simmering hot and jaggery is completely mixed add pears and poach them for 15-20 minutes, turn them occasionally, until the pears are tender. Remove the pears from the liquid and allow them to cool.
Continue simmering the liquid until it thickens and is reduced by half. Strain it through fine mesh and add honey to it.
Place the poached pear in the middle of a plate and pour this tea scented syrup over pear.

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