Ever question the order in which we Westerners eat food? Probably not unless you’ve traveled around the world and experienced something different. Ever wonder why bread is served first in a restaurant? Or why some cultures serve salad last?
More and more we hear that “paleo” “gluten-free” “organic” eating will improve our health — heal yourself with food? More vegetables, beans and fruits, less sweets — fresh is best, but why? Who has the time to change habits, move away from our Western cereal-toast, fast-food lunch, and frozen TV-dinner lifestyle? We’d probably feel better and loose a couple pounds but is it really worth the effort? Why?
The “why” is what Lois A. Leonhardi, corporate survivor turned certified ayurveda wellness consultant/educator, knows all about and explains in The Essential Ayurvedic Cookbook. The fundamental principles of Ayurveda date back 5,000 years. They center on preventing and treating illness through balancing the body, mind and consciousness. Modern science teaches everything is energy: ourselves, our food, the earth, our universe… everything. Imagine that. Here we are, five-thousand years later, coming full-circle to understand we are happiest and healthiest when fueling our bodies with nature’s bounty sans modern eating practices, chemicals and unnatural processing.
Fortunately we don’t have to travel to India to learn about Ayurveda. Lois has gathered the ancient wisdom so we can learn the why if we want, or we can dive into her recipe section and learn the why later. Imagine healing our bodies when we digest food rather than ingest pharmaceuticals. Imagine living in a balanced body rather than creating dis-ease. Tempting, right?
Replenishing our energy can be a conscious and joyful experience. According to Ayurvedic beliefs, every person has their own special pattern of energy that blends individual characteristics, such as their emotions, mental capacity, and physical attributes. Certain food combinations, order of consumption, and appropriate spices are necessary for keen performance and found in these recipes - try them! Give up the mindless coffee/donut, snack-machine lunch, salad dinner, popcorn, TV, sleep… repeat… lifestyle and truly savor refueling the body, mind and spirit.
“Ayurvedic cooking doesn’t have to be a time-consuming ordeal of shopping, prepping and cooking. The core of every meal should simply be fresh whole foods liberally seasoned with love.” [pg. 57]
Recommendations for stocking your pantry and fridge are included plus all recipes include Tips, Variations and/or Serving Suggestions — Easy! No time like the present to get started. Broiled Lime Ginger Shrimp [pg. 162] with Pomegranate Orange [Chocolate] chip cookies for dessert [pg. 306] sound like an excellent place to start.
This is a perfect book for those of us who enjoy knowing the “why” as ancients knew it. At the same time, It introduces us to new, healthy dishes to satisfy us throughout the day. It’s comforting to know that some things don't change. Our body functions the same today as it did back then and Mother Earth still provides everything our body needs.
My thanks to Robert Rose, Inc. for the opportunity to review this cookbook.
See other great cookbooks by this publisher here http://www.robertrose.ca/books.