TCM or Ayurveda Approved Meals During Warm Days

Ayurveda is the ancient Indian tradition of whole-body medicine, which is still widely practised today. In Ayurvedic principles, eating certain foods that balance “Pitta” (our inner fire) is very important in maintaining temperature regulation both physically and emotionally. Every food, hot or cold, has an innate potency which plays an important role in terms of how it impacts the body. Hot food tomatoes, ginger, onions, mustard,pepper and ghee. Hot foods help in improving digestion and circulation. Cold foods include melons, coconut, asparagus, cauliflower, pumpkin and most sweet fruits. Cold foods are known to provide nourishment and strength to the body. Hotness or coldness of the food is determined by their impact on the body.

According to Ayurveda, each body type, namely Vata, Kapha and Pitta, will be affected in different ways by hot and cold foods. While preparing a meal, it is important to maintain a balance between hot and cold foods. This has to be done by considering your own body type, its requirements and seasonal changes 

Pitta dominates the summer, reigning from July through October in most parts of the Northern Hemisphere. Pitta combines the elements of fire and water; it drives healthy digestion and focused productivity. An excess of this dosha can manifest in symptoms such as an irritation, excessive body heat, and digestive problems. Some benefits of Pitta includes, increased productivity, passion, healthy circulation, decisiveness, healthy digestion and more.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it has long been believed that our environment has an effect on us, as much as we, in turn, impact everything surrounding us. To maintain harmony within ourselves, we must take external factors into account such as the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the seasons themselves and their influence on and within us. The balance of yin and yang in each person runs parallel to seasonal changes, and can be affected and moulded by those choices, particularly by eating foods that are most appropriate for the season. Spring and Summer are considered yang seasons, while Autumn and Winter are yin seasons. We need yang heat for growth, but it can take a toll on our bodies if we do not balance it with cooling, moistening yin foods. Similar to Ayurveda, TCM believes that certain foods are ‘heaty’ and ‘cooling’ too.
According to TCM physician, consuming cold food and drinks when the weather is hot can increase dampness in the body and irritate the gastrointestinal tract, causing stomach and intestinal cramps. It also causes stress to the digestive system, as the body has to work harder to raise the temperature of the food. Lukewarm food and drinks are most recommended.
As we live in the tropics, these are some recipes that aren’t too ‘cooling’ and might even have the approval of Ayurveda and TCM physicians.

Summertime Salad

Ingredients:

4 large leafs of Romaine lettuce, chopped
4 cups of baby spinach
3/4 cup chopped cucumber
10 pitted and sliced kalamata olives
7 artichoke hearts, sliced thinly
1 small avocado, peeled and cubed
3-4 Tablespoon of raw hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds (unsalted)
3 Tablespoon of goat cheese feta crumbles
2-3 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Juice from 1/2 of a lemon
Fresh ground black pepper to taste 

Method

  1. Chop up the lettuce, spinach, cucumber, olives, artichokes and avocado.  Add to a large bowl.
  2. Toss thoroughly, until all of the ingredients are evenly dispersed.
  3. Add the hemp seeds (or other options), along with the feta cheese, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and black pepper.   
  4. Gently toss again.
  5. Indulge and enjoy.  Remember to always eat sitting down, with awareness and surrounded by good company! 

Peas and Potato Curry   

Ingredients:

¼ cup ghee
Pinch of hing (optional)
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1½ teaspoons cumin seeds
5 cups potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 cup water
1 teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon ground fenugreek
1 cup peas
Salt
Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Method:

  1. Heat the ghee or oil in a pot.
  2. Add the hing, ginger, and cumin seeds and sauté for 1 minute over low heat, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the potatoes and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Add the water, turmeric, fenugreek, peas, and a sprinkling of salt.
  5. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Adjust the salt.
  7. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve over rice or Indian flatbread.

Mung Bean and Sweet Potato Stew

Ingredients:

1 cup split and hulled mung beans
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 onion (peeled and diced)
3 garlic cloves (peeled and minced)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger (minced)
8 cups vegetable stock
2 cups peeled and diced sweet potato
2 large carrots (sliced into rounds)
2 cups swiss chard (or other green of choice; tough stems removed and chopped)
1 bag frozen peas (thawed)
2 teaspoons coconut nectar crystals (or brown sugar) (optional)
2-3 teaspoons garam masala
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon cayenne
½ can light coconut milk
½ teaspoon sea salt (to taste)
Cilantro (optional, as a garnish, chopped)

Method:

  1. Run cold water over mung beans in a colander. Drain and set aside.
  2. Warm coconut oil in a large pot. Add onion, garlic, ginger and saute until fragrant. Add stock.
  3. Add the mung beans and the sweet potatoes, then add the rest of the vegetables and the spices. Stir well to combine all the ingredients and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat when everything is soft and cooked through.
  5. Add coconut milk and stir well to combine and heat through. Add salt and adjust any other seasonings before serving. Top each with fresh cilantro.

Lemon Pepper Chicken

Ingredients:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon.lemon pepper seasoning
1 teaspoon.kosher salt
lemons, divided
1 lb.boneless skinless chicken breasts, halved
2 tablespoon.extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoon butter
cloves garlic, minced
Freshly chopped parsley, for garnish

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, lemon pepper, salt, and zest of 1 lemon. Toss chicken breasts in the flour mixture until fully coated. Slice remaining lemon into thin rounds.
  2. In a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add chicken in a single layer and cook until golden on bottom, about 5 minutes, then flip chicken breasts.
  3. To skillet, add broth, butter, garlic, and lemon slices and bake until chicken is cooked through and the sauce has reduced slightly, 15 minutes.
  4. Spoon sauce on top of chicken and garnish with parsley.

Both TCM and Ayurveda do not encourage the consumption of cold food or beverages during hot weather. Therefore, try these recipes at home during hot weather for improved health and well being.


Photo Credits: Delish, Further Food, Maharishi Ayurveda, Natural Harmony and Wellness by Helen

 

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