An Ayurvedic practitioner and a popular nutritionist help you give your pizza, milkshake and chaat and healthy twist
How many times have you found yourself reaching out for a packaged snack, placing an order for an untimely roll or eating out of a box in the middle of the night? Our consumption patterns over the last few decades have led to the creation of a culture, where we're all eating a lot more than we should. And often, the wrong things, too. Having said that, it would be criminal to expect everyone to just stop indulging, and for that, there's Ayurveda.
The alternative medicine system prescribes for eating more consciously, taking into account six tastes, the qualities of the food, the effect on our doshas – which is a Vata, Kapha, Pitta – and it's post-digestive effect on the tissues. And so, we thought a clever way to make room for our cravings would be to give some of the choicest fast food options an Ayurvedic twist.
And so, we reached out to Ayurveda and Wellbeing Practitioner and the co-founder of Sarvayu, Dr Nikhita Shere and Suman Agarwal of Selfcare by Suman to rejig popular junk food recipes and give them an Ayurvedic upgrade. Here are 5 recipes suggested by our experts. Take your pick!
This recipe is a classic meal-time favourite! It starts with a pizza crust made with multigrain tortillas or chapatis (an Ayurvedic homemade flatbread) and spices. In this recipe, the turmeric, which is a spice widely used in Ayurvedic cooking, helps to stimulate digestion and boost immunity. Then, there's ginger, which is a warming spice that aids in digestion, helps maintain a healthy respiratory system and balance the for Vata and Kapha doshas. And coriander, a spice that is balancing for all three doshas. Whether you are dining solo or feeding a family of picky eaters, this recipe is a keeper.
6 organic, whole-wheat flour/multigrain tortillas or chapattis
2 cups freshly-made pesto sauce, or fresh pizza sauce, or 1 jar of organic pizza sauce or pesto
¾ cup broccoli florets
½ lb. organic tofu
1½ cups fresh organic mozzarella cheese
½ cup olives
¼ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
⅛ teaspoon black pepper
⅛ teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon olive oil
Oregano to garnish
Steam broccoli and tofu until tender and salt to taste. Blend in a blender until smooth. Set aside.
In a separate fry pan, dry roast the whole-wheat tortillas about 40 seconds on each side over a medium heat.
Make fresh pizza sauce with the spices. Set aside.
Place three tortillas on a baking pan. Spread a thin layer of cheese over each tortilla and then place another tortilla on top.
This makes a thicker crust and makes it easier to eat. Brush the top tortilla with olive oil. Then spread a layer of pizza sauce.
Next comes the tofu mixture. Spread a thin layer of it over the sauce. Spread the cheese over the tofu mixture. Garnish with olives and a pinch of oregano.
Place in a 350 ˚F preheated oven and bake about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
Date Milk Shake
This sweet and frothy date shake makes for a great breakfast or a healthy afternoon pick-me-up. Brimming with the goodness of dates, which are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, this milkshake will help promote ojas, or vitality. Plus, it takes only a few minutes to prepare.
4-5 whole dates
1 cup whole organic milk (preferably not homogenized)
A pinch of cinnamon
Pour milk, cinnamon and dates into an automatic blender.
Blend it into a smooth concoction.
Serve warm in winter, room temperature or slightly cool (not cold) in summer or if a strong Pitta imbalance exists.
Baked French Fries
French fries are the ultimate comfort food, but unfortunately, they're very hard to digest and therefore cause a wide range of digestive issues. This recipe offers a happy reprieve to easily digestible french fries, which is prepared with sunflower oil because it is easier to digest than vegetable or peanut oil. The recipe also calls for the addition of cumin and cayenne, which help make the potato fries more easily digestible.
4 organic Idaho baking potatoes
3 tablespoons sunflower oil or ghee
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cumin
⅓ teaspoon ground coriander
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 ˚F. Peel and cut like French fries.
In a large bowl, add potatoes and sprinkle with oil, spices, salt, and pepper.
Stir until well coated. Place potatoes on a cookie sheet and bake for 45 to 60 minutes. Turn with a spatula after 25 minutes.
The next time you're battling a sweet craving, opt for this halwa over whatever junk you're hiding in the fridge. Ayurveda recommends cooked lauki or bottle gourd for better digestion, which makes this sweetmeat a great Ayurvedic alternative to regular sweets. It is cooling, calming, diuretic and anti-bilious and thus, helps in reducing liver inflammation. Also dudhi is said to have anti-ageing properties.
4 cups dudhi (bottle gourd), grated
1 litre fat-free milk (0-0.8% fat)
1/3 cup sugar
17 almonds, julienned
16 cashew nuts, julienned
½ teaspoon cardamom powder
Boil milk over a low flame, stirring constantly, till it reduces to half its quantity.
Squeeze dudhi to reduce the water content. Sauté in a non-stick pan for 2-3 minutes.
Cover the pan; steam for 10 minutes. Add the reduced milk, stirring constantly, and cook for 1 minute. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
Stir in sugar, almonds and cashews; cook for 2 minutes or till halwa reaches a thick consistency. Remove from heat and add cardamom powder.
Serve hot or chilled.
Chickpeas can have different effects on a body, depending on how they have been cooked. According to Ayurveda, chickpeas help balance all three doshas – vata, kapha and pitta and so, tossing them in with a few spices is a cool way to steer clear from the regular, disbalancing and unhealthy street-side chaats.
1 cup uncooked chickpeas (soak for 6-8 hours)
1 large tomato, chopped finely
1 large onion, chopped finely
1 medium capsicum, chopped finely
1 medium potato, boiled, peeled and diced
3-4 tablespoon fresh coriander, chopped finely
2 green chillies, chopped finely
3 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoon chaat masala
Salt as per taste
Pressure-cook chickpeas with 3 cups of water for 6–7 whistles.
Blanch the capsicum in boiling water for about 2 minutes. Drain and cool.
Combine the boiled chickpeas, chopped vegetables, blanched capsicum, green chillies, fresh coriander, chaat masala, lemon juice and salt.
Mix well and serve.
Based on what choices you make food can either deteriorate your health or heal your body. Eating the right foods can help you build your immunity, reduce pain symptoms and keep a sustained level of energy throughout the day. This was just our way of showing you how a few intelligent tweaks can allow you to continue enjoying your fave foods, without paying a hefty price for them. You're welcome.
Tarvene is a chocolate and chai fiend who is constantly on the hunt for cute cafes. You can catch her baking some Biscoff cheesecakes or binge-watching Netflix shows. She likes filling up her free time painting, listening to music or going on long drives.