Ayurvedic cooking secrets to boost mind-body balance

Ayurvedic cooking uses ancient methods and principles to promote health and wellbeing – but not at the expense of taste, as Abbey Holmes discovers.

When Channel 7 media personality Abbey Holmes sat down for her first meal at Sukhavati Ayurvedic wellness retreat in Bali, she wasn’t sure what to expect.

“Being a health retreat, your immediate thought goes to ‘bland’,” Abbey confesses on The House of Wellness TV show..

So Abbey was pleasantly surprised when she tasted her “incredible” vegetarian meal created with “love from the heart” by Sukhavati head chef Putu Anggreni.

The House of Wellness’s resident clean-eating foodie, Luke Hines, had the pleasure of joining Putu in the kitchen as she prepared the meal in line with traditional Ayurvedic cooking principles.

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Here are some of his key learnings:

1. Ayurvedic cooking aims to balance the doshas

The ancient health science of Ayurveda is built around the energetic patterns that influence our body, mind and behavior.

The three categories – Vata, Pitta and Kapha – are known collectively as doshas, and Ayurvedic cooking aims to help keep them balanced.

When Abbey arrived at Sukhavati she consulted with the retreat’s Ayurvedic doctor, who created a treatment strategy for her stay – including a meal plan based on her state of equilibrium between her doshas.

2. Fresh, seasonal produce and herbs and spices are staples in Ayurvedic cooking

Ayurvedic meals commonly include herbs and spices such as turmeric, cumin, fennel, ginger, basil and cardamom.

Not only do herbs and spices pack flavor into meals, they are valued for their medicinal properties.

Fresh produce is also a key feature of Ayurvedic meals as it’s believed they help align your diet with natural cycles and enhance the vitality of the food.

The result was not lost on Abbey.

“I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how tasty, wholesome, delicious and fresh all of the food has been,” she told The House of Wellness TV.

3. Ayurvedic meals are cooked and served warm

Ayurvedic meals are freshly made and served warm as it is believed this aids digestion.

According to Luke, it also works at the dinner table.

“A salad of broccoli, quinoa and cabbage may not sound that exciting, but once it’s been cooked in local seasonings wrapped in rice paper rolls and dipped in a Tangy capsicum and cashew sauce, this dish is an absolute knockout,” he says.

4. In Ayurvedic cooking, lunch is the most important meal

Putu explains this is because our bodies are more active and require more energy during the day than in the evening.

“That is why (lunch) is a bit bigger, with more carbohydrate and protein,” she says.

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Written by Claire Burke.