Its holiday time in Canada and Thanksgiving is one of the most fun holidays that Canadian’s celebrate. The Thanksgiving dinner table will reunite friends, family and neighbours! A big dinner with Turkey, pumpkin pies, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauces are laid on the table!
I thought I will entertain the health enthusiasts so that they don’t feel left out. I have been teaching Ayurvedic Cooking [which is the traditional Indian style cooking] that focuses on health and longevity. Ayurvedic cooking focuses on individual body type and balancing health using spices, herbs and foods that are perfect for each body type [Vata, Pitta & Kapha]. You can learn more about Body Type when you read my article in Naturally Savvy.
You want to indulge in delicious tasting foods with your family and friends but you don’t want to come out of the dinner feeling sluggish, heavy and sleepy. If you love being healthy you would want to go on a diet after a few days! Instead why not focus on a few dishes that are nutritious, delicious and aids digestion?
There are many Indian/Ayurvedic spices available that speeds up metabolism, eliminate gas, reduce bloating and assists the digestive process. The key is to use them in your cooking. You can also be “Extra Smart” and get your body ready for a heavy meal by kindling the digestive fire or the HCl in your stomach.
In order to satisfy your taste buds and your body/mind you must incorporate 6 tastes or rasa in your meal. They are sweet, sour, salty, pungent [hot], bitter and astringent. When you have all these tastes present in a meal it will balance the Vata, Pitta and Kapha body type. Sweet can be the dessert in the menu, salty can be any dish made with salt, sour tasting foods are cranberry or tamarind, greens can be the bitters and wine/cider/raw greens are your astringent tasting foods.
Before you begin with your Thanksgiving meal, stimulate the digestive fire or HCl by eating a 1-inch piece of fresh ginger with a few drops of lemon juice and a few pinches of salt on it. This starts to activate the salivary glands, producing the necessary enzymes so that the nutrients in the food are easily absorbed by the body. Drink a glass of warm water before you start your dinner. This will reduce the possibility of overeating.
Recipe 1: Oven Roasted Spicy Sweet Potato
4 cups of sweet potato, cubed or squared
2 tbsp. ghee
a pinch of ground cayenne pepper
½ tsp. of ground turmeric
1 tsp. of freshly ground cumin seeds
1 tsp. of garam masala
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
4-6 fresh curry leaves
¼ of a bunch of fresh cilantro leaves
a. In a bowl place the sweet potatoes and add ghee, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, garam masala, curry leaves, sea salt and black pepper.
b. Mix the sweet potatoes in such a way so the spices and ghee are coated evenly.
c. Lay them on a baking sheet.
d. Place in a pre-heated oven and cook for 20 minutes.
e. After 20 minutes check the potatoes and turn them the other side.
f. Roast for another 10 minutes until potatoes are soft.
g. Chop the cilantro leaves and garish the potatoes with these leaves.
Sweet Potato: Great source of beta carotene and vitamin A. It has antioxidant that reduces the impact of heavy metal and is anti-inflammatory.
Turmeric: One of the best Ayurvedic kitchen healer. Turmeric assists with digestion, maintains the intestinal flora, reduces gas, reduces inflammation and is used like a natural antibiotic.
Cumin: Great for all body types. You can use it for any digestive issues. Cumin also improves the mineral absorption in the intestine.
Ghee: Stimulates digestion and boosts the immune system. Use in moderation if your body type is Kapha.
Recipe 2: Cranberry Apple Sauce [Sour]:
Basic tips for making this recipe:
a. Soak the raisin for an hour before the preparation
b. Peel the orange skin and thinly slice them.
c. Dry roast the clove, cardamom and nutmeg. Grind the spices using a coffee grinder. Put the spice mixture is a small bottle or container the night before
2 ½ cups of organic cranberry
4 cups of grated Apple
¼ tsp. of raisins [soaked for an hour]
¼ tsp. of Goji Berries [soaked for an hour]
1 ½ tbsp. of balsamic vinegar
¼ tsp. of grated orange peel [optional]
½ tsp. of grated ginger
1 ½ cups of coconut sugar/sucanut
2 sticks of Ceylon cinnamon [or regular cinnamon]
1tsp. of cumin seeds
4 whole cloves
3-4 green cardamom
1 tbsp. Butter Oil [Ghee] or Sunflower oil [cold processed]
Water as needed
• Wash the cranberries and apples. Grate apple and keep these two ingredients ready.
• In a pan heat the ghee or oil. Add ginger, cinnamon and cumin seeds fry them for 2-3 minutes. Then add the cranberries and apple.
• Add rest of the grounded spices to the sauce – cardamom, and clove.
• Stir the cranberries and grated apples until they are coated with the oils and spices thoroughly.
• Add the thinly sliced orange peel and then the balsamic vinegar in the pan.
• Add water as needed. Bring to boil and simmer the ingredients, stirring frequently. Once it is simmering, add the coconut sugar, goji berries and raisins.
• When sauce is almost cooked, reduce the heat and keep in cover in low heat for 5 minutes. Let the sauce cool down and then serve.
Cranberry: Rich is Vitamin C and fiber. Cranberry contains a beneficial sugar/carbohydrate called D-Mannose that supports urinary tract health. The phytonutrients in the cranberries have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory power.
Ginger: It improves digestion, absorption and assimilation of food. Ginger improves circulation and helps with congestion.
Cinnamon: Balances blood sugar, improves circulation and helps to reduce congestion.
Recipe 3: Digestive Lassi
There are many recipes for Lassi. The following one is good for warding off gas and bloating:
1 cup room temperature water
3 cups of buttermilk
1 pinch ground ginger
1 pinch ground cumin
1 pinch ground coriander
1 pinch of hing or asafortida
1 pinch salt
Blend for one minute. Drink after
Buttermilk: Aids digestive problems. It is high in vitamin B 12, potassium, calcium and phosphorus.