India, Ayurveda and our health
by Nathalie Rasing | Sweet Recipe below
Last December I travelled to India to participate in the yoga convention hosted by Geeta Iyengar. It was amazing to watch 1.200 yogis from all over the world joined to practice and learn together. There were senior teachers that have been studying with the Iyengar’s for decades and novices just practicing for a few years, but we were all inspired. And mind you, no fancy tricks, flying kicks or knotted limbs were brought to the stage. Just basic poses bringing you to a deeper level of understanding and absorption by the body.
Land of million senses
Thank god we spent most of the day stilling our mind, because being in India was a mind-blowing experience. The noise, the colours, the smells, people! cars! scooters everywhere! You got to love how hundreds of vehicles are on the road, apparently criss-cross, honking their way through, but in the end perfectly seeming in. Colourful saris, aromatic spices, sweet incense and tropical fruit are all around to please your senses. We lived half of the day on sun kissed juicy fruit alone. Indian cuisine is amazing, transforming lots of vegetables and spices into endless variations of dishes.
The traditional Indian medicine AyurVeda, literally means ‘science of life’, is vividly around. You will find herbal treatments in department stores, beauty products on every street corner and AyurVedic doctor’s practices are very common.
Science of life itself
AyurVeda allows you to live in perfect harmony with nature. Health is viewed as a state where your body is free from disease, your mind is happy and you are spiritually elevated. And health is all about balance. According to Ayurveda, we are born with a combination of biological energies (‘doshas’) that is our blueprint for health and fulfillment. Our doshas can get out of balance by the things we do, the foods we eat, stress, in fact everything around us that effects us. This imbalance can cause disease and mental and emotional instability. Balancing our doshas back to our natural state brings us a balanced body, mind and soul, thus perfect health!
AyurVeda promotes fresh, vital, natural foods that nourish the body and digest easy, prepared with attention and love. If you want to know what dosha type you are and how to become more balanced by creating beautiful and delicious dishes I can recommend the Ayurvedic guide and cookbook ‘Eat Taste Heal’. I took a recipe from that book and adjusted it a bit and it’s one of my, and many others’, favourite indulgences. Rich and sweet like chocolate, but only with nourishing nuts and dates. Whereas modern medicine treats the disease, AyurVeda has a different treatment for each individual based on his unique make-up. Your doshas can be balanced by creating an environment that suits this natural make-up. Yoga and food are excellent ways of doing so. According AyurVeda food literally becomes your body; no wonder dietary changes are one of the first things recommended for restoring health.
I made these babies for you and this week we are serving them with the tea in our Iyengar yoga shala in Amsterdam.
Recipe for AyurVedic sweetness
1/3 cup almonds
1/3 cup walnuts
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
10 large pitted soft and gooey dates
¼ tsp cardamom
¼ tsp cinnamon
zest of 1/2 orange (make sure it’s organic as all citrus fruit is highly sprayed)
optional: coconut flour and cacao powder
Nuts and seeds are most nutritious when eaten raw and best digested soaked. Soak them in water for at least 4 hours or overnight and let them dry before use. Put all the ingredients except coconut and cacao in a food processor fitted with the s-blade. Pulse until a dough-like ball forms. If you put it in the fridge for one hour it will be easier to form little balls. But if you cannot wait just get sticky fingers and lick them regularly. Dust them off with the coconut flour and cacao for even better looks.