Thanksgiving is one of the most fun holidays of the year. The main event is reuniting with family and friends over a tasty meal. When gathered in the kitchen and at the dining table, it is a perfect time to share Ayurvedic health tips with others. Through incorporating simple Ayurvedic foods and cooking techniques, we can teach our loved ones how to easily balance the three doshas, improve digestion, heal minor health complaints and boost immunity.
Ayurvedic nutrition emphasizes the use of many Indian culinary herbs and spices. This is especially important at Thanksgiving, when we tend to over eat. The spices greatly aid in the digestive process, speed up metabolism, and eliminate the usual gas and bloating after the meal. Always prepare the digestive fire (Agni) by chewing on grated ginger with fresh lime juice about 10 minutes before starting the meal. Other simple and tasty suggestions would be to add cumin to mashed potatoes, coriander to cooked vegetables, fennel seeds to yams and sweet potatoes. Turmeric and ginger are especially useful in strengthening the immune system. Desert spices such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom all have many medicinal properties that ward off winter colds and flu.
Ayurveda suggests using all 6 tastes in order to create a perfect meal. When we incorporate sweet, salty, sour, bitter, astringent and pungent tastes within one meal, not only our taste buds, but our entire body and mind are completely satisfied. The 6 tastes balance out vata, pitta and kapha. The traditional Thanksgiving menu can have all 6 tastes if prepared correctly. It is in fact a complete meal according to Ayurveda, and it is the reason we are left with the feeling of contentment and satisfaction afterwards.
- Sweet taste – pumpkin pie
Sour taste – cranberry relish
Pungent taste – spices such as ginger, cinnamon, and cloves in apple cider or peppercorns in gravy
Bitter taste – dark green salads, collard greens or green beans
Salty taste – stuffing and many of the savory side dishes.
Astringent – A GOOD GLASS OF RED WINE!!
After the Thanksgiving meal, most Americans feel overly stuffed. A good Ayurvedic eating rule to remember, would be to eat to only 2/3 thirds capacity of the stomach. Leaving 1/3 of the stomach empty for the food to move around and digest properly.
Lastly, we always remember to give thanks on this particular holiday. We should carry on this practice into our regular daily routine, taking a few moments to give thanks before every meal we eat. Praying to God and chanting mantra blesses each meal with the Shakti and Prana that truly nourishes us.
For more Ayurvedic Holiday Recipes, Nutritional Tips, and a Scrumptious Meal, come join our Thanksgiving Cooking Class
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