By Jill Leslie
Owner and Founder
Since the beginning of time, every generation has been concerned about health and well-being. It is a survival instinct, and something that our brains, and bodies, cannot deny.
Every generation is looking for ways to maintain youthfulness, and so it is important for all of us to keep stress levels low by exercising and eating high-energy foods that will enhance our health.
The good news for Millennials, especially, is that they have grown up with these messages. Not only that, but the natural food grocery store, which was nearly nonexistent in most communities 50 years ago, is now accessible to most people, and part of the mainstream.
Back to the Future
The original Whole Foods Market opened in1980 and is now rated one of the Top 100 Stores in the United States, with annual sale reaching the $9 billion mark. In fact, natural food stores are the fastest growing portion of the retail food industry, according to the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade.
So while good food may have been hard to find in generations past, many of us have been amazed by what is bountiful—and in our own neighborhood stores. This has led to a generation of food connoisseurs we lovingly refer to as “foodies.” Their desire to prepare healthy, beautiful meals is fed by a stream of celebrity chefs on The Food Network, among other cooking channels, not to mention the bevvy of foodie blogs on the Internet and social media sites.
Our hunger to learn about food, and healthy living, also draws many people to the practice of Ayurveda, the 5,000-year-old medical system from India. While you may not have an ayurvedic practitioner in your hometown, you can have a consultation via Skype with ayurvedic practitioners and doctors the world over.
So, whether you are a Baby Boomer, or from Gen X or Gen Y, here are some recipes that combine foods that will enhance your health and boost your immunity, without forgetting the importance of texture and taste.
Sweet Oven-Roasted Pumpkin
1 whole pumpkin
2 T. melted butter, ghee, or olive oil
1/8-1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup walnut pieces
salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Remove seeds and pulp from pumpkin, then cut it into large wedges. You can leave the outer rind on (or remove if desired).
3. Lay the wedges flesh side up on a baking sheet or roasting pan.
4. Brush each piece with butter, ghee or olive oil, then season well with salt and pepper.
5. Roast in the oven until the pumpkin is tender and the top has caramelized a bit, approximately 30 minutes depending on size of pumpkin.
6. Arrange walnuts in a small casserole dish, drizzle with maple syrup, and toss walnuts to coat them in syrup. Mix in pumpkin and return to oven and cook 15 minutes or until pumpkin is fork tender.
Spice it up with Churnas and Chutneys
Churnas and chutneys are blends of spices, herbs, and/or fruits. When you add these sorts of spices to your dishes, you not only add flavor to your meal, but these babies also act as digestive aids and have numerous medicinal properties to help heal what might be ailing you.
To enhance your immune system, create this blend of aromatic spices to add to any dish:
2 T. ground turmeric
3 T. whole cumin seeds
3 T. whole coriander seeds
6 T. whole fennel seeds
1 T. ground ginger
1 T. black pepper
1 T. ground cinnamon
How to make a Churna: Gently toast spices. Mix toasted spices together in an electric grinder, a spice mill, or grind with a mortar and pestle. Pour the mixture into a bowl and stir until well combined.
- When you are cooking a meal, place a small amount of ghee, coconut oil, or olive oil with three times the amount of water in a frying pan and heat on medium. Add spice blend, measuring out approximately (to taste) one teaspoon of spice mixture per serving of vegetables, fish, poultry, or meat. Sauté spices until the aroma is released (but be careful not to let it burn).
- Add a churna to steamed vegetables by mixing lightly with your favorite selections, then sauté for one minute. Or, sauté the spice mixture in ghee/oil and drizzle on vegetables or grains.
- Add churnas to soups stews and sauces as they’re cooking, or sprinkle over prepared vegetables or rice at the table. For a treat, add to popcorn with melted, unsalted butter.
- Carry a small jar or packet with you so that you can add a churna to food on the go and make all your meals healthier, more digestible, and delicious. Churnas are convenient, mouth-watering, and nutritious.
For more great recipes, visit: www.Ayurvedaalchemy.com/recipes.
About Jill Leslie and Ayurveda Alchemy
Jill Leslie is a certified Ayurvedic practitioner, herbalist, wellness chef, and yoga teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area who, for more than two decades, has been immersed in the study and practice of natural healing.
The entrepreneur, who has owned her own businesses since graduating from the University of Maryland in 1986, founded the award-winning retail shop Milk & Honey in Sebastapol, CA, in 1999. She sold it in 2006 so that she could delve deeper into her study of yoga and Ayurveda.
Ayurveda Alchemy: As she discovered the life-changing wisdom of these ancient practices, she began sharing her knowledge at wellness retreats, yoga studios, and through cooking classes. Her passion for herbal medicine and nutrition, and her love of sweets, inspired her in 2008 to found Ayurveda Alchemy.
In addition to hosting classes and events, and providing consultations and dietary advice about Ayurveda, she has created a line of healthy and delicious confections, which are available online at Kitchen Alchemy Treats. “When I learned the adage of Ayurveda, ‘Let your food be your medicine,’ I put on my apron and said, ‘Let your medicine be delicious,’” she says. Learn more at www.AyurvedaAlchemy.com.