Just like there are three principle body energies, there are also three psychic energies in Ayurveda: rajas, sattva, and tamas. These three psychic energies align with the life cycle, with rajas being associated with birth, sattva with life and maintenance, and tamas with death and destruction.
Ayurvedic cooking focuses on creating warm meals focused on sattvic foods, meaning foods and ingredients that are ripe, fresh, and natural, that also promote overall gut health. When creating Ayurvedic meals, these are the core ingredients, the ones that make the majority of the dish, and which are recommended to be consumed regularly. Ingredients like meat, eggs, and onion are classified as being rajasic food, meaning that, when eaten too frequently, they may induce overstimulation and eventual stress and anxiety.
Ingredients by dosha ~
Eat more: Well-ripened fruit, cooked oatmeal, cooked rice, warm milk, cream, butter, warm soup, hot cereals, freshly baked bread, raw nuts, nut butters.
Moderate: Cranberries, pears, pomegranates, saffron, turmeric, kidney beans, black beans, red meat, wheat, barley, buckwheat, corn, dry oat, millet.
Avoid: Raw vegetables, unripe fruit, coriander seed, fenugreek, parsley, thyme, iced drinks.
Eat more: Cold cereal, cinnamon toast, apple tea, vegetarian foods, milk, grains, and vegetables. Prioritize eating seasonally –– cold food in the summer and warm food in the winter.
Moderate: Red meat, coffee, butter, and added fat.
Avoid: Pickles, sour cream, cheese, alcoholic and fermented foods, egg yolks, nuts, hot spices, honey, hot drinks.
Eat more: Romaine lettuce, endive, tonic water, cumin, fenugreek, sesame seed, turmeric. Prioritize lightly cooked food, raw fruits and vegetables. Spicy foods in the winter. Dry cooking methods such as baking, broiling, grilling, and sautéing are preferable.
Moderate: Ghee, butter and oils.
Avoid: Sugar, fats, dairy, chilled food and drinks.