Mitchell’s debut book follows the guiding principle of the ancient system of medicine known as ayurveda—to heal thyself with nurturing food.
Ayurveda refers to the interplay between various “constitutions” of the body, called “doshas.” The author argues that when the three doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha) are out of balance, it can result in pain, illness, and, ultimately, chronic disease. According to Mitchell, a professional wellness mentor and cooking instructor, readers must first identify which of their doshas are out of balance so they can focus on the primary goal of ayurveda—eating foods that will bring the doshas back into equilibrium. She not only includes an explanation of the three doshas here, but also a rundown of physical signs to look for to determine which one needs attention. The book also offers examples of specific foods to promote balance in each dosha as well as eight general lifestyle guidelines; some offer common sense, such as avoiding junk food, but others are more surprising, such as avoiding combining fruit with other types of food or eating cold victuals. However, the author doesn’t lay out these rules with a strict or radical tone; instead, she encourages readers to make changes in moderation and to eat animal protein or cooked onions when necessary—although these items aren’t usually part of an ayurvedic diet. The recipe section is where this book really shines, however, as it showcases beautiful full-color photos of select dishes. There are two separate sections for vegetable- and legume-based soups, and a chapter on entrees is separated into dishes for weekdays (which take 30 minutes to an hour of “active” preparation) and dishes for the weekend, which may take up to two hours. Readers might have benefited from tips on where to find uncommon ingredients, such as Bragg Liquid Aminos or asafetida. Also, some recipes take quite a long time to cook, but this aligns with the ayurvedic guideline to eat slowly and savor what one has prepared.
A clear, concise introduction to ayurvedic cooking.