Healthy Holiday Treats

The mouthwatering aromas of cinnamon and nutmeg waft through homes everywhere as chefs lovingly recreate traditional holiday favorites such as pumpkin pie and gingerbread. Nothing conjures up the holiday spirit more than festive meals eaten in the company of family and friends.

Eating in the pleasant company of friends and family is wonderful for health. According to ayurveda, the spiritual components of cooking and eating are just as important for digestion and assimilation as are the physical components. That means, for example, cooking in a joyous rather than a stressed atmosphere, giving positive attention to the process of cooking and serving the meal, saying thanks before you begin, and enjoying companionable silence or quiet, pleasant conversation with friends and family as you eat. Such a meal converts quickly to ojas, the substance that sustains life and promotes good health, radiance and bliss.

Eating wisely and well

For many people, the holidays are a disruptive time, with travel, last-minute shopping and entertaining playing havoc with the daily routine. Skipping lunch and/or breakfast, eating large meals at night, eating out too often... the potential for these events that disturb the digestion to occur tends to increase during the holidays, so you have to be watchful. Moderation is the key to staying healthy over the holidays. Healthy holiday eating can help you avoid repercussions such as weight gain, loss of energy and lowered immunity which can persist for months afterwards.

Some tips from The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians for eating wisely and well

  • Rotate items on menus — if you vary flavors, tastes and textures, you will have fewer cravings.
  • Drink lots of water through the day, but limit beverage intake with meals.
  • Spike drinking water with herbs and spices for personal balance for added benefit from the water you drink, or drink one of the Maharishi Ayurveda Herbal Teas for balance.
  • Organize festive gatherings at lunch whenever you can, because the digestive fire can handle heavier foods better if they are eaten around noon rather than late in the evening.
  • Cook with spices — they enhance both flavor and digestion.
  • Don't skip breakfast — a warm, nourishing stewed apple or pear is a wonderful way to start a hectic day.
  • No matter how hectic your schedule, take 5-10 minutes to sit quietly after a meal. It's a good way to kick-start your digestion.

Recipe suggestions

Here are some festive recipes that incorporate Maharishi Ayurveda gourmet mind/body foods for you to share with family and friends this holiday season.

Basmati Rice Pilaf with Dried Fruit

Oven Roasted Vegetables with Bulgur and Quinoa

Baked Apple

Organic Cashew Cookies


Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.