Ayurveda says ‘Annamayo hi pranha’ Our life force or Prana is depended on food. In other words you need food to protect your life. So lot of importance is given to the cooking and act of eating. Ayurvedic cooking is thats why called ‘Annayoga’. Ayurvedic cooking is not just Indian cooking. You can choose any ingredients in this world for this cooking but the key is you should know their properties. Any style of cooking based on Ayurvedic principles is Ayurvedic cooking. All the ingredients are chosen very carefully. Using correct method of cooking is again very important. Recipes are chosen as per season, climatic conditions for that region, the body type of the consumer, condition of his health and disease and his palatability. Mostly hands are used for all the processing of food, for putting the ingredients together and mixing spices with it. The idea behind using hands is that the cook is actually putting his own Pranic Energy into the food while cooking. Specific mantras or prayers are chanted continuously while cooking. This chanting helps in two ways. It helps to concentrate better when you are cooking. And Ayurveda tells that the food is living thing. Food absorbs all the good and bad vibrations present in the air around. Chanting helps in the purification of atmosphere and has good effect on the food. The psychological condition of the cook also has good or bad effect on that food. So he or she should have peaceful and blissful condition of mind while cooking.
The cook should be having good personal hygiene and loving and caring towards people who are going to eat that food. So if you cook your own food and you cook for your family yourself that will be the best thing to do. You are not supposed to taste the food while cooking. After cooking the food is served to the God first and then you can taste it or serve it to others. There are specific recommendations of vessels and plates made up of various materials for storage and serving of food. There is specific way of serving. There is specific place for specific type of recipes in the plate. Sometimes big banana leaves or plates made up of other leaves are also used. Different metals, materials and leaves have different properties and different effect on the food and drinks. All this is taken into consideration while storing and serving the food. If you look at Ayurvedic idea of cooking you will find that not only cleanliness and hygiene on the physical level is considered but purity and cleanliness on the psychological level is also considered to be very important. This is speciality and beauty of Ayurveda. Only this type of food will give you sheer satisfaction and it will nourish not only your body but your mind too.
Idea of medicated food
Sometimes medicine is used as food but sometimes food is used as a medicine. So when the preparation is your food and medicine at the same time it is called as Medicated food. The advantage of medicated food is that it fills your stomach, gives you satisfaction of eating and heals you at the same time. In this way of treating patient is taking the medicine quite frequently and in larger dosage as it is in the form of food. Sometimes it is difficult to give medicines to small children. But you can use medicated foods for them and the difficult task of parents to give medicine to a child becomes easy this way. Medicated food is very helpful in all the conditions. Especially in cases of some complicated diseases it gives better and faster results.
Medicated water, Herbal tea and drinks
We can medicate the water with herbs and spices. We take tea, drinks and water quite often compared to the intake of medicines. So if the water or drink is medicated we get the benefit of herbs throughout the day. e.g. If you have common cold and cough you can take ginger tea 2 to 3 times a day instead of your normal tea, and you will start feeling better. Sometimes fruit juices, light decoctions of herbs, herbal teas, medicated wines, rice water, honey water, etc are used as drinks after or along with the food. Sometimes these medicated drinks are used along with the medicine (Anupan). Sometimes these drinks are also used as a food when patient is on fasting treatments. Medicated drinks are very effective as an individual or supportive therapy.