When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use.
When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.
–From the Charaka Samhita, one of the most ancient and venerated Ayurvedic textbooks.
According to Ayurveda, food is more than food. Food is medicine, yet it is more than even medicine; it is life itself. Whatever we eat actually becomes us—in body, mind and spirit. Our food and how we prepare and enjoy it represents the giving and receiving of love; food brings us together in community, it unites families. Food not only represents love, it is love.
Aparna Khanolkar, the Mistress of Spice, understands the essence of this love affair. In the following guide, she says, “Cook with reverence because you are taking care of your health and well-being. It is one of the greatest acts of self-nurturance.” These are more than words for Aparna. Whenever she prepares food, shares a recipe or teaches the art of cooking, she does so with a powerful sense of the sacred nature of this ritual.
While the rituals of cooking and preparing food are beautiful and meaningful, in actual practice, these can sometimes be intimidating, even for those who love to eat. They can be more so when considering the art of cooking according to the principles and precepts of Ayurveda. For the uninitiated, the world of Ayurveda can sometimes feel like an alchemical mystery, fraught with symbols and esoteric terms, unfamiliar spices and herbal concoctions. Yet, the essence of Ayurveda as a system helps us to cultivate a closer relationship with the cycles of nature that surround us and are found in each and every breath, every bite and every meal. Aparna knows these secrets well and knows how to demystify them. Her work in person and in these pages serves up a feast that anyone can prepare as she is a guide who gives instructions anyone can follow—no degree in magic necessary. The beating heart of the science of Ayurveda finds its finest rhythm in the kitchen, and Aparna is a master chef, teacher, recipe creator and guide who knows how to support anyone through the process of creating food that truly embodies love.
–Felicia Marie Tomasko, RN. Editor-in-Chief, LA YOGA Ayurveda and Health magazine
President, California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine
Board of Directors, National Ayurvedic Medical Association
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