what is ayurveda?

learning the basics of ayurveda | this brown kitchen

I’ve started to get questions from people on Instagram and people IRL about what Ayurveda is and why I’m talking about it. So I figured now was a better time than any to have an actual informational post about it and how I’m incorporating it into my life. 

It all started this year when I decided that one of my intentions was to focus on wellness. After some different trials and errors along the way figuring out what kind of practices were applicable to my life that I could actually continue, I landed upon Ayurveda. To be clear, I’ve known about Ayurveda forever, I mean come on y’all this isn’t new to me – I’m Indian for pete’s sake. What is new to me is formulating a practice around its fundamentals. What started as an informational search of how to incorporate Ayurvedic eating into my life turned into a look of how to follow it as a full on lifestyle. So that’s how we ended up here.

Now to the actual question – what is Ayurveda? A brief and topline answer to that question is that Ayurveda is a traditional and almost sister science to yoga, that emphasizes wellness as a way to heal the body and bring balance to life, body, and mind. Ayurveda is based on the idea of achieving that balance in our bodily systems through our diet and exercise.

The thing that I’ve come to love most about this way of living is that Ayurveda is totally personalized to you and your mind-body type, and what it’s comprised of, while focusing on balancing the different aspects of your body through food and exercise. This is where the idea of the doshas come in. Doshas reflect the three main forces of nature – wind, water, and air – and each one of our bodies is made up of a certain combination of the three. So yes – this is about where I lose people in conversation because they start to think, “wow, I had no idea Ruch was such a hippie-dippie person”. FALSE. First of all, I am not a hippie now and not even close to becoming one. To go divulge into a mini tangent, the reason I want to share my experience with Ayurvedic practices is for the sole reason that I’m not learning or practicing it in the mountains of India. I’m learning about it here in America because my culture is a mix of Indian and American. I get to view a completely different experience of immersing myself in the practice because of where I live and how I grew up, and for me it’s kind of like this crazy adventure of discovering a part of my heritage but being able to share it in a way that everyone not from India can understand too. 

So the first part of incorporating Ayurveda into your lifestyle is to figure out your Dosha type – the three different types are Pitta (fire), Vata (air), and Kapha (earth-water). Each person has a unique combination of these three types and those types guide how we should eat, exercise, and live. For reference, I’m a Pitta – Kapha, leaning highly towards the Pitta side, which is why you will see more and more recipes here and on Instagram that follow the guidelines of that type. 

While this is  super top-line definition of Ayurveda and what constitutes its practices, I at least wanted to start the conversation and share a little background with y’all. I’ll be sharing more over the next few months, covering different topics within Ayurveda, and hopefully you can learn from it too. Let me know if you have any questions about what I’m doing with this practice or if you just want to say hello!

chaat masala egg salad + endive boats

a yummy egg salad with greek yogurt, avocado, and chaat masala

YAY for long weekends! I didn’t register until yesterday that I get an extra day of relaxation with the Memorial Day holiday this weekend and I was JAZZED to realize that. Do you have anything fun planned? My weekend will likely consist of errand running, hanging out by the lake and getting some sun, yoga class, and a recipe that I’m really excited to test – like seriously, I can’t wait to share this one with y’all.

Also let’s talk about barbecue season. There’s just something so quaint and small town America about being out in someones yard or out by the lake with the grill going. But Suruchi – you’re a vegetarian? What do you even eat a barbecue? Um, side dishes of course, side dishes are my jam. You can only attend so many outdoor grilling extravaganzas where you have to bring your own veggie burgers before you realize it’s just easier to fill up on side dishes, which are usually lighter options anyways. I’ve just become accustomed to munching on grilled corn, potato salad, and lots and lots of summer time fruits. Have I mentioned my love of watermelon yet? My only ask of grill masters is to please just leave bacon out of the side dishes. Please think of your vegetarian friends who will subsist on those dishes when cooking them up. (:

a yummy egg salad with greek yogurt, avocado, and chaat masala

a yummy egg salad with greek yogurt, avocado, and chaat masala

To celebrate grilling season and my tangential love of side dishes, I made up an egg salad. Egg salad is my dear old friend, who after many soggy roasted veggie sandwiches I found and have never let go of. Wanna to be my friend? Bring me an egg salad sandwich with extra lettuce. This version is made lighter without the use of mayo – instead subbing in greek yogurt and avocados, and given a flavorful kick from the use of chaat masala. 

Chaat masala is a spice mix that is used to top off salads, veggies, and fruits in South Asia. In India, each street vendor has their own blend for chaat masala so certain spices come through more than others. Traditionally, the spices included are dried mango powder, cumin, coriander, dried ginger, salt, black powder, chili powder, and asafoetida. I personally use this brand of chaat masala – their blend is AMAZING – and I also used it in this recipe for a tangy kick

a yummy egg salad with greek yogurt, avocado, and chaat masala


chaat masala egg salad

6 eggs, hard boiled, peeled, and chopped
1/2 cup of celery, sliced
1/2 avocado, diced
1 heaping tsp, chaat masala
1/2 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp chopped chives
5oz greek yogurt
endives, leaves removed
sliced radishes and chives for garnish

  1. in a large bowl, place the eggs, celery, avocadi, chaat masala, chili powder, salt, pepper, chives, and yogurt. fold the ingredients together gently until everything is coated.
  2. lay out a platter and place individual endive leaves out, filling each one with the egg salad.
  3. add the radishes and chives for garnish and serve!

smokey turmeric hummus

you didn't know you were missing this turmeric hummus from life until now.

turmeric hummus recipe with veggies

How was y’alls weekend? 

We had a very low-key weekend over here because Imani and I are going to Chicago next week!!! Do you have any suggestions for places to visit? (bonus points for extra cute instagramable spots haha!) In preparation for our adventure next week I took this weekend off from exploring and just had some chill time. Running errands, hit up a yoga/barre/cardio class that kicked my butt and has me sitting in bed still sore, as well as grabbing brunch with Kristin at Spoon and Stable – seriously it took me way too long to make it out to S&S after so many people have raved about it to me. We noshed on their Meyer Lemon Coffee Cake which just lemon-y enough and crumbly in just the right way, as well as their Onion Quiche which was as fluffy as a pillow and their Red Wine Poached Eggs which were out of this world yummy. I might have also downed about four cups of coffee along the way but hey, it’s brunch after all. 

this is how to make a delicious and smokey turmeric hummus you will love turmeric hummus

this smokey turmeric hummus is the healthy delicious snack missing from your routine

In between all the crazy life things that are going on in the next two weeks, I’ve been taking a little extra time to try and organize my everydays in a bullet journal. What’s a bullet journal you ask? Well just search #bujo on Instagram and you’ll soon realize that it’s this crazy Type A way to track pretty much anything your heart desires in one little journal/planner/goal tracker. Being that I’m not naturally super Type A, I thought I would give it a shot and see if being a little more intentioned with daily activities would help me feel more organized – one week in and so far so good! I’ve been using mine to track how much water I’m drinking, when I’m working out, etc. etc. Since I’m using this year to focus on wellness, I thought being able to visually see these goals would be helpful – I’ll give y’all an update in a couple weeks to see if I stick to it!

A part of my wellness challenge has been being more mindful of the food I eat, especially when it comes to snacking. We have this drawer at the office that has been dubber “candy drawer” because, as you guessed it, it’s full of candy, and when I’m feeling antsy or snack-y at work you can find my arms deep in the drawer unwrapping some Reese’s Cups or whatever other sweet treat we’ve got in there that day. Part of beating the lure of the candy drawer has been packing yummy things that are actually good for me – like chia pudding to eat in the morning, nuts and fruits, and now this hummus. I’ve got this thing with turmeric – it’s like my favorite spice in the world. It’s earthy but not overpowering and has some kick butt benefits like having anti-inflammatory properties, regulating cholesterol and blood sugar levels, as well as boosting immunity. I actually read a piece, “How Indian is Your Turmeric Latte” on Food52 this last week, and thought about how interesting it is that turmeric is the new mainstream and hip food – like people have just now discovered it. It’s always been a staple for me and I feel like the secret has been let out into the world which is kinda cool, but also come on y’all – recognize where your food trends actually come from and try to understand the origins of them. 

Being that I couldn’t imagine my world without turmeric, I’ve incorporated it into many of my daily recipes – tossing veggies in a turmeric spice mix, adding an inch of turmeric root into my smoothies, and of course sautΓ©ing foods in it as well. Well here’s another favorite way of mine to get that sunny golden color in my life – hummus. Hummus might in fact be one of the easiest recipes to make in the world. Toss everything together and blend – ta-da! My recipe is smokey and spicy thanks to some smoked paprika and red chili powder, and I could eat it by the truckload. (I wouldn’t actually advise doing that by the way!) So in case you’re looking for something new to try this week, here ya go! Happy last full week of February! (:

a smokey turmeric hummus recipe


smokey turmeric hummus
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  2. zest 1/2 lemon
  3. juice 1 lemon
  4. 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  5. 3/4 tsp cumin seeds
  6. 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  7. 2 cloves of garlic
  8. 2 inches of turmeric root, peeled
  9. 1/2 tsp powdered turmeric
  10. 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  11. 1 tbsp tahini paste
  12. 2 tsp nutritional yeast
  13. 5 tbsp olive oil
  14. 1/2 tsp salt and pepper
for garnish
  1. olive oil
  2. cilantro
  3. sesame seeds
  4. sea salt
Instructions
  1. add all of the ingredients to a high power blender or food processor.
  2. blend until smooth, scraping down the edges while mixing - if the hummus is still a little too thick, add a little extra olive oil until it reaches desired consistency.
  3. serve topped with suggested garnishes or store in an airtight container for up to one week. enjoy!
this brown kitchen http://www.thisbrownkitchen.com/

chickpea and pomegranate seed salad

Guys I’ve been on such a big reading kick lately. I have that problem where I go out to the store to by x, y, and z, and somehow convince myself to just swing by the book department and “just look” at the new arrivals and then I always leave with at least two books in my cart. I really need help. But in all honesty, can one ever have too many books? Here’s what is currently piled up on my bedside table waiting to be read:

Why Not Me? – Mindy Kaling
Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert
The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin
Mastering the Art of French Eating – Anh Mah
Me Before You – Jojo Moyes

This does not include the pile of cookbooks I have that I still need to read because I am the person that reads cookbooks like a novel. Are there any other books y’all think I should add to my ever-growing list?

I was trying to think of some clever tie-in between books and this salad, but couldn’t find one. [book pages are like ruffage for the mind??] I’ve been trying to bring healthier lunch options to work so I don’t end up buying a croissant and coffee every single day from the coffeeshop across the street. It’s a tough lifeworking across the street from an eatery whose pastries are uber delicious, and to be honest who would really pick a salad over a muffin or slice of pumpkin bread? That’s where this salad comes in.

If I’m going to subject myself to eating a salad:

1. the salad must fill me up
2. the salad must be so freaking flavorful
3. the salad must be quick to make
4. the salad must make everyone else want to try it

I think this bowl of leafy greens meets all of the above requirements. The chickpeas make the salad hearty enough to where it staves off hunger for a while, the chaat masala and tamarind sauce add a punch of flavor, the veggies can be mixed up ahead of time, and everyone who sees it wants to know what’s in the salad and what it tastes like with all the spices mixed in. Check, check, check, and check!

Give it a try and mix up your weekday lunch routine! Happy Tuesday!


chickpea & pomegranate seed salad

directions:

1. slice spinach leaves into thin ribbons and place in a serving bowl

2. in a small bowl, mix the diced cucumber, tomato, green onion, and cilantro with 1/4 tsp of the chaat masala

3. in a separate bowl, mix the yogurt and remaining chaat masala 

4. heat up olive oil in skillet to medium heat, then add the ginger and garlic and cook until lightly golden brown. add the drained chickpeas and 1 tbsp tamarind sauce and cook until the chickpeas are tender. let cool

5. once chickpeas are cooled, add to serving bowls. top with the cucumber/tomato mix, drizzle yogurt and remaining tamarind sauce for the dressing. sprinkle salad with pomegranate seeds.

yield: serves 2

time: 10 minutes prep, 10 minutes cook

ingredients:

2 cups spinach leaves, sliced
1 seedless cucumber, diced
1 tomato, diced
1 green onion stalk, thinly sliced
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp chaat masala, divided
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger, minced
1 16oz can chickpeas, drained
2 tbsp tamarind chutney, homemade or store-bought, divided
pomegranate seeds


table runner, ceramic bowl, wooden spoons provided by kettle & brine