Me Naiset nro 22
Sanna Sommers, Panu Pälviä
Lucille Rosenqvist cuts the
pumpkin with no hurry at all
Helka and Anne are watching carefully while Wayne is serving the food
In the ayurvedic cooking course the most important thing is the atmosphere. It is
said that you can taste it if the food is prepared in a hurry or while angry.
Happiness on a plate
"Oooommmm. Oooommm". On the beautifully patinate table there are 13 plates and as many people are gathered around singing om-mantra. One is serving the food and the rest is watching carefully when red beetroot-raita, orange-green pumpkin-spinach curry, yellow-brown mung dahl and red tomato chutney are placed on the white plates. And on top green coriander. You can smell the cardamom and ginger. Oooommmm is singing inside your body and it makes the moment feel sacred. Before sitting down there is still left auyrvedic grace in sanskrit. "Enjoy", says the teacher of the course, Wayne Featherstone, ayurvedic chef from Holland. Enjoy!"
We are gathered in the private home in Helsinki to join the ayurvedic cooking course in order to learn about a new attitude towards the food. Now we are not talking about good or bad carbs, not about fat or calories but about the kind of food that makes you happy, hyper or heavy, like Wayne says.
Pizza makes you lazy
Ayurveda is an ancient indian health knowledge according to which you feel good when you are eating the food that is suitable for your body type. There are three body types - vata, pitta and kapha and the food is classified as satvic, tamas and rajas. Also the climate and the time of the year are important.
You feel good if you eat the food that is suitable for your body type.
Helka Hytti came to the course to make peace with the food.
Is the food making you happy?
Ayurvedic chef Wayne Featherstone teaches to cook on the basis of how you feel. Anne Nousiainen is in the course for the third time.
According to the recent American research, eating vegetarian food lifts your spirit up and reduces stress. People who were taking part to the test - they all had been eating mixed food - were divided into three groups: one group was eating meat and fish every day, the other fish few times a week and one only vegetarian food. After 2 weeks the vegetarians felt much better spiritually, but the other two were as they had been earlier. www.nutritionj.com
This all sounds complicated, but Wayne is teaching everything with his own informal, humorous way. In this 6-day course students are not making analysis of their body types or lists of allowed or not-allowed food but they are cooking vegetarian food, meditate and discuss with eachother. The ahaa-experience is coming on the side if it is ever going to come.
-Taste this. Is this taste warming or cooling, Wayne asks, and puts the spice jar going around. Fennel seed, hmmm, yes I think it is cooling. Following ayurvedic cooking is actually following your intuition, Wayne explains. When the weather is cold, we dress warmly and eat mashed potatoes. In hot weather we prefer a cool salad.
The same way we actually already know what kind of food makes us excited and our mind restless: coffee, sugar and chocolate. These are food from the rajas-category or like Wayne says hyper-category. The food that makes you lazy is from tamas-category - canned food, frozen food and yesterdays food.
- I think that everyone knows that Sunday-feeling when you don’t want to get up from your sofa at all. You have 5 DVDs on the table and some pizza from yesterday. In that moment you think that it is good idea to eat that left-over pizza, but that makes you even more tired. Even in Monday morning it feels difficult to start your engine, Wayne describes.
And what kind of food makes your life energy bubble? Wayne stretches out his hand like he would pick up an apple straight from the tree and makes a sound like he would bite the apple. That is happy food. In fresh food there is prana, life energy. When you eat as fresh satvic food as possible you feel happy and light.
Just now it is easy to feel bubbly and satisfied because the venue is an experience itself. The apartment is located in the heart of Helsinki and it has large windows, high ceilings, oriental rugs, white sofas and the smell of incense. The organizer of the course, Eva Aminoff, calls her home the place of many events: in addition to cooking courses she has there yoga classes and the afternoon care for children who are interested in arts.
When you look to the open kitchen you can see that the hostess loves cooking. The red gas cooker has as much as 6 burners and the whole course can easily eat at the big table.
Fresh food has prana, life energy.
The hostess , Eva Aminoff, is also a teacher the stress management course in Art of Living theFoundation. 30-year-old Catarina is the youngest.
TIP: You can make the ghee yourself. Melt unsalted butter and let boil until it isgolden yellow. Filter through a paper or coffee filter.
Ayurvedic food seems like Indian or Nepalese food, but the flavors are milder.
1. Eat your food as fresh as
2. Cook your food in happy atmosphere, set the table nicely and concentrate to the meal. Don’t eat in a hurry or watching TV, enjoy. That way the digestion works as strong as possible. Forget the processed food, frozen food and food from yesterday.
3. Listen to the rhythm of the nature and your body. Remember to sleep enough, exercise and don’t skip the lunch.
But let’s start cooking from the beginning. Wayne has made in advance the ghee, clarified butter, which is a basic ingredient in the ayurvedic kitchen. Almost everytime the cooking starts by heating the spices in ghee. The ghee-bowl goes around from hand to hand, one sniff and aaahh, blissful smiles appear on everyone’s faces. Smells like caramel.
The meaning of the ghee and the spices is to highlight the good qualities of the food. Then all you need is actually fresh vegetables - and a happy mind.
-You can taste if the food has been made in a hurry or angrily, claims Wayne. He himself is singing while he is cooking.
-Have the connection with the food that you are handling, he tells the students when they start to cut the beetroot. The most recommendable way to heat the food is gentle steaming, because in that way you do the least damage to it. In higher temperatures you loose good vitamins.
- You propably guess which is the most damaging way to cook. It is microwave. Prana-level zero, Wayne says.
Ghee is warming on the fire and in there goes also ginger, mustard seeds, fennol, cumin and coriander.
- I wonder if I’ll remember all this at home, one of the course members worries.
-It is not about remembering but doing. Just do it, Wayne encourages.
He thinks that it is all right if you put one spice too much or the other too less. Forget the recipes - the most important thing is that the cook has a loving heart.
-This is all about being with the food, says also Eva Aminoff.
The student Helka Hytti listenes very carefully because this is a whole new way to see the food.
-I came here to make peace with cooking. I have hated cooking all my life, she tells.
Even as a child, 60-years ago, when she was supposed to help her mother in the kitchen, Helka would rather have escaped.
-I was always afraid that I was doing something wrong and mother will loose her temper.
It was the time after the war when you couldn’t think that you could love being with the food. But it is never too late to learn something new. Now when she is retired, she loves to do something totally new and now it is time to learn how to cook.
-This course has made me more curious to the food.
Anne Nousiainen is in the course for the third time. She makes ayurvedic food about three times a week, but she needs more inspiration for the everyday cooking.
-In everyday life you easily slip back to your old habits. Moreover it is really fun here, the food is excellent and Wayne is so wonderfull.
Enjoy every bite
What about the forbidden food, is there any?
-No. If you like to have some chocolate, eat and enjoy every bite, Wayne laughs.
In ayurveda, or at least with Wayne's words, food is a friend - not an enemy.
-If you resist something, it becomes stronger. If you repeat in your mind - dont’t take the chocolate - it won’t let you in peace before you have eaten the whole bar.
A bit out of the blues Wayne tells that the mushrooms and onions are tamas-category according to ayurveda - they lower your energy rather than make it higher.
-If you love mushrooms and picking them up, enjoy your find by all means. But if you feel low after, choose something else.
In ayurveda the food is your friend, not your enemy.
Pumpkin spinach coconut curry Are you vata, pitta or kapha? (MeNaiset.fi)
1 kg spinach
2 kg pumpkin
1 tbsp ghee
½ tsp fenugreek
½ tsp asafoetida (or spring onion)
1 tbsp curry
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
5 cups coconut milk
salt, black pepper
Cut the pumpkin and cut the spinach into thin slices. Steam the pumpkin about 8 minutes and the spinach about 4. Heat the ghee and add the spices. Peel and cut the tomato in small pieces and fry them with the spices about 1 minute. Add some water, so it wont’t burn. Mix the coconut milk and steamed vegetables. Serve with basmati rice.
(Recipe from: Happy, hyper or heavy. by Wayne Featherstone.)
More information about the courses:
www.artofliving.fi or phone 040-5629424 (Eva Aminoff)