Ayurveda is an ancient science of natural and healthy living that has been in practice in our country for more than 5000 centuries. Yet many people, not limited to modern millennials alone, know it only as an alternative medicine system prescribing the use of jadi, booti, kadhas, and bhasm, and many other natural medicines as cures for illnesses.
They don’t realize that Ayurveda is not simply a Jadi-booti science but much deeper than that. It is a whole system of holistic living that preaches a healthy lifestyle, not a mere treatment of illnesses like allopathy medicine. Ayurveda places immense emphasis on our lifestyle and dietary habits for the preservation of our health and to keep illnesses at bay and
recommends carefully looking into our food’s quality since food enriches our body by providing nourishment and energy and is the number one step to ensuring optimum health.
The whole science of food that Ayurveda preaches is centered around. It is based on the use of the food we consume as appropriate nourishment containing therapeutic, even medicinal qualities that can prevent the manifestation of illnesses in our body and cure them. And so it recommends the use of wholesome ingredients – herbs, spices, all kinds of local fruits and vegetables, often in combinations compatible to our Prakriti, and cooking processes as per ancient recipes. The cooking process is critical, and as per Ayurvedic scriptures, we should keep the nutrients intact and not kill them by overcooking or burning. In this regard, ancient science even prescribed the use of different metal utensils for cooking.
If you ever wondered why our kitchens had so many Traditional cookware utensils in India, here’s the answer – it is because our ancestors who followed the Ayurvedic way of life knew that the right kind of food cooked in the right type of cookware could keep us healthy. Unfortunately, they couldn’t pass on this wisdom successfully, and we are suffering because of that. But we can end our misery and secure the boon of good health by adopting some of these practices. Let’s revise some priceless learnings from Ayurveda and adopt the ancient cooking practices with traditional cookware –
Did you know that copper is one such metal that balances all three body doshas – Vata, pitta and Kapha? The metal enriches the food that is kept in it with essential minerals, detoxifies the body, increases the metabolic rate, enhances the production of hemoglobin, along with aiding digestion. Copper can be used to store non-acidic food, and a great habit to include in your routine is to drink water stored in a copper container to benefit from this amazing metal.
Brass and bronze are both alloys of copper that each possess unique qualities. Brass is known to pacify pitta while balancing Vata and Kapha in our bodies. Also, it is an excellent metal for cooking as it conducts heat well and keeps the nutritional content of food cooked in it intact, and increases its shelf-life. Among metals, it has the highest nutrient-retention quality, which is about 90%. On the other hand, Bronze is also a high resistance excellent heat conductor metal that is thick and perfect for slow cooking that Ayurveda prescribes. Although it is an alloy of copper made with tin, it is called shudh dhatu in our culture because it keeps bacterias and viruses from growing.
Cooking in cast iron cookware is the best way to get a healthy dose of iron. Our ancestors cooked everything from daily sabzi-bhaji, chapatis, dosas, rasam, etc., in cast iron utensils and were never deficient in iron! Cast iron utensils can even be seasoned and made naturally non-stick and used to make crispy dosas and chillas, without any harmful chemicals used in modern non-stick ware.
Cooking in clay keeps us close to all five elements of Earth. Clay vessels enrich the food with many essential vitamins and minerals and contribute to building immunity and strength. Clay also lends a tasty aroma and flavor to food cooked in it, delighting our taste buds as much as it would delight our whole body with the nutritional benefits.
Cooking in different metal utensils used to be a common practice in Indian kitchens. However, this changed in the past decades. Bringing them all back might be a big overhaul for us now that we’ve replaced these traditional utensils with modern steel and non-stick cookware. However, we can bring back a few of these, if not all, and make our living healthier.
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