Ayurveda and Siddha Doctors (among other traditional medicine practitioners) will often suggest a mix of herbs and spices along with specific foods as part of a “prescription” if you will, to restore balance and health.

For me, my Ayurvedic blend includes cumin, turmeric, coriander and fenugreek. This blend (in specific proportions) was prescribed to me by an Ayurvedic Doctor several years ago and continues to have benefit.

From the Siddha Doctor – strictly cumin and coriander (turmeric is okay to add because of it’s other beneficial properties, but it increases heat). These spices to be lightly sauteed in ghee (clarified butter), with vegetables added.

Check with an Ayurvedic practitioner for the best blend for you. Or you can experiment if you know your Dosha and add spices that work for you.

This blend becomes the basis for all that I cook. I use this blend rather than whatever is part of a traditional Indian recipe – or I make up my own recipe with whatever veggies I have on hand.

Traditionally, people knew what foods to eat on which days, how much and with what spices. They also knew which foods not to eat based on what they had the day before. Foods were prepared based on this along with knowledge of who was at the house and if they were sick or well.

Traditionally no one ate food that was more than a 1-2 hours old. No leftovers! Everything always made fresh.

For me, I use Yoga as a starting point. Because I practice Hatha Yoga I tend to run hot, I lean toward the side of “Ushna” (which roughly translates to “heat”) and my body benefits from cooling spices and cooling foods. I also like to err on the side of High Pranic and Sattvic foods that enhance my system and my practice. Only fresh versions – not frozen, canned or otherwise packaged. Here’s a list:

Sattvic Foods

alfalfa sprouts almonds amaranth anise
apple apricot artichoke arugula
asparagus azuki beans banana (ripe) barley
basmati rice bean sprouts (all) bee pollen berberies
black beans black eye peas black lentils blackberries
blueberries Brazil nuts broad beans broccoli
Brussels sprouts buckwheat butter buttermilk (fresh)
cabbage (cooked) cantaloupe cardamom carob
carrots cashews cauliflower celery
chard cheese (fresh made) cherries chestnuts
coconut collards corn (fresh) cornmeal
cranberries cream (sweet only) cucumber currant
dates (fresh) fava beans fennel figs (fresh and dried)
fruit juices (fresh) ghee (clarified butter) grapefruit (sweet) grapes
green beans green peas honey (raw unheated) honeydew melon
kale kohlrabi lettuce licorice
lima beans macadamia nuts mango (ripe) maple syrup
milk (fresh raw pure) millet Mother’s milk mung beans
mung dahl mustard greens navy beans nectarines
oats okra oranges (sweet) paneer (Indian cheese)
papaya parsley parsnip peaches
peanuts pecans persimmon pine nuts
pineapple (sweet) pinto beans plum pomegranate
prunes pumpkin quinoa raisins
raspberries rice rose hips rutabaga
saffron sesame seeds sorghum soy lecithin
spinach strawberries sugar cane (raw) summer squash
sunflower seeds sweet potatoes tan lentils tangerines (sweet)
tepary beans turnip walnuts watercress
watermelon wheat wild rice winter melon
winter squash Yams (no sweet potato) yogurt or curd (fresh) zucchini


A Yogi’s Lunch: Summer Vegetable Curry


This recipe is a “curry” of sorts with my spice mix, a tiny bit of Garam Masala and foods that are generally cooling as well as high pranic and satvic.

The squash, tomato and Swiss chard are local organic produce from my Michigan hometown Community Supported Agriculture (CSA); spices from my local Indian grocer (these can be found at most grocery stores and organic food stores too).

Serving Size: Makes enough for two when served with rice.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Make ahead: No

1/4 – ½ cup water
1 fist-sized squash sliced
4-6 Swiss Chard leaves chopped (include the stems if you like)
1 fist-sized tomato diced
1 TBS Ayurvedic spice mix
1/8 tsp Garam Masala (I make a blend with no onion, garlic or red pepper – a recipe from Isha Foundation)
1TBS Ghee
Salt to taste

My Ayurvedic Spice Mix
6 tsp coriander
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp fenugreek lightly toasted and freshly ground
2 tsp turmeric

Melt ghee in a sauté pan and add spices. Saute slightly until the fragrances are released, then add the tomato. When the tomato starts to break down and a sauce starts to form, add the other vegetables and stir until coated with the sauce. Add water – just enough to steam veggies in. Cover and simmer for about 5-7 minutes. Stir and add salt to taste.

Serve over rice (it’s very yummy plain too!).

Substitutions: You can use Zucchini or Summer Squash instead of the variety I used. You can also substitute Kale for the Swiss Chard. Kale needs a bit more cooking though.