Fresh Prana – Ayurvedic Nutrition

OMG – I’m so excited! I just had an AHA moment. Well – not exactly a moment – but a new understanding of healthy eating just emerged for me over the past week or so. And the weird thing is – I already knew it! Has that happened to you? You “know” something, but then all the sudden one day, you really KNOW it. Could be that I’m just a slow learner – in any case I’ll share what became even more clear for me.

Because of my lifetime of belly issues, I’ve been interested in food and nutrition for a couple of decades. I’ve learned, experimented, learned and experimented some more. We all know eating fresh healthy food is good for you – this is widely known, obvious and just plain common sense. Furthermore, we know that despite all the confusing and contradictory information in the food and nutrition industry, everyone can agree on one thing:

Eating a mostly plant based diet of fresh fruits and vegetables is good for you.

However, unless you live near the equator, eating fresh veggies and fruits year round is challenging. Here’s what I mean – despite the fact that we can get “fresh” fruits and veggies from around the world year round in the grocery store, when the weather is cold, the last thing I want is raw veggies. I want warm soups and comfort food!

Now here’s where Prana comes in –

Prana is the universal sea of energy that infuses and vitalizes all matter.

Prana, a sanskrit word and an important concept in Ayurveda, is our vitality. Without prana we are dead. Prana is associated with the breath. Prana moves through and around us and all living things. We can breathe in prana. We can also eat food with prana. When we eat food with prana – we feel vibrantly healthy.

Food with prana is fresh, alive, colorful, ripe, and flavorful.

We can also eat food that does not have prana. Processed foods, animal products (because we don’t eat live animals) microwaved food, overcooked food, frozen food, older leftover food. The more food with prana we eat, the healthier we are.

Ok I’m finally getting to my AHA moment. In the colder months, I find myself reheating food in the microwave, and eating leftovers for days. Although I eat salads daily in the summer, I prefer warm food in the colder months. As I am learning and continuing to refine my lifestyle choices according to the information I’m learning about Ayurveda, I realized that although most of my food consists of vegetables and fruits, MOST of what I eat these days does not have any prana left!!

Another interesting fact about Ayurvedic nutrition is that because efficient and complete digestion is fundamental to our health, it is recommended that most vegetables and some fruits are always lightly cooked before consuming. This makes it easier for most people’s bodies to digest and extract as much nutrients from the food as possible. So now my task is to make more freshly cooked meals but less quantity so the leftovers aren’t around for so long. I’m also working on breaking my microwave habit. I don’t cook with a microwave, but I do rely on it for re-heating pretty much everything.

In practical terms – don’t kill the life-force giving PRANA of your fresh and healthy food like I have been! Want some recipe ideas to start practicing this health tip? Check out this ayurvedic cookbook I picked up recently by Sahara Rose Ketabi called Eat Feel Fresh – I’m loving the delicious, prana-filled meals.