Ayur-what-now?

"If you're feeling cold, put a jumper on. And if you're feeling warm, take it off." Welcome to the ancient philosophy of Ayurveda, explained at its most basic level, by best-selling author, chef and holistic hero, Jasmine Hemsley. We've been chit-chatting to Jasmine about all things Ayurveda, and how its 5,000 year old principles can help you through to 01.01.18. Hugs & kisses xxx

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What's Ayurveda and why is it important? 
It's a beautiful philosophy about so many things in life —  and very importantly, it gives us a framework to know how to create balance for ourselves as individuals.  It's about understanding how certain lifestyle habits and foods can bring you back into balance or tip your balance  — think lovely guidelines rather than rules. Like just as in summer we want more raw and fresh foods, in the winter we want comforting soups and stews. And it's about using nature's medicine cabinet to balance out our natural state, depending on the season: so in the winter, add some heat with ginger tea.

Talking of winter, do you have any tips that are going to help get us through the season? What should we be eating?
I’m adding ginger to everything — porridge, compotes and cakes. It’s a stimulating, heating herb and there’s a reason it’s been used to treat illness for centuries. Cumin is also wonderful at this time of year — I like to toast some and put it into a jar so I can put it on soft boiled eggs in the morning. Also, black pepper is a classic in Ayurveda — another fantastically heating spice without being too hot, like for example, chilli might be for some people.

And what about drinking?
In summer it would be all about cooling drinks like lime and mint juices but right now getting a herbal wardrobe to aide sleep, digestion and mood is invaluable. We forget that herbs and spices are so powerful, and were the only remedy before modern medicine was a thing. So try chamomile, lavender and rose tea for a calming, pre-bedtime drink. And after meals, fennel is fantastic if you have any digestive issues, which we all have a tendency towards over the coming months.

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You're alluding to Christmas, aren't you Jasmine?
It's such an easy time of year to eat too much, and too many foods — it can be seriously tough on the body, which can result in lethargy and sluggishness. Generally, really well cooked food is fantastic because it gives us energy quickly and it’s easy on the digestive system: slow-cooking, and enjoying that food in a slow environment does wonders for the digestion and leaves you feeling more connected and satisfied with your food. Avoid shocks like really cold water — cold things give our body more work to do at this time of year, like putting wet logs onto a fire, it's hard work. Ayurveda talks about digestion as our fire. So we want to have things that stoke that fire, not fight against it. Finally, leave as much time as possible between meals — wait until you're genuinely hungry to eat again, and give yourself plenty of rest. Be kind to yourself and remember that more of what you're feeling can push you off balance, while opposites bring you back into balance."

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Find Jasmine at the Good Food Show on December 2, when she'll be doing cookery demos at 11.30am and 3pm, as well as signing her new book, East by West. Loverly stuff.

 
 

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