We’ve all heard the quotable quote: ‘you are what you eat’. But the tired phrase does hold truth and meaning — keeping a well stocked pantry with healthy foods is key to maintaining a diet that’s good for the mind, body and soul. However, more often than not, the fancy packaged foods in our grocery carts have little nutritional value, low fibre, and come loaded with excessive salt, sugar, artificial colours and preservatives.
A pantry overhaul is the first step to anyone looking to adopt a healthier lifestyle, and what better way to do it than all au naturel and Ayurveda-inspired. The scriptures promote Satvic foods - ‘foods in the mode of goodness that increase the duration of life, purify one’s existence and give strength, health, happiness and satisfaction.’
We asked Subah and Harsh Saraf of The Satvic Movement (@satvicmovement) for tips and tricks on how to optimise our kitchens the Satvic way. “Satvic food is healing food, so when we eat it, our body has to spend less time digesting and can spend more time healing. But the benefits go far beyond the physical body. Gradually, as we keep eating Satvic food, it brings mental clarity, calmness and humility,” explains Subah Saraf, author of the Satvic Food Book.
It’s time to take stock of everything that’s in our kitchen cabinets and refrigerators. Here are a few simple swaps that’ll turn any pantry into a cornucopia of good, nutritional, food -
Keep: Coconut Slices
Biscuits may seem like the most innocent of snacks but are loaded with unhealthy fats and unprocessed carbs. Make coconut slices your tea-time companion which are equally crunchy and fun to consume.
Delete: Lentil and Bean Sprouts
Keep: Vegetable Sprouts
Sprouts of beans and lentil are difficult to digest, whereas vegetable sprouts such as alfalfa, radish, clover and fenugreek are much easier on the system.
Keep: Nut Milks
You might not even know it, but there’s a good chance milk is messing with your digestive system. More and more people are becoming lactose intolerant. Commercial milk is highly adulterated to increase the thickness and volume. Soak desiccated coconut, almonds or cashews in water for 6-8 hours, and blend it with fresh water. Strain the mixture and voila - you have nutritious homemade nut milk.
Keep: Cashew Cheese
You don’t need processed cheese that is super fattening and loaded with salt for that cheesy, creamy taste. Swap it for homemade cashew cheese which can be made by simply blending cashews with coconut milk.
Delete: White Sugar
Keep: Date Paste
We all know white sugar isn’t the best, but swapping it for dates is a win-win. Not only are dates perfectly sweet, but also packed with nutrients and essential minerals like calcium and iron.
Delete: Ice Cream
Keep: Homemade Peanut Butter Ice Cream
We all get cravings - but a homemade peanut butter ice cream made with no cream, no sugar and no milk is equally delicious minus the guilt. All you need is bananas, dates, peanuts and a quarter cup of water.
Delete: Aerated Drinks
Keep: Coconut Water and Freshly Squeezed Juices
Kids love it and so do we, but a glass of coconut water or freshly squeezed can be equally satisfying and a lot more refreshing. The best part about fruit and vegetable juices? The endless options in a rainbow of colours.
Here are a few strategies to apply to your kitchen:
Switch to clay cookware:
Metal pots and pans tend to leech metal particles into the food that goes into your body. This may lead to toxic accumulation over time.Instead, use clay tavas and pots for cooking. Clay is porous in nature and allows moisture and heat to circulate through your food, and thus, retain its nutrition.
Invest in a julienne peeler:
“This is one seemingly gimmicky tool that I absolutely adore and highly recommend,” cofesses Subah. The tool comes with a jagged edge that allows you to create thin strips of vegetables for salads, saving a lot of time and effort while cutting vegetables for salads.
Spiralise your kid’s veggies:
A spiraliser is an inexpensive tool that turns fresh vegetables into noodles, and a sneaky way to eat more vegetables. “I’m eating spiralized noodles,” is more exciting than saying “I’m eating a salad.” Zoodles anyone?
Up the quality of your juices:
The fast-spinning metal blade in centrifugal juicers generates heat, which destroys the enzymes in the fruits and vegetables you’re juicing leading to a less nutritious juice. Invest in a slow juicer (or cold press juicer) which extracts juice by first crushing and then pressing fruit and vegetables keeping more of the nutrients intact, leading to a high quality juice.
Cut down your use of herbs:
Dry herbs are more concentrated. The Sattvic experts recommend using 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs for every 1 teaspoon of dry. Soak your seeds and nuts in water before use: Nuts contain something called enzyme inhibitors, which make them hard to digest. By soaking them for a few hours, these enzyme inhibitors are removed.