Reviewed by E.B. Heath
Yoga is the journey of the self through the self to the self.
The Bhagavad Gita
The Yogic Kitchen is a colourful, 25.5 x 21 cm, 255-page book holding a lot of information. I adopted the tactic of learning about the ancient Indian practice of Ayurvedic that informs The Yogic Kitchen, while simultaneously sampling a few recipes. And I must say, above all else, the recipes are wonderful!
However, this is more than a recipe book. Jody Vassallo has given the reader a comprehensive approach to health according to Ayurvedic principle, which claims to heal and restore and bring balance to the digestive system. What follows here is a brief run-down on the information supplied. From page four to page sixty-three the reader becomes educated in the basics of Ayurveda, a ‘food as medicine’ approach to health framed according to the three doshas, or the different types of constitutions. The recipes that follow this section are grouped according to the needs of each dosha.
Jody starts with a guide on how to use the book, which is just as well as I found it a little overwhelming. The reader finds out via evaluation charts, which dosha, or doshas, pertain to their constitution. This takes concentration, as the dosha type does not have firm boundaries, you can be a combination of two or even three doshas, which can change at the behest of environmental variables or stage of life. But knowledge is power and Jody follows this with several pages of more dosha related explanations. Then she turns to how to balance each dosha, which elements dominate, and signs of a dosha being out of balance and how to keep in balance. ‘Stages of life and Ayurvedic seasons’ deals with elements, other than food, that affects our dosha type. ‘The Ayurvedic approach to health’ informs the reader how to remain in a balanced relationship with the environment and the key to digestive health. ‘Circadian rhythms and daily routine’ details how to harmonize with the natural rhythms of nature. A most interesting chapter benefiting all of us includes self-massage, meditation, cleansing and fasting, the difference between cleansing or detoxing and different methods of cleansing the digestive system. Jodi gives fresh information regarding fasting, which, she says, should be organized according to the needs of your dosha. She also lists the signs indicating that your body needs to fast. Two recipes are given for a one day green juices cleanse – Kapha green juice and simple green juice. In ‘Food combining’, also a vital aspect of Ayurveda living in balance, Jodi provides charts, that show how, and which foods can be combined and which should not.
The recipes start on page 64, and they are brilliant! Jody groups recipes according to each dosha – Vata, Pitta, Kapha. There are so many really original recipes, to name just a few:
Vegan pumpkin bread with spiced walnuts
Potato rosti with peas and yoghurt
Ginger, apple, cinnamon and clove tea (I’m using this to replace coffee)
Tumeric energy smoothie
Roasted sweet potato topped with herbal dhal
Buckwheat and beetroot pancakes with berries
Buckwheat, cranberry, tomato and pomegranate tabouleh
Rocket, pear and quickled onion and radish salad
Spiced cauliflower rice
It is no wonder that these recipes are so inspirational; Jody has 25 years of experience in the food industry as a recipe writer and food stylist. She has collaborated with Jamie Oliver, Bill Granger and Donna Hay, was a consultant to Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food in Australia, and was Food Director at Murdoch Books. Jodi has authored seven of Marie Claire’s best-selling cookbooks, won awards for eighteen books she authored and styled and was highly acclaimed for regional food books she authored for Hachette. She has also worked for the National Heart Foundation, the NSW Institute of Sport and the Australian Institute of Sport. But equally as important is Jodi’s knowledge of yoga and its sister science Ayurveda. The Yogic Kitchen seems to be a fusion of all her knowledge and experience.
by Jody Vassallo
ISBN: 9 78 1489 26 1670
Paperback pp.255 $39.99