It’s taken me a while to read this book because it’s one of those that takes you off in different directions that then require some quiet time reflecting. I have enjoyed it immensely.
About the author
Sebastian Pole is the co-founder of Pukka Herbs which sells organic teas, herbal and ayurvedic remedies and massage oils. He is also a trained practioner in Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine and Yoga and runs a clinic in Bath.
Though you will find recipes on the Pukka website and a few within some chapters, this is not a cookbook. It is however a must read for those who want to cook and bake and eat in a way that is balanced for their lifestyle and natural constitution.
“The three constitutions are wind (vata), fire (pitta) and water (kapha). They destroy or maintain the body according to whether they are sick or healthy” Ashtanga Hridaya Samhitha
The first chapter helps you to determine and understand your Ayurvedic constitution or Dosha. You can also do this online but without much of the detail described in the book.
I spent the longest time reading the second chapter on Nourishment. The first few words made so much sense to me. They sum up this book and the outlook it provides on what you should eat, why and when.
“The life of all living beings is based on food, and all the world seeks food. complexion, clarity, good voice, long life, understanding, happiness, satisfaction, strength and intelligence all come from food.”
Growing up in an Indian family I have subconsciously learned to consume food to suit the way my body is feeling at different times of the month and also eat food that works together or for a specific reason. For example, I never mix milk and naturally sour foods such as citrus or yoghurt. I know this will lead to tummy upsets or a headache. I never eat eggs when I am due to get my period because I know I’ll get cramps. My Mum repeated many “rules” like this. This book helps you to understand WHY these rules are so.
Nourishment is about striking a balance that is right for your constitution. A balance that takes into account the food you eat but also how it is digested and the impact it has on your body. Firstly understanding that food can be healing but also poisonous (in the sense of harmful and damaging). Secondly understanding the six different tastes and what each of them are associated with and good for. Finally outlining the ingredients for a healthy diet and their specific properties in the The Pukka Larder. This is a fantastic library of botanicals which will help you build a list of foods you could be eating more of for your natural constitution.
The remaining chapters in this book address the different aspects of ayurvedic teaching and are fascinating insights into this way of living. I’m proud that it stems from my Indian heritage and thankful to Sebastian Pole for condensing it into one book written in simple language. It’s almost as if he wrote this book to address the questions I have been asking the elders and priests in my community for years! For them, it’s been a way of life. Rituals and routines they have grown up with without being able to explain the reasons why. Conversely I had constant moments of “Oh THAT’S why!” when I read this book. It’s helped me to review many of my own beliefs about the association of botanical ingredients with nutrition and gain some great insights on some changes I want to make to rebalance myself.
Hardcover: ISBN: 9781844009350 : £14.99 on Amazon
Published by Quadrille