While using fresh ingredients is ideal when it comes to cooking with Ayurveda’s framework, it is not always plausible. Sometimes accessibility of ingredients, time, costs, or all three can prevent us from cooking from scratch. Fortunately, there is no judgment in Ayurveda. We do what we can, how we can, and when we can. Making the best possible choices, whether long term or momentary for our individual situation, guilt-free and always with good intention and love.
I kept these words top of mind when deciding to use concentrated lime juice and aloe to make this quick version of The Summer Cooler. While I try to minimize the use of ready-made ingredients, even when they are of high quality, there are days, week, months when my priorities shift. Requiring my time to be spent in different ways. This was the case when I decided to short-cut the recipe I posted last summer during our recent unprecedented heat wave in the Bay Area.
With temperatures reaching almost 40 degrees higher than the day before, I could feel my internal heat rising. Waking up to a heat rash within 24 hours of this week-long heat spell. My pitta needed to be tamed with a refreshing antidote to cool my liver and replenish my evaporating electrolytes. Yet, the thought of dissecting an aloe stalk, juicing a dozen limes, and cleaning the residue was not peeling me off my cool wooden floors. I wanted to quench my thirst, but with little or no effort. Luckily, Lily of the Desert Whole Leaf Aloe Juice and Organic Santa Cruz Lime Concentrate were sitting in my pantry waiting to be put to good use.
I knew I laziness was driving my decision, but I decided not to grapple too long about it and just blend. As a person who more often than not goes the extra mile when it comes to cooking, recognizing my energy levels were not up peeling, squeezing and cleaning was my gold star for the day. Overexerting myself to then feel exhausted in the middle of the process, and end up feeling cranky were ingredients this antidote for my heated liver and blood could do without.
Within the realm of Ayurveda’s approach to cooking, an ingredient’s freshness is not always the end all and be all. While fresh is important, our thoughts, mood, and energy also play an integral role in ayurvedic cooking. Freshness and our energy are interdependent ingredients. One of which is measurable and the other is an unmeasurable nutrient rooted from the soul. Bringing what my Nani would refer to as bharkhat. An essential component of cooking, absorption and assimilation process.
From a nutritional standpoint, fresh ingredients may have nutrient density, more prana or life force, and bharkat, however, if our energy is lacking or negative while cooking, how much bharkat does that food hold? Our energy is often underrated for its healing, medicinal value through the western lens. However, in Ayurveda cooking with good, loving intentions has power, prana, bharkhat. So, on days when you have to open a can, use a concentrate, or reach for frozen vegetables, remember the power of your intentions. Our energy is not dependant on ingredient accessibility, costs, or time, fortunately, it is always within us. And we have control over it.
Cook with Love. Eat with Love. Digest with Love.
Minty Cucumber-Aloe Limeade | A Cooling Elixir
a quicker version of our original summer cooler with ginger
Add cucumber, ginger, mint into the blender with the aloe juice and blend until the ginger is completely blended. Then add honey, lime juice, and salt, blend to mix all ingredients together.
Add 5 cups water (or more if you want a less concentrated version), refrigerate for about 1-2 hours so all the flavors infuse before serving.
- The drink is slightly tangy, a tad bitter, with a sweet touch. Adjust the amount of honey or raw sugar according to personal taste
- Since this drink is naturally a refrigerant, serving over ice or extremely chilled is not recommended from an Ayurveda perspective
- For decor, a few slices of cucumber can be peeled prior to slicing the cucumber in half
- Individuals with a vata constitution or dosha (imbalance), monitor the quantity; use sugar versus honey;
- for a little extra, extra add a dash of rose water