Ayurveda believes that “food is medicine” because nothing else has the same power to nourish, heal and bring together a community. According to Ayurveda, all foods have distinct properties that can bring you closer to or further from health, depending on your individual constitution. But Ayurveda also teaches that not all food is equal. Food that is filled with prana (life force), cooked gently with digestive spices and served in a sattvic (pure) home environment is the medicine that we should seek.
In recent decades, eating for convenience or entertainment, through frozen meals, packaged foods or at restaurants, has replaced the simple act of daily cooking that puts our health literally into our own two hands. Perhaps this distance from preparing our own food (and the surge in health concerns that have accompanied this change) is the reason so many people are now interested in Ayurveda.
Ayurveda says that it is not only what we eat but when we eat, how we eat, where we eat and many other factors that influence our digestion. For example, one of the most important aspects contributing to proper nutrition, according to Ayurveda, is the mental state of the person preparing the food. Food should be cooked with love and there is a good reason for this. Ayurveda, which bases its theory on the existence of five elements, believes that the art of cooking relates to the state of transforming matter. Simply put, when we heat food we change it or partially digest it. During this action, the state of the cook becomes part of the process of transformation and his or her emotions become one with the energy of the food. Love is a nourishing emotion and therefore, food cooked with love becomes healing to anyone who eats it.
In addition, where we buy food, our mood when shopping, and even how we make money used to buy food are all important factors when considering a diet, because these add a certain energy to our lives. Buying food with money earned by sattwic, honest means that serve others will bring those qualities to anything we purchase. But if we feel frustrated, angry or anxious while shopping, we will end up adding that energy to the food we buy.