10/10/2012 05:12 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Review: Sukham Ayu -- Cooking at Home With Ayurvedic Insights

I was recently given a copy of a wonderful Ayurvedic cookbook that I'd like to share: Sukham Ayu: Cooking at Home With Ayurvedic Insights. I've been interested in Ayurvedic cooking since I first started thinking about how strongly my diet corresponds to my health; the idea of using food as medicine makes a lot more sense to me than pouring countless pills down my gullet. You see, I come from a family of auto mechanics, and while I don't personally work on cars for a living, I have a pretty good understanding of how an internal combustion engine works. At the core of an engine is a single fact: Without gas, it won't run. And if you use crappy gas, the motor runs poorly.

Computers, an area where I do have copious amounts of experience, aren't that different. If you've got bad power flowing into your electronic devices, guess what? They won't work very well either.

So, bad energy source = performance problems, deterioration and an inevitable breakdown. It's true for cars, it's true for electronics and it's true for our bodies, too.

For those that haven't heard of it, Ayurveda is an ancient style of medicine originating in India, where people have been practicing this sort of health care for more than 5,000 years. Practitioners theorize that you can restore balance in the body through the use of diet and herbs. Focus is on both treatment and prevention, assigning each person to one of three body types, or doshas -- vata, pitta, and kappa. The diet you follow corresponds to what category your individual constitution falls into.

Even though you may not have heard of it, Ayurvedic medicine is all around us. Do a quick Google search for Ayurvedic practitioners in your area. You'll probably find at least one or two, if not many to choose from.

If you're interested in learning about how to help treat and prevent disease through diet, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of Sukham Ayu. As a guide, it's not as wordy as other Ayurvedic cookbooks I've read, which can provide too much information too fast and leave readers feeling overwhelmed. This book focuses on something we all love: food. It's a cookbook more than anything else, providing a section in the beginning that gives a brief breakdown on Ayurvedic principles in a way that anyone can understand. Then it's off to the recipes, where each dish includes a tip on what kind of dosha is most suited to that particular combination of ingredients and flavors.

Besides its use as an Ayurvedic handbook, Sukham Ayu is a gorgeous work of art. And I mean gorgeous, with a capital G. Each page is laid out in full color, with a high quality image of the dish and small, lovely flourishes that make the book feel like the authors and designers put a lot of thought into the project. Even the charts at the beginning and end are beautiful, which makes you want to keep reading.

If you're not interested in Ayurveda, Sukham Ayu is still a standup Indian cookbook -- even for beginners just hoping to dip a toe in Indian cooking. I've enjoyed having it as part of my collection, and I think you will, too.

Further Resources:

If you're interested in Indian cooking, you might be interested in the following resources:

  1. More info on Ayurveda.
  2. What's your dosha?
  3. A lovely Indian cooking blog, Spices and Aroma.

Photo credit: Stephanie Stiavetti