CulturallyOurs A Closer Look At Ayurveda And Its Benefits

Ayurveda 101 – A Look At The Basics

CulturallyOurs A Closer Look At Ayurveda And Its Benefits

When we learnt about Uppma Virdi and how a quest into understanding the benefits of Ayurveda from her grandfather led her to start Chai Walli, a business that sells Ayurvedic blend of teas, we were very intrigued about this age old health modality. What is Ayurveda and how can one benefit from the learnings and teachings of a health science that has been around for centuries!

In case you missed Uppma’s interview, you can listen to it here.

Our friend Paula Saalfeld who shared her thoughts around healthy habits that work not just for your body but also for your mind, and how to travel with mindfulness and intention is back to sharing her experiences researching Ayurveda as an alternative form of medicine. She found herself leaning towards a more natural and intuitive cure when the traditional route for her ailments failed her time and again. 

From Paula,

I’ve always believed that our body is designed to heal itself, once we give it the opportunity and understand what it actually needs. If you cut your hand – it will heal by itself, unless you disturb the process. With time, I’ve learned, that it’s just about clearing things out of the way, so that it can begin to work.

The past few years my skin had caused me a lot of suffering. I was struggling with severe acne and it ruled my daily life and well-being. Moreover, since I’m an aspiring nutritionist and take great care of my health, I was even more frustrated not to find the root cause of these problems for so long. It was a strenuous journey, trying to self-heal trying one theory after another. Especially the last year was a blur of dietary experimentation. I went to every kind of doctor and naturopath, did blood and food-allergy tests, tried all kinds of natural supplements, as well as other dietary changes, natural remedies, practices and even antibiotics. After all, I still couldn’t find the answer to my issues. My quest for the ‘perfect’ diet had brought me totally out of touch with my intuition to feel and know what I really need.

I had heard of Ayurveda over and over again, but for a long time I had never considered to look more into it, because I was not able to recognize and understand the powerful core of this science for quite some time. Fortunately, through more research of my own, I finally gave it a shot. First, I tried it with my own approach, but when I started a therapy with an Ayurveda specialist, I was able to achieve promising results and changes.

CulturallyOurs A Closer Look At Ayurveda And Its Benefits Spices and Pulses of Ayurveda

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda, the world’s oldest health system, is not a diet, but rather a system that offers a deeper introspection on food and life. It is focused on balancing the mind and body, because both are inextricably connected. Western medicine treats each part of the body separately – whereas Ayurveda draws a connection between your physical and mental state and offers holistic ways to bring each back into balance.

The cornerstone of Ayurveda is individuality. We are all unique individuals with a different combination of the three doshas (mind-body types): Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

According to Ayurvedic the entire universe is an interplay of the energies of the five elements—Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. Vata, pitta and kapha are combinations of these five elements that manifest in all creations. In the physical body, vata is the energy of movement, pitta the energy of digestion, and kapha the energy that forms the body’s structure.

Vata is the subtle energy associated with movement. It governs breathing, blinking, muscle and tissue movement, pulsation of the heart, and all movements in our cells. In balance, vata promotes creativity and flexibility. Out of balance, vata produces fear and anxiety. Pitta expresses as the body’s metabolic system. It governs digestion, absorption, assimilation, nutrition, metabolism and body temperature. In balance, pitta promotes understanding and intelligence. Out of balance, pitta arouses anger, hatred and jealousy. Kapha is the energy that forms the body’s structure. Kapha supplies the water for all bodily parts and systems. It lubricates joints, moisturizes the skin, and maintains immunity. In balance, kapha is expressed as love, calmness and forgiveness. Out of balance, it leads to attachment, greed and envy.

That’s why there can be no one-size-fits-all-approach, since we have highly individualized needs, based on our unique constitutions.  While doing my own online-research and reading some books, I already noticed quickly that I had a strong Pitta imbalance. My mind was filled with stress, my body with inflammations and toxins. 

I slowly I started to realize that following a whole food plant-based diet is not the only solution to all problems for everyone, even if that idea is promoted by and works for many people. It takes much more insights to recognize what your unique body really needs to heal itself. Everything we consume has an energetic effect and the food and way we eat, changes our entire being. Our body and physical health are just reflecting our internal state of being.

Due to some changes made in my diet, to the treatment with special herbs and ayurvedic medicines as well as due to some lifestyle changes and stress management techniques, the first changes inside and outside were already visible after the first few weeks. As this kind of medicine does not only focus on healing one issue, but also looks at and treats the whole condition of the body, it not only healed my skin, but also directed my whole body to a completely different level and brought me to my full strength and vitality. 

Little by little, as my skin healed, my body could finally regenerate itself and my mind could calm down. None of the things I tried before could help me as much as this. The whole variety of fruits and vegetables, raw foods, smoothies, juices and other healthy foods I had eaten the past months were not helping. On the contrary, it made things even worse.

During the therapy, I followed an easily digestible, simple plant-based diet, which focused pretty much on the basics. This helped the body to calm down and start the healing. It is often not all the superfoods that our body needs, sometimes just a little less of everything. I used all these methods to bring my body back into balance. Due to hormonal contraception in the past, my former diet and also because of much stress, my liver was no longer in an ideal condition.

Getting healthy means becoming your highest version.

CulturallyOurs A Closer Look at Ayurveda and its benefits to healing

Taking care of yourself is the first step to share your gift with the world and serve others.

Perhaps it is not Ayurveda that will help you, but rather a completely different way. What I just want to point out is that EVERYONE has to find their individual way, health-wise as well as in life. There is not one-way that works for everyone. Embrace your journey and trust the process! Nevertheless, I am more than grateful for this whole experience. My skin and the past have taught me incredibly much about myself and gave me another perspective on nutrition, our health, bodies and diseases. Now I know exactly what my body needs, how I can stay in balance and I have developed a very different approach of working with future clients.

Every challenge in our life has an enormous learning potential if we see it as that. Instead of fighting a problem, we should see it as an opportunity to grow, because often these are just the things we really need right now. Since I had a slightly more limited food selection over the past weeks, I have become even more creative in developing my recipes. With the following one, I want to show you that Ayurveda is not something restrictive or boring.

You can even create an incredibly delicious vegan Mac n Cheese! This became one of my all-time favorite dinner recipes!

CulturallyOurs Vegan Ayurvedic inspired mac and cheese recipe

Ayurveda Inspired Vegan Mac-n-Cheese Recipe

Ingredients (Vegetables)

  • 2 cups diced potatoes
  • 1 cup diced sweet potato
  • 1 cup diced carrot 
  • a small diced onion and a garlic clove


In a pot cook the peeled and diced vegetables. When everything is tender, put it in a high speed blender with the following ingredients to make the sauce.

Ingredients (Sauce)

  • 3 heaped tbsp of coconut cream (use the thick part from the can)
  • 1/3 cup plant milk 
  • 1/2 cup water from the pot 
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat the sauce and add some cooked macaroni pasta (I used rice- and cornflour pasta). Top the Mac n Cheese with some olives, black cumin and fresh coriander. Enjoy!

Thank you so much Paula for this personal insight into Ayurveda, what it is and how this ancient form of eastern medicine has helped you unlike any western medicine could. And that Ayurveda inspired vegan mac-and-cheese sounds and looks absolutely divine. Whoever said mac-and-cheese was only for kids clearly has not tried this version!

{Words and Images by Paula Saalfeld; Instagram @plantifultaste }

Ayurveda Inspired Vegan Macncheese by CulturallyOurs
Basics Of Ayurveda For Health And Wellness By CulturallyOurs
A Closer Look At Ayurveda For Health And Wellness By CulturallyOurs
A Basic Guide To Ayurveda By CulturallyOurs
Ayurveda Inspired Vegan Macncheese Recipe by CulturallyOurs
Ayurveda Inspired Vegan Macncheese by CulturallyOurs
CulturallyOurs A Closer Look At Ayurveda and Ayurveda Inspired Recipes for Macncheese

Related Reading

Leave your comments below

  1. Heather Markowski says:

    Thanks for the recipe. I’m going to make this tomorrow. You mentioned that your liver was not in the best shape. Has it been getting better with ayurveda? I just started on this journey about 2 weeks ago and I’m noticing very small changes, but they’re changes nonetheless. My liver isn’t in the greatest shape and my kidneys aren’t either. I’m hoping to turn that around through ayurveda.