Light, warm and nutritious, porridge forms the basis of an Ayurvedic breakfast. It provides sustainable energy without overloading your digestive system. Plus, this tasty meal is quick to prepare. Read on to find out more.
Eating a warm bowl of porridge might seem strange. You may think that you don’t have enough time to cook in the morning. While the typical central European breakfast of bread, jams, cheese, sausage, yoghurt and muesli provides a lot of energy, it doesn’t provide enough nutrients to fill you up properly. From the Ayurvedic point of view, these foods have cooling properties and can weaken the digestive system, which can lead to lethargy, weight gain and a constant feeling of hunger. According to Ayurveda, a system of medicine with its roots in India, we also have to take enough time to eat – and not just in the morning. Rushing is one of the biggest mistakes we make with our diet, especially in this part of the world. And we either eat too irregularly or too often, and the food we eat is either too cold or not right for our type. That’s why it’s worth taking a closer look at India.
The traditional teachings of Ayurveda promote food as a remedy. Many health problems start in the gut, and according to Ayurvedic doctors, these can be regulated and/or prevented with the appropriate diet. The digestive fire, or “Agni” (the Sanskrit word for fire) is a core concept of Ayurveda, and it serves as the guardian of our health. Ayurveda is centred around the three types, the “Doshas” Vata, Pitta and Kapha, which differ depending on character and body type – and therefore require different foods. You can find lots of sources on the internet to deepen your knowledge, on Wikipedia for example, and you can take the Dosha Test by doctor and Ayurvedic expert Janna Scharfenberg (in German).
The principle for preparing a nutritious breakfast porridge is very easy and can be adapted to suit any taste and every Dosha:
The whole process only takes a few minutes and will soon become part of your morning routine. You can find more ideas for a warm breakfast in the Helsana Coach app – from Asian scrambled eggs to cinnamon banana pancakes.
Ingredients for one portion:
(Source: Helsana Coach app)
Every organ has active phases and rest phases. During the morning, our digestive fire “Agni” is still asleep, the Dosha Kapha prevails with its cold, lethargic and immobile properties. A warm meal gently awakens the digestive system, as the food is already at “operating temperature”, so it requires less energy to digest. Heavy, cold food dampens the inner fire and puts too much strain on the digestive system, which affects our well-being throughout the whole day. Trendy banana bread, crunchy nut granola with warm milk or rice pudding with turmeric, cinnamon and other spices are good alternatives to porridge.
“Golden Milk” is a nutritious alternative for those who don’t like to eat in the morning. It is traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine as a remedy, immunity booster and for cleansing. Here’s how to prepare it:
Heat 200 ml almond milk with 1 tsp of cinnamon, 1 pinch of pepper, 1 tbsp of turmeric, 1 tbsp of coconut oil and 1 tsp of honey in a pan (don’t boil), pour into a cup and enjoy.
Evelyne Dürr (MSc in Human Movement Sciences, ETH; CAS workplace health promotion) joined Helsana in 2014. As a health management specialist, she helps customers engage with prevention and health promotion. Evelyne Dürr gave the editorial team advice and input for this article.
Please note: Ayurvedic therapies or treatments will not be reimbursed by Helsana.