Sometimes I like to recreate popular recipes into their Ayurvedic or vegan versions.
This time, it was mac and cheese, which has been one of those foods I’ve had to continuously avoid for a few reasons:
The bloating, the heaviness, and the acne.
Well, finally, I did this yummy dish utilizing Ayurvedic principles, and believe it or not, it tastes even better than the original recipe!
Maybe, it’s because it’s completely guilt free…
Yet, you’ll agree with me, it’s still as creamy, rich, and filling as the traditional macaroni with cheese sauce.
Cheese according to Ayurveda
Some of you might be lucky enough to enjoy cheese with no side effects.
Others, can notice its impact almost immediately on our digestion and skin.
Cheese has a sour rasa (taste), a heating virya (energy), and a sour vipaka (post-digestive effect). These qualities render it aggravating for Pitta and Kapha doshas in particular.
Although cheese can pacify Vata, chances are it is still not well digested by this body type.
My advice is to eat intuitively by making sure your agni (digestive fire) is optimal before you add cheese — especially the dry varieties that are more congestive — to your diet.
This means you are not experiencing any bloating, gas, heartburn, abdominal cramps, or diarrhea.
Moreover, consider the weather and season.
For instance, in warm subtropical climates, such as Florida or India, eating cheese, a fermented — and often times considered putrid — food, is not ideal.
This is already a Pitta environment (hot) with some Kapha notes (humid and swampy); therefore, cheese will likely aggravate these constitutions.
Cheese can also be good
Charaka Samhita, Sutrasthana Ch. 26, verse 12, mentions that all substances in this world can be medicinal.
Hence, to turn poisonous food into healing, or at least neutral nourishment, we can always combine it appropriately, eat it at the right time (season and time of the day) and cook it or prepare it using basic Ayurvedic principles.
It can be used as an effective way to keep you warm.
Now, heat is best obtained from the sour rasa (fermented food) rather than simply from hot spices.
How to eat cheese
I don’t agree with restrictive dieting, so if you like cheese and know you can digest it, follow these principles to enhance its assimilation:
- Avoid it if you have any signs of congestion, mucus build up, stuffy or runny nose, or heaviness.
- Avoid it if you are experiencing inflammation, acid reflux, excessive sweat, or bad breath.
- Choose fresh over dry, unless your Agni is on fire 😉 which would indicate you can digest both types.
- Have it sparingly and in small quantities.
- Eat it during the day, ideally at lunchtime, when digestion is strongest.
- Add some warming spices like dry ginger, black pepper, or pink pepper.
The best vegan mac and cheese recipe
Although there are certain instances in which it is okay to eat cheese, some of us can’t have it, even when we follow the above rules.
The best vegan mac and cheese recipe is perfect for that latter scenario.
It feels, looks, and tastes “cheesy” but without the added negative effects.
P.S. I don’t utilize any vegan cheese as I believe those are lab-made foods, very hard to digest, with very little nutritional value.
The best vegan mac and cheese recipe
- 1/2 cup Butternut squash (cubes)
- 2 oz Elbows pasta (raw)
- 1/2 tbsp Olive oil (extra virgin)
- 1/2 tbsp Apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp Nutritional yeast
- 1/8 cup Parsley
- Garlic powder, Paprika, Sea salt, Black pepper, Cayenne pepper.
- Cook the pasta as per the packet instructions. Set aside.
- Steam the butternut squash. Let it cool.
- Blend the cooked squash with the olive oil, all the spices, nutritional yeast, and apple cider vinegar until smooth.
- Pour the creamy “cheese” on the pasta. Mix well.
- Top with fresh parsley leaves.