Just the presence of the word ‘Salad’ in the name of a dish does not automatically make it healthy. In recent years, with the growing awareness of eating healthy greens, we are choosing dishes that are commonly referred to as salads. But are they all healthy? Here is an Ayurvedic perspective on this matter, and what you should put together in a healthy salad.
Salad vs. ‘Healthy’ Salad – Avoiding Virrudh Ahaar
There is a big difference between a salad and a healthy salad. By definition, you can mix whatever ingredients you choose and call it a salad. People mix veggies with different types of meats, fruits with milk products such as cheese or yogurt – and then add a lot of sodium, flavored oils and spices to make it taste good. With wrong food combinations (Virrudh Ahaar), a lot of salt, tons of calories - -these dishes may be salads, but they are not ‘healthy salads’.
Sattvic Salads vs. Rajasic Salads
The very purpose of including salads to your meals is to become healthier. The Ayurvedic concept of ‘health’ is closely related to achieving Sattva Guna in your body and mind. To achieve that goal you must make Sattvic choices with your diet and lifestyle. Presence of onion, garlic, excessive amounts of sour, chilly, salt, meat - all of these makes your salad Rajasic. For a healthy, Sattvic salad, all you need is a little rock salt (saindhava Lavan), a little squirt of lemon juice and a few coriander leaves and a pinch of jeera powder.
Salads for lunch vs Salads for dinner
Ayurveda recommends that you eat raw foods before the sun sets. And, the ideal time to eat salads is at lunch. After sunset, the digestive fire becomes weak, and digesting raw foods can become difficult. It can easily lead to indigestion and flatulence. Raw vegetables and fruits must all be eaten during the day. For dinner, always choose a freshly cooked light meal, and have it at least 1 hour before going to bed.