Modern Ayurveda (Book Review)

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Ayurveda is complicated, there’s no doubt about it. You need a guide. You also need a guide on how to navigate Ayurveda in the modern world, since it was developed in Ancient India, and most of us don’t even live in modern India.

Ali Cramer does a wonderful job demystifying Ayurveda so that it’s livable in our modern times.

Why should a runner even care about Ayurveda? Have you ever had digestive issues that effected your running? Following Ayurvedic principles can help you sort that out.

Fairytales and Fitness

Disclaimer: I received a pre-publication edition of this book from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review.

Ayurveda is about more than just how to eat

What’s in the book?
The first third of Modern Ayurveda (Amazon Affiliate link) explains the major principles of Ayurvedic eating, determining your dosha (remember my post on the doshas? Read it hereif you missed it), what sorts of foods are appropriate for which doshas, and the 6 tastes — and which of those tastes are most balancing for your dosha.

I’ve just thrown out a bit of Sanskrit and some terms you’re probably not familiar with — that’s okay, because Ali does a great job of explaining it all in easy to understand language.

Here’s a list of the chapters in the book:

  • Essential Ayurveda
  • Ayurveda and You
  • Modern Ayurveda Lifestyle
  • Recipes for Healing and Detox
  • The Healing Recipes
  • Remedies & Practices for Specific Ailments
  • Kickstart Plans
  • Ayurveda Every Day
  • Resources

Modern Ayurveda is about a lot more than just eating right, though. It’s about how to move (including yoga flows tailored to your Dosha), even when is the optimal time to move, destressing rituals, and more.

What drew me to this book
I’ve dabbled in Ayurveda, even before I learned more about it in my YTT. Learning more, as usual, is the key to igniting interest and yet leaves you with more questions. Here’s a snippet of the book description on Net Galley:

Ayurveda is an ancient South Asian system of holistic health and wisdom that’s been practiced throughout the world for thousands of years. It teaches us to live in harmony with the world around us by balancing our naturally-occurring physical and mental tendencies with the limitations of our lives. Modern Ayurveda introduces you to the basics of the Ayurvedic way of eating and lifestyle choices, with everything from recipes and morning meditations to daily routines, personalized yoga practices, and more.

Ali Cramer, the author of Modern Ayurveda, is the director of the Ayurveda program at Laughing Lotus Yoga Center in New York City.

According to Ali, Ayurveda is:

A complete system of based on the elements of nature and  living life in accordance with the natural rhythms of our world.

Kichadi: Indian comfort food

So how does it taste?
There is a clickable index of recipes at the beginning of the recipe section, broken out by Dosha.

Recipes are clearly marked by Dosha icons

Some recipes are tridoshic (appropriate for all doshas), some are good for a couple of doshas, and the vast majority are aimed at your particular dosha. There are also suggestions for how to eat by season.

Recipes in the book, also clearly marked by Dosha

There are recipes for:

  • Kichadi (a rice and bean dish)
  • Breakfasts
  • Spice Mixes
  • Soups
  • “Burgers” (veggie burgers)
  • Sauces
  • Snacks
  • Tonics
These are what the Kapha Burgers look like — and they taste great!

All the recipes I tried from the book were simple, tasty, and didn’t require a long list of strange ingredients, although they most likely will require spices you may not have in your spice cabinet.

Who is this book for?
You don’t have to be into yoga to explore Ayurveda (although the two really do go together). If you’re interested in how to tailor your eating to your body type, not somebody else’s, Modern Ayurveda can help you get started. If you eat healthy and clean, but still struggle with digestive issues, this book is for you. If you just want some healthy tasty recipes, this book is also for you!

Does having a diet tailored to your individual needs — one that changes and adapts with you, the seasons, your age — sound good to you? Then learning a little more about Ayurveda could be helpful to you.

Baby stepping into doing the right things for your Dosha

The Kickstarts
There is a seven day kickstart program all laid out for you by your dosha. It’s not what you think, though — it’s not really about your food (although there are suggestions for a meal plan for each dosha and food lists with best foods for your dosha).

No, it’s about how you live your day. There are simple suggestions for what you should add to your day — and when. It starts out with small changes, and each day builds on the previous day with additional small changes.

I didn’t try the kickstart, but most of the small changes that are suggested are not time-consuming. Change is hard, though, and even the simplest changes require a willingness to change. We can’t feel better if we aren’t willing to change.

Chickpea pancakes. Super quick & simple — they’ve become a staple!

Final Thoughts
I love how simple Ali Cramer makes Ayurveda seem. A lot of information is packed into this book, in addition to the recipes. It’s about so much more than food, though. Because Ayurveda is about so much more than food — it’s really a lifestyle. Perhaps the original holistic lifestyle.

Ali gives you lots of suggestions, but realizes that baby steps are the way to go and most of all tells you to do the best you can.

The book itself is very visually appealing. All of the recipes are clearly marked by dosha. If I’ve piqued your interest in Ayurveda, then I highly recommend checking out Modern Ayurveda!

Have I managed to at least make you curious about Ayurveda?

Do you enjoy Indian food?

Are you curious about your Dosha? (I link to Dosha quizzes here)

17 thoughts on “Modern Ayurveda (Book Review)

  1. I rarely have time to cook. My hubby would never eat any of these and I don’t make separate meals when I do cook.

    But I do love Indian food. TaJ is one my favorite restaurants. I go with a friend often.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m really picky about Indian food, but Indian food & Ayurveda principles are not necessarily the same thing (for instance, in general, really spicy food is not recommended, although spices (not necessarily spicy) are a good thing.

      So far I’ve only found one Indian restaurant I really like here, but it’s expensive so we almost never go. 😦

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      1. I love all Indian food but TAJ is my favorite place because I know the owner and is close to my house. All their food tastes great. I don’t usually do spicy though. What restaurant do you like?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Karavalli. I’ve only been once & to the one near me — there’s another in Saratoga that I’ve heard is better — we both really liked it but then again it was also for a friend’s birthday celebration. Would go more often except it’s pricey. Someday we’ll have to try it for lunch, which is less expensive.

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  2. I am definitely going to buy this book. Thank you for the wonderful review! I have a friend who is also a yoga teacher. She has spoken to me many times about this. I love Indian food and think I could really benefit from learning these Ayurvedic principles.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do highly recommend this book, although Ayurveda is definitely not something you can learn from one book. This is a good place to start. Eat Feel Fresh is another great book, but her recipes tend to be a bit more complicated (although yummy).

      Liked by 1 person

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