April’s Amuse Bouche: An Agni-Supporting Ayurvedic Salad
Ayurveda tells us that spring it’s a good time to cleanse the body and reignite the digestive fire (agni).
This salad is sure to get the job done. Each ingredient in this recipe is unique in its properties and actions. Combined, these substances produce a synergistic effect.
Here are some of the amazing benefits derived from the ingredients:
The mung bean is a wonderful protein that is easy to digest and soothing for the intestines so that agni need not work hard! This allows agni to rest and reset itself. Not all beans are agni friendly but the mung bean is known as a tri-doshic bean; a bean that is easy for all three elemental energies (vata, pitta, kapha) to digest. Sprouting the mung bean has the added benefit of increasing its bio-availability (the ability for the body to digest and assimilate nutrients).
The lymphatic system does not have its own mechanism or “pump” to help it work. Beets have an affinity for encouraging lymph to move and usher out toxins.
In spring, we want the body to move into a more alkaline state and carrots help to do just that. They are also purifying for the blood and provide nourishment for the liver. Remember, the body requires nourishment and rejuvenation, not just cleansing!
The daikon radish is a Japanese radish with a heating energy (cold or hot energy is virya). Heat encourages the supportive effect of igniting agni. If you fall into the category of those who tend to overheat easily, have no fear, the virya of the daikon radish is balanced out by other ingredients in the recipe. If you notice that you tend to bloat at this time of year, daikon radish will help to reduce water retention. It is also cleansing for the liver, gallbladder and kidneys.
Parsley will also provide a healthy diuretic effect and encourages the body to let go of lingering winter weight gain.
Cilantro is like a magnet! Toxins (ama) bind to cilantro and are cloyed from the body. It has a cooling virya and supports immunity. This is especially good at a time of year when many of us experience allergies, because having a strong immune system serves to thwart allergies.
Ginger’s stimulating quality enlivens us at a time of year when we might feel heavy and lethargic. It burns ama and breaks up mucous that can build up during this damp season.
Finally, lemon and lime provide the sour taste. The sour taste activates the salivary glands that increase secretions in the stomach and digestive tract. Again, great for agni!
Agni Amuse Bouche
What You’ll Need
- 3/4 cup mung bean sprouts
- 3/4 cup grated raw beets
- 3/4 cup grated carrots
- 1/2 cup grated daikon radish (use regular radish if daikon is not at your disposal)
- 3 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
- 3 tbsp minced fresh parsley
- 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
- 1 tbps lemon juice (use lime if you live in a hot climate)
Eat 1/4 cup of this salad before the rest of your meal. Chew well and give thanks!