Ahhhh … bliss.
You’ve achieved a state where you don’t have a care in the world. Everything feels like it is just the way it should be. You desire nothing. Your mind is perfectly calm, like still water.
It is a wonderful feeling, but unfortunately getting a taste of bliss is fleeting and rare in the world. Until now.
Once I discovered the secret to flavor that could turn every meal into a blissful eating experience, I set my mind to learning it well.
And I am not talking about the momentary joy associated with indulging in a chocolate lava cake or raspberry bliss bar.
What I am referring to is healthy food that just happens to be incredibly satisfying, balancing, and flavorful.
After 20 years of practice, I’ve gotten pretty good at creating what I call "the bliss effect." With Buttered Veg I have set out to teach others.
Let me reveal these life-changing six secrets for you right away!
Introducing The Six Tastes
As part of the ancient science of life from India known as Ayurveda, there is principle known as the six tastes.
These tastes are: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent.
The pungent and astringent flavors may be new to you, since Western taste experts don’t recognize these. Western experts are focused on the tongue, whereas the ancient seers were focused on the entire universe.
We’ll get to more on this part later, but let me just say that knowing these flavors, and learning how to include a balance of all of them in every meal, will seriously elevate your cooking. It is really this simple.
Fully Satisfy Mind And Body
Before I teach more about the six tastes, I want to share with you the profound theory behind it.
It starts with the premise that a meal that contains a balance of the six flavors satisfies all the needs of your body and mind in that moment.
Another way of putting it is the balanced flavors satisfy all your desires, and consequently, your mind gets into its blissful state.
It is helpful to understand that the mind always seeks balance. And if it doesn’t get it, it will seek for something that will bring about balance.
Unfortunately, with the stress of modern lifestyles, if we are unbalanced to begin with, it can be very challenging to discern what would help us.
As a result, our cravings and desires tend to mislead us, resulting in our consuming something to excess, or missing the mark all together by eating the wrong thing.
Restoring balance to mind and body is key to breaking painful cycles of stress, and promoting a virtuous cycle of good decisions.
How Can Taste Be So Powerful?
To answer the question, "how can taste be so powerful," we have to go deeper, and think on a molecular level.
There is actually a profound ancient scientific theory behind taste, and it starts with the five elements.
According to Ayurveda, all matter is comprised of a fixed combination of five elements that are thought to make up all matter.
(Chinese medicine also recognizes the five elements, although they are named slightly differently.)
For Ayurveda, they are earth, water, fire, air, and ether.
Each of the six tastes is dominant in two of these elements. You can see the elements associated with the tastes below.
Give a close read and you can also start to understand their energies (known in Ayurveda as gunas), for example hollow, mobile, solid, cool, intense, and so on.
Since both your body, and the food you eat, are made up of elements, this means the food you consume has the ability to alter the relative makeup of the elements in your body.
If you add water by consuming sweet and salty tastes, you will add cool, dense, heavy, large, moist, smooth, cloudy, sticky, white, and clear energies to your body. This could manifest as weight gain and congestion.
Can you see the connection between how food impacts your mind and body now?
The idea of bringing about balance through diet and lifestyle practices, is the basis for self healing in Ayurveda.
Obviously, there is plenty of traditional wisdom to uncover here, but for today let’s stick to our subject in this post: the Six Tastes.
Below you can see how each taste impacts the mind and body, as well as foods that contain each of the six tastes.
Elements and the Six Tastes
|Sweet||Earth and Water||Calms nerves and mind and builds body tissue, however in excess it dampens digestion increases congestion, and weight gain.||Most grains and fruits, water, and milk.|
|Sour||Earth and Fire||Stimulates and energizes appetite and digestion, and supports elimination of waste from the body. In excess it can cause excessive thirst, hyperacidity, ulcers, burning, and skin conditions.||Lemon, lime, grapefruit, berries. All fermented foods, such as miso, soy sauce, yogurt, and pickles.|
|Salty||Water and Fire||Enhances flavor, cleanses, and stimulates appetite and digestion, but in excess it harms cells and bodily tissues and speeds aging.||Salt, seaweed, and watery vegetables such as zucchini, cucumber, celery, and tomato.|
|Pungent||Air and Fire||Promotes digestion and cleansing, and maintains metabolism and balance of bodily secretions, but needs moderation for optimal health.||Garlic, ginger, herbs like basil and oregano, spices like cardamom and cinnamon, and chili peppers.|
|Bitter||Air and Ether||Liver cleansing, helps to remove toxins, generally healing and toning to organs, controls skin ailments. In excess, bitter dehydrates, depletes, and can cause gas and constipation.||Turmeric, aloe vera, eggplant, lettuces, limes, kale, and cumin seed.|
|Astringent||Air and Earth||Cooling, drying, and heavy qualities are helpful for heat conditions and healing ulcers due to its drying and constricting effect on that reduce secretions and congestion. In excess, dry mouth, stagnant circulation and neuromuscular disorders.||Black and green teas, nuts, and legumes such as lentils and beans.|
Source: “A Life of Balance,” by Maya Tiwari
How Balanced Cooking Confers Bliss
I haven’t really emphasized this point until now, but not only is food that is balanced according to the six tastes incredibly satisfying and tasty, it also blissful!!
There seems to be a synergy that happens when you get the balance right.
It is like when all the notes are in place for a harmonized musical chord. It resonates in a beautiful and pleasing way.
I like to call it elevated food, because it actually elevates your state of mind.
When some people hear about balanced cooking, the first thoughts that come to mind are likely "bland" and "tasteless," but this isn’t the case.
You only need to experience a truly balanced meal once to validate the power of the six tastes. You will know it yourself.
Actually, do you ever watch cooking shows?
Notice how the judges judge? They will almost always comment on the balance. They talk about taste, color and visual appeal, and textural balance.
Now, think about whether you have seen a judge rendered speechless after tasting something good. The word sublime comes to mind.
You can see him or her savoring the food, and when speaking, it is obvious he or she is excited and visibly moved. He or she may even exclaim how well balanced the food is; perfection on a plate!
This is what we are aiming for, every time we cook.
And it is possible.
Give It A Try!
We should all be experiencing bliss from our food. Not only is it pleasurable, it is also one of the best things you can do to promote a healthy mind and body.
Ready to give it a try?
You can learn to cook according to the Six Tastes today by following my seven steps, which you can find by clicking here.
Cooking recipes on the Buttered Veg blog is also a great place to start.
Using Buttered Veg recipes guarantees quicker success, because I write all my recipes from the perspective of balancing the six tastes.
I hope that you will have success in cooking according to the Six Tastes, and that doing so will support your long-term health and happiness.