How to Cook a Meal That Nourishes Your Body and Soul

What’s your dosha? Ever had an ayurvedic meal?

Julie Zwillich, famous for The Food Network Canada’s Summer’s Best, hadn’t either until she visited the Chopra Center at the lush La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, California.

The Chopra Center, founded by Deepak Chopra, M.D. and David Simon, M.D. in 1996, is a place of wellness, healing, and higher consciousness. It is also the focus of our series on The Chopra Well, Chopra Centered. The show follows Julie as she experiences all the Center has to offer. From meditation to yoga to ayurvedic cooking, Julie learns from the best minds and experts in natural health.

In episode 1 of Chopra Centered, Julie got her feet wet with a basic meditation class and dosha reading. What is a dosha, you ask? This is a term from ayurvedic medicine that refers to an individual’s unique physiological and spiritual blueprint. A person’s dosha can influence everything from her appearance to her temperament and tastes to the specific illnesses to which she may be more prone. There are three doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha. Many people have a combination, with varying levels of each. Julie’s dosha reading revealed that she is primarily pitta, known for its fiery quality.

In this week’s episode (airing Sunday July 22) Julie dives deeper into ayurveda with a personal cooking lesson from Chef Greg Frey Jr. and Teresa Long, Director of Chopra Center University. Chef Greg walks Julie and Teresa through the preparation of one of the Center’s specialities: lentils with coconut and lemongrass. (Recipe provided below.) Ayurvedic nutrition emphasizes a plant-based diet, simple dishes, and the incorporation of the six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent.

Meals should ideally offer a balance of the six tastes. But depending on a person’s dosha, there may be certain tastes to emphasize and others to avoid. With her pitta dosha, Julie would benefit from a diet that incorporates more cooling and bitter foods, less heat. For someone who “carries Tabasco in her purse,” this will be a hard lesson to implement. The dish Chef Greg prepares is actually quite spicy – delicious, but probably not the best for Julie’s daily fare.

In the words of Chef Greg, “A good dish should not just be fitting for your taste buds. It should be fitting for your soul, fitting for your life, fitting for your mind.” With these wise words, the ayurvedic nutrition lesson comes to a close, and Julie gets ready for a taste of yoga. Check it out in next week’s episode!

To find out your dosha, take the Chopra Center’s Dosha Quiz.
For more resources on Ayurvedic medicine and nutrition, click here.
Subscribe to The Chopra Well to follow the rest of Julie’s adventure, and more!
Ayurvedic Lentils with Coconut and Lemongrass:

For the month of July, Intent Blog is featuring 30 Days of Recipes. Everyday we’ll feature recipes and food-related articles contributed by bloggers in the health and wellness sphere. Our intent is to encourage you to get back into the kitchen and re-connect with your food in a way that promotes greater health, happiness and well-being! This week, we’re focusing on Healthy Indulgences. If you have a recipe to contribute, please send it to us (along with a brief story about why you love it)  at editor [at]


  1. How do I get a copy of the coconut Lemongrass lentil recipe? I usually copy recipes to a file for later use but this one is not in a text format.

    Can you point me to where the text version of recipe is stored.

    1. Dennis,

      Glad you are interested in the recipe! The recipe card (shown above) is actually the only form we have it saved in. Your best bet may be to type it out or paste the image into a separate document. Enjoy!

      The Chopra Well