Ayurveda sees cooking as an important part of the whole digestion and nutrition process. Anyone can cook ayurvedically, we just need to follow a few simple guidelines. The taste that accompanies food gives information to the body, and every taste has a specific effect. A balanced meal in Ayurveda contains each of the six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent. Because fresh foods provide the maximum amount of energy, Ayurveda recommends that we use fresh foods while cooking. Avoid eating leftovers, and frozen or processed foods whenever possible, as they lack vital energy and are more difficult to digest. Vegetables are more efficiently digested and assimilated when they are cooked, so Ayurvedic cooking principles advise that we cook our veggies rather than eating them raw. The environment comes into play when cooking, too. To help our bodies acclimate and stay in balance, Ayurveda recommends that we seasonally favor dosha balancing foods in each of the three seasons, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. And cook with love in your heart, so that positive emotions infuse your meals.