In Ayurvedic medicine they say any food can be a food, medicine or a poison. Depending on how and when it is eaten. Sugar can be used to sweeten a health tonic in which case it would be a medicine. It could be added to some healthy dessert or sour fruit to add a layer of flavour then it’s a food. Unfortunately too much sugar over a long time period can cause long term health problems. Like obesity, blood sugar problems and contribute to type 2 diabetes. In this way it behaves like a poison.

Keith's Favourite Vegan Recipes

Keith's Favourite Vegan Recipes

Ayurvedic cuisine is called the cooking of the 6 tastes and the sweet taste is the most important one. It is the first taste we experience in life as milk is sweet. An ayurvedic meal begins and ends with something sweet. But this doesn’t mean eating something full of sugar. The sweet taste is present in most foods.

The best way to reduce or stop eating sugar is to realise that this sweet taste is your friend not enemy. It is a very comforting taste, it is very nurturing and grounding and best of all it indicates that the food is full of carbohydrate energy.

Grains like wheat, rice, oats and barley may not look like sugar but they actually are. Its just that the sugars are joined into chains to form the starch. As we chew them the amylase in the mouth breaks off the sugars and it tastes sweeter.

So the first thing is to be aware of the sweet taste in bread, pasta and rice. As you chew it be aware of the developing sweetness. The other thing on your plate that is often sweet are vegetables. We already put carrots in cakes as a natural sweetener. Parsnips, beetroot, squash and sweet potatoes are great to eat in winter. The gentle sweet taste is very comforting and nourishing.

Then we have nature's sweet storehouse- the irresistible fruits. Look no further for your sweet snack. What could be better than a crisp apple, zingy refreshing orange, a sweet grape or a juicy ripe mango on a summer's day?

For an even more intense sweetness we have the dried fruits. Here the sugar is more concentrated but it is locked into the fibre of the food so is released more slowly. There are so many delicious raw desserts recipes now made from ingredients like ground dates, nuts and coconut oil. Which are not only deliciously sweet but also nutritious. Some even add amazing superfoods into the mix. Spirulina powder, flaxmeal, goji berries can be incorporated into these delicious morsels.

Then we have a whole host of natural syrups like date, maple and agave. Like sugar, these are going to be absorbed more quickly but are much higher in nutrients. Also they have a rich taste so you only want to eat so much. Sugar seems to be much more addictive so we end up eating a lot.

So already there is so much sweetness in our lives with all these great foods. But Ayurveda has one more trick up its sleeve. This is called jaggery or gore and is made from pure sugar cane juice. It is boiled down until it forms a fudge which goes solid when it is cold. It has all the nutrients from the plant juice and is actually quite nutritious. It is deliciously sweet too and can be melted into all sorts of sweet treats. Coconut sugar is similar and convenient as it comes in a granular form.

So the truth is you can have your cake and eat it! Particularly if it is made with natural unrefined flour. Sweetened with carrots, fruits and dried fruits. Super sweetened with jaggery or coconut syrup and served with a natural syrup.  

About Keith Squires 

Keith’s passion for feeding people began with home-baking at the age of 9. He was soon bringing to school cakes, breads and pasties. His schoolmates joined in and before long they were swapping cakes during the lunch breaks, raiding mums’ cookery books in the evenings and even growing their own vegetables in the school grounds.

Keith now combines his background in nutrition, Ayurveda, herbalism and cookery with over 30 years of experience as a plant based chef.

He travels widely, teaching in workshops, retreats and courses around the world. His events are hugely entertaining as well being full of practical knowledge on how to live a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle.

His stunning cookery book, Cooking With Love, has just been revised to be 100% vegan too.

Keith is an experienced UK media presenter and has made TV appearances in countries as far afield as Greece and India. His popular blog,, has become a one-stop destination for online inspiration and resources.

Talks and training sessions this year include Keith advising trainee nurses about plant based eating.

Keith recently toured India talking about plant based eating, was asked to train Indian chefs and was invited on the biggest radio station in India.

He launched his book, Cooking With Love in Australia this year and the feedback was very positive. He was interviewed by Australian media and gave several talks.

Keith was invited to speak in Parliament recently about plant based eating too.

Some authors are great chefs, others will tell you all about different foods and their nutritional benefits. Many of them are great story-tellers and inspirational writers. There are books that are funny and at times truly meaningful.

Keith has been featured in and on media all over the UK and is seen as the go to expert for many publications and radio stations.

Keith writes for various media and on a regular basis for Yoga Magazine.

Keith crams all those qualities into a single volume, His new book ‘Cooking with Love’, which he hopes you won’t be able to put down. And not just because your fingers are sticky from making the recipes.

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