Recipe

The Avicenna diet is the base of the most traditional recipes of Mediterranean cuisine, Greek, Turkish, and Persian cuisines. Most people know about how the Mediterranean diet is associated with numerous health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease, improved weight management, and enhanced longevity, but they are not informed about the basic concept behind it.

The Mediterranean diet is an overall eating pattern and lifestyle emphasis on Whole Foods or Plant-Based Foods, Herbs, Spices, and Healthy Fats with Portion Control during Social and Enjoyable Meals.

As we explained the four natures of foods on the Diet Classification page, we know that Warm & Dry (W&D) has the opposite nature of Cold & Wet (C&W), and Warm & Wet (W&W) is the opposite of Cold & Dry (C&D).

Neutral food is good for eating by everybody, so all your family members with different body temperaments can have it. This neutral recipe does not promote any specific temperament and mood or humor in the body, but if you want to have a Medicine Food or Food as Medicine diet, you have to avoid foods with the same nature as your temperament and mostly eat the opposite ones. Now, please notice how Mediterranean and Persian traditional cuisines balance each recipe for a Neutral food according to the Avicenna Diet.

  • Fish (Cold &Wet) is mostly cooked with the opposite nature vegetables i.e. Warm & Dry (Olive, Onion, Garlic, Celery, Pepper, Ginger, Dill, Mint) and served with ground cooked Chickpeas (W&D) in Olive oil (W&D) like Hummus. If the amount of Warm & Dry vegetables is good enough, it can also be served with some Rice (C&W) cooked with Dill (W&D). It is how to make a neutral meal with fish, however, if your temperament is Cold & Wet, it’s better to avoid having fish & rice, because both have the same nature (C&W) as your temperament.
  • Beef (Cold & Dry) is cooked with the opposite nature vegetables i.e. Warm & Wet ( Carrot, Asparagus, Parsely). If some Warm & Dry vegetables (Olive, Onion, Garlic, Celery, Pepper, Ginger, Dill) are added, then they can be served with Rice (C&W) or Potato (C&W).
  • Lamb (W&W) is cooked with the opposite nature vegetables i.e. Cold & Dry ( Tomato, Eggplant, Coriander, Beans, Corn, Lentils). If it is served with chips or mashed Potato (C&W) or Rice (C&W), then some Warm & Dry vegetables (Celery, Onion, Garlic, Pepper, Dill) are added to the recipe.
  • Chicken (W&D) is good to cook in a soup with Cold & Wet (Barley, Spinach, Green beans, Peas, Zucchini). Then some Warm & Wet vegetables (Carrot, Asparagus, Parsley) are added and served with Rice or Potato (C&W) and lime or lemon (C&D) to make a neutral meal. The chicken can also be roasted or grilled by knowing that the nature of roasted & grilled chicken is stronger W&D or less moderate than the braised chicken.
  • Rice (C&W) as a whole meal is often cooked with the opposite nature vegetables i.e. Warm & Dry (Dill, Garlic, Celery, Pepper, Ginger). If the amount of these vegetables is good enough, it can be served with Yogurt (C&W) & Mint (W&D). If you also have Carrot (W&W), and Parsely (W&W) in your rice, then some Tomato paste (C&D) or Eggplant (C&D) is added for a neutral recipe.
  • A Salad of vegetables like Lettuce (C&W), Cucumber (C&W), and Tomato (C&D) with some Cheese (C&D) is not a neutral food and promotes the cold humors. It can be balanced by adding one of Warm & Dry vegetables (Olive, Onion, Garlic, Celery, Pepper, Ginger), and one of Warm & Wet vegetables (Carrot, Asparagus, Parsley, Basil). This is for serving on the table for everybody, but if your temperament is Cold & Wet, it’s better to avoid having lettuce & cucumber on your plate.
  • The Egg is naturally a neutral food if it’s not cooked or only soft-boiled, its yolk is Warm & Wet, while the white is the opposite i.e. Cold & Dry. However, the hard-boiled and well-fried eggs are Cold & Wet and need to be served with Warm & Dry vegetables (Olive, Garlic, Celery, Pepper, Green Onion, Mint).
  • Processed Meats like sausage, cold deli meats, and burgers are considered strong Cold & Dry because of being old-cured and better to be avoided especially with Pickles (C&D) because they can be hardly balanced with Warm & Wet vegetables (Carrot, Asparagus, Parsley, Basil, Beet) in a toasted wheat bread (W&W) sandwich.
  • Drinks are also necessary to be neutral. That’s why most people drink Coffee (C&D) with Cream milk (W&W), or like to have Wine (W&W) with Cheese (C&D) or Beer (C&W) with Olive (W&D) or Pistachio (W&D). However, if you have a Cold & Wet temperament, instead of drinking beer, it’s better to have a cup of Tea (W&D) or Hot Chocolate with a bit of Sugar (W&D).

Actually, the amount of materials in a neutral recipe is not the same because some have a stronger nature than others. Furthermore, there are some disagreements on the nature of some foods, because they are also influenced by the type of soil & climate of their growth area. For example, although the nature of rice is Cold & Wet, the American rice is colder & dryer than the Indian rice, because the Indian climate is warmer & more humid than the USA.

However, after a thousand years of experience, it is generally accepted that the nature of those gut-friendly or easy-to-digest foods (toasted wheat bread, rice, oatmeal, egg, chicken, cooked fruits & cooked vegetables) is weaker or more moderate than the harder to digest foods (Red meats, dairy, fruits, vegetables, onion, ginger, hot pepper, beans, high fiber & fatty foods, processed foods like sausage, cold deli meats, burgers, spicy oily fried meats, potato chips, fatty spicy foods) which have a stronger impact on our body temperament. Therefore, it is obvious that the amount of weaker nature or moderate ingredients should be greater in a neutral meal recipe. Still, the right selected stronger nature foods, opposite to your temperament, should be more in the food as a medicine diet.

An experienced chef would adjust the amount of the right ingredients based on their taste and use a few Spices and herbs to neutralize the nature of the recipe and make it tasty and delicious. Spices & herbs have a strong nature and are used primarily in Persian Traditional Medicine as a drug to cure a sickness related to unbalanced body temperaments.

Although cooking a Neutral meal is the duty of cooks & chefs to serve on the table for everybody, your duty is to know your own temperament and avoid having the same nature of foods on your plate if you want to have Food as Medicine in a healthy diet.

For an online examination of your body temper please click here.