Don't apply this to your bread. Bread was something that was developed by early humans to make the grasses and grains that were growing all around, and that were great sources of nutrients, more digestible. They gathered the seeds and ground them into powder. Mixed the powder with water and shaped it into patties or other shapes and cooked these on a fire. This evolved into what we know as bread. When the whole grains are ground into flour they are easier to digest. A lot of the work our teeth, stomach and intestines would have to do is already done. So bread is a great way, if you choose the right kind, to get a lot of nutrition in a compact package. More about bread later....
Back to mung dal. There are so many kinds of dal, why do we like mung dal so much?
Mung beans have been very popular in South and South East Asia for many centuries. In India they're mostly eaten as dal, because it is light, easy to digest, rather bland, which makes them a great tridoshic food, and especially good for pitta, and it is a high quality protein. So when you are not well, cleansing, or for women going through menstruation or menopause, or when you have poor digestion, it is important to eat light foods to not overburden your body and create indigestion. During these times the body's systems are functioning at less than optimally, so the digestive fire is also low. Eating a light diet is important. The blandness of mung dal and the fact that it cooks so fast, make it a great recovery food. It can be made very tasty by cooking it with spices and herbs according to your dosha, but eating it simple and bland can be very restoring and calming for your body and mind. Cooked together with Basmati rice, and spices, vegetables and ghee it makes a tasty, simple one-pot meal that is a complete protein, called kitcheree.
It is not a local food, but there just isn't anything like it, for restoring an overburdened body. And mung beans are grown in the US these days.
by Simone de Winter
Owner and practitioner at Marin Ayurveda in Marin County, California.
Practicing and teaching Ayurveda for 11 years.