Pint-sized jars filled with colorful spices line the top of Lauren Montanaro Norster’s stovetop, which is fitting because she writes a food blog called The Spiced Plate.

Her blog, which launched in January, has a very specific focus – all the recipes and dishes Norster shares on the site are vegetarian, gluten-free, soy-free and ayurveda-inspired. The combination represents the way Norster and her husband, Andrew, eat every day in the spacious Portland apartment they share with cats Pepper and Basil.

“Ayurveda uses a lot of spices as a way of healing,” said Norster, 27. “That resonates with me.”

Norster’s journey to this style of eating began 10 years ago when she was working at a health food store in Rhode Island and decided to adopt a vegetarian diet. More recently, after suffering a double kidney infection and enduring a long course of antibiotics, Norster went to visit a naturopath who tested her and discovered she had an intolerance to gluten and soy.

“Over the summer, I met an ayurvedic practitioner who helped me go on a cleanse,” Norster said. “Afterwards, I knew I needed to incorporate this into my cooking as well.”

Ayurveda is an ancient Indian medicinal system that views food as a crucial component of maintaining good health. It recommends that people eat food balancing to their particular constitutions and in accordance with the weather and the seasons.


“If I’m feeling sick, I’ll add some extra turmeric to my food,” Norster said. “Or if I have a stomachache, I’ll add ginger to my breakfast. If it is warm, I’d have a big salad for lunch. It it’s cold, I’d have a hot soup.”

Norster explained that food combinations play an important role in ayurvedic meal preparation.

“You’re not supposed to combine beans with cheese or fruit with dairy,” she said. “I make sure everything on my blog is ayurvedically combined.”

Recent recipes she shared on the blog include ones for orange quinoa oat pancakes, curried cauliflower soup, sweet potato saag, kalamata olive hummus, quinoa granola and fruit and nut bread.

“The challenge is going out to eat,” Norster said. “Because eating at home is easy.”

Now that Norster is in a groove with her blog, posting every couple of days, she’s working on pitching stories to food magazines.


A teacher by training, Norster said her goal with the blog and her writing is to teach people about the “health benefits of whole, natural food. I hope the health benefits will win people over. I also want to educate people about the medicinal qualities of spices and herbs.”


Staff Writer Avery Yale Kamila can be contacted at 791-6297 or at:

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