Fasting for Women & Nutritional Sovereignty | Steph Lowe (The Natural Nutritionist) #091

Vital Veda Podcast Banner
Not just women, but everyone will cope with and should approach fasting and other metabolic interventions in a way that is uniquely suitable for them. 
Go beyond outdated public health advice and dietary fads and increase your sovereignty and intuition in knowing what is the most suitable and supportive nutritional routine for you.

About our guest: Steph Lowe (The Natural Nutritionist)

After many years of darkness and a life lacking purpose, that almost led her to pharmaceutical intervention, Steph had a powerful awakening. 
She truly understood that one’s contribution to the human experience is where true growth and healing lies.
Since praticising as a Nutritionist in 2011, Steph has never been healthier or happier.
In addition to mentoring health practitioners, Steph runs The Natural Nutritionist and is the host of the popular podcast, Health, Happiness & Human Kind. By combining her signature pillars of health, happiness and consciousness, Steph is transforming lives all over the globe. 
Steph Lowe

In this Episode we Discuss:

Steph’s Journey Into Nutrition & Education

Struggling with mental health issues & being overweight during a young age. 
Seeking for alternative solutions for depression & stumbling upon the gluten-free alternative. 
  • This allowed her to understand how changing her nutrition had a real impact on her health - not necessarily all positive - and revealed to her what she calls her ‘mantra’: “Just Eat Real Food”. 
Since then she started to dive deeper into nutrition, acquiring several degrees, and devoted her life to assisting others to find the right nutrition for their own physiologies along with busting commonly accepted dieting myths. 

Eating Disorders & The Obsoleteness of Calorie Counting

Counting calories is a very un-grounding & ineffective practice that can easily become an obstruction to what healthy eating is about. 
  • Healthy eating is about being relaxed and able to eat healthy foods with pleasure and ease. 
    • It’s about being mindful about what you eat but not allowing the intellect to become an obstacle in our enjoyment & nourishing. 
  • Counting calories will not only add a lot of stress to your capacity to enjoy food, but is also not an effective way to be mindful about your food intake - 100 calories of plant-based food is not the same as 100 calories of plants and 100 calories of candy. 
    • E.g. Nutrient density and/or measuring foods with the lowest degree of human interference are much more valuable variables to ponder. 

Ayurvedic Nutritional Advice

  1. Eat unprocessed whole foods
  2. Eat warm foods & avoid cold foods
  3. Make lunch the biggest meal of the day & always have a light dinner.
  4. Eat whatever is local and seasonal
  5. Avoid microwave food and/or leftovers
  6. Use ghee
Make eating almost like a ritual - be very mindful while eating.

And Introduction to Fasting in Ayurveda

Fasting is considered in Ayurveda a very powerful intervention that can have various healing benefits, but as with most other practices, fasting should not necessarily be done by everyone (emaciated people & those suffering from certain diseases should abstain). 
  • It is best for you to consult with a health practitioner before engaging in any type of fasting.
Upavasa (fasting) is one among all Daivavyapashraya (spiritual) therapies and one among ten Langhana (that which produces lightness of the body) therapies. 
It is also stated in Ayurveda that fasting increases digestive fire and causes digestion of ama-dosha (metabolic toxins). 

Very Easy To Apply Fasting

Fasting for 16hs or more triggers in the body a process called autophagy, also known as ‘cell reincarnation’, where damaged cells die out and the body starts to regenerate new ones. 
  • This can be very helpful for cancer patients and for those suffering from various other diseases. 
A 12 hour fast is a very easy way to start fasting. Make sure you extend your overnight fast so there are 12 hours between your dinner and breakfast the following day. 
  • This allows for the digestive system to reset every day and for your body to properly digest all foods without creating what is known in Ayurveda as ama (undigested toxins), which tend to be the starting point for most illnesses. 
Fertile women who are still experiencing their menstrual cycle can also really thrive if they do 14 hours overnight. 
Decreasing meal frequency - it is a myth that eating every 2 hours will speed up your metabolism. 
The point is to allow your body to digest and assimilate all of the meals that you had during the day and, if need be, to access part of the fat resources of the body.  
When you fast you should be metabolically comfortable with it. 

Fasting for Fertile Women

First of all, one needs to understand what a normal menstrual cycle should look like. A menstrual cycle should almost be experienced by surprise, with no PMS, no cravings, no bloating, etc. 
The priority in terms of fasting for women experiencing unhealthy menstrual cycles would be to do 12 hour overnight fasting or 14 if that suits them. Then focus on the root cause that is causing the hormonal issue.
For women who have a healthy menstrual cycle, the follicular phase is a better time of the month to do the fasting. 
During your period it is very important that you rest and give your body what it needs to feel comfortable & healthy, don’t practice any fasting then. 

Fasting for Post-Menopausal Women

There is much more liberty to perform fasting when there is no menstrual cycle and hormones aren’t fluctuating as much. 

Top Three Biggest Myths of A Conventional Diet

  1. “One should be eating something every two hours”.
  2. “A calorie is a calorie” - it is very different depending on what is the source of those calories. 
  3. “Saturated fat causes heart disease” - heart disease is mainly caused by inflammation, fructose, and vegetable oils. 
    • Coconut oil is a great & very recommended source of fats. 

General Dietary Advice For Pregnant Women

The common nutritional advice to pregnant women by doctors is basically a list of foods to avoid (a very fear-based model instead of stating the foods that are very recommendable). Usually these foods are:
  • Runny eggs - salmonella risks. 
    • The risk of salmonella (1/12000 for regular eggs) is really only there if we’re talking of low quality caged farmed eggs. When it comes to high quality organic free-range farms, that risk becomes 7-fold lower. 
  • Raw fish - antibiotic & hormonal exposure.
    • In Australia these risks are pretty much inescapable. But if you have a source of wild-caught raw fish, and especially if it has undergone a flash-freeze process, the risk is very very low.  
  • Organ meats - 
  • Salad bars -
The in’s and out of folic acid - it is generally overprescribed by doctors. 
  • Better to take by means of superfoods than as dietary supplements. 

How to Move Away From a One-Size-Fits-All Model Of Nutrition

Resources


Support The Show

Please leave me a comment below (I love to read every single one).


SHARE

Spread the word! Tell your family, friends, neighbors and all your social mates.

Share this episode on Facebook / Share this episode on Twitter


Subscribe


Please seek advice from a qualified practitioner before starting any new health practice.


Six Tastes Drink ~ A Sweet Drink To Enliven the 6 Tastes & Our Digestive Fire

Six Tastes Drink Ingredients

Mix Together:

(You can adapt it to your taste, place & availability)
  1. Pure, fresh water
  2. Jaggery or natural cane sugar, or any sugar (sweet)
  3. Tamarind juice (astringent)
  4. Grated raw mango, lime juice or other fruit (sour)
  5. Neem flower petals (if available / bitter)
  6. Cardamom (sweet)
  7. Rock salt or black salt (salty)
  8. Pepper (pungent)
  9. 1-3 Shodhana Vati tabs crushed (contains all 6 tastes)
Six Tastes Drink

When and How to Drink

You should ideally take this drink on the first and second day of Navaratri (The 9 Nights of Mother Divine). This is the first thing we drink for the Festival to enliven Agni/energy by having all the Six Tastes.
This drink showcases how life itself has all the different flavors of experience. And tells you it’s not only to have a sweet & easy time always ~ life can sometimes have sad and bitter experiences too. So we have to drink and accept/enjoy the full range of life, knowing that everything balances out just like the Six Tastes (each taste & experience has its own purpose & value).

Before you drink chant this:

Shaatayu Vajra Dehaaya - diamond like physical fitness. / Bestowing hundred diamond like body.
Sarva sampat Karaayacha - which helps to gain all the wealth. Sarva = all. / All the property may come to you.
Sarvaarishta Vinaashaaya - Sarva = all. aaristha = bad things. Vinaashaya - stop. / All the disease may be destroyed.
Nimbakam Dalabhakshanam - Bunch of three leaves. / Hence I am consuming.
Nimbakam = neem.
Dala = branch. - Involves puspam, patra and sticks are used in this spring festival to take bath, eat and decorate the entrance, etc.

Abhyanga: Ayurvedic Oil Massage – Healing & Nourishing Ritual | Dylan Smith #090

Vital Veda Podcast Banner
Abhyanga: Ayurvedic oil massage, is one of the most popular and impactful treatments & practices in Ayurveda.

Abhyanga should not only be considered a treatment that is occasionally performed by a trained therapist, but also as one of the essential practices and integral parts of the Ayurvedic dinacaryā (daily routine).

The Ayurvedic sacred texts (Śastras) break down the great importance & healing capacities of Abhyanga, and most particularly the importance of incorporating self-Abhyanga as a daily habit.

This episode is for those that are absolutely new to Abhyanga, as well as those who have already been practicing it for years. On this episode, we break down the ins & outs of this wonderful healing practice.


In this Episode we Discuss:

What is Abhyanga & What Are Its Unique Features

Abhyanga is a form of Ayurvedic oil massage.
Abhyanga can be in the form of self-massage or it can also be performed on one’s body by a trained Ayurvedic body therapist. 
Ayurvedic massage is very different to the more common massages on the market - deep tissue, Swedish, Japanese, Chinese, Thai massage, sports massage, Lomi Lomi/Kahuna, etc.
The main differences are:
The Medicated Oils
This is a key aspect of the Abhyanga. 
Usually, coconut or sesame oil is medicated with various herbs according to the season and the individual's unique constitution.
Ayurvedic massage oils have the power to penetrate through all layers of skin and enter into all 7 body tissues (dhatus) to do their job of effective detoxification, nourishment, and more.
If you want to get a treatment you can either come to the Vital Veda Clinic in Sydney, Australia, or go to a nearby certified Ayurvedic therapist and take our precious medicated oils with you. 
For self-Abhyanga massage, you can buy the oils from us or prepare your own oil at home with our medicinal herb pack called Kumkumadi Powder.
Strokes
The strokes are selected and applied in a vigorous and rhythmic matter according to the client's constitution and imbalances.
Marma Points
Special consideration is given to the Marma Points.
  • Marma Points are the special storehouses of energy and concentrated life force. 
  • The Marmas are enlivened for vast harmonious effects. 
  • Perhaps when performing Abhyanga daily there’s no need for marma therapy or acupressure (which can potentially be very dangerous) as abhyanga already activates the marmas. 
Healing The 7 Chakras
The 7 chakras are also worked on to unblock any problems related to them.


Benefits of Daily Abhyanga

ābhyaṅgamācarennityaṃ sa jarāśramavātahā

dṛṣṭiprasādapuṣṭyāyuḥ svapnasutvaktvadārḍhyakṛt //

- Astanga Hrdayam, Sutra Sthana, Chapter 2, Verse 8.

Meaning:
Whoever does the abhyanga every day, for them:
  • Jarā – aging is reduced
  • Śrama – tiredness is reduced
  • Vāta - dosha is reduced
  • Dṛṣṭiprasāda – improves the clarity of vision and strengthens the eyes. 
  • puṣṭi – gives energy and nourishes dhatus.
  • Ayu – prolongs age.
  • Svapna – induces good sleep (when vata is pacified, you have good calmness and निर्मलत्वाम् / प्रसन्न)
  • tvaktvadādhryakṛt – improves skin tone and complexion.

Abhyanga should ideally be done daily, morning. 

Other benefits:
Lymphatic Drainage
The Lymphatic system is critical for good health according to Ayurveda, and Abhyanga specifically stimulates and strengthens the lymphatic system, thus improves immunity and stabilises hormones, and in this way it improves physical and mental states.
Pacifying the Nervous System 
The skin has more nerve endings then any part of the body, and this is why Ayurvedic massage, through appropriate strokes channelled harmoniously with the body's channels, is so effective in calming the mind down, grounding a frantic mind, releasing stress, promoting proper sleep, and providing a state in which the body can deeply rest. There isn't any other way to pacify 20,000,000 nerve receptors in the body’s skin in just a couple of minutes.
Studies have shown that people with hypertension and depression improve with massage therapy.
Massage appears to decrease cortisol, a disease-producing and degenerative stress hormone.*
It also increases dopamine, norepinephrine & oxytocin, which boost mood, reward, pleasure and wellbeing.*
  • Amazingly, research also shows that oxytocin*:
    • Extends life in cancer patients
    • Reduces cravings for sweets
    • Reduces anxiety and depression
    • Increases sexual potency and desire
    • Reduces cortisol and boosts immunity
Improve Immunity and Increase Stamina.
Massage has also been found to boost immunity and killer T cells in AIDS patients.*  
Enhance blood circulation.
Promote flexibility of the muscles, tissues and joints.
Strengthens The Skin, Muscles & Bones
Promotes softness and luster of the skin as well as youthfulness.
Correct injuries, specifically the muscle and bone tissue.
Enhance positive microbiology in your body (your skin is home to massive colonies of microbes).
Balances The Three Doshas
It opens the flow of Prana (Life Force) by balancing the three doshas.

“The body of one who uses oil massage regularly does not become affected much even if subjected to accidental injuries, or strenuous work. By using oil massage daily, a person is endowed with pleasant touch, trimmed body parts and becomes strong, charming and least affected by old age.”

Charaka Samhita Vol. 1, V: 88-89 (One of the Great ancient texts of Ayurveda)

Protection From Negative or Draining Energies 
  • Healthcare workers
  • Bodyworkers - massage therapists, etc.
  • Hospice
  • Death doulas
  • Drug and alcohol
  • Bacteria and viruses - energetic periphery
  • Viral or spike protein shedding
  • Meditation teachers
  • Occupational therapists
  • Overly sensitive people
  • Etc.
Develops Dhatu Metabolism and Enhances Mala Kriya
Between each of the 7 layers of skin is one of seven dhatu agnis.
Bhrajaka Pitta absorbs nutrients and medicaments we put on our body. 
So the more we do abhyanga, the more dhatu development happens.
 “When we are not oleating daily, and not protecting the communicating intelligence in our skin, then due to the dryness the channels will be blocked. Then the proper knowledge is blocked because the correct pathway is blocked. This blockage is the cause of disease“

~ Vaidya Krishna Raju







How to Do Self-Abhyanga

Download the Self-Abhyanga instruction poster here.
Verse 9: Important Areas in Abhyanga and When to Avoid Abhyanga 
śiraḥśravaṇapādeṣu taṃ viśeṣeṇa śīlayet 
varjyo 'bhyaṅgaḥ kaphagrastakṛtasaṃśuddhyajīrṇibhiḥ
Massage should be especially done on head, ears, and legs (these need to be done more). 
Also ears, feet (increases circulation) big toe good for eyes, navel (main vata places)
When to do - morning or evening before shower. Ideally in the morning.
Śiro Pichu + Pad Abhyanga - before sleep.
“Disease does not go near one who massages his feet before sleeping, just as snakes do not approach eagles”.
- Ancient Saying

Self-Abhyanga Contra-Indications

  • Increase in Kapha in the body
  • Soon after shodana karma like pancakarmas
  • During indigestion
  • During nausea
  • Congestion, cold, jvara, flu
  • Headache
  • Menstruation
  • Strong ama doṣa - e.g. amavata / Rheumatoid arthritis - or give svedana / with certain oils
  • Post certain surgeries
  • New tattoos - avoid that area
  • First trimester of pregnancy
  • 8th month of pregnancy - for receiving abh - or any body treatments, unless your physician applies.

Oils to Use

  • If you can get your hands on an Ayurvedic medicated massage oil that is suitable for you, that will be beneficial.
      • Medicated or herbalised oils are created when herbs are cooked into certain oils. This is different to just adding essentials oils to a base oil, which is not really an Ayurvedic medicated oil.
      • When the oil becomes medicated, it becomes a "nano-medicine" that has the ability to enter the body on a deep level (suksma karma).
  • Sesame oil in winter/cold climate & coconut oil in summer or for those with sensitive skin.
      • You can also use other oils like almond and macadamia, or whatever is locally grown to you, but the former two are primarily recommended by Ayurveda.
  • Warm up your massage oil. This will increase the effect and nourishing quality as the oil can penetrate deeper into the skin and tissues.

Giving Abhyanga to Others

After people receive an authentic Ayurvedic massage, mostly they experience an underlying sustaining bliss, while simultaneously their grounded, relaxed and refreshed mind is surprised. They often ask "what did I just receive?"
If you want to learn to give Abhyanga to others, check out the Abhyanga: Ayurvedic Oil Massage course


References

  • *Altern Ther Health Med. 2012;18;960;11-18 - Massage increases oxytocin and reduces adrenocorticotropin hormone in humans - Vera Morhenn 1, Laura E Beavin, Paul J Zak
  • Massage increases oxytocin and reduces adrenocorticotropin hormone in humans - Vera Morhenn 1, Laura E Beavin, Paul J Zak

Support The Show

Please leave me a comment below (I love to read every single one).


SHARE

Spread the word! Tell your family, friends, neighbors and all your social mates.

Share this episode on Facebook / Share this episode on Twitter


Subscribe


Please seek advice from a qualified practitioner before starting any new health practice.


Tamarind Tree (Imlī / Amlikā / Tamarindus indica)

Tamarind leaves and fruits
Sanskrit name: Amikā
Hindi name: Imlī
Sanskrit synonyms:
  1. Cukrikā
  2. Amlī
  3. Cukrā
  4. Dantaṣaṭhā
  5. Amlā
  6. Ciñcikā
  7. Cincā
  8. Tintiḍīka
  9. Tintiḍī
Tamarind Pods

Focus: The Ripe Fruit…

Many parts of the tamarind tree are used medicinally for culinary purposes. Below are the qualities of the ripe pulp (from the fruit pod), which can be bought as pods themselves, as paste, pulp, purée or a concentrated paste.
Rasa (taste): amla (sour), madhura (sweet)
Vīrya (energy): heating
Vipaka (post-digestive effect): amla (sour)
Gunas: ruksa (dry) & guru (heavy)
Doshas: KV- P+
Can increase Kapha and rakta (blood) together if had in excess.
Parts used: flower, seed, fruit, kshara (alkali bark ash / fruit skin), leaves.
Karmas (Actions):
  • Dīpana (increases digestive fire), the ripe fruit
  • Laxative (1)
  • Vasti shuddhikrut - cleanses urinary bladder
Tamarind pods
Tamarind paste

Uses & Benefits

Arthritis

Helpful for arthritis, especially when Vata is trapped in the joints.
The unripened fruit is also helpful for rheumatoid arthritis: Unripened tamarind paste that will suck the expanded ama (undigested toxic food material) to one place, then it is easier to get out of the place with some elimination therapy.(2)
Note that tamarind is not the herb of choice for arthritis.

Digestion

Tamarind is a good pre-biotic. It acts as a laxative and enkindles digestive strength.
Add the Sour Taste for Wholesome 6 Tastes
In Ayurveda, a balanced diet means having all six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, astringent). Tamarind is a great way to include the sour taste. You can do this by adding tamarind pulp, paste or tamarind water (see recipe below) filtered or not.
Sour taste characteristics:
  • Mahābhūta (elements): earth and fire.
  • Vīrya (energy): heating
  • Gunas (qualties): laghu (light), snigdha (unctous)
  • Vipaka (post-digestive effect): amla (sour) - (in general)
  • Doṣas: PK+ V-
  • Karmas (actions): enkindles agni (dīpana), metabolises ama/ undigested toxic food materials (pacana), moves liver stagnation, increases bile, building (bṛṃhaṇa), stopping (stambhana), contraction (contraction), nourishes and energises the body, awakens the mind, nourishes the heart (hṛdaya), satisfying, soothing and appeasing (prīṇanam), washes or clears oral cavity.
Tamarind is part of the recipe for Six Tastes Drink: A Sweet Drink to Enliven the 6 Tastes and Agni (Digestive Fire)
To learn more about the six tastes and how to help recognise the medicinal qualities of food in any food item or substance, check out Vital Veda’s Essence of Ayurvedic Nutrition course.

Ally to Purify Food, Herbs and Cleanse in General

Tamarind water is used to wash and purify fruit and vegetables.
To make tamarind water, add 1 tablespoon of tamarind pulp to 1L of water, mix and mash well. Leave for 15 minutes, mix again and filter.
Tamarind water is a form of tartaric acid - it helps remove fertilisers and chemicals that are on non-organic food.
Tamarind is used for cleaning metals like brass and copper.
Purify pumpkin
The common yellow pumpkin is considered a vata aggravating vegetable, and a vegetable to not have too much of. Cooking pumpkin with tamarind and cumin is an antidote to the vata aggravating qualities of pumpkin.
Antidote to Sliminess of Okra (Lad’s Finger)
For those who don’t like the slimy quality (picheela guna) of the okra vegetable, using tamarind during the cooking process will prevent it from getting too slimy.
Pumpkin Tamarind Gravy
Sambar

Classical Food Recipes With Tamarind

Tamarind Rice is a classic prasadam (holy) dish that is offered in many Hindu temples. It is also used in Vedic astrology in combination with other ingredients to pacify the nine planets. Check out this Nine Planet Tamarind Rice Recipe 
Tamarind is a common ingredient used in small amounts in the classical south Indian dishes Sambar and Rasam, light, nutritious soups that are great for dinner or as part of the main, noon meal.

Ayurvedic Medicines Containing Tamarind

Krishna Paste
Tamarind seed bhasma and tamarind seed root is used in the skincare product Krishna paste.
Shankha Vati (a.k.a. Shankar V)
A classical Ayurvedic medicine used for gastric conditions, dyspepsia, anorexia, high pitta in the gut, and other digestive disorders.
Rasnadi Chūrnam
A powder to apply over the scalp and crown of the head. Used to relieve headache sinusitis or Kapha in the head, and is good to apply after shirodhara/takradhara and/or after bathing post shirodhara/takradhara treatment.

Tamarind Flower Properties and Medicinal Uses

  • Ruchiprada - improves taste, useful in anorexia
  • Meha - diabetes and urinary tract disorders.
  • dīpana - enkindles agni (digestive fire)
  • Rasa
  • Doshas: Kapha Vata hara (KV-)
  • Gunas: laghu (light), vishada (clear)
Tamarind flower

Ripe Fruit of Tamarind Properties and Medicinal Uses

  • atyamla - extremely sour
  • laghu - light to digest
  • asruk krut - causes blood disorders (1)
  • doshas: PK+ V-
  • Constricts channels (2)
  • Clears the urine passage (2)
  • For rheumatoid arthritis: Unripened tamarind paste that will suck the expanded ama (undigested toxic food material) to one place, then it is easier to get out of the place with some elimination therapy.(2)

Semi-Ripe Fruit of Tamarind Properties and Medicinal Uses

  • grahi - absorbent, useful in diarrhoea, IBS
  • dīpana
  • ruchya - improves taste, useful for anorexia
  • doshas: VK-

References:

  1. Bhāvaprakāśa-Pūrvakhaṇḍa āmrādi phala varga
  2. Vaidya Rajus from Hyderabad

Tamarind Rise – Nine Planet Recipe

Tamarind Rise
Recipe by Dr. Padma Raju
Dr. Padma wants to share this recipe with you, which can be had all year, but is especially good for the period known in the Vedic calendar as Navaratri (a.k.a The 9 Nights of Mother Divine).
This recipe is special because the ingredients are related one by one to the Navagrahas (nine planets). According to Vedic Astrology, the Navagrahas are inside us and continually influence our lives. So when we make this as a Prasad, all the nine planets are nourished in our physiology and the influence of the Grahas (planets) is balanced. Feeding to someone else adds to the beneficial effect. 
When the effects of Navaratri are enlivened through the Pujas, offering this as a Prasad pleases the Navagrahas and increases their support even more. All we need to do is prepare the Prasadam and pray to Mother Divine before we eat. Because her energy is what made us, she resides in us and we can offer the Prasad to her through ourselves.
The Divine Mother is a universal theme in cultures & religions all over the world, so from whatever angle we honor & revere her, these things we can do.

Ingredients

  1. 1kg of soft red Lilly Pilly fruits
  2. 8 oranges
  3. 2/3 cup raw sugar
  4. 10 whole cloves
  5. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  6. 2 peeled and chopped apples

Cooking Instructions

Things You Need to Prepare Ahead of Time

  • Boil or steam rice, and keep warm.
  • Dry roast lightly in a pan: whole fenugreek & whole cumin (separately, one at a time), and grind to powder. And whole sesame seeds roasted & ground in the same way if you want to add (optional).

In a Frying Pan

Add some unrefined sesame oil and with medium heat make a "Tadka" (fried spice mix) as follows (quantities can be varied according to taste): 
    1. Fry brown mustard seeds ~ ½ teaspoon, till they “pop” (before adding other things)
    2. The following are optional:
      • Cashews, urad dal and/or chana dal in small quantities and roast while stirring constantly so they cook well. Some people like to add peanuts also.
      • Roasted sesame seed powder ~ 1 teaspoon. Sesame oil is already there in the recipe so sesame powder is not required
    3. Tamarind paste 100gm, and stir well
    4. Whole red chili(s) if you want, or black pepper ~ moderate, to taste.
    5. Ground Rock Salt ~ moderate, to taste
    6. Fresh Curry leaves if you can get them ~ several leaves
    7. Asafoetida ~ 2 pinches
    8. Fresh ginger pieces very finely chopped or grated ~ 1 teaspoon
    9. Dry roasted fenugreek powder ~ 1/4 teaspoon
    10. Dry roasted cumin powder ~ 1/2 teaspoon
Stir well till fully mixed. Add a little more oil if you want and fry gently till nicely done & flavors well blended.
At the end of cooking add turmeric ~ 2 pinches
Combine Tadka with cooked rise & mix well.
  • Can garnish with fresh chopped coriander leaves.

Ayurvedic Daily Routine, Guru & Spirituality | Vaidya Aditya Raju #089

Vital Veda Podcast banner
Daily routine, “dinacharyā”, is one of the pillars of health in Ayurvedic medicine.
Integrating certain practices into your daily routine that are rooted in natural law supports one to smoothly flow on their path of evolution with minimal friction and maximum health.
This podcast features world renowned Ayurvedic doctor, Vaidya Ādityā Raju, who generously shares wisdom on the Ayurvedic daily routine in such an elaborate way like you have probably never heard before.
This episode was auspiciously recorded on the eve of the fullest moon of the year, known as "Guru Pūrṇimā.”
Thus, we explore the role of Guru - which literally translates to “that which removes darkness”, and the multitude of qualities of “Guru consciousness."

About our guest: Vaidya Aditya Raju

Vaidya Aditya Raju is a specialist in Panchakarma, Pulse diagnosis and Sukhamarma.
Aditya is the youngest son of J.R. Raju, the foremost disciple of the world-famous Vaidya Balraj Maharishi and head of the Raju Family. He is also sishya (disciple) and devotee of his holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, under who’s guidance he trained for several decades of his life before the Maharishi dropped his body.
He is a visiting teacher in Italy, where he provides consulting and training to hundreds of doctors. He also serves as a consultant to Maharishi Ayurveda products Italy.
He is a visiting Ayurveda consultant to European and Asian Ayurveda Panchakarma centers.
With grace and a pure spirit, Aditya shares his vast and rich wisdom of Ayurveda, hoping to enlighten and assist as many souls as possible during this lifetime.

In this Episode we Discuss:

The Essentials of the Ayurvedic Daily Routine (Dinacharya)

Firstly, waking up in the brāma muhūrta
  • For more information on the brāhma muhūrta click here.
Drinking cool water first thing in the morning (after cleaning your teeth & scraping your tongue) and later hot water the rest of the day. 
  • This assists in the cleansing of the body & the removal of ama (undigested toxic material). 
  • After washing your teeth it is advised that you do some form of gargling or oil pulling (ideally use the special Gandusha Oil or plain sesame oil)
Nasya नस्य (sniffing a drop of nasya oil like our Nasika Oil up each nostril) to lubricate, cleanse and protect the upper srotas (channels). 
  • Advice: don’t do nasya before taking a shower, before having a meal, before going to bed nor when having a cold/flu. 
Abhyanga अभ्यङ्ग massage to stimulate the lymph & blood flow around the body, hydrate the skin & pull toxins out it + much more.
  • You can read more about abhyanga massage, how to do it and its many benefits here
  • After your self-abhyanga practice you can take a shower or bathe in the sea/ocean. The water invokes the essence of ganga, the goddess or supreme intelligence of water that is all-purifying. 
    • It cleanses on the external/superficial level.
Practicing some form of meditation will allow you to de-excite the mind & to establish yourself in a state of pure being. Meditation is the way for you to cleanse the internal and deeper level.  
  • At Vital Veda we recommend the Vedic Meditation practice. 
    • To find a Vedic meditation teacher near you click here & scroll down to “Vedic meditation”. 
There is no need to be strict with your Dinacharya. Start gradually. Explore & implement different practices out of joy.

Other Powerful Practices

Bringing awareness to your hands and observing the three main aspects of the mother divine (Lakshmi, Saraswati & Uma). You can chant the Karaagre Vasate Lakshmi mantra. 

कराग्रे वसते लक्ष्मीः करमध्ये सरस्वती

Karagrei Vasate Lakssmi ∽ Kara-Madhye Saraswati

करमूले तु गोविन्दः प्रभाते करदर्शनम्

Kara-Mūle Bhavet Gauri ∽ Prabhaate Kara-Darśanam

The upper hand is the seat of Lakshmi (fingers). The middle of palm is the seat of Saraswati, the base of the palm (lower pads & thumbs) is the seat of Gauri (Durga/Parvati). The first sight of the day has a special power and makes a deeper impression on the brain ~ especially during Brahmi Muhurta. So when we see our palms first while repeating the Mantra, we are enlivening all three special energies in our physiology because:

Before putting your feet on the ground you can chant the Samudra Vasane Devi mantra. 

समुद्रवसने देवि पर्वतस्तनमण्डले

Samudra-Vasane Devi Parvata-Stana-Mannddale

विष्णुपत्नि नमस्तुभ्यं पादस्पर्शं क्षमस्वम

Vissnnu-Patni Namas-Tubhyam Paada-Sparsham Kssamasva-Me

  • The meaning of this mantra is the following:
    • Line 1: (Oh Mother Earth) O Devi, You Who have the Ocean as Your Garments, and Mountains as Your Bosom.
    • Line 2: O Consort of Lord Vishnu, Salutations to You; Please Forgive my Touch of the Feet (on Earth, which is Your Holy Body).
  • This mantra or shloka beautifully describes the tolerance, compasion, patience and nurturing quality of earth and it is meant to enliven our appreciation for mother nature & all the organisms that it holds & provides for. 
Doing some asanas (yoga postures) and pranayama (breath regulation) early in the morning before the abhyanga
After your morning meditation, you can do a puja पूजा (a ceremonial worship). 
  • Firstly invoking Ganesha (the remover of obstacles) & afterward your Guru(s) and your ishta devata (your personal supreme deity) to show your appreciation & to ask for guidance. 
  • Everything that you do before the puja is a preparation for this moment. You first cleanse your body & mind, get established in being, and only then do you engage with the puja. 
    • This ideally is the first real “action” of the day. 
  • The puja allows for the enlivening of siddhis (divine-human capabilities)

Seasonal Routines

Ritucharya ऋतुचर्या translates to seasonal routine. The ritus are the Vedic seasons & the word charya means “routine”. 
  • The year is divided in 6 ritus of 2 months each:
    • शिशिर (śiśira) – Late winter
    • वसन्त (vasanta) – Spring
    • ग्रीष्म (grīṣma) – Summer
    • वर्षा (varṣā) – Rains
    • शरद् (śarad) – Autumn
    • हेमन्त (hemanta) – Early winter 
“There occur some special changes in environment and humans in every Ritu, and hence certain foods and exercises are specifically told for each Ritu, this process is known as Ritucharya”
Source – aruṇadatta commentary on aṣṭāṃga hrudaya, sūtra 3.1
For more information on the advised ritucharya for your specific physiology & the current ritu please schedule a consultation with Dylan. 
  • You can book a consultation with Dylan by clicking HERE.

Mantras

The regular and intentional practice of mantras allows for them to fully imbibe their essence within one’s physiology, to the point of one being able to recognize the beeja and mudra for said mantra(s) naturally. 
  • When the mantras have been assimilated to that degree, one can recite them & do their mudras at astounding speeds - beyond what can be perceived with the naked eye. 
    • It is a level of mantra-mastery that is often only achieved by the most dedicated brahmins.
  • This deep familiarization with mantras has epigenetic repercussions, to the point where the energetic effects of these primordial sounds on one’s nervous system ends up being passed down to one’s own progyny.

What is “Guru” गुरु?

The traditional role of the guru is to allow for the shishya (disciple) to chip away old habits,  also known as Vṛtti(s) वृत्ति, that do not contribute to the evolution of the spirit.  
  • The cleansing of our karma & samskaras becomes severely accelerated when under the guidance of a master. 
  • When these imperfections are removed by means of a specific sadhana (spiritual practice), all that is left is pure chitta (awareness). 
The meaning of jagadguru जगद्गुरु - a term composed of the words jagat which means “the entire world” and guru meaning “spiritual master” or literally “remover of darkness”. 
  • A jagadguru is a spiritual master of the whole world.
  • There are several jagadgurus recognized in history, amongst them the legendary spiritual master Adi Shankaracharya, founder of the Advaita Vedanta school of philosophy; Veda Vyasa, the master who compiled the Vedas; and even Lord Kṛṣṇa who gifted the world with a lot of wisdom, especially in the Bhagavad Gita.
How Gurus manage to engage with the world in a completely frictionless manner due to their unique level of transcendence. 
  • Being established in pure being allows for one to flow through life effortlessly, free of attachment. 

The field of guru consciousness
A guru can be anything and anyone. A guru is everything that teaches you a lesson and removes darkness from your life. 
  • Guru can be a traditional master, but it can also be a mother, a father, a friend, one’s sangha (spiritual community), an event/experience, and even elements of nature like a tree, a butterfly or a stone.
The Mother is the first guru of everyone.  

Guru-Sishya Relationships
How these relationships come to be.
The love and devotion between student & master.

The Vedas & The Idea of “Spirituality”

Spirituality in the Vedas is not merely religious practices. It is not an isolated concept or something that is practiced in isolation from other things. 
The Vedas show that spirituality permeates everything, and all things can be spiritual. In the Vedas mathematics are spiritual, science is spiritual, the medical system (Ayurveda) is spiritual, etc. 
All things are integrated with each other in the Vedas, everything is a part of the whole, hence there is a Saṃbandha संबन्ध (connection) between all things.

Vargas (Caste System)

The karma of family lineages.

Support The Show

Please leave me a comment below (I love to read every single one).


SHARE

Spread the word! Tell your family, friends, neighbors and all your social mates.

Share this episode on Facebook / Share this episode on Twitter


Subscribe


Please seek advice from a qualified practitioner before starting any new health practice.


Eat With Your Hands: Maximise Digestion With A Full Sensory Experience | Dylan Smith #088

Vital Veda Podcast Banner - Eating With Your Hands
Eating with your hands is the innate way of eating for all human beings on earth.
This dining practice not only allows one to be more present in the act of eating, but significantly enhances the sensorial experience one gets from food. 
Ayurveda also recommends eating with your hands as a simple practice that boosts digestion. 
In this podcast episode we transcend social conventions and eating etiquette, conquer prejudices and break down the immense benefits of eating with your hands.

In this Episode we Discuss:

The Importance of Proper Digestion

In Ayurveda digestion is one of the most important factors to be considered when diagnosing the state of a person's health.
Digestion leads to two possible byproducts:
  • Good digestion often leads to the generation of Rasa (also known as The Essence of Life), which is a thin fluid that nourishes and sustains all bodily functions. 
  • Poor digestion often leads to the generation of Āma (toxic undigested material), which lodges in weak points in the body, clogs channels, and perpetuates various states of disease. 
    • A great percentage of most ailments can be traced back to a low digestive fire (Agni), poor digestion, and the production of Āma. 


The 5 Senses In The Act of Eating

To make the most out of the eating experience it is important that we include our 5 senses in the act of eating.
This further informs the digestive system that it is time to eat and digest, triggering the production of digestive enzymes & hydrochloric acid in the gut.

The Ritual of Eating: How To Make The Most Out Of It

First of all, it is important to be present in the moment, addressing one thing at a time. Avoid unnecessary distractions (phone in hand, T.V, computer, etc.) - Eating with your hands means you can’t check any of these. With food all over your fingers, you are stuck doing one thing at a time, and this is the time to eat.
  • When the mind is being stimulated by these types of devices the sympathetic nervous system (in charge of fight-or-flight response) becomes activated.
  • Proper digestion requires the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system (in charge of the rest-and-digest response). 
Eating with such awareness is essential for optimum digestion and proper delivery of nutrients. People underestimate how much this can make a difference and a lot of the time - How you eat is more important then what you eat.
Using your hands to eat allows you to feel the temperature of the food and avoid burns (if you can't touch/grab it comfortably, don't eat it).
Some other recommendations for the Ritual of Eating:
Don’t eat when you are angry, depressed, emotionally unstable or immediately after physical exertion. This is the number one "rule" for eating in Ayurveda.
Sitting cross-legged on the floor encourages the right pressure to assist with digestion. The pancreas is squeezed to release digestive enzymes well and you don't overeat because you realise when you are full.
Once your food is served, do a prayer before you start eating. Give thanks to nature for providing you with the food and can thank whichever deity you worship.
CHEW eat morsel at least 32 times, food should be like liquid.
ENJOY in nourishment. Even if you are eating ice cream, enjoy it! (guilt free)

The Mudra of Eating with Your Hands

When you eat with your hands, you bring all of your fingers together to hold a piece of food - this is in itself a mudra called Samana mudra.
  • This mudra enhances digestion and assimilation of food, by means of the samana prana.
The five fingers also represent the 5 elements or mahā bhūtas (fire, water, earth, ether & air).
The thumb represents fire 🔥, the pinky represents water💧, the ring finger represents earth 🪨, the middle finger represents space ✨ and the index represents air 💨.
  • When using all 5 fingers, you are sending a message to your body saying: “may whatever it is that I’m eating bring balance to the 5 mahā bhūtas (and the three doṣas) that reside within me”.

Support The Show

Please leave me a comment below (I love to read every single one).


SHARE

Spread the word! Tell your family, friends, neighbors and all your social mates.

Share this episode on Facebook / Share this episode on Twitter


Subscribe


Please seek advice from a qualified practitioner before starting any new health practice.


Lower Back Discomfort, & Ayurvedic Remedies to Help Rectify Lower Back Pain

Lower Back Pain
The most troublesome area of the spine is the lumbar (lower back) region. Its problems are multifarious.
The paravertebral muscles stemming from the sacrum and iliac crest become stiff and painful. Vertebral discs become diffused, desiccated (degenerate), herniated or bulge.
The spaces within your spine become narrow (spinal stenosis), putting pressure on your spinal nerves. Nerve obstruction, sciatica where nerve pain radiates in the hips and maybe down the legs.
Torn ligaments in the spine, Spondylolisthesis, (bones slip our of place), vertebral fractures, spasms, osteoporosis… the list goes on.
Problems in the lower back can occur due to injury, improper exercise (you may not even know it), sedentary lifestyle, improper digestion, and the build-up of emotional, sexual, and menstrual tensions.
The muscles of the spine may even become unbalanced if the bodyweight is not equally divided between both legs, due to some imbalances of the lower limbs.
If one is overweight, this adds extra strain on the lumbar (lower back) region.
Back pain
Slipped disc and sciatica are caused when the cartilaginous ring of the shock-absorbing spinal discs ruptures and creates pressure on the nerves between the vertebrae. This can be excruciatingly painful.
If the discs degenerate, friction from one vertebrae moving against the other can cause further wear and degeneration of the vertebrae along with a great deal of pain.
Unfortunately, many have become accustomed to lower back discomfort, and this dull body becomes the norm and they don’t recognise this as an issue, nor act on it. They have temporarily lost the cellular memory of a free and healthy body that is their natural state.
Ayurveda luckily has a wide variety of interventions to help.
I always say to my clients who are considering or who have been recommended any type of surgery, if it’s not an emergency (most cases) try natural methods before lastly resorting to surgery.
Graphic of the Spine Anatomy Labeled
I have seen people turn around the need for spinal surgeries, particularly disc disectomies but also spinal decompression procedures, after implementing proper Ayurvedic treatment coupled with appropriate exercise, sometimes other therapies and definitely a passionate action-filled drive to heal themselves.
Most pain in the lower back can be treated without surgery. In fact, surgery often does not relieve the pain; research suggests that 20-40% of back surgeries are unsuccessful.(1) This lack of success is so common that there is a medical term for it: “Failed back surgery syndrome.”

A handful things you can do for Lumbar Freedom and prevent lower back complications:

1. Regular Yoga Asana (poses) - I highly recommend “Sūrya Namaskar“ or “Sun Salutations”. This sequence of 12 asanas works all the major muscle groups and organs, and regular proper practice of this sequence helps improve the condition of the spine and may very well ensure a lifetime free from back problems. If you already have severe back problems, ensure to work one-on-one with a qualified yoga teacher or therapist to adjust appropriately for you.
2. Move - Counter your sedentary lifestyle with getting up from your desk every 1 hour and perform the 1-minute spinal sequence by Simon Borg Olivier on Youtube. Diversify your work positions - check out @vitalveda Instagram reel on alternative work postures. O, and stop running on concrete - run barefoot on grass or sand instead.
3. Oil Massage - Daily abhyanga (full-body oil massage) will help prevent lower back problems, particularly degeneration but so many of them. If you already have deeper spine issues, use special medicated oils warmed before massaging them into the local areas of concern.
Yoga asana in the beach
Follow with heat. We also have some medicated herbal pastes (Upanaha Leham & Marma Lepam) to apply to the areas of pain and obstruction.
4. Ayurvedic Body Therapies (“Back Bastis”) - This where we really see clients establish lumbar freedom and shift imbalances. “Kati, Greeva & Pṛṣṭa Bastis” are traditional Ayurvedic body treatments where warm medicated, analgesic oil is “held” over the targeted vertebrae. The oil and the herbs penetrate deep into tissues of muscle, fat, ligaments, tendons, bone, bone marrow and nerves. Stiff and tight muscles may instantly become lubricated and softened, to help solve many of the problems mentioned.
    • For our clients outside of Sydney and around the world, we provide a special medicated oil for your local Ayurvedic therapist to use on you. This makes a big difference. Reach out to us if interested.
5. Internal Herbs - Various herbs in Ayurveda work on different problems and the root of them. They help relieve pain, inflammation, sprain & spams, nourish the disc, prevent degeneration, repair nerve damage and heal ligament injury.

Lumbar freedom (lumbaton plus)

Helps give freedom from lower back pain.
Helps restores the freedom of movement and liberate from low back pain.
This medicine is also administrated for joint pain, swelling, and sprain. It is formulated using quality natural herbs.
  • Helps relieve pain and inflammation.
  • Helps relieve sprain and muscular spasms.
  • Nourishes the disc and helps prevent degeneration.
  • Helps repair nerve damage.
  • Helps heal ligament injury.

Cervical freedom (cervilon)

Used for Fibromyalgia, Cervical Spondylosis, Upper Back Pain
Benefits:
  • Corrects the dehydration of the intervertebral disks
  • Arrests the degenerative changes of the cervical spine
  • Strengthen the para-vertebral muscles of the neck
  • Relieves myo-fascial spasm
  • Provides mild anti-inflammatory action
Cervical Freedom is effective in treating neck pain, Upper back pain, knee pain, shoulder pain, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, Cervical spondylosis, stiffness, tingling & numbness.
This medicine is also administrated for joint pain, swelling, and sprain. It is formulated using quality natural herbs.
  • Helps relieve pain and inflammation.
  • Helps relieve sprain and muscular spasms.
  • Nourishes the disc and helps prevent degeneration.
  • Helps repair nerve damage.
  • Helps heal ligament injury.

Sciatino (sciatilon)

Used in the treatment of Lumbar Spondylosis, Sciatica, and many other issues in the lower back.

Swarna Dhatu

Restore, Regenerate & Strengthen Tissues
Stabilises the Physiology
Restores and regenerates nerves, bones and tissues, because it nourishes and strengthens all seven layers of the dhatus (tissues) in the body.
Helps to strengthen and stabilise the whole system.
Similar to Dhatu but more powerful.
Can be used by pregnant women to provide strength for woman and foetus.
Swarna Dhatu (Golden Nourisher) by Vital Veda

Special Matra Basti

Works on apāna vāta (pelvic floor and lower back), helps release nerve obstructions, removes blockages from the musculoskeletal structure, aids with joint health, and works on the cellular level all throughout the body.
Special Matra Basti Oil by Vital Veda

Shodana Vati

A powerful detoxification agent and whole-body cleansing rasayana.
  • Best free radical scavenger and anti-oxidant that helps eliminate ama (toxins).
  • Helps in gastrointestinal disorders, trouble passing bowel motions, dry stools, constipation, tissues, piles/haemorrhoids. 
  • Immune modulator.
  • Blood purifier.
  • Helps in allergies.
  • Helps in tooth and oral problems.
Shodana Vati
  • Helps in female problems and helps clear out toxins accumulated.
  • Helps balance cholesterol and metabolism.
  • Helps in chronic cough.
  • Very helpful in eye disorders.
  • Helpful in overcoming addictions.
  • Helps clear the skin by clearing out the toxins accumulated in the tissues. Helps in eczema, psoriasis, hives and other skin conditions.

MGP Oil

Oil for sore muscles, pain, joint issues, arthritis. Can be used for Ayurvedic treatments musculo-skeletal bastis.

6. Good Diet and Digestion - Particularly associated with the large intestine and excess “air” in the gut.
7. Rest During Menstrual Period - This has a big correlation with the lower back and pelvic floor. Check out our articleAyurvedic Guide to Healthy Menstruation.”.
And there are a lot more things for you to for your specific spine and physiology.
MGP Oil (Joints & Muscles) by Vital Veda
Not only when it gets bad, but to PREVENT common ailments. Reach out for some spinal liberation - we do online consultations and treatments in our Sydney clinic.

Base of Spine, Sacrum and Dūrgā (Divine Power)

According to the Vedas, the lower tip of the spinal cord and the sacrum is the source of energy, called “Shakti”.
This source of power is also known asDūrgāin the Vedas, the aspect of consciousness with immense feminine power to remove obstacles so evolution can transform and proceed.
The sacrum is the center of glandular activities and all of the body’s energy.
The sacral bone in the vertebral column is the base and support of the entire vertebral column and nervous system.
The sacrum has eight nerves that correspond to Dūrgā’s eight arms, according to Dr Tony Nader, author of Human Physiology, Expression of Veda and the Vedic Literature.
The filum terminale is also at the tip of the spine. It is a delicate strand of about 20cm of fibrous tissue, about 20 cm in length. It gives longitudinal support to the spinal cord and represents the infinite silence of the Veda in the first maṇdala of Ṛk Veda, according to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Goddess Dūrgā at the sacrum shields and protects the total infinite silence of her consort Shiva at the filum terminale.
How do you care for your lower back? Comment 👇

Top Five Iron Rich Leafy Greens

Dylan Smith in the bush
Leafy green vegetables are a great way to get iron into your body via diet.
Especially for:
  • Vegetarians
  • Vegans
  • Those who want to eat less meat
  • Those who don’t want to overload their liver with nutraceutical supplements such as iron supplements.
Out of the non-heme iron sources, leafy green vegetables are high sources of iron, but you got to ensure your body is absorbing iron well.
In addition to eating iron-rich leafy green vegetables, there are other important interventions you need to understand to enhance iron absorption and Boost Your Ferritin Levels Naturally.
Note: Amounts of Iron Will Vary
The amounts of iron mentioned below per leafy green vegetable is tested using standard vegetables. I don’t know how fresh these vegetables were, nor the growing conditions like the quality and organic state of the soil and farming practices.
Furthermore, these were tested by a couple of standard labs. There will be other researchers testing and getting different numbers.
I would assume if you were to pick the same vegetables fresh the day of or even the day before you eat them, whether you pick them from your garden, your local organic grocery store or from the wild, grown organically, the iron content would be significantly higher than the numbers mentioned below.
Leafy green crops in a field

My Top Five Iron Rich Leafy Green Vegetables

Here are my top five iron rich leafy green vegetables. I chose them because they are tasty, readily available, high in iron, and can be foraged in the wild which will significantly boost the nutrient profile.

#5 Warrigal Greens, AKA New Zealand Spinach (Tetragonia tetragonioides) (cooked)

I love this vegetable because it grows abundantly and has a very tasty slimy texture.
Warrigal Greens is high in antioxidants as well as other minerals, nutrients, and vitamins. It is a common coastal and estuarine species of the Pacific region. It is native to New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Chile, and Argentina.
Warrigal Greens in flower
I love this vegetable because it grows abundantly and has a very tasty slimy texture.
Warrigal Greens is high in antioxidants as well as other minerals, nutrients, and vitamins. It is a common coastal and estuarine species of the Pacific region. It is native to New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Chile, and Argentina.
Caution: Oxalates
Like regular conventional spinach, Warrigal Greens has oxalates, which are compounds that put pressure on the kidney and actually block iron absorption.
Ensure to blanch the leave in boiling water for 20 seconds of so, then rinse with cold water or (even better) put straight into a bowl of cold water, then wash to remove the oxalates.
“Studies have shown that soluble oxalate levels in T. tetragonioides can range from 1.5 per cent in leaves of older plants to 12 per cent in leaves of young plants.”
Amount of iron in warrigal greens:
0.8mg / 100gms  (4% of recommended daily value/DV) (less when raw) (3)
Cooking tip: Don’t cook warrigal greens a lot. Just blanching to remove oxalates is enough.

#4 Amaranth Leaves (cooked)

A lot of us have heard about amaranth as an (ancient) grain, but the leaves of the plant are not only edible but very nutritious.
There are about 70 species of amaranth worldwide and they are all edible (4). The highly nutritious value of the plant was recognised by Aztecs and used in ceremonies. Today it is growing as a common weed amongst urban pathways, sidewalks, gardens and rural agricultural fields.
The most common weedy Amaranths in South East Australia are:
  1. Green Amaranth ( Amaranthus viridis)
  2. White amaranth ( Amaranthus allbus)
  3. The Natives: Amaranthus Mitchellii, Amaranthus Powellii and Amaranthus interruptus
  4. Red Amaranth (Amaranthus tricolor).
Caution: Oxalates in Red Amaranth
Red amaranth and perhaps other amaranths have some level of oxalates.
Blanch the leaves in boiling water for 15 seconds of so, then rinse with cold water to remove the oxalates.
Amount of iron in common green amaranth:
Wild Amaranth
2.26mg / 100gm. (13% DV).(3)
  • Raw Amaranth is also very high in Vitamin K: 1140 mcg / 100gm (950% DV).(3)
Cooking tip: Don’t cook amaranth a lot. I like to wash, chop, then add to the finished cooked hot dish and mix in. This way the hot dish gently cooks the leaves. If using red amaranth be sure to blanch. 

#3 Dandelion Leaves Greens (Cooked)

Dandelion has got to be one of my favourite edible and medicinal weeds, as it is for other foragers.
It is commonly one of the first plants one learns about when learning to forage wild foods.
Dandelion Leaves
The whole plant can be used - root (yum starchy bitterness), flower, and leaves. The bitter taste of this vegetable supports liver health, pitta doṣa and it is impressively high in:
  • Vitamin K: 812 mcg / 100gm (677% DV)
  • Vitamin A: 514 mcg / 100gm (57% DV)
  • Vitamin C: 25.5 mg / 100gm (28% DV).(3)
Amount of iron in dandelion leaves (cooked):
3.23mg / 100gm (18% DV).(3)
Cooking tip: Don’t cook dandelion leaves a lot. Wash, chop, then add to the finished cooked hot dish and mix in. The roots and thick part of the stem you can cook for longer. Root taste like a bitter potato (and feels so much more nutritious)!

#2 English Spinach

Dandelion has got to be one of my favourite edible and medicinal weeds, as it is for other foragers.
It is commonly one of the first plants one learns about when learning to forage wild foods.
It may be a little surprising that this common conventional leafy green vegetable is higher in iron than the other leafy greens mentioned that are much less domesticated and hybridised.
Well, you just can’t beat the iron content of your common English spinach…
Actually you can, see #1.
Remember Iron Variation According to Growing Conditions:
But do keep in mind the consideration of domesticated, non-organic vegetables vs. wild-organic vegetables.
For example, wild foraged amaranth leaves harvested and eaten in the same day could contain significantly more iron than conventional english spinach harvested one week and kept in the fridge before eating it.
English Spinach
Caution: Oxalates
Ensure to blanch spinach in boiling water for 20 seconds of so, then rinse with cold water or (even better) put straight into a bowl of cold water,  wash to remove the oxalates.
Spinach has a higher level of oxalic compared to most vegetables with an approximate concentration of 1000mg/100g [5][7] .This is significantly higher than other vegetable such as kale (20mg/100g) [6], carrot (49mg/100g) [5], beetroot (67mg/100g)[5] and soybean (497mg/100g) [5].
Amount of iron in english spinach:
  • cooked: 3.57mg / 100 gms (26%RDA)
  • raw: 2.71mg / 100 gms (19%RDA)
  • canned, regular pack, drained solids: 2.3mg / 100 gms (16%RDA)
  • frozen, chopped or leaf, cooked, boiled, drained: 1.96mg / 100 gms (14%RDA)
Cooking tip: Don’t cook spinach a lot. Just blanching to remove oxalates is enough.

#1 Moringa (Drumstick) Leaves

Moringa is one of the most nutritious plants on earth.
Known as “śigru” and “śobhāñjana” in Ayurveda, this tree is native to the Indian subcontinent and has a variety of benefits.
Moringa is an Ayurvedic superfood and important therapeutic herb.
The whole part of the tree is used, but the leaves (and less commonly available outside of Asia and the Middle East) the fruit pods, are the parts high in iron.
Moringa is said to have 25x more iron than spinach! (8,9)
Comparing Iron Content of Moringa Leaves and Beef
  • 100 grams of beef has only 2 mg of iron
  • while 100 grams of moringa leaves contain 7mg of iron
  • and 100 grams moringa leaf powder has 28 mg of iron. (10)
Amount of iron in moringa leaves:
  1. raw: 4-7mg / 100gm (22-38% DV)
  2. cooked: 2.3mg / 100gm. (13% DV)
Moringa is also high in Vitamin C, which supports the absorption of iron.
Cooking Tip + How to Eat Moringa Leaves: Moringa is better raw. So just garnish washed fresh leaves over your hot dish of food.
Moringa leaves
Fresh leaves are hard to come across if you live outside of sub-tropical warm climates. So you can purchase and use dried leaves or leaf powder and gently mix it into the food after it is served on your plate.
If using dried leaves with stems still intact, it is better to mix the dried moringa into the hot pot of food after turning the flame off. Then serve onto plates.

To learn more about Moringa and it’s impressive feats and uses, check out the full article: "Moringa: One of the Most Nutritious Plants on Earth - Ayurvedic Superfood and Potent Herb"


References

  1. https://www.webmd.com/diet/iron-rich-foods#1
  2. https://www.scu.edu.au/engage/news/latest-news/2015/research-holds-the-key-to-more-native-spinach-on-our-dinner-plates.php
  3. Nutritics Research Edition v4.097 
  4. "Diego Bonetto - Get Ready for Amaranth: The Summer Green" 
  5. Muhammad Shoaib Akhtar , Beenish Israr , Nighat Bhatty & Amanat Ali (2011) Effect of Cooking on Soluble and Insoluble Oxalate Contents in Selected Pakistani Vegetables and Beans, International Journal of Food Properties, 14:1, 241-249 
  6. Shimada, Y (2014). The Effect of Soaking on the Soluble Oxalic Acid Content of Spinach. Chugokugakuen J. Vol 13, pp27-31 
  7. Chai,W. Liebman, M. (2005), Effect of different cooking methods on vegetable oxalate content. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry 53, 3027–3030. 
  8. J.L. Rockwood, B.G. Anderson, D.A. Casamatta
    Potential uses of Moringa oleifera and an examination of antibiotic efficacy conferred by M. oleifera seed and leaf extracts using crude extraction techniques available to underserved indigenous populations
    Int. J. Phytothearpy Res., 3 (2013), pp. 61-71
  9. L.J. Fuglie The Moringa Tree: A local solution to malnutrition Church World Service in Senegal (2005)
  10. The Moringa Tree, A local solution to malnutrition? Lowell J. Fuglie B.P. 5338 Dakar, Senegal
  11. European Commission (2015). Nutrition Claims. [ONLINE] Available at: ec.europa.eu [Accessed 28 January 16] /  Nutrient data was provided by USDA SR-21. 
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279618/
  13. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1103341/nutrients

Mudra: The Sacred Secret to Draw Energy & Bliss From Within | Indu Arora #087

Vital Veda Podcast Banner - Indu Arora Episode
The ancient Vedic science of mudras is one that I’ve been inclined to explore for some time now. 
Mudras are much more than mere positions of hands or body parts that one can use to evoke a feeling or state of mind during meditation or yoga.
They are intricate and deeply significant “body holds” that allow us to draw forth different energies from within ourSelves that ultimately lead us to our natural & innate state of bliss (sat chit ananda).
For this episode I had the absolute pleasure to converse with Indu Arora. She is a powerful yogini and Ayurvedic Practitioner who has extensively studied and written about this ancient science of mudras. 
Get ready to explore with us a different and fresh side to Yoga; a side that is very rarely explained and presented in such a graceful, thorough & accessible manner.

About our guest: Indu Arora

Indu Arora is a student for lifetime.
She shares the Yogic and Ayurvedic wisdom which brings simplicity to our complex lives.
Indu is an author and public speaker who has been sharing simple, effective, practical, grounded ways of living life through Yoga, Yoga Therapy, Meditation and Ayurveda since 1999 and she is going to do that for the rest of her life.
Indu Arora

In this Episode we Discuss:

Daily Contemplation or “Atma Vichara”

Atma Vichara is a yogic practice rooted in ancient yogic scriptures, and is also known as “ātma tattva avalokanam”.
  • It consists of the idea of being in touch with the essence or substance of the Self or ātma
Practicing atma vichara is a powerful daily practice that not only grounds the Self, but also creates space for sustainable spiritual & emotional growth and self-accountability. 

The Name “Indu” & It’s Relationship with The Moon

The letter “i” represents shakti - divine feminine energy in the cosmos. 
The word “Indu” means “moon” 🌕 - the calming & soothing energy of the moon. 
Other names for the moon are Soma (alluding to the divine nectar of the moon) and Chandra (alluding to its bright and glittering light). 

An Introduction To Mudras

Mudra
Mud - mudita = delight.
dra = draw forth.
“That which draws forth from within the natural state of bliss or delight. It is a becoming.”
Mudra is a state of mind expressed through the body. Every time we practice a mudra we are opening up that pathway for the mind to become that. 
Whenever there is an energy that takes the form of a shape or sound, that is a mudra.
  • Any asana, kriya, mantra chanting or even sitting in meditation is a mudra. 
Every mudra leaves a unique signature on the breath. 
There are many types of mudras: eye mudras, hand mudras, mouth mudras, sound mudras, internal mudras, full body mudras (asanas). 
  • Hand mudras are just the beginning of mudras, much like asanas are just the beginning of yoga.

What Exactly Makes a Mudra

In short: awareness & understanding. 
Any expression of energy can be a mudra, as long as there is awareness being directed to the source energy. All asanas can be a mudra, but not all are. 
  • If you are practicing them robotically without bringing awareness to the underlying energy of that posture, then you are not doing a mudra, just exercise. 
To become mudra, there first needs to be deep awareness, followed by bhavna (sentiment or emotion) & sankalpa (intention). 

The Gyan Mudra (Meditation Mudra or Wisdom Seal)

Probably the most well known mudra of all. 
This mudra represents the totality of samkhya darshan (the philosophy of duality). 
  • Samkhya states that the human experience is constituted by two independent ultimate principles: puruṣa ('consciousness' or spirit/soul); and prakṛti (cognition, mind and emotion, also known as nature or matter)
The three extended fingers represent the three maha gunas (sattva, rajas & tamas), the three doshas (vata, pitta, kapha), the three states of consciousness (awake, dream & dreamless sleep) and the bondage of time (past, present and future).
The index finger represents the prakṛti and the thumb represents the puruṣa
  • When the index finger (prakṛti) moves towards the thumb (puruṣa) for yoga (unity or union) we are beyond all of these sets of three. We are in (or moving towards) the field of transcendence.

How To Properly Approach Mudras

The Importance of Eating With Your Hands

It is the natural way of humans to eat with our hands. 
  • When babies are born their natural tendency is to eat with their hands using the pincer hold. 
Then we are taught otherwise by our parents and told what is civilized and what isn’t.
  • The same thing applies to many other natural (and healthy) tendencies of the body - we hold our flatulences, our need to urinate, our need to burp, we sometimes even apologize after sneezing! All in the name of being more “civilized” or conforming to certain societal norms. 
In Ayurveda we say that you should not suppress any natural urge. 
Eating with one’s hands allows for a full sensory experience that unquestionably leads to satisfaction and contentment.  
When you eat with your hands, you bring all of your fingers together to hold a piece of food - this is in itself a mudra called samana mudra.
  • This mudra enhances digestion and assimilation of food, by means of the samana prana
The five fingers also represent the 5 elements or mahā bhūtas (fire, water, earth, ether & air).
The thumb represents fire 🔥, the pinky represents water💧, the ring finger represents earth 🪨, the middle finger represents space ✨ and the index represents air 💨.
When using all 5 fingers, you are sending a message to your body saying: “may whatever it is that I’m eating bring balance to the 5 mahā bhūtas (and the three doṣas) that reside within me”.

To learn more on this topic read Drop the Utensils, rather: Eat With Your Hands!

The Namaste Mudra

It is done by bringing together the palms of both hands with the fingers all close to each other. 
  • Represents the duality of ida & pingala, of opposing points, with an intent of gentle gratitude, surrender & appreciation.
There are many forms of the namaste mudra:
  • When we’re keeping our hands in front of the chest we’re recognizing the other being with our heart. 
  • When under the nostrils, that is us doing namaskar to our own prana (life-force).
  • When we keep them in front of the forehead, that is something we do in front of teachers or gurus

Recommended Mudras to Practice At Home

  1. Samana mudra to enhance digestion of food
  2. Gyan mudra to bring balance to the body and allow for greater transcendence
  3. Namaste mudra to bring gratitude and humbleness into our consciousness.

Resources

Indu's Website HERE

Indu's Instagram (@induaroraHERE

-

📕 c.

Mudra Training 2022 (October 12-16 at @devanadiyoga) Will be offered hybrid: particularly can join In-Person or Livestream based on convenience and availability.


Support The Show

Please leave me a comment below (I love to read every single one).


SHARE

Spread the word! Tell your family, friends, neighbors and all your social mates.

Share this episode on Facebook / Share this episode on Twitter


Subscribe


Please seek advice from a qualified practitioner before starting any new health practice.