Dehydration: A Main Cause of Excess Weight

Are those extra kilos just-not-shedding? Perhaps it is because you are chronically dehydrated.

Although majority of the population is dehydrated but not overweight, if you are overweight, drinking “tap liquid” or using water filters as an excuse to drink dead water ain’t going to help your metabolism burn fat.
You can even increase your metabolic rate 30% by drinking half a litre of water. (1)
The link between overweight and dehydration is partially because we tend to associate hunger and thirst as the same sensation.
In other words, increased hydration = reduced feeding.

But there’s a second part to it…

The first step to reach lipolysis (burning fat) is hydrolysis, which is when water molecules interact with triglycerides (fats) and an enzyme called lipase.

Lipase and water mediate the whole process of breaking down fat.

Plus, drinking more water = less water retention (laksmi/abundance consciousness = no hoarding).

Further more, when this hydrolysis reacts well, you produce fatty acids and glycerol.

The fatty acids can then be broken down directly to get energy, or can be used to make glucose (gluconeogenesis),

BIG TAKEAWAY:

Basically, water is key in the chemical equation of weight loss, and lack of water and dehydration (drinking more  “water” alone doesn’t solve it!) is a primary cause of weight gain.
AND Hydration gives you energy - The osmotic flow of water through cell membranes generates “hydroelectric“ energy, voltage that is converted and stored in the mitochondria in form of ATP and GTP.

So, How to get intra-cellularly hydrated and Loose Weight?

For more, check my posts and podcasts and stay tuned for my upcoming course on Ayurvedic Nutrition where hydration and nutritional water is foundational.


References:

  1. Isabel Friend, Water is Life
  2. Increased Hydration Can Be Associated with Weight Loss

The Great Cholesterol Myth | Dietary Fat Overview | Dr. Jonny Bowden Podcast #052

Despite the science, the dogma remains pervasive. Thinking that cholesterol or fat causes heart diseases is dangerously falling into The Biggest myth in medical history.

Armed with hundreds of scientific references, Dr Bowden shows why the medical establishment’s embarrassing, and outdated theory that fat and cholesterol causes heart disease is completely wrong.
You’ll learn the real promoters of heart disease and what you can do about them

This podcast is intended for anyone who is cautiously refraining from eating dietary fats because of belief or instructions from their doctor that fats causes heart disease and that cholesterol is bad.

This podcast episode reveals the cold hard science and cuts through the crap to show you the definitive truth all about cholesterol, dietary fats and heart disease.

Share this episode with your friend, relative, client or medical practitioner who is hesitating, even slightly, to consume dietary fats due to a dogmatic belief.

About Our Guest: Dr. Jonny Bowden

Jonny Bowden, PHD, CNS, is a board-certified nutritionist, the author of 15 books including The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, Living Low Carb, and the recently revised and expanded, The Great Cholesterol Myth. He is the creator of the best-selling internet weight loss program, Metabolic Factor and also appeared in the documentary, Fat Fiction, (narrated by Dr. Mark Hyman).

His no-nonsense, myth-busting approach has made him a popular guest on television, and a sought after speaker all over the world.


In this Episode we Discuss:

How Vitamin C was Discovered

The Biggest Myth in Medical History

Saturated Fat Causes Heart Disease = Non-Scientific

The low-fat teaching is based on the medical establishment’s embarrassing, outdated theory that saturated fat causes heart disease.

A landmark 2016 article in the Journal of the Americas Medical Association found that the true science was actually being suppressed by the food industry.

People seem to be blind to the new science of nutrition and deaf to its leaders, like Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition - the leading nutrition school in USA. He recently wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association,

“We really need sing it from the rooftops that the low-fat diet concept is dead, there are no health benefits to it.”

The low-fat bandwagon has damaged public health. It was driven by an unscientific agenda advanced by the American Heart Association and the food industry, which sponsored the misleading food pyramid.

The 40-year trend of promoting high-carbohydrate processed foods perfectly parallels the obesity epidemic in USA.

Despite the science, the dogma remains pervasive.

Despite science showing that natural fats pose no increased risk of heart disease, hospitals still hand every patient a pamphlet recommending the “low-fat diet” when they’re discharged from the cardiac surgery unit, just as they have been doing for nearly a half century.

The evidence suggesting cholesterol causes heart disease is poor and non-existence.

It was based on flawed science.

While many studies have linked the intake of saturated fats to increased cholesterol, very few, if any, have actually linked saturated fats directly to heart disease.

This dogma has literally killed hundreds of millions of people pre-maturely.

Saturated fats, like those in butter, ghee, meat, cheese, eggs and coconut oil do not actually contribute to any increased danger for cardiovascular risk.

Sugar Industry Conspiracy

In a powerful exposè published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researches from the University of California dug up old sugar industry documents that revealed payments from the sugar industry to scientists to minimise the role sugar had in disease.(1)

In 1967, the Sugar Research Foundation (known today as the Sugar Association) paid Harvard scientists the equivalent of $50,000 to publish a manipulated review of the research of sugar, fat and their connection to heart disease.

The review was published in the prestigious New Englands Journal of Medicine, where studies cherry-picked by the sugar industry to downplay the role of sugar in heart disease…while blaming saturated fat.

For over 5 decades the public was misled to fear cholesterol and embrace sugar as harmless empty calories.

The low-fat, high-sugar, refined carb diets are now linked to both heart disease and obesity.(6)

These flawed studies continue…

Coca-Cola provided millions of dollars in funding to researches to play down the link between sugar and obesity and blamed lack of exercise.(7)

The Actual Studies

One meta-analysis by Harvard researcher Dr. Frank Hu, reviewed 21 studies that included more than 347,747 subjects which measured the associated between saturated fats and cardiovascular issues.

The people who consumed the highest amount of saturated fat had the exact same incidence of any cardiovascular issues as those who consumed the least amount of saturated fat.

The result: saturated fat was not a cardiovascular risk.

And there are plenty more studies…

A meta-analysis review, more than 150,000 people were evaluated for over 5 years.

They found that risk of dying from any cause was significantly greater in the group with the lowest levels of cholesterol (below 160mg/dL).

The group with borderline high levels had a significant decreased risk of dying from any cause, but it was the group with the highest cholesterol (above 240mg/dL) that had the most decreased risk of dying from any cause.

Saturated Fat Was Taken Off the Nutrient Concern List, Yet the Dogma Remains Pervasive

In 2016, cholesterol was officially taken off the nutrient concern list, but after almost 60 years of brainwashing, most westerns and doctors alike still consider cholesterol bad.

Saturated fat warnings still are invading the FDA’s guidelines, even though they took it off the nutrient concern list.

Precaution is still being advised by the American Heart Association.

Testing: Cholesterol and Heart Health

You can now ignore the cholesterol numbers on your standard blood test.

HDLs can be good or bad. LDLs can be good or bad. Those numbers don’t matter, it is actually about the size of the cholesterol particle.

  1. If it is big and fluffy, it is safe and cannot do damage. (LDL Pattern A).
  2. If it is small, dense and hard it can penetrate the arterial wall and cause inflammation and damage. (LDL Pattern B).
  3. HDL-2 are beneficial particles.
  4. HDL-3 are the undesirable ones - they are atherogenic (promoting build-up of fatty plaque in the arteries) and inflammatory.

Testing size of cholesterol particles

  1. VAP (Vertical Auto Profile) - size of the cholesterol particle.
  2. VPA (Particle analysis) shows the size of the cholesterol particles.
  3. NMR Lipo-Profile Test
  4. Lipoprotein Test
  5. Berkeley Lipid Particle Test
  6. LPP (Lipoprotein Particle Profile)

Now you can get these tests from the two biggest commercial labs in USA.

Test You Can Do Yourself with Your Old Blood Tests

To measure your tendency to have oxidised cholesterol:

Take your Triglyceride number and divide it by HDL.

If that is less than 2 than you are safe, and at little to no risk of insulin resistance (associated with blood sugar).

This has to do with diet, particularly sugar and high insulin. This raises triglycerides, increases blood sugar and damages cholesterol particles.

Other Blood Tests that screen for Cardiovascular Health:

  • C-Reactive Protein (CRP) - an inflammatory marker and predictor of heart disease.
  • Homocysteine - an inflammatory marker and direct risk for cardiovascular health.
  • HbA1c - 3 month average of blood sugar that measures glycation levels.

Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs)

  • Excess sugar in the blood will also glycate - the sugar and proteins in the bloodstream will stick together and clump.
  • These clumpy protein-sugar compounds are really bad, as damaging as free radicals.
  • They damage LDL and HDL cholesterol; get stuck in small arteries; and are directly linked to heart, brain, joint and circulatory issues.(5)

Another Test To Analyse if Cholesterol Particles are Oxidised or Damaged

Blood test: OxLDL - available to measure

  1. Oxidised LDL
  2. Myeloperoxidase (MPO) the enzyme released by WBCs which oxidises LDL.

Are Doctors Adopting Effective Diagnostic Methods Actually Based on Science?

Thankfully, it is increasing.

What Is Cholesterol

  • Primarily manufactured in the liver.
  • 80% of cholesterol is converted into cholic acid, which forms bile. Bile is the Pac-Man that gobbles up toxic fats in the liver and intestines, while helping break down and deliver good fats into the blood and lymph.
  • Healthy diet with whole food and high fibre will support bile to escort toxins to the toilet, but if the diet is low in fibre and loaded with processed fats, up to 94% of bliss (with toxins in tow) can be reabsorbed by the liver.(2)
  • The reaming cholesterol (20%) is used to form the more famous cholesterol lipoprotein particles known as HDL and LDL. These lipoproteins escort fats to and from the cells throughout the body.

Triglycerides are fats that are made from any extra calories you don’t use as energy right away.

Cholesterol Essential for Life

  • Cholesterol is the organic molecule that is most common in your brain (by weight) and a major component in nerve tissue.
  • It is the precursor for many hormones.
  • It is the primary component of all your hormones.
  • It helps your skin repel water.
  • It helps the skin on the inside and outside of the body ward off toxic chemicals as well as hold precious water and moisture in.
  • In fact it is so important that every single cell in the body makes it - it is in every single cell wall.

To think you can radically pull this out of the body (through statins for example) and not have consequences is ridiculous and is such bad science.

The Importance of Fat (Medo Dhatu)

The importance of fat:

  • Your brain is composed primarily of fat. One third of the dry weight of your brain if pure DHA. Low DHA in the brain and CNS = baby brain and post natal anxiety for mums.
  • You need fats for energy production and hormones production.
  • Your skin needs a cushion of fat so you look good.
  • In fact, every cell in our body is lined by a double layer of fat, which supports the cell’s membranes.
  • Fat is vital for life.

The way the authorities responded to this: “thus, the MRFIT study failed to provide an adequate test of the hypothesis because of poor adherence.” - But it doesn’t mean the hypothesis is that dietary fat causes heart disease.

A major study done by a Harvard Researcher, conducted by Dr. Frank Hue, took over 350,000 people and evaluated in over 21 studies and found that:

  • Whether you have the highest or lowest cholesterol, your cardiovascular incidents are exactly the same. Cholesterol numbers don’t matter!
  • People with higher cholesterol live longer - greater cognitive function, greater intelligence and greater memory as they age. People would die sooner with lower cholesterol numbers.

A study at the prestigious journal of the Lancet measured people on a high cholesterol mediterranean diet vs. a supervised low cholesterol diet and found that people on the mediterranean had a 77% reduction in deaths and a 76% reduction in cardiovascular death.

Butter Is Back

Relationship Between the Cholesterol You Eat and In Your Body

The cholesterol you eat does not have a big influence on the cholesterol in your blood.

Statins

One of the most widely prescribed drugs in the history of medicine.

Statins work by disabling a critical step early in the formation of cholesterol.

There’s a pathway that produces cholesterol in the body, along with a bunch of other essentials.

It is like a tree, the pathways feeds different biological functions in their individual branches.

We have decided that one of the branches is bad, that being cholesterol.

So we have decided the best way to get rid of that branch is to cut the tree at the root.

Statins inhibit the HMG CoA Reductase enzyme, which is also required for essential molecules like CO Enzyme Q10 (essential for optimal heart muscle and brain function).

Anti cholesterol drugs disturbs medas dhatu which creates asthi dusya.

To think you can radically pull cholesterol out of the body (through statins for example) and not have consequences is ridiculous and is such bad science.

Giving a child a statin is medical malpractice.

Measures to Potentially to Wean Off Statins & Medications

How to wean off medications such as statins?

Work on overall health, including insulin resistance.

Work with a quality health practitioner and then go back to the doctor who prescribe the medication and under their supervision, reassess your medications.

Insulin Resistance

Insulin Resistance and Metabolic Disease - More important imbalances that require our attention.

Insulin resistance is highly influential on cardiovascular disease and CV-19.

Testing and Measuring Insulin Resistance

An at home, free method you can do to test if you are insulin resistance. (approx. 95% accuracy rate)

What Oils and Fats to Eat and Use in Diet

Saturated Fats

Saturated fats are those that are basically solid at room temperature.

  • They are solid because they are more stable - no weak double-bonds that you find in mono-saturated (one double-bond) and poly-unsaturated fats (many double-bonds).
  • As a result, these fats can stand up to cooking at high heat much better than unsaturated fats, because there are no weak double-bonds to break.
  • Once the bonds break, the oil has a greater risk of going rancid and becoming the toxic substance known as free radicals.
  • Saturated fats don’t break down in your body like other fats may.

Cheap polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)

  1. PUFAs are made from pressing oil out of seeds, grains and beans like sunflower, safflower, corn, or soybeans, which is only possible with extremely high pressure, heat and a multimillion dollar seed oil press.
  2. The oil in these seeds, grains and beans are very volatile. They quickly and easily turn rancid from sunlight or heat.
  3. These bottles of cooking oil have been heated to high temperatures, degummed, refined, bleached, boiled and deodorised (because they smell so bad after processing), leaving them indigestive with no nutritional value.
  4. RBD is a term (refined, bleached, deodorised) which leaves the oil colourless, odourless and tasteless.
  5. In addition, valuable beneficial ingredients (antioxidants, phytosterols, chlorophyll, lecithin) are removed during processing. The oil is now dead.
  6. Light sensitive - Now they can be sold 24/7 in clear plastic bottles in fully lit grocery stores, where they should be cold-pressed in dark warehouses and delivered in dark brown bottles in the early hours of the morning, just like they used to, and just like milkmen do.
  7. Liquid regardless of the temperature and much more susceptible to damage due to their weak bonds.
  • These vegetable oils are so highly processed and stable, they use them to preserve food and extend shelf life.
  • You will find them in your organic gluten free bars, cereals, corn chips, corn thins, gluten free organic bread (it can stay soft for weeks).
  • Linoleic acids are so fully oxidised that not only are they toxic and damaging to the arterial wall, but intestinal microbes that typically feed on essential fatty acids and fibber won’t even touch them.

Corn Thins may seem healthy, but they contain rancid and toxic sunflower oil.

Fats and Oils in India

These PUFAs have replaced traditional use of ghee in India and contributed to a rise in cardiovascular disease (CAD).

A couple generations ago, India was known for having low levels of CAD-related concerns.(4)

Today, Indians use a highly processed vegetable ghee called vanaspati, which is 40 trans fats, well known fo the increase risk of CAD.(4) This is fully or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.

Processed Sugar vs Rancid Oils

Processed sugars will stay in your body for a few hours, cause an insulin spike.

Rancid fats and oils can stay lodged in places like your liver and fat cells for years!

If you have belly fat, fat in your hips or cellulite, you got to avoid these vegetable oils if you want to loose that, not to mention the risks of arterial health issues!

Smoke Point - Crucial Consideration

  • When the oil is heated and begins to oxidise and release toxic compounds.
  • A smoke point chart can be misleading because the more refined and processed the oil, the higher the smoke point.
  • Using the oil with the highest smoke point like almond, sunflower or avocado does not take into consideration how highly refined these oils may be.
  • Unsaturated fats or vegetables oils will generally have a higher smoke or flash point because they are the most refined compared to the more stable saturated fats.
  • Ghee has the highest smoke point of all oils, thus is a very stable oil.

Bad Fats: Processed vegetable oils that are toxic

  • canola
  • soybean oil - introduced heavily in the early 1900s
  • cotton seed
  • sunflower oil
  • peanut oil
  • corn
  • grapeseed
  • safflower
  • rice bran
  • fake butter spreads like margarine.

Good Fats:

  • Ghee.
  • coconut oil.
  • Malaysian palm oil.
  • palm kernel oil.
  • cacao oil.
  • shea nut oil.
  • butter.
  • avocado oil.
  • macadamia nut oil.

These are the most heat tolerant oils.

  • Ghee - 47.8 saturated fat.
  • Good fats lower triglyceride levels.
  • Plant-based omega-3 fatty acids - chia, flax and walnuts.

Omega 6 : Omega 3 Ratio

Today, the average American has an omega-6-to-omega-3 ratio of 20:1.

This increased ratio has been linked to a host of chronic health concerns, including obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular issues.

We cannot just increase out omega 3s, ie. it’s not just about the ratio, we need to reduce our omega 6s.

How Much Fats / Oils Can I Eat?

What If I Don't Have Gallbladder?

Optimal Diet

  • Macro nutrient ratios - transcend them, stop focusing too much on amounts.
  • Cyclical ketosis.
  • Simplify diet: eat real food (whole foods), seasonal food, etc.
  • See Vital Veda's online course on Ayurvedic Nutrition for a holistic, simple and effective nutrition protocol.

References:

(1) http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2548255

2. Guyton and Hall. Textbook of Medical Physiology. 12th edition. Saudners Press. 2011. p Ch 64 p785

(3) Hamazaki et al. Blood Cholesterol: A good Market for Health in Japan. Wolrd Review on Nutrition and Dietics 100. 2009: 63-70.

(4)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3215354/

(5) https://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/54/7/2198.full

(6) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2869506/

(7) http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/08/09/coca-cola-funds-scientists-who-shift-blame-for-obesity-away-from-bad-diets/

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


Oil Massage for Skin Cleansing & Soap Alternative

Abhyanga oil massage as a good alternative for hand soap

Scrubbing, washing, cleaning and polishing our body.

Whether it is with a single bar of handmade organic soap or the latest innovative package of products to sequentially be applied to our body.

Perhaps we are over being over-hygienic? Or perhaps not, and what our biology (body), specifically our microbiology, really wants, is an alternative way to not only maintain cleanliness, but feel pristine.

The Problem with Soap and Scrubbing

Nowadays we are cleaning and scrubbing all the good oils off our skin. These oils feed the microbes (micro-bugs) on our skin.

Microbes do the heavy lifting for just about all our bodily functions, including skin functions like ensuring proper elimination of waste through sweat glands, maintaining complexion, regulating skin inflammatory responses and general immunity (which functions highly at the skin level).

It is therefore important that we find alternatives to hand soap that doesn't completely eradicate these oils from our epidermis.

The Origin of Soap

Legends say, oils from animal sacrifice seeped out into the river and when mixed with the water, created froth. Women who were cleaning clothes in the river noticed that with this froth, the clothes were washing better.

Soap Alternative: Oil Massage

Fast-forward to today, we now know oil plus water creates a soap-onification effect that takes the bad microbes out of the skin.

Oil is lipophilic, meaning it pulls out any bad oils, grease or grime from the skin. Ayurveda therefore suggests that Oil as being one of the best alternatives for hand soap since it cleanses the skin without the complete eradication of the microbes that work in symbiosis with our own physiology.

Abhyanga oil massage as a good alternative for hand soap

The same lipophilic effect happens when we ingest ghee. It will pull heavy metals and fat soluble toxins out of the fat cells in our stomach.

Thus, ghee is a key ingredient for cleansing and detoxification in Ayurveda.

Oil Pulling, another ancient Ayurvedic technique which involves swishing oil in mouth, literally pulls plaque and other toxins out of the oral cavity and tissues of the head, neck and throat.

Girl doing oil pulling

Some Indians who are 80 years old have had a massage pretty much everyday of their lives, and some have never have even used soap!

Self-Massage (Self-Abhyanga) is part of their daily regimen.

We bathe and wash ourselves daily (I hope), well, we also go to anoint oil on our skin and then massage it onto our body to move blood, lymph, calm the billions of neuro-receptors on our skin and feed the microbiology living there!

You may think you would start to smell, but interestingly enough, if you rub the oil on well, you can create a really effective cleansing technique.

Your body odour may very well dissipate, perhaps you won’t need deodorant anymore, and you can reduce the amount of soap you use (I still recommend regularly using natural soap in your “under-bits”).

Nourish your body with medicated oils and take it to the next level.

You put it on your skin, the herbs go in, do the action, and then pulls impurities out of your skin to be washed off.

Abhyanga Massage Oil (sesame based) 500ml

Squalene is the exact oil that our skin makes ourself. Let’s optimise that.


Fruit Should Be Eaten Alone

Slices of many different fruits

Fruit mixed with other foods is one of the more common incompatible food combinations (Viruddha Ahara) prepared on western plates today. Not only has Ayurveda said this for thousands of years, but now modern science and logic also show it.

Anthropological Reasoning

So how should one eat fruit according to Ayurveda?

Ideally, fruit should be eaten alone (away from other foods). Historically this is what happened. Ancestrally we would come across a fruit tree or a berry bush and go all out on that fruit and that fruit only. That would be our meal before fasting and walking for another 5 hours at least before we came across another gift from nature ready to harvest.

Scientific Reasoning

Fruit (fructose) burns quickly, but glucose (grains) burns even quicker.

Take the common granola topped with fruit for example:

When you eat the granola (grains, glucose), it will go into your blood stream quickly. By the time the fruit gets processed by the digestive system, the body would have already met it’s nutritional and energy needs. The fruit will turn into triglycerides, which will be stored as “extra fat” that is worthless and disruptive.

If you eat the fruit alone, those triglycerides go through your lymph and deliver energy to every cell in your body in a harmonious and stable fashion.

That is why fruit comes in summer. After ripping on the vine all year long, it is now ready to be eaten. In abundance and alone.

Ayurvedic Reasoning

Add another ingredient like milk or yoghurt into your granola and you got another food type that will digest at a different time.

Mixing different food types together creates confusion to your digestive system and generates indigested food material (ama), that is the cause for most diseases.

Ayurveda says that the synergy of various substances (foods or herbs) may create a final end product with properties that are incompatible to the digestive system, thus a precursor for disease.

The specific properties of a substance include the taste (rasa), energetic/potency effect (heating or cooling) (virya), and the post-digestive effect (vipaka).

Take banana + dairy for example:

A common food combination in the west today (banana smoothie, banana on your yoghurt granola) that Ayurveda quite strongly condemns as an incompatible food combination that can particularly cause digestive and skin diseases.

Banana has a sour vipaka (stimulating action reducing body fluids) while milk has a sweet vipaka (nourishing action increasing body fluids). The different vipakas (post-digestive effects) conflict each other thus create an incompatible food composition that typically deposits as ama in the body and will manifest as disease later. It is the synergy of these various food properties (rasa, virya, vipaka) that will either nourish and provide energy to the body, or create ama.

That all said, please note this is not a massive problem and there are much bigger dietary problems and unwholesome trends today. However, mixing fruit with other foods can cause indigestion, gas, bloating and other issues.

Ways To Eat Fruit

Fruit as a meal itself for breakfast or supper. This is great for those who have little appetite in the morning and for those who want to shift towards eating lighter dinners. It is more so indicated in spring or summer rather than winter when your agni is stronger.

But this is only for you if you are a good digester and have established fat metabolism, ie. have established a calm stable source of fuel (fat), rather then being energy dependant on foods as fuel (sugar).

Add honey onto your fruit. Honey drizzled on grapefruit (include white pith) is a great weight-loss breakfast. Poached apples or pears with sultanas and cinnamon is another good breakfast.

The word "Love" spelled out with strawberry fruits

Fruit as afternoon snack is perhaps the best time to eat fruit.

Fruit after your meal if you are still hungry. This is ok but not ideal. Also be cautious when mixing (e.g. if you had milk in your meal best no have fruit).

Don’t mix sour and sweet fruits. It is best to just eat sweet fruits, or just sour or just astringent fruits. This is why generally you eat as much of a single fruit you want (caution diabetics).

Dried fruits are ok to mix with other foods. Dried fruits like sultanas/raisins, figs, dates are sweet so you can have with sweet foods like granola, porridge and hot milk. When you mix sour fruits with sweet substances, especially milk, this is a recipe for incompatibility.

Mango is the only fruit you can mix with dairy. Go all out on the mango milkshakes, mango smoothies and mango lassis. Just ensure it is fresh mango in season.

Did you know how to eat fruits according to Ayurveda? Have you experimented with any of these suggestions? Comment 👇


Cooked vs. Raw Food Diet: Transcend Food Fads | Dylan Smith #025

Transcend food fads and diets and adhere to the ultimate diet: Natures Diet.

The Dubious Flexibility of Scientific Literature

When engaging in discussions and dispelling myths of particular health trends, I truely intend to create a balanced argument on both sides. I like to present the pros and cons of both sides, the science and the ancient wisdom, then allow the reader to make an informed decision themselves that applies to their unique self.

According to the science, raw food and cooked food, are both beneficial and our ancestors enjoyed both.

Due to the dubious nature of scientific studies, a more holistic insight is required. Thus, it is wise to consider the traditional sciences that have time tested these topics for thousands of years, as in the case of Ayurveda.

Anthropology: What Did Our Ancestors Eat?

The logic that our ancestors only ate raw foods is flawed, with numerous studies suggesting we have been cooking for almost 2 million years.

Cooking with fire predates homosapians. If you trace your way back, you find the species prior, which were still in our genus, they were homo (human), "homo erectus" to name the precise genus, had fire and passed the torch onto homosapians. This was all found through fossil analysis.

What was the benefits of cooking with fire? The study says:

“Reduced digestive effort…and increased supply of food energy.”
Cooking and the Ecology of Human Origins.

In Ayurveda, the discussion isn’t so narrow as to one is bad and one is good.

Many things are taken into account, including The Eight Factors Determining the Utility of Food:

  1. Prakriti - nature of food articles.
  2. Karana - method of processing.
  3. Samyoga - combination of food articles.
  4. Rasi - quantity.
  5. Desa - habitat of the food and where it is being eaten.
  6. Kala - Time - day or night, age of the person and stage of the disease in the individual.
  7. Upayogasamsthā - rules governing the intake of food. One should no speak, laugh, take in hurry, very slow, etc.
  8. Upayoktrn - wholesomeness of the individual who takes it. This includes "OkaSatmya" - What the individuals ancestors ate, what they were brought up eating, and what they are habituated to eat.

The Importance of Agni (Transformation)

As you see above, Processing (Karana) is one of the Eight Factors Determining the Utility of Food.

Processing or cooking foods is vital. It transforms the food. Usually for the good. Cooking in most cases can remove samskaras ("memories") of the food item and transform the qualities of it.

Example: transforming milk with fire

Take milk from stress-induced, unhappy factory farmed cows for example. When you boil the milk diluted with water, to some extent, the stress chemistry of the cows are removed from the milk.

Take it to the next level by adding some black pepper to further transform the milk as these little pungent black fiery spice balls counter the heavy, damp, mucous creating quality of milk.

There are many ways to process or cook food (detailed below). It is vital to purify the substance, enhance its absorbability for humans and nutritional effect.

“Raw foodists, it is clear, do not fare well. They thrive only in rich modern environments where they depend on eating exceptionally high quality foods.... the implication is clear. We are not like other animals. In most circumstances, we need cooked food.”
~ Harvard Professor Richard Wrangham, “Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human.”

On the other hand...

Common cooking methods can be used to enhance the nutritional value of vegetables, increasing bio-accessibility of health-promoting constituents.

Cooking has the effect of softening the indigestible cellulose, allowing nutrients to be rereleased that may not be when eaten raw.

Cooked foods is not just about nutrients, they are nurturing for your intestinal wall!

Foods that Have A Higher Nutrient Value When Cooked

Artichokes

Cooking artichokes increase their antioxidant levels (steaming is best).

Studies observed the cooking effect on the artichoke antioxidant profile is probably due to matrix softening and increased extractability of compounds.

Asparagus

Cooked asparagus has more antioxidants than raw. 

This study assessed "significant and more pronounced" changes during cooking process.

Blueberries

Studies show cooked blueberries can have greater antioxidant levels than fresh.

Baking blueberries changes their polyphenol content.

Note that fruit doesn't need to be cooked since the sun cooks it!

Carrots

Cooked carrots are more nutritious than raw. Steaming or baking whole carrots preserves more of the beta-carotene, studies showed.

The human body converts beta carotene into vitamin A (retinol) - beta carotene is a precursor of vitamin A. We need vitamin A for healthy skin and mucus membranes, our immune system, and good eye health and vision.

Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage

Some studies suggest raw because the heat breaks down the enzyme called tyrosinase, which is a precursor for broccoli to release cancer-fights and ulcer reducing sulforaphanes (which is what elevated broccoli to its superfood status).

Over all, you can’t digest those enzymes.

On the other hand, a perhaps even more health-prompting nutrient, Indole-3-carbinol, is processed only when broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage are cooked.

Indole-3-carbinol has been shown to stop pre-cancerous prostate cells from becoming malignant by inhibiting cell growth and supports apoptosis.

Spinach

Raw spinach - chew it and it tastes chalky because it contains oxalic acid - an organic substance that can interfere with the absorption of essential nutrients like calcium and iron.

A study showed it also attaches to quite a few other vital nutrients, and long-term consumption of foods high in oxalic acid can lead to nutrient deficiencies.

Cooking spinach breaks down oxalic acid.

Tomatoes

Studies showed cooked tomatoes have higher lycopene, a potent antioxidant more powerful then vitamin C, and is particularly useful in helping the body repair damaged tissue, and preventing cancer and heart attacks.

Other studies show vitamin C decreased when being cooked. 

Reported Benefit of Raw Food: Cleansing

Yes it is true, raw roods can be cleansing since they have more fibre.

This is why people get good bowel motions - it is going straight out.
They think this is a good thing, but actually, they are not absorbing nourishment.

This can be of benefit for when the body is sick and toxic, like in the case of cancer - as the fibre can scrub the intestines.

But once you are cleansed, raw food is not sustainable.

In the beginning, when lots of raw vegetables or "green juices" are eaten, the system starts to digest the ama (toxins and blockages) because you are not getting enough nourishment, so it is like fasting. Catabolic activity happens. The problems start when the ama is finished and then the body starts to eat the dhatus (healthy  tissues).

Raw Food Will Cause Weight Loss, But You're Losing Healthy Tissues!

Definitely people will loose weight on a raw diet. Due to catabolic action where tissues are broken down, including fat tissue. However, it also depletes other tissues, like bone, bone marrow, and reproductive tissue.

In ‘Catching Fire’, Professor Richard Wrangham wrote:
“Recent studies indicate that low bone mass in the backs and hips of raw foodists was caused by their raw diet.”

There are healthier ways to loose weight: Balance agni and activate healthy tissue metabolism.

Not only will the healthy tissues become depleted, but the digestive fire becomes compromised. And it takes a lot of attentiveness from someone recovering from raw food diet damage.

Overall with cancer, the more vegetables you eat, the better. Plant based diet is key.

In the condition of inflammatory bowels, the very first recommendation is stop eating raw food. While they are cleansing, they are very rough on the intestinal wall. Cleansing is not a suitable diet in this case of sensitive gut.

Reported Benefit of Raw Food: More Energy

Again, this is true but also false. 

Raw food takes about 80% more energy to digest than cooked food. Plus it also provides the body with less energy following digestion. 

So how is it that raw food makes you feel more energetic?
Because it certainly does, in the short term at least. 

You get a short term hit of energy due to the catabolic effect. But then, (few months to a few years later) you are left depleted.

This is why the raw food diet doesn't last to long with people.

Vata Aggravating & Catabolic Effect

Raw food has the qualities of Dry, Light, Cold and Rough.
The vata dosha (bioenergy responsible for movement) also has those qualities.
Thus, according to the natural law of “like increases like,” eating raw foods increase the vata dosha.

Vata is responsible for catabolism - cell reduction.

The Raw Food Diet Has Never Been Time Tested

When a cell breaks down, it is like a star exploding – it releases a lot of energy!

So, if you’ve ever been on a raw food, smoothie or juice diet, for a short period of time you may very well have felt on top of the world!

But this feeling won’t last forever and neither should your raw food diet.

Excess catabolism occurs, where healthy tissues become depleted. Then the Ojas (immunity, vitality, essence of your tissues), also gets reduced.

This is why many of the people I see who have tried raw diets feel great in the short term, and get inflicted with fatigue down the track. You may have experienced this.

People do not stay on the raw vegan diet for long.

Even 10 years is very rare for someone to be on a raw food diet, but those who have been, even that isn’t a long period of time!

Never as a human species have we done this.

Historically the diets of humans last centuries, not 10 years! And they never dipped in and out of fads. They maintained the same diet for generations.

They adhered to the ultimate diet. Natures diet.

Reported Benefit: Reduced Risk of Disease

Not a precise point to argument since people on raw food diets tend to stop eating processed food or a regular western ‘convenience/fast food’ diet.

This processed and unnatural diet is well recognised as the main cause of some of the most common chronic diseases in Western society.

They also eat more fruits and veggies and less meat.

They also tend to be people who care about their health, so tend to make other life-style changes - like sleeping better, meditation, exercise, healthy relationships, less alcohol and smoking etc. - that turn out to benefit their health.

The Wisdom of Ayurveda

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, I really do try to make the argument balanced. But I just couldn't do that for raw foods.

The reality is, when you acknowledge the time-tested, rich science of Ayurveda, raw food only has a small place in the human diet.

For those who want optimal health and to cure and prevent disease, should primarily cook their food.

The famous Ayurvedic sage, Caraka Samhita, has 10 rules for eating raw food. They are in order of importance, and yep you guessed it, cooking food is included. In fact, it is number one most important for food to be wholesome.

10 Rules For Taking Food:

  1. Food Should be Warm/Cooked:

Reasoning for this from thousands of years ago:

  • It is delicious.
  • After intake it provokes the factors (enzymes) in the abdomen and helps digestion;
  • It gets digested quickly;
  • Helps digestion, fluids and nutrients move downwards (vata anulomana);
  • Maintains detachment of sticky, undigestible, toxic substances (kapha).

And the other 9 rules for food intake:

2. Food Should be Unctuousness (Snigdha)
3. Food taken in Proper Quantity.
4. Intake After Digestion of Previous Meal.
5. Intake of Food Having No Contradictory Potencies (Incompatible food combinations)
6. Intake in Proper Place (Calm environment) and With All Accessories.
7. Intake, Not in Hurry.
8. Intake, Not Too Slow.
9. Intake with Concentration, Self-Confidence and with due regard to his own self.

Reference: Caraka Samhita, Vimana Sthana.

The Eight Factors Determining the Utility of Food

Let's look at more ancient wisdom.

We saw the eight qualities earlier on in this article, lets go more into the second factor, and view the ancient ways of processing substances (that are still practiced today):

Karana - Processing the Substances:

  • Karana (processing) results in the transformation.
  • Transformation of the attributes is effected by:
  • Dilution
  • Application of heat,
  • Cleansing,
  • Churning - e.g. Curd by nature aggravates oedema; when churned, even with the fat content of it remaining intact, it alleviates oedema.
  • Storing,
  • Maturing,
  • Flavouring - e.g. sweet smelling drugs like utpala (Nymphae alba/White water lily) in water. 
  • Impregnating - drugs like amalaki in juices.
  • Preservation - Ingredients of Duralabhasava are required to be kept in a jar smeared with ghee for 15 days before use (Chikitsa 15:154).
  • Container - e.g. TriphalaRasayana is to be prepared in a new iron container smeared with the paste of amalaki (Chikitsa 1:3:43)(22-II)

Vegetables That Can Be Eaten Raw (Plants in Salad Form)

There is some balance in Ayurveda after all!

Ayurveda does mention certain vegetables that can be eaten raw. However, if these vegetables are cooked, that is ideal and easier to digest.

Ardraka (Green Ginger)

Tender Radish

  • When taste is not well manifested and tender, it  alleviates vitiated dosas, is light (laghu) and stimulates digestion.
  • When overgrown, it provokes these dosas.

Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum)

Leafy greens - Ajwain, Arjaka (Ocimum gratissimum / Clove Basil / African Basil), Sigru (Moringa oleifera), Saleya (Tringonella foenum-graceum / Fenugreek) , Mrstaka (Brassica nigra / Black Mustard) - Leaves of these vegetables are cordial and palatable.

Bhustrna (Cymbopogon citratus / Lemon Grass).

Dhanyaka (Coriandrum sativum / Coriander)

Palandu (Allium cepa / Onion)

Lasuna (Allium sativum / Garlic) - Can provide its fantastic health benefits when raw.

Source: Caraka Samhita, Vimana Sthana.

Other vegetables okay to eat raw:

  • Beetroot
  • Carrot
  • Cucumber
  • Celery
  • Mint
  • and vegetables with strong pitta characteristics can be eaten raw in limited quantity. Grated is best and at lunch or as snack if agni (digestive fire) is good.

What About Fruit?

Fruit is cooked by nature, by the sun. So when it ripens that is cooked.

What About Nuts?

Nuts you can take raw, but better to cook them - either soaking them, peeling some nuts like almonds, or activating.

Some Tips on Cooking

  • Don’t damage foods with high heat and over-cooking. Lightly steaming, lightly cooking is fine and will enhance health of the intestinal skin. 
  • Unless it is soups or stews - they capture the nutrients.
  • Blanch salads and leafy greens.
  • Use pure Clay Pots since they retain the nutrients profoundly.
  • Retain the water.
  • Use some quality oil always when cooking.
  • Eating a little raw food is completely fine. Your diet should be predominately cooked food.

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References

  • "Caraka Samhita," Vimana Sthana.
  • "Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human", Richard Wrangham.
  • "Are Raw Food Diets Healthy?," Nadia Marshall.

Why Dinner Should Be Your Lightest Meal & Low in Protein

Soup: one of the lightest and easy-to-digest meal

Why do you eat food?

For fuel. Food gets digested (hopefully) to allow the mitochondria (the powerhouses of the cells) to produce ATP (Adenosine triphosphate) which is the energy you require to function in life.

If you use the energy, like in the case of your daily activities, that is great! You are "spending" this “energy currency” well.

If you just go to sleep after eating, because your use of energy drops dramatically during sleep, you don’t have anything to spend this ATP on, you hoard it.

Hoarding is never good. Maintenance attracts destruction. The ATP over-accumulates which increases free radicals, reactive oxygen and mitochondrial damage.

You want to finish eating at least 2-3 hours before bed (before 10pm)

When you re-establish fat metabolism, you may not even require dinner at all (a healthy habit). But as a culture, we have lost the ability to burn fat for fuel. Instead, we are using sugar as fuel, quick injections of stimulants from all sorts of foods - think organic dark chocolate, organic nuts, raisins, coffee etc. If you are snacking for quick hits of energy this indicates that you have lost the ability to burn your calm and stable source of fuel - fat. Have a phone consultation with me to re-establish fat metabolism.

Why Eating a High Protein Meal at Dinner Is a Bad Idea

Protein activates an anabolic pathway called mTOR activation - causes you to build muscles. Of course you need mTOR activated but it should not be continuous.

The primary problem when you eat a heavy dinner is it suppresses an important metabolic process called autophagy (meaning “self-devouring”), which breaks down, processes cells and disassembles unnecessary or dysfunctional components. If autophagy is impaired, this can cause cancer (excess tissue). Excess protein can increase cancer risk.

When a tissue (Dhatu) increases, it can cause tumours.

Mamsa Vrdha Mamsam is an ancient slohka in Ayurveda which means eating “flesh increases flesh.”

Excess protein in some cases can be even more dangerous than excess glucose.

Your agni (digestive fire) is regulated by the sun. When the sun is strongest, ea your biggest meal (lunch). When the sun is down, your digestive strength is low, so eat light.

Scenario: Sleeping After a Heavy Dinner

  • When you sleep on top of a big dinner your heart rate pulse rate, respiratory rate, metabolic rate all slows down which causes food to linger in your system without being digested (ama).
  • You wake up in a state of indigestion with ama deposited somewhere in your body.
  • Then you think that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” and you put another truckload onto of that.
  • Then you walk around feeling blocked and inflamed. You create vascular inflammation, congestion, your sinuses are blocked, you are barely awake because you are feeling dull and heavy.
  • You don’t even feel the desire to having a big lunch since you are so out of tune.
  • So add massive doses of caffeine to give you energy which suppresses agni, causes improper appetite and further disconnects you from fat metabolism.

They Call it "Supper" for a Reason

Supper comes from the Old French word souper meaning “evening meal.” That is where we get the name soup from. Supper should be a light supplementary meal, not the main meal. Soup is a great choice.

Tips to Transition to a Light Dinner

  • Have a good, solid warm cooked lunch. Eat that in a relaxed manner to be properly nourished and satisfied.
  • Re-establish fat-metabolism by moving towards three meals a day, no snacks.
  • Learn to "wind-down" from your day with techniques like meditation, pranayama and immersing loving relationships.
  • Incorporate healthy fats in your diet such as ghee.
  • Eat an earlier dinner.
  • Eat whole foods, rather than processed foods.
  • If you eat meat, fish or eggs, only eat at lunchtime.
  • Dinner options: vegetable soup, kitchari, light vegetable dish.

The Importance of How You Eat

Ayurveda stresses the importance of not only What you eat, but perhaps How you eat is more important (unless you are eating crap). Furthermore, you want to have optimum functioning digestion (agni) so that what goes in your mouth becomes a thin fluid essence of nourishment (ahar rasa) rather than a thick toxic congesting fluid (ama).

“Eat late to gain some weight and sleep late to gain some weight.”

Ideally, you should wake up effortlessly, you should jump out of bed. You should also wake up slightly hungry. 

feature photo: Henrique Félix


How to Make Triphaladi Guggulu (Herbal Preperation)

Dylan Smith preparing triphala guggulu

Triphala Guggulu or Triphaladi Guggulu is an Ayurvedic preparation composed of a simple formula of only a few common yet powerful herbs to make tablets. The preparation process (that I employ) on the other hand involves extensive, intricate and labor-intensive procedures.

Superior Herbal Preparation Method Rarely Practiced

Note that this preparation process (illustrated below) is rarely practiced by herbal manufactures and herbalists. The methods performed involve high amounts of attention, monitoring and flow of consciousness.

I was instructed to prepare Triphaladi Guggulu this way by my teachers during my Dhanvantri Diksha (initiation), as a preface into the field of herbal preparations (Aushadhi Vijnana).

Purification of Herbs

Most of the knowledge about the purification of herbs has been lost.

Vital Veda employs purification and preparation methods that have been passed down for many generations within the Raju Family of Vaidyas. This ensures the safety and enhances potency, and is one of the factors that make our herbal products profoundly effective and treasured by so many.

This method of preparation is by far superior and immensely enhances the potency and efficacy of this herbal formulation.

"What Dylan made is worth more than diamonds."
~ Dr. Padma Raju.

Indications:

Triphala Guggulu/Triphaladi Guggulu is used to treat an extensive array of conditions due to its ideal composition. Some of the main uses are:

Inflammation

Anywhere in the body.

Thyroid conditions.

Obesity and cholesterol imbalance

By enkindling fat metabolism (meda agni) thus clearing out ama from the adipose channels (medavaha srotas). This prevents or reverses stagnated fat tissue, causing cravings and false hunger.

Immunity

Strengthens the whole system by removing the causes that turn accumulate into pathogens. Combats allergies, repetitive colds, boils and infections in kapha types by strengthening agni and clearing mucus toxins.

Lungs

It has an action of removing obstructions in channels (Srotorodhaghna) such as excess kapha from the plasma, chest and lungs creating asthma, bronchitis and phlegmy cough. Also for sinus congestion, nasal drip and rhinitis.

Gastrointestinal tract

Scrapes toxins (lakhana) such as ama and kapha in the GIT tract causing poor digestion and low metabolism. Helps in constipation by correcting the flow of apana vata downwards in the digestive tract. Also helps in fistula (Bhagandara) and haemorrhoids by purifying the blood and regulating the flow and direction of vata. Also helps correct low tissue metabolism (dhatu agni) which clears obstructed channels (Srotorodhaghna).

Arthritis

It's hot and dry qualities treats rheumatoid and osteoarthritis that is aggravated by cold, wet, damp conditions when vata and ama have accumulated. It has a specific action on sleshaka kapha and the synovial fluid in the joints with its scraping action (lekhana).

The Process

This preparation took me over 350 hours across 41 days to produce approximately 1200 triphala guggulu tablets.

Additionally, a small fraction of this I had a little help from my colleagues, which ended up being a big help.

Special mantras (primordial sounds) are chanted throughout this whole process to infuse vibrations into the highly receptive particles in the plant substances.

This preparation method is traditionally the first herbal preparation a student of Ayurveda and Ayurvedic herbal should prepare. It is appropriate for devoted and physically and mentally strong students. It is not for the faint hearted, nor for the impatient.

Raw Ingredients

Triphala - 3 fruits consisting of:
1. Amalaki (Embilica officinalis)
2. Bibhitaki (Terminalia belerica)
3. Haritaki (Terminalia chebula)

Triphala cleans the bowels, ama and regulates the flow of apana vata (downward movement in the body).

Use the whole fruits dried.

4. Guggulu (Commiphora mukul)

Guggulu scrapes the channels and clears ama out of the system. Specifically works on meda dhatu (fat tissue) and is an anti-inflammatory.

There are 5 types of guggulu. You want the Hiranya type that is commonly used for medicine. This is like gold in colour (Kanaka).

Guggulu is an oily latex/gum/resin exuded from a small tree. Use it in raw resin form.

 

Dhumapana using Guggulu Resin

Method

Step 1: Guggulu Purification - Laksha Kutanam Shodana (Banging 100,000 times)

  1. Fill a large mortar and pestle up just below the rim of the bowl (mortar) with raw guggulu resin. 
  2. Pound it 100, 000 (one hundred thousand) times.
  3. Every 10 minutes (approx.), scoop up the squashed guggulu, loosen it up, turn the guggulu inside the mortar and start another round of banging. This is also a break time to rest your arms (see video).
  4. Keeping the guggulu in the sun, while banging it or not, helps soften it and makes it easier to bang.

Counting Method:

  • Chanting mantras while doing it not only enhances the herbs, but also is a tool for counting.
  • For example, I perform minimum 8 bangs per the mantra I use.
  • I chant the mantra 108 times in a row (1 mala), and keep track of how many malas I do. So 1 malas = 108x8 bangs.
  • If banging with my left hand, I count the mantras in my right hand using a beaded mala (necklace with 108 beads).
  • If banging with my right hand, I count the mantras on my left phalanxes.
  • Obtain mantra from your guru or contact me to perform a Dhanvantri Diskha and learn this procedure in person with me in India.

Notes:

  • This will take days. It took me 6 days of basically full time banging (kutanam).
  • Switch hands when you get tired. I switched about every 1-2 malas.
  • This is one of the more laborious steps. It is only for the strong (especially strong triceps, forearms and tough hands).
  • Keep the guggulu inside the mortar and pestle with a lid covered when not in use to protect from dust. Such as overnight.
  • This is a very powerful purification method for guggulu that is hardly practiced. Hand banged is way more effective to enhance potency than using machines.

Step 2: Triphala Kashayam (Decoction)

  1. Take 1kg of raw dried triphala fruits (equal parts of the 3 fruits).
  2. Grind or bang lightly to a coarse consistency (pictured). You can use food processor for this.
  • Boil 1L of the coarse triphala in 10L of water and reduce to half (5L).
  • Strain and you have a decoction.
  • The coarse triphala holds a lot of water, so squeeze it out inside a muslin cloth to get as much as possible.
  • Keep the coarse triphala for other uses.

Step 3: Boiling Guggulu in Triphala Kashayam

Tie the guggulu in a bolus with a thin material such as a muslin cloth. I ended up with about 700 grams.

  • Fully submerge the bolus in the pot but don't let it touch the bottom because that will burn it.
  • Boil on high heat. Be careful so that it doesn't bubble over.
  • The guggulu will exude out of the bolus, into the kashayam.
  • The kashaym will eventually evaporate and you will be left with a slimy like tar substance.
  • You will probably need to keep transferring this process into a smaller pot, 2-3 times, as you will need a smaller pot so that the bolus is submerged as much as possible.
  • Continue this process till the guggulu fully exits the muslin cloth. This can take up to 20 pots for the amount of Guggulu I used (700gm), so perhaps use less.

Step 4: Drying the Triphaladi Guggulu Paste

  • When the matter in the pot is thick, vicious and seems the kashayam / water content has been mostly evaporated (as much as possible), pour it onto a clean plate.
  • You want it to be on a large plate and multiple plates so that it is a thin layer so that it dries quicker.
  • Cover the plate with a clean glass (ideal) or a tight clean cotton cloth, then leave in the sun to dry up the remaining water content and harden. The cover is to prevent dust from coming in. If using cotton ensure it does not touch the paste. Keep the paste very clean.
  • Take it inside at night time to avoid moon (water) exposure.
  • Drying time can range from 1 week to 4 weeks depending on how thick the paste is and the climate.
  • Drying is finished when the paste is hard but you can still squish it if you push hard. It shouldn't be to hard so that you can still manipulate the paste to roll into tablets.

Step 5: Rolling Into Tablets

This step is a little challenging and laborious.

  • Using a knife or sharp scraper, scrape some paste off the plate.
  • Collect the right amount of Triphala Guggulu paste to then roll into one spherical tablet.
  • Put back on a plate for potentially more drying if it is to sticky and water content is not fully removed.
  • When ready, package the Triphala guggulu tablets in containers!

Notes:

  • If the paste is too sticky to work with, add some triphala powder and bang with the paste.
  • I made large tablets (vati), therefore I prescribe 1 tablet 2x/day before meals.

Vital Veda's precious Triphala / Triphaladi Guggulu Vati is available for people and for those who really need it.

Enquire within.

Honey – Nectar or Poison?

honey dripping off a honey comb

Honey, nature’s sweet nectar, was considered by the ancient Vedic sages as one of the most exceptional food items available to mankind. It constitutes unique medicinal properties par excellence. And all this certainly still prevails today, but only when used properly.

In stark contrast, honey when heated is considered fatal and is classified as toxic poison. Not only did ancient Vedic sages clearly warn civilisations about this, but now modern science is proving ancient wisdom by confirming the toxicity of heated honey.

I understand that these words condemning heated honey seem harsh, radical and perhaps rather shocking. But many sages (who are considered authentic authorities on the science of life that is Ayurveda) used these exact words for this topic. And by the way, this language was rarely used.

I personally consider heated honey as the #1 Biggest Flaw in The Post Modern Era Diet.

The Importance of Honey

Honey is a medicine, not so much a food.

Honey is only good in little quantities. This is “because of properties like difficult digestibility, dryness and astringency.”(1)

If undigested, honey is very hard to eliminate out of the body. If it doesn’t eliminate, it lodges in the body as ama (undigested food material), which is the root cause of most illnesses. Ama clogs the channels of the body, obstructing metabolic activity, preventing nutrients from being delivered to cells and hampering proper waste elimination.

“Nothing is as troublesome as the Ama caused by improper intake of honey.”
~ Charaka, Ancient Sage.

The best yogavahi (catalyst)

Which means it amplifies the properties of the herbs added to it.(2)

The chief Anupana (Vehicle of Administration)

All herbs need a vehicle to effectively deliver it to the part of body that it is intended for. There are many Anupana’s such as ghee, milk, decoctions, water, sugar, wine and more. Honey is the main Anuapana in Ayurvedic medicine.

Thus, the best way to get your regular dose of honey is to incorporate it into your regular herbal intake.
(see below for other ways to take honey).

Good for the Eyes

Improves the eyesight. Very useful for itchy eyes, trachoma, conjunctivitis, glaucoma and other similar diseases.(1)

Honey is an excellent ‘scraper’ - whether it be scraping undigested food material in the digestive tract, to then be eliminated, or the mature cataracts (when the lens of the eye becomes progressively opaque) to stop the growth of the membrane.

It is to be used regularly internally but most effective when applied into the eyes via a specific Ayurvedic herbal preparation. (contact Vital Veda to order Netra Amrit Eye Drops).

Heart Health

Honey is wonderful for the heart. While it’s sweetness give pleasure to pacify the emotional heart, the scraping quality removes the ama that is blocking heart vowels and arteries.

Heart Tonic Remedy - Honey + amalaki juice + lemon juice + mango juice + arjuna kashayam (optional).

Honey Heals the Skin

Topically applying honey to wounds(1), burns, cuts, skin diseases(1) and ulcers(1) is an easy home remedy to clean the area and hasten healing.

Wound Healing Remedy - Mix some turmeric powder with honey to increase the antiseptic effect and stop bleeding(1). Topically apply on skin lesion.

Digestion

  • Honey is considered a boon for those with low digestion (Manda Agni). This is because it scrapes away the kapha coating on top of the pitta (kapha avarana).
  • It helps with diarrhoea and regulates acid levels.
  • It is a vital ingredient during Panchakarma when conducting purification treatments such as Basti (enema) and Vamana (emesis).

Respiratory Health

Honey is highly beneficial in the support of lung health and treatment of all imbalances of the lungs. Honey contains a mixture of "higher" alcohols and ethereal oil that emit soothing and beneficial vapours. Couple this with a combination of Ayurvedic respiratory herbs to breath at ease.

Cough

Honey soothes the inflamed mucous membrane of the upper respiratory tract and relieves irritating cough and symptoms like difficulty in swallowing. Honey is also one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory foods for inflammation anywhere in the body.

Cough and Cold Home Remedy – Honey and spice paste.

Weight Loss, Obesity and Diabetes

Honey is Kapha Nisaraka.
“Sara” = Essence.
“Ni” = Take away.
Honey, with its astringent quality, in small amounts, takes away the essence of kapha. Kapha is the factor for fluids, excess fat and heaviness in the body.
Another quality of honey is Stambhana (Stopping). Honey stops the overproduction of the bodily tissues.

Weight Loss Remedy - Boil water at night. The next morning add 1tsp honey + 1tsp lemon juice to the room temperature water and drink first thing after brushing teeth and scraping tongue.

Aphrodisiac and Ojas Booster

Due to a sweet taste and sweet post-digestive effect, honey (when taken right) is one of the few foods that metabolises so well that it nourishes all the tissues and quickly and directly nourishes and builds Ojas (vital essence). Due to it’s yogavahi (catalyst) quality, combined with aphrodisiac herbs it is effective for low libido, premature ejaculation, low sperm count and reproduction.

Ojas Builder and Immunisation for Babies - Swarna Prasha (honey + ghee + gold bhasma) - (available at Vital Veda clinic).

Other benefits:

“Madhu (honey) breaks up solidified materials inside the body, relieves thirst, mitigates kapha, poison, hiccup, bleeding disease, skin diseases, diabetes, worms, vomiting, difficulty in breathing, cough, diarrhoea; cleanses the ulcers, unifies fractures, heals wound.”(1)

Ways to Take Honey:

  • Incorporate into herbal preparations.
  • By itself as a tonic - If you do not take herbs, you can take 1tsp of raw honey first thing in the morning. (Sweet should be the first taste of the day).
  • Fruit + Honey - Drizzle honey on seasonal fruit. Honey + grapefruit is a great breakfast for weight loss. (make sure to eat the white pith of the grapefruit!).
  • Yoghurt + Honey - Yoghurt is one of the heaviest foods available. Thus Ayurveda says “it should not be taken alone without, sugar, green gram soup, honey or amalaki”(3) to make it more easily digestible. Honey and yoghurt is a great snack.

Honey’s Poisonous Potential

On the other hand, if one goes about heating honey, it can easily acquire a poisonous & toxic quality.

When honey is heated past body temperature (37 degrees Celsius) it becomes poison.

“100 litres of honey can be spoiled with 1 drop of hot water. Poison.”
Vaidya J.R. Raju

When heated, the molecules in honey metamorphose into glue-like structures and that adhere to the gut membrane, clogging the channels and producing ama. This ama becomes a sly nuisance that is very difficult to remove from the body.

“It takes many Panchakarma’s to remove heated honey.”
~ Vaidya J.R. Raju.

Now modern science is proving ancient wisdom. A study showed that when honey is heated, it produces a chemical called hydroxymethylfurfuraldehyde (HMF), a substance linked in certain forms to toxicity and possible links to carcinogenic effects.

The heat melts the microscopic globules of wax, which is where bees store this toxic chemical (and possibly more). This wax which encases the toxic substances is only eliminated straight out the body if it is not heated.

Beware of Heated Honey

  • Don’t add honey to any food or drink that is hot including tea, chai, porridge, honey soy chicken, honey cake etc. You are safer to leave this out all together rather then letting the food or drink “cool down.” - Remember, 37 degrees celsius.
  • Honey as an ingredient in packaged foods - Care should be taken to avoid cereals, breads, baked goods, sauces, bars and other “health food” products that include honey which has been cooked. Read the labels.
  • What is the source of your honey? - Speak to the bee keeper. Find out how they extract the honey. If the honey is cold-extracted or unheated, this is medicine. However most honey sold in mainstream supermarkets are toxic.

Ayurveda is so strict on this that it even prohibits honey during fever and hot summers.

Who is to say that heated honey is not a primary cause in diseases like colon cancer, infertility, children dying at birth or soon after birth? It will be a while till science conducts studies like these.

Other Notes About Honey

  • Honey gets better with age. I recommend only use honey that is at least 2 months old. This increases the activity levels. If it crystallises this is a good thing. Make sure to store well in a glass container. Start collecting!
  • Beware, “Honey mixed with equal quantities of ghee causes death.” ~ Every major ancient ayurvedic text.
honey collection
My honey collection from 2014. I still hold some of these that are getting good age to them! I save them for when strong medicines are required and for Ayurvedic baby immunisations.

If you have eaten heated honey in the past like most westerners, fear not! you are strong. Even heated honey in very little quantity can be digested to some extent by with those of good physiology. But now you are aware, you can continue to detoxify and further imbue vitality.

“Even Brahman cannot cure the heated honey.”
Vaidya Dr. Raju
“Eat honey, my son, for it is good;”
~ Proverbs 24:13, The Bible

Honey Brand Recommendations:

  • Jelly bush honey from Vital Veda's personal collection..
  • Amber Drop Honey - Discount code: VITALVEDA
  • Maharishi Honey - These guys use a Natural Law based approach to apiculture. They have the bees facing east, play them vedic chants and work closely with the environment. This honey is another level. If you are in Australia order through The Medicine Man.

Get collecting!

References
(1) Astanga Samgraha of Vaghbata, ch. 6,(86-93).
(2) Caraka Samhita, ch. 26, (249)
(3) Caraka Samhita, ch. 7, (61-62)

feature photo: Cereal Mag

Related Listening


8 Tips to Avoid Toxins Over Xmas🎄 & Silly Season (& Still Indulge)

Cupcakes, which very often lead to ama

The festive season is here! and along with it an abundance of edible delights seem to be just about everywhere!

Over 99% of us are going to break the rules and indulge. Great! Enjoy it! (guilt-free and in moderation).
But accordingly, support your digestive ability to "digest the silly season" at ease with minimal repercussions.

It is hard not to overindulge and accumulate Ama, the toxic sticky waste-product of incomplete digestion.

Tempting sweets and mouth watering food platters that pull you in by the eyes and nose can lead you to over-eat and snack at irregular times, promoting the accumulation of Ama.

Ama according to Ayurveda is a sticky, thick, mucus-like substance that if not cleaned out, will clog bodily channels and vitiate the “weak part” (Kavyaguna) in your body.

Joints, lungs and sinuses are typical weak spots where ama accumulates, but the ama will vitiate different tissues and areas depending on the person. Some people may experience respiratory symptoms, constipation, gas, bloating, skin rashes or breakouts, congested lymphatic system, weight gain, headaches, ulcers or stress.

The accumulation of ama is the first of The Six Stages of Disease (Shat Kriya Kala) according to Ayurveda.
After that, it will eventually manifest into disease and more full-blown clinical features down the track.

This is the beauty of the prevention aspect of Ayurveda. It can detect disease way before it gets even slightly complicated.

A key solution for conquering "Christmas-time Ama" according to Ayurveda is to keep your digestive fire (Agni) burning and balanced.

We want our agni to digest any food and from it create a thin liquid nourishing substance called "Ahar Rasa."
Ahar Rasa means "the essence of the food."
This essential bi-product of digestion will nourish your body and provide the required nutrients and energy for you to thrive.

The following tips will help keep your agni strong and balanced...

Tips for Less Ama, more Nectar

1. Eat Seasonally

Digestion is stronger in winter and weaker in summer.

"The temperature of the body beaten by the cold wind goes deep inside, gathers like a lump in the stomach increasing the digestive fire; hence, [in winter] people have the ability to digest foods which are hard by nature."
~Astanga Samgraha of Vaghbata, Hemantartucarya (regimen of winter), ch. 4, (8-13).

Modern science is now proving ancient wisdom as studies show the amylase enzyme (which increases our digestive strength), increases in our body in winter and decreases in summer.

What more is that the parasympathetic nervous system, AKA the “Rest and Digest” nervous system, also increases in winter and decreases in the spring and summer.

Our digestive fire is hot, fiery and acidic. We don’t want that in summer, we want that in winter to keep us warm and insulated and to help us to break down the hard to digest, high protein, high fat and dense foods like grains, nuts and dairy that nature intelligently organises to be harvested for the winter time.

If your holiday season comes in winter (USA, Europe, India):

You are lucky. Even though you do have stronger digestion at this time of the year, still do everything in moderation and follow the tips below to remain balanced.

If your holiday season comes in summer (Australia, NZ):

Choose loads of fresh local fruits as your party foods.

Fruits have been ripening on the vines all year long and assist in dissipating the heat out of your body. Fruits are easy to digest for your weaker summer agni.
Ironically barbecues and ice-cream by the beach are more appropriate for winter time. Stick to light foods.

2. Eat Your Main Meal & Schedule Food Celebrations at Midday

Your agni (digestive fire) is regulated by the sun.

When the sun is strongest, your digestion is the strongest and most robust.

Modern sincere is once again proving ancient wisdom by showing that not only is our digestion stronger, but the food you eat delivers more nutritional value at the middle of the day when the sun is up rather than at night time.

  • Schedule social events at lunch rather than dinner.
  • Start preparing your Christmas lunch earlier so that you can stick to a 12pm-2pm mealtime schedule.
  • If you do have an evening party, make it earlier while the sun is still up or around 5pm.
  • Dinner should be the lightest meal of all. A big meal will not only tax your digestive system but will disrupt your sleep as your body will be burdened with this unwanted task. Your body’s job at night is to detox the liver and regulate hormones, not digest a big dinner.

3. Avoid Snacking

Stick to three meals a day, no snacks.

This will allow your digestion to rest in between each meal

Furthermore, it will trigger fat metabolism as you will be using fat as your source of fuel. Fat is the stable, long-lasting, calming, detoxifying, non-emergency fuel.
If you are eating every 1-2-3 hours, the body will continue to burn the readily available fuel from these foods. This fuel source is sugar. Sugar burns quickly and often comes crashing down along with your energy levels, leaving your body craving another short-term “pick me up.”

Fat on the other hand as your primary fuel source is effective for stabilising mood, emotions, good sleep, increasing cognitive function, less cravings, losing weight, balancing acidity and maintaining good energy levels.

Re-establish fat metabolism by eliminating snacks.

4. Use Herbal Digestive Support

Over 99% of us are going to break the rules and indulge. Fine, enjoy it! (guilt-free). But accordingly support your agni with nature’s intelligence through the use of herbs and spices:

Shodana Vati

Detoxification agent and whole-body cleansing Rasayana. 3 dosha balancing. 
Best free radical scavenger & anti-oxidant; immune modulator and blood purifier. Good for gastrointestinal disorders, allergies, tooth and oral problems, female problems, high cholesterol, chronic cough, eye disorders, addictions, and helps clear the skin and more.Raju family formula. For those looking to eliminate ama and cleanse the body, this is one of the best solutions Ayurveda can offer. 

Shodana Vati is my herb of choice for mostly everyone to take. We live in a time where toxins are prevalent. In the US, a whopping 4 billion pounds of toxins are being dumped into the environment each year—72 million of which are carcinogenic.(1) Even your organic kale probably have mercury and glyphosate on it.

Purchase Shodana Vati HERE

Triphala

An inferior digestive support option to Shodana Vati. Take 1-3 grams of quality triphala before dinner.

Tridoshic Digestive Tea

Vital Veda's digestive tea contains 22 organic herbs blended into coarse powder.

Drop a large pinch of the powder in hot water after meals or when you experience digestive discomfort.

A gem to sip on after overindulging in a feast to help digest the ama.

Suitable for all body types. Purchase here

Home-Made Digestive Tea:

An inferior version to Vital Vedas Tridoshic Digestive Tea to be used when the latter is not available. 

  • 1⁄2 teaspoon lightly crushed cumin seeds +
  • 1/2 tsp lightly crushed ajwain seeds +
  • 1/2 tsp lightly crushed fennel seeds +
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder or freshly grated ginger.
  • Put the powdered herbs in 1.5 cups of water and boil down to 1 cup.
  • Strain and add 1 pinch of black salt.

Sip hot/warm as a tea after each meal and if you experience digestive discomfort.

You may make larger quantities and keep in thermos for the day.

5. Sip Hot Water

This is a powerful technique to melt toxins and flush them out of the body.

Like you use hot water to wash the grease off dirty dishes, a similar thing happens in your intestines. Sipping plain hot water regularly (frequency, not quantity matters) dilates the channels in your body so things can move better. Don't underestimate this powerful tool.

Click here for more on this surprisingly powerful detoxification technique. 

6. Fasting

Just in case you strayed from the Ayurvedic path and collected Ama along the way...

Fasting is a quick and effective fix.

When dealing with the accumulation of ama, Ayurveda says:

If you eat a heavy meal that did not digest properly, skip the next meal.

For example:

  • If you had a ridiculous dinner (ice cream, cake, plenty of rich food), skip breakfast or just have hot milk.
  • If you put out your agni by overindulging in a heavy lunch, skip dinner that night or just have some fruit if you really need to eat.

Ayurveda also recommends fasting one day per week. Fasting does not mean no food. You can have liquids such as hot milk, lassi, fruit juices, and even fruits if your current body type is uncomfortable too fast. Also at night if you feel you may take a light dinner.

A gentle fast allows the agni to recover its strength and burn away accumulated ama, leaving you feeling light and energetic.

Always sip hot water frequently on fasting days to assist in removing the ama.

I soon will be releasing an online course on Ayurvedic nutrition which has a whole module on fasting according to Ayurveda. Sign up to the VV Newsletter to be in the loop.

7. Avoid Agni-Destroying Foods and Drinks

Ayurveda also states that some foods are especially hard to digest and easily produce ama.

Heavy foods produce "tamas" or dullness in the mind and body.
Fresh foods are easier to digest and contain more Prana (life force).

Items that diminish agni and contributes to the accumulation of ama:

  • Leftovers - will oxidise and are very tamasic.
  • Deep fried foods are hard to digest.
  • Raw foods are hard to digest. Why make your internal fire do the cooking? Let the external fire do the cooking to make the food more compatible with your body.
  • Cold foods and drinks will put out your agni (digestive fire).
  • Ice-cream - cold, sweet, heavy and dull are the same qualities of ama. "Like increases like."
  • A lot of water with meals dilutes the digestive enzymes. Iced drinks with meals is like throwing cold water onto a fire. Lassi is the best to have with a meal to support digestion.

8. Panchakarma Detox Therapy / Vital Short Home Cleanse

Despite all your good efforts to keep balanced, our physiology still needs regular detoxification and rejuvenation.

Ayurveda has a very effective tool to cleanse the body from ama and other toxins: Panchakarma ("PK"). Panchakarma is a methodical combination of taking herbs, treatments and adjusting diet and lifestyle to cleanse and renew the body. These treatments are hands-on, rejuvenating techniques that purge the physiological stress and toxins out of the body that covers the underlying natural state of perfect health residing in everyone.

This detox and rejuvenation program is best to be immersed in-residence at an authentic, safely practised ayurvedic clinic. I highly recommend Dr. Raju's Institute of Ayurveda.

If you can't run away to India, the Vital Veda clinic in Sydney offers PK for 5, 7, 15, 23 or more days where your program will be tailored to tie in with your home and work life.

If you want to DIY at home, check out my free Vital Short Home Cleanse.

As you can see, Ayurveda offers a ton of possibilities to conquer ama while still being to enjoy yourself.

I wish you a happy holiday season filled with unity and relish.

"Even if you eat ice-cream, enjoy it."
Vaidya J.R. Raju 

References

(1) http://www.mountsinai.org/patient-care/service-areas/children/areas-of-care/childrens-environmental-health-center/childrens-disease-and-the-environment/children-and-toxic-chemicals


The Vital Short Home Cleanse

5 Days to Revitalise Your Digestion, Metabolism, & Energy Levels

A "DIY" Panchakarma Detox and Rejuvenation Program

The Vital Short Home Cleanse (VSHC) is a short 5 day cleanse and detox designed for those who are ready to feel lighter, more energised and peaceful. It is appropriate for busy people who don't have the time for Panchakarma (Ayurvedic detoxification and rejuvenation program) or a similar longer cleanse/retreat.

The VSHC is a "DIY" (Do It Yourself) cleanse consisting of following a daily regimen, a simple and delicious diet protocol, taking a few herbal supplements and perhaps backing up a little from your regular life and giving more time to Yourself and rest.

"DIY" entails that the results are based on the level of your compliance and dedication to the program. How far you take it is up to you. You can choose to retreat and reduce external stimuli to turn your senses inside out to feel the deeper parts of yourself. Or, on the other hand, you can integrate the VSHC at the same time as working full time, which will still reap transforming benefits for you body and mind.

This easy 5 day detox will help stimulate your body's natural ability to burn fat, reset digestion, reduce cravings and eliminate toxins.

When to do the Vital Short Home Cleanse

  • The best time to detox is when you have the time to rest. During the 5 days you should be in bed every night by 9:30-10pm and have minimal social/work commitments.
  • It is important to cleanse and relax on a regular basis or when your lymph is stagnant. (see VSHC eBook for signs of stagnated lymph).
  • You can do the VSHC three to twelve times a year.
  • If you typically experience coughs, congestion, weakened immunity or allergy symptoms during a particular season, it is good to do this cleanse about one month prior to when you usually experience symptoms.
  • Do not do this cleanse during fever, if you are not feeling 100% well or during menstruation.

(Big file, will take time to load).

Vital Short Home Cleanse Kit

  1. Abhyanga Massage Oil - 500ml Medicated Sesame Oil (for cold climates) or 900-gram Medicated Coconut Oil (for hot climates and sensitive skin) to be used for Self-Massage. Supports lymph and blood circulation, pacifies the nervous, collects toxins from deep in the body to be eliminated and more.
  2. Nasika Oil - 15ml Medicated Nasal Oil for Nasya. Nasya pacifies the brain, strengthens sensory organs and more.
  3. Gandusha Oil - 100ml Medicated Oil to for daily Oil Pulling. Not only profound for oral health but also supports Head Neck and Throat health.
  4. Shodana Vati - 300 tablets. To be taken before dinner. General Detoxifying Agent and 3 Dosha Balancing and more.
  5. Copper Tongue Scraper
  6. Tridoshic Digestive Tea
  • Shipping available within Australia (additional handling and postage fee).
  • Pick up from Bronte Beach, Sydney clinic available. 
  • Purchasing individual products are available.

Purchase the Kit Here