Why Dinner Should be Your Lightest Meal & Low in Protein

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


Doshas and their Gunas (Qualities) and Functions

Learning the inherent Qualities (Gunas) and Characteristics (Lakshana) of each Vata, Pitta and Kapha provides a good framework to grasp an understanding of the nature of these doshas, or bio-energies.

Learning or perhaps memorising those the classical texts (sastras) mentioned provides more expertise as these are authoritative and pure teachings.

Some of these translations don't do the sanskrit words justice. It is wise to learn the sanskrit since sanskrit is the sound that nature makes when intending form, function or phenomena. These "sounds" are expressing the quality or function of the dosha. These words are onomatopoetic, not symbolic.

GUNAS (Qualities)

Vata: Akasha (Space) and Vayu (Air) Elements

Vata Gunas

Tatra rukso laghuh sitah kharaha suksmascalo ‘nilaha (A.H. ch 1. 11)

  1. Ruksha - dry.
  2. Laghu - light.
  3. Shita - cold (and dry).
  4. Kara - rough. With dryness.
  5. Suksma - subtle.
  6. Chala - (constant) movement. Like a snake or ant.
  7. Sara - lubricated movement (Caraka).
  8. Vishada - dry slippery like the touch of a reptile. (Caraka). e.g. Kapikachu (Mucuna prurita) before touching it is vishada.

Pitta: Tejas (Fire) and Apa (Water) Elements

Pitta Gunas

Pittam Sasneha tiktsnosnam laghu visram saram dravam (A.H. ch 1. 12)

 

  1. Sasneha - little less unctuousness. Hot due to paka (digestion) in transformation process. Feels like the wick of a ghee lamp.
  2. Tiksha - sharp.
  3. Usna - hot. e.g. aggressive and angry voice and chilli on tongue is sharp and hot (Tiksnonam).
  4. Laghu - light. 
  5. Visram - foul, fermented, strong. (not part of 20 gunas).
  6. Sara - slippery, like banana peel. 
  7. Drava - liquid.
  8. Amla - sour (Caraka)
  9. Katu - pungent (Caraka) 

Kapha: Prthvi (Earth) and Apa (Water) Elements

Kapha Gunas

Snigdha Shito Gsurur Mandaha Ślaksno mrtsnaha sthiraha Kaphaha (A.H. ch 1. 12) 

  1. Snigdha - unctuousness.
  2. Shita - cold.
  3. Guru - heavy - stable movement, solid.
  4. Manda - dull, slow.
  5. Slakshna - smooth (like ice-cream).
  6. Mrtsnah - greasy. Magnetic attraction. Binding. (not in 20 gunas, not even 41 gunas).
  7. Sthira - stable.
  8. Hema - very cold. With water quality (Susruta).
  9. Madhura - Sweet. (caraka) Pleasantness. Ojas.
  10. Mrdhu - soft. (Caraka).

Characteristics of Healthy Doshas

Vata Lakshana (Characteristics of Normal Vata)

  1. Utsaha - Enthusiasm
  2. Ucchvasa - Inhalation.
  3. Nivsvasa - Exhalation.
  4. Cesta - Action of all bodily functions. Peristalsis, circulation.
  5. Dhatu gatih sama - Proper development of dhatus.
  6. Samo mokso gatimatam - Proper elimination of malas.
  7. Vega Pravatana (Completing) (Vaghbata, Sutrastana. Ch. 11 (1))

Pitta Lakshana (Characteristics of Normal Pitta)

  1. Darshana (vision).
  2. Pakti (digestion)
  3. Usman - body warmth
  4. Trsna and krsut - thirst and hunger
  5. Deha (body) Mardava (soft) - eg. heat old bread to become softer.
  6. Prabha - glow. Radiant.
  7. Prasada - pleasant.
  8. Medha - intellect. Digesting information. Also if you have a digestive problem your intellect cannot function properly.

According to Vaghbata:

  1. Meda - fat
  2. Dhi - acquisition of information.
  3. Shaudya - bravery.
  4. Tanu mardave - soft body.
  5. Ruchi - taste in everything. Enjoying mentally and physically

Kapha Lakshana (Characteristics of Normal Kapha)

  1. Sneha - friendly, oily.
  2. Bandha - binding.
  3. Sthira - stability.
  4. Gaurava - heaviness.
  5. Vrsata - virility and endurance.
  6. Bala - power.
  7. Ksama - tolerance.
  8. Dhrti - patience and bring knowledge into action
  9. Alobha - not greedy.
Vagbhata:
  • Sthiratva - stability.
  • Snigdhava - oily.
  • Sandhi bandha - binding joints.

Dosha Lakshana as per Caraka Samhita, Ch. 18,(49-51).

Vrdhini Lakshana (Characteristics of Increased Doshas)

Vata Vrdhini Lakshana (Characteristics of Increased Vata)

  1. Kasha - emaciation.
  2. Karsnya - darkness.
  3. Usnakamatva - Liking the hot.
  4. Kampa - tremors.
  5. Ānāha - distention and disturbing in intestines.
  6. Śakrt (fecal matter) grahān (catch) - a type of constipation.
  7. Bala bhramsha - energy. Bhramsha = moves out of its place.
  8. Nidra bhramsha.
  9. Indriya brahmsha.
  10. Pralapa - excessive talking. Whatever comes you will say. Unnecessary.
  11. Brahma - delusions/illusions.
  12. Dinata - Timid. Lowliness (low in status). Begging/contrast. Like a king who has to beg.

Credits:

Slohkas chanted by Vaidya A.V. Raju

Pitta Vrdhini Lakshana (Characteristics of Increased Pitta)

Peeta vinmutra netra tvak.

  1. Peeta - yellow.
  2. Vit - (yellow) fecal matter.
  3. Mutra - (yellow) urine.
  4. Netra - (yellow) eyes.
  5. Tvak - (yellow) skin.
  6. Kshut - hunger.
  7. Trt - thirst.
  8. Daha - burning sensation.
  9. AlpaNidraha - Less sleep, insomnia - easy to get to sleep but wake up early, sleep disturbed with emotions.

Kapha Vrdhini Lakshana (Characteristics of Increased Kapha)

  1. Slesma Agni sadanam - displace of agni.
  2. Praseka - excess saliva.
  3. Alasya - lazy.
  4. Gauravam - heaviness.
  5. Shvaitya - pale skin, white.
  6. Shaitya - coldness.
  7. Shlathangatva - unstable like jelly. Like a baby walking.
  8. Swasa - dyspnoea.
  9. Kasa - cough.
  10. Atinidrata - excess sleeping.

Credits:

  • Slohkas chanted by Vaidya A.V. Raju. Slohkas from Astanga Hrdayam.
  • Dosha Lakshana - Caraka Samhita, Ch. 18,(49-51) and Astanga Hrdaya.
  • Dosha Vrdhi - Astanga Hrdaya, S.S. Ch. 11,(6-15) / Astanga Samgraha Ch. 19: Knowledge of Dosas.
  • Watercolour paintings (copyright) by Dylan Smith.

Amalaki (Embilica Officinalis) Uses & Benefits

Amalaki (Embilica officinalis) is not only considered by many to be Ayurveda's most potent fruit, but Amalaki is one of the most important herbs in Ayurveda that is used extensively in formulations. 

Nomenclature

English: Indian Gooseberry
Sanskrit: Amalaki, aka Amla (vernacular).
Latin: Embilica officinalis or Pjullantus embilica (less common)

Synonyms:

  • Dhatri ("Mother" or "Nurse") - Amalaki is the ultimate carer and healer.
  • Amrta ("Immortality") - There are only a few herbs which have the Amrta quality. Amalaki is like nectar that promotes immortality.

Energetics

Rasa (taste): Sour (predominately), sweet, bitter, astringent, pungent
Virya (energy): Cooling
Vipaka (post-digestive effect): Sweet
Gunas (quality): Dry, light.
Dosha: VPK-

Tridoshic Fruit

One of the marvels of Amalaki is that it contains all 6 tastes except salt. Thus this fruit mitigates:

  • vata by its sour taste
  • pitta by its sweet taste and cold virya (energy) and
  • kapha by the dry quality and astringent taste.

Usually sour herbs aggravate pitta. Amalaki is an exception, and is one of the very few sour herbs that actually reduce pitta.

Ayurvedic Action

Ganas (classical groups):

  • Vayasthapana (Anti-Aging) - Caraka (The famous sage) quoted Amlaki as the best among the Vayasthapana herbs.
  • Jvarghna (Treats Fever) (Caraka)
  • Kasaghna (Treats Cough) (Caraka)
  • Virecanopaga (Purgative) (Caraka)
  • Kusthaghna (Treats Skin Diseases) (Caraka)

Indications

Rasayana - Longevity and Immunity

Rejuvenator that promotes longevity. Thus is included in the classical group of Vayasthapana. "Rasa" (the essence of properly digested food) is being spread ("ayana") to nourish all the rasavaha srotas: 10 dhaminis (arteries) and heart, as well as the udakava srotas: Talu (soft pallet) and kloma (pancreas/thyroid).

This potent anti-oxidant fruit is fantastic immunomodulator, aphrodisiac and rejuvenator. (Bhavaprakasa).

Digestion

Assists bowels and reduces inflammation in the GIT as it supports healthy intestinal skin. Especially helpful in ulcers, hyperacidity (Amlapitta), colitis, hepatitis, haemorrhoids and intestinal bleeding conditions. Great laxative and liver cleansing action. Healthy intestinal "inner" skin accordingly improves health and lustre of the "outer" skin.

Diabetes and Metabolism

Its Ojas and immune boosting action helps cope with diabetes and urinary disorders (Prameha), (Bhavaprakasa).

Home Remedy: 2.5ml Amalaki juice + 2.5ml Turmeric juice + bit ot Honey (Astanga Hrdayam U.).

More Benefits:

  • Respiratory System - Amalaki's immune boosting action strengthens the lungs and helps in cough.
  • Sattva (Pure Consciousness) - Amalaki’s prabhava (special effect) is having a sattvic effect that raises the quality of consciousness and the overall wellbeing of the body.
  • Raktapitta (Bleeding diseases) (Bhavaprakasa).
  • Caksusya karma (Benefits the Eyes) - Reduces excess pitta in the eyes. Triphala is one of the best formulations for eye diseases (Netra roga). (A.P.I.)
  • Soma Roga
  • Kesha (Hair Tonic) - increases hair strength, reduces premature baldness greying since it pacifying the pitta burning the roots of the hair. A main ingredient in the Vital Veda + the Raju family's Bringraj Amalaka 11 Oil and Rajus Kesha Oil.

Vitamin C Powerhouse

According to the studies, the average Amla fruit (22.5gm) contains 121mg of vitamin C.
The average orange (130 grams) has about 70mg of vitamin C.

So one little Amla berry is packed with more vitamin C than the orange, which a 5.8 times bigger fruit!

Amalaki has 10 TIMES the amount of vitamin C than an orange when we measure equal weights of both fruits.

Research suggests this all-natural vitamin C content contributes to the potent antioxidant capabilities of Amalaki.

This is far from mega doses of vitamin C that people are taking. But what is compelling is the ability of Amalaki to take a small amount of vitamin C and use it to activate an entire matrix of chemicals that deliver a multitude of health benefits.

More about Amalaki herb coming soon.

Important Formulations

Triphala

One of the most popular formulations in Ayurveda and rightly so because mostly everyone can use it and benefit from triphala's actions.

Triphala helps in diabetes and skin diseases. It is fantastic for the eyes (external and internal application) and helps in fever. It helps in digestion and natural, regular elimination (laxative action), thus is an essential supplement to take today when we (even health individuals) are inevitably exposes to environmental toxins. 

Note Triphala is contraindicated for those with loose motions, diarrhoea, bleeding disorders of the GIT. 

"Tri" = Three
"Phala" = Fruits

The three fruits (in equal quantity) that make up triphala are:

  1. Amalaki (Embilica officinalis)
  2. Bibhitaki (Terminalia belerica)
  3. Haritaki (Terminalia chebula)

Shodana Vati - 3-Dosha Balancing and Purification

Shodana Vati's main ingredient in Triphala plus a whole lot more other herbs. If one takes Shodana Vati (superior option) people do not need to take Triphala.

This is a Raju family formula made with love and mantras that is the best free radical scavenger and anti-oxidant; immune modulator and blood purifier. It's good for gastrointestinal disorders, allergies, tooth and oral problems, female problems, high cholesterol, chronic cough, eye disorders, addictions, helps clear the skin and more. Available at Vital Veda.

Chyavanaprasha

Chyavanaprasha is a honey based jam (leham) procured with many herbs. Eating this regularly maintains optimum energy and immunity levels, especially during seasonal and life changes. Chyavanaprasha reduces kapha, colds, and promotes inner strength.

Unfortunately most herbal manufactures are not making proper Chyavanaprasha. The only company that makes it properly to my knowledge is Maharishi Ayurveda, although Maharishi Amrit Kalash is superior.

Anand Sidhi Yog - Nutritious Immune Boosting Bliss

An easy to digest rasayana that strengthens and repairs all the dhatus (tissues). It provides supreme nourishment for rapid healing and feeds the most re ned levels of the physiology, the mind and only the healthy body, not the disease.
It strengthens the lungs, helps in chronic cough and is a great anti-oxidant. "ASY" restores physical vitality, immunity, good digestion and eternal bliss. Amalaki is the main ingredient in this Raju family formula made with love and mantras. Available at Vital Veda.

If taking Anand Sidhi Yog, no need to take Chaywanaprash or Amrit Kalash since ASY is superior.

Check out our Amla Pickle Recipe here.

If you are in India and Amla is in season (around December), take advantage of that and eat them fresh!

 

Credits:
Chywanprash photo - Jiva

 

Amla Pickle (Recipe)

Amalaki (Indian Gooseberry)

This recipe can be for lemon pickle by replacing lemons with amla.

Amla is the common name for the fruit of the Amalaki plant (Embilica officinalis). This is not only considered by many to be Ayurvreda's most potent fruit, but Amalaki is also one of the most important herbs in Ayurveda.

Tridoshic Fruit

One of the marvels of Amalaki is that it contains all 6 tastes except salt. Thus this fruit mitigate:

  • vata by its sour taste
  • pitta by its sweet taste and cold virya (energy) and
  • kapha by the dry quality and astringent taste.

Benefits of Amla

  • Rasayana - Rejuvenator that promotes longevity. Rasa (the essence of properly digested food) is being spread (ayana) to nourish all the rasavaha srotas: 10 dhaminis (arteries) and heart, as well as the udakava srotas: Talu (soft pallet) and kloma (pancreas/thyroid).
  • Good for the lungs and immunity. 
  • Digestion - assists bowels and reduces inflammation in the GIT as it supports healthy intestinal "inner" skin. This accordingly improves health and lustre of the "outer" skin.
  • Diabetes.
  • Fantastic aphrodisiac and rejuvenator.
  • Amalaki’s prabhava (special effect) is having a sattvic effect that raises the quality of consciousness and the overall wellbeing of the body.

Vitamin C Powerhouse

According to the studies, the average Amla fruit (22.5gm) contains 121mg of vitamin C.
The average orange (130 grams) has about 70mg of vitamin C.

So one little Amla berry is packed with more vitamin C than the orange, which a 5.8 times bigger fruit!

Amalaki has 10 TIMES the amount of vitamin C than an orange when we measure equal weights of both fruits.

Research suggests this all-natural vitamin C content contributes to the potent antioxidant capabilities of Amalaki.

This is far from mega doses of vitamin C that people are taking. But what is compelling is the ability of Amalaki to take a small amount of vitamin C and use it to activate an entire matrix of chemicals that deliver a multitude of health benefits.

Read more benefits and information on Amalaki here.

Amla Pickle Recipe

Note this recipe can simply be adjusted to make Lemon Pickle by replacing Amlas with chopped up lemons.

Fresh Amla is hard to get outside of Asia.

Ingredients

  1. Finely chopped Amla fruit - 1 kg
    (or if making lemon pickle, slightly peel the outer layer off then chop 1kg lemon).
  2. Rock salt - 100 gm.
  3. Sea salt - 200 gm.
  4. Turmeric powder - 25 gm.
  5. Dry roasted ground fenugreek powder - 2 tsp.
    Dry roast until it is very good smell and brownish red colour. Then grind to powder.
  6. Dry roasted ground cumin powder - 5 tsp at least.
  7. Lime Juice - 1 tbsp.

Spices to add it at the end:

  1. ghee
  2. mustard seeds - 1 tsp.
  3. cumin seeds - 2 tsp.
  4. fenugreek seeds - 1 tsp.
  5. garlic - 3 cloves finely chopped.
  6. curry leaves - 8 leaves chopped.
  7. dry chilli - 2/3 chopped (optional).

Method

Day 1

  1. Finely chop Amla fruit (approximately into 6 pieces per fruit) and remove the seeds until you have 1kg.
  2. Add 25 gm turmeric power and mix well.
  3. Add 5tsp roasted cumin powder + 2 tsp roasted fenugreek powder.
  4. Leave in a bowl loosely covered with a lid closed for 3 days (72 hours). Mix well at least a few times a day.

Day 4

  1. Add 100 gms rock salt + 200 gms sea salt. Mix well.
  2. Leave in a bowl with the lid closed for 3 days (72 hours). Mix well at least a few times a day.

(A lot of salt preserves and cooks the pickle).

 

Day 6:

  1. Now the pickle is just about ready but requires one last step.
  2. In a pan, heat ghee then fry in the ghee:
    • mustard seeds till they pop.
    • Then cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds till they pop. 
    • garlic, curry leaves and dry chilli until the garlic becomes golden colour.

Store the pickle in a glass jar and it is ready to be used.

This pickle gets better with age when stored in a glass jar.

 

 

Punarnava (Boerrharia diffusa) Uses & Benefits

This plant promotes cellular re-incarnation. Punarnava means "tech makes old cells new."

“Punarha” = again.
“Navaha” = new.

The old cell transfers it’s energy (through chemistry) to the new cell. The old body is renewed. Re-incarnation occurs on the cellular level. Cellular memory (“smriti”) in revitalised and restored to perfect health. 

It is a superb herb to rejuvenate the kidneys and enhance lymphatic drainage (prabhava).

Nomenclature

English: Indian/Spreading Hogweed
Sanskrit: Punarnavā
Latin: Boerhaavia diffusa
Sveta Purnanava (Boerhaavia repens) is another variety of Punarnava that has a white flowers. This is more potent and rare.

Its english name “Spreading Hogweed,” is a good description how this plant spreads as a selfish weed across the ground. Farmers usually chuck the plant out in the trash.

Energetics

Rasa (taste): Astringent, Bitter, Sweet. 
Virya (energy): Cooling
Vipaka (post-digestive effect): Pungent
Gunas (quality): Dry, light.
Dosha: VPK-, V+ in excess

Ayurvedic Action

Ganas (groups):
Vayasthapana (Anti-Aging)
Svedopaga (Adjuvants to Sudation therapy)
Kasaghna (Cures Cough)

Indications

Kidneys and Lymphatic

Enhances lymphatic drainage and rejuvenates the kidneys. Helps in nephritis or impaired urinary function. Excellent to reduce excess fluids, swelling, oedema and congestion from excess kapha. Thus also helps reduce scrotal and abdomen enlargement.

Digestion

Increases digestive fire (deepana) and stimulates sluggish digestion. It absorbs fluids from the digestive system and can be constipating. It helps remove poisons and worms.

Diabetes

Punarnava’s reduces medas dhatu (fat tissue) and balances mutravaha srotas (urinary channels).

Parts Used

Whole plant, root and leaf.
The leaves can be used as a leafy green in dahl.

“Punarha naveenam karoti”
"Which makes all cells new."

Important Formulations

Punarnavadi Mandoor
One of my formulations of choice also containing iron (mandoora) aplus many more herbs which activate the liver and spleen (ranjaka pitta) to create more rakta (blood cells). This formula not only increases iron in the body but increases our ability to produce and metabolise iron. It also helps in kidney health and diabetes, anaemia, splenomegaly, piles and fever. This formula contains medicinal metals which are completely safe and which you should be educated and informed about before taking them. 

Punarnavadi Guggulu 
For reducing water retention, congestive heart conditions and treating oedematous inflammatory joint diseases and gout.

Banana “Kadali” Smoothie Recipe

Ingredients

serves 2

  • 2 large bananas
  • 3-6 medjool dates, stones removed and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup of almonds that have been soaked & skin removed. Roughly crushed.
  • Good pinch of ground cinnamon
  • Good pinch of crushed cardamom seeds.
  • 1/2-1 cup of water or coconut milk (optional)

Method

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve at room temperature (since cold drinks and food put out Agni/digestive fire).

*Please note banana is best eaten alone. Combining Banana with some coconut oil (good to reduce the high blood sugar spikes from banana), cardamom and ghee is also fine. This recipe is for those who want to get a bit more creative and transition to a healthier banana smoothie option.

Yagya – Communing with the Divine

Yagya, typically involving a fire ceremony but can also be something as simple as exercise or eating your meal, is the way in which we commune with nature’s intelligence to invoke an effect of greater purification, unity and love.

Yagya is like the cosmic mobile phone. It is the way in which we summon the divine.

We are communing. It is a communication procedure by which we are requesting an order.

Everything in nature revolves around the principle of reciprocity. When we make a request (with intent) through consciousness, we are trigging a spontaneous phenomena of reciprocity.

When we understand this principle and we incorporate agni (fire), agni becomes the transmuter, the purifier, but also the deliverer of the message of the intent. Agni metabolises intent into manifestation.

In Yagya, we offer that intent with things we hold precious to us such as ghee, sandalwood, turmeric, flowers and other various substances from the earth.

These things which we are offering to the fire hold a very sattvic (pure) quality that when transmuted from its gross physical dimension by agni into a spiritual essence, it is transmuted into a celestial substance (soma), which the devatas (spiritual beings) feed of. They feed of our sattvic soma.

This combination of intention, mantras (primordial sounds), fire, offerings and the flow of human awareness will be customised to target a very specific dimension in the more subtle realms of concioussness. Here the devatas bathe in the nectar of our attention and devotion.

This creates a bonding effect and a bridge between the subtle dimension and the gross dimension. We create a window for the light to come in, but we also send light in. It is a two way street, paved with bridges of unity.

What we are seeking to do is commune with each other. With everything – gross and subtle. The vedic world view is we wish to embody all dimensions in consciousness. Yagya is the technology by which we commune with the divine. Not just for the sake of communing with the divine, but to cause an effect…

What that effect is, is relevant to the type of Yagya and who we are “dialling”.

Medicinal Effects of Yagya

Reduces kapha and ama in the body through the smokes tikshna guna (sharp quality) and vayu (air) quality.. Especially good for the eyes as it removes cataracts (ama in the eyes).

this article is inspired by the teachings of Jonni Pollard 

photo: Natasha Mason

7 Tips to Avoid Ama over Christmas and the Silly Season (and Still Indulge)

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 digestions ability to "digest" the "silly season" at ease with minimal repercussions. 

It is hard not to overindulge and accumulate Ama, the toxic 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 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 are typical weak spots, 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 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 is to keep your digestive fire (Agni) burning and balanced.

We want our agni to digest the food and from it create a thin liquid substance that Ayurveda calls "Ahar Rasa." This is 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, fat and dense foods like grains, nuts and dairy that nature intelligently organised to be harvested for the winter time.

If your holiday season comes in winter:

Your lucky that you do have stronger digestion but still do everything in moderation and follow the tips below to remain balanced.

If your holiday season is in summer:

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 at Midday

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

When the sun is strongest your digestion is strongest and more robust.

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

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 up 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 food.

3. Avoid Snacking

Sticking to three meals a day, no snacks 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 VatiDetoxification 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.

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.

Contact me to order Shodana Vati.

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

Digestive Tea:

  • 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.

Tridoshic Digestive Tea

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

Drop a large pinch 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

4. Sipping Hot Water

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

Like washing the dirty grease off dishes with hot water, the same 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. 

5. Fasting

Just in case you strayed from the Ayurvedic path and collected Ama along the way, fasting is a quick and effective fix.

In Ayurveda, it is said if you eat a heavy meal that did not digest properly, skip the next meal. If you had a ridiculous dinner, skip breakfast or just have hot milk.
If you put out your agni with a heavy lunch, skip dinner.

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 to 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.

6. Avoid Agni-Destroying Foods and Drinks

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.

7. Panchakarma Detox Therapy / Vital Short Home Cleanse

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

Panchakarma (“PK”) 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.

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


Milk Rice Recipe – For Woman’s Health

Here is a very simple recipe that is the prescribed diet during the Banana Treatment.

This is also recommended for woman to eat during their menstrual cycle to balance gynaecological health, particularly in cases of dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation).

Ingredients:

serves one person

  • White Rice
  • Water
  • Full cream, unhomogenised, Cows Milk.
  • quantities vary on how much you want for the day.

Method:

  1. Wash and soak rice (1 hour is enough).
  2. Boil rice in water until cooked.
  3. Strain and wash the cooked rice. This removes the impurities and makes the rice light.
  4. With the cooked strained rice in the pot, add equal amounts of milk and water, till the level of the liquid is approx.  2cm above the rice.
  5. Cook again. (You can also add everything in the beginning (rice, water, milk) & cook all together till the rice is very well cooked. The end result should be nice & soupy, not dry.
  6. Bring to the boil - take off the stove and  - Serve.
  7. Milk Rice has to be made fresh daily / can keep it warm in a thermos (never reheat).

"But I Don't Do Dairy"

It is important to have even a little cows milk with the milk rice during the BT. If you do not want any milk at all, that is also fine, have plain rice.

If the reason for avoiding milk is a dairy intolerance, just avoiding heavy-to-digest proteins like milk will not fix the underlying problem, which is a weak digestive fire (agni). Take a steps action to re-balance your digestion, then slowly introduce the foods in the right way. Contact Me for a consultation to dig deeper into what is going on and get back on track towards optimal digestion.

Guidelines for Banana Treatment Diet:

  • On the days of taking the Banana Medicine, one should not take any medications, herbs, dietary supplements etc. – if you have an issue or query with this, contact me or the Vaidya.
  • The banana herbs should be taken on a completely empty stomach. If you are taking the morning dose of Banana Medicine, you should not consume any food, herbs, or medications etc. that morning. Only plain water is allowed.
  • 1 hour before taking the medicine the patient should completely fast (no food, water etc.).
  • It is important to swallow the banana piece whole – Do not chew it or allow it to touch your teeth.
  • 1 -2 hours after taking the medicine the patient should completely fast (no food, water etc.). After this, the first thing the patient should eat is milk rice (see recipe below).
  • Do not talk for 30 minutes before you receive the banana herbs or 30 minutes afterward. Results are more powerful with inward attention and silence during this time.
  • Every meal during the BT should be “milk rice”. If you have trouble digesting cows milk, try a smaller quantity raw or unhamogensied cows milk boiled. If this is still uncomfortable, you may have plain white rice only.
  • Rarely people feel aversion to eating milk rice every meal. If this happens, and you really cannot tolerate it, have milk rice or plain white rice for the first meal (after taking the BT), then for the meals after that you may add a little cinnamon in the milk rice to add some flavour and reduce the aversion. Note that this is not ideal and for full benefits of the BT. Plain milk rice is best ruing menstruation cycle.  You can also have fresh, simple food throughout if you are really struggling with diet (see diet below on next bullet point).
  • Women who are post-menopause or men who are taking BT have much more leniency with the diet. You can eat normal light food throughout the BT. It is recommended to have milk rice after taking the BT, then you may have normal light food for other meals but aim to keep it as simple as possible (not heavily spiced, flavoured etc.).
  • Continue sipping hot water frequently during the BT days to help remove the toxins more thoroughly.

Click here to read more about Banana Treatment

Ayurvedic Porridge (Quick Cooking Time)

Here is a simple, nourishing and nutritious meal that only a takes a few minutes to prepare, and you don't have to be a kitchen wizard to prepare it.

Sweet First

In Ayurveda, sweet is the first taste to start the day and also to start a meal (yep, 'desert' is the first thing you eat in Ayurveda).

After you have fasted for some time, whether it be overnight or in between meals, your hunger = strong agni (digestion and appetite). You need strong agni to digest the sweet taste because it is the heaviest taste (dominant with the earth element).

Further, the sweet taste kick starts the agni and stimulates saliva secretions (Bodhaka Kapha), to prepare your digestion for the meal and/or day ahead. This is why when you finish with sweet (common desert), you keep wanting more... and then you'll begin to feel very "full" and heavy.

Ayurvedic Porridge Ingredients:

  • Oats, coarse semolina, rice flakes or quinoa flakes -  1/3 - 1/2 cup
  • 1 Tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp raw sugar (optional)
  • handful of raisins/sultanas
  • handful of one type of crushed nuts (almonds, macadamia or cashew)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cardamom powder

Method

  1. Put ghee in a pot, let it heat.

  2. Add 1/3 - 1/2 cup of coarse semolina or oats or rice flakes or quinoa flakes etc.

     

  3. Toast (fry) grains in the ghee to infuse ghee into the grains. - this lightens the grains and makes them easier to digest.

     

  4. Add approx. 1-cup of boiling water, stir and cook. - Be aware of porridge splatter, continually stir to avoid lumps and splatter.

  5. Add 1 tsp or tbsp of raw sugar (optional) + handful of raisins + handful of soaked and crushed almonds or cashews (optional for more protein and a filling breakfast) and stir.

  6. Add some cows milk (optional). If adding milk can initially add less boiling water.
  7. Add 1/4-1/2 tsp cinnamon powder + 1/4-1/2 tsp cardamom powder (cardamom and cinnamon removes morning sluggishness).

  8. Stir a bit more then it is ready!

Makes for 1 person.

Try another type of Ayurvedic Porridge HERE that is assists in weight loss and is yummy for children.

"A sweet start to the day wakes the agni up to say g'day!"