Feature Food: Banana (“Kadali”)

Banana Clusters

There are two species of Bananas - Musa acuminata (the common fruit) and Musa balbisiana (plantain or green banana that's used as a vegetable). Additionally there are hybrids and offsprings, but they all stem from these 2 original wild species.
I will share the Ayurvedic view of the common Banana fruit (Musa acuminata), known as "Kadali" in Sanskrit.

The Benefits:

"Banana cures obesity, kapha, diseases of the vagina, causes constipation, improves colour and destroys poisoning." (Lodhradi Gana).(1)

  • Banana according to Ayurveda is a good remedy for depression and a great replacement to snacking on chocolate as comfort food. When depression is caused by the quality (guna) of dryness, bananas actually grant courage and fortitude. (This does not mean to indulge in Banana when feeling down, eat everything in moderation).
  • Banana mitigates Pitta due to sweet taste, however, if eaten in excess can increase pitta.
  • It increases stomach acid - beneficial for those with too little acid.
  • High in Potassium - Potassium levels are important for those whose sodium/salt intake is high and for nerves and muscles.
  • High in Vitamin B6 - Combining B12, Folic acid, and B6 is important because they are synergistically active to provide protection to the heart, brain, and nervous system and more.
  • Skin Care - It is good to incorporate in to your homemade topical skin paste. Especially for Pitta skin types.
  • Low Pesticide Levels - Banana's are not very "dirty" in the sense that conventional tree's don't require much pesticides.

Cautions:

Banana + Dairy = Incompatible Food Combination (Viruddha Ahara)

Banana mixed with dairy is highly incompatible.

Banana has a post-digestive action (vipaka) that is sour, while Ayurveda also states that the vipaka of milk is sweet. The different vipakas create an incompatible food composition that typically deposits as "Ama" (undigested food material = toxins) in the body and will manifest as disease later. It changes the intestinal flora and diminishes Agni (digestive fire).

Banana mixed with dairy is a common cause of skin diseases.

This (incompatible) food combination is so common in the west, and is in my top 3 "biggest flaws of the western diet." Stay away from Banana Smoothies with milk (see my healthier Banana Smoothie Recipe), Banana in your Porridge, Banana Milkshake and Banana Cake.

Generally, banana (like most fruits) should be eaten alone, but there are some exceptions (see below).

Time to Eat Banana

  • Banana is one of the only fruits with "rules" - One should not eat it on full stomach nor empty stomach.
  • Banana is not healthy to eat first thing in the morning.
  • Like other fruit, having Banana as an afternoon snack is an appropriate time to eat banana.
  • People with high blood sugar should not eat banana very much.

Ayurvedic Properties

  • Rasa (Taste) - Sweet and Astringent
  • Virya (Energy) - Cooling
  • Vipaka (Post-Digestive Effect) - Sour

Banana Smoothie

A more compatible and healthier option.

Recipe here.

Banana smoothie for appropriate nutrition

References:
(1) Astanga Samgraha of Vaghbata, Ch. 16, (18-19).

photo: by Dylan Smith taken in Tiruvannamalai. 

Other Feature Foods:

Milk Rice Recipe – For Woman’s Health

milk rice in a silver dish

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!"

Ayurvedic Buckwheat Pancakes Recipe

Ayurvedic buckwheat pancakes

Here are light and easy-to-digest ayurvedic pancakes, that are quick and easy to make, and SUPER YUMMY!

Serves 2-3      

  • Gluten-Free
  • Good for Kapha, & Pitta body types
  • Seasonality: Good in spring, winter and summer

The ingredients of the ayurvedic pancakes


Ingredients:

  • Buckwheat flour – 1⁄2 cup (a.k.a. "Kuttu flour" in Indian Groceries)
  • Non-homogenized milk – 2 tbsp - (can replace with fresh almond milk or add millet & channa flour to make batter stick). 
  • Water – 1 cup
  • Cinnamon powder – 1⁄2 tsp
  • Cardamom seeds crushed or cardamom powder – 1⁄2 tsp
  • Ghee for frying
  • Fresh coriander, fresh lemon and maple syrup (optional) for garnish.

Method:

Mix all the ingredients, adding water a little at a time, to make a smooth, runny batter.

Heat tawa or non-stick pan to low heat. Then coat pan with 1-1.5 teaspoons of ghee.

Pour enough batter to have a pancake of the size you want & evenly spread the batter to make the 
pancake.

Ayurvedic pancakes mix being poured over the pan

Dylan Smith spreading the ayurvedic pancake mix on the pan to shape the pancake

Optional: add chopped coriander on the raw batter and spread to infuse it in the pancake.

When bubbles start appearing on surface of the pancake, add 1 teaspoon of ghee around edges (if you didn't start with enough ghee).

Turnover and cook other side, spooning ghee around edges to make crisp.

The ayurvedic pancake ready to eat

Serve this Ayurvedic pancakes with fresh lemon juice, fresh coriander and mango chutney or maple syrup.

Comments:

  • Good for those trying to lose weight and diabetes.
  • Good for suffers of I.B.S. & celiac disease.
  • Good for Kapha aggravations such as excess water retention, sinus blockage.
  • Good for grain-free cleanses/fasts.
  • Great for kids, they love it!

Ayurvedic Properties:

  • Rasa (Taste): Astringent, Sweet, Pungent
  • Virya (Energy): Heating
  • Vipaka (Post-Digestive effect): Sweet
  • Gunas (Qualities): Heavy
  • Actions on the doshas: Balances Vata and Kapha, increases Pitta in excess

Cough & Cold Home Remedy: Honey + Spice Paste

home remedies for cough and cold

When the flu comes, it is important that you have some ayurvedic home remedies for cough and cold that allow you to enliven your immunity and fight back disease.

This is a simple and very tasty paste that you can make up and jar it to have on hold, especially for the autumn-winter-early spring time of year.
This home remedy for cough and cold increases immunity and fights infections.

Recipe:

  • 1 tablespoon of Honey*
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 10 drops of fresh ginger juice or 1/4tsp ginger powder

Mix a large batch of this up, keep it in a glass jar ready for use.

Dosage: Lick 1tsp 2-3x a day or when needed.

*Honey should be unheated (not above body temperature). Ensure the honey you buy is extracted this way.  Most honey in the supermarkets, even health food stores (organic included!) will be extracted at temperatures higher than 37 degrees. I suggest going to your local farmers market and speaking to the apiarist.

To learn What Exactly Is The Flu, + more simple home remedies for cough and cold, click HERE