7 tips to Avoid Ama over Christmas and the Silly Season

Festive season is here! and along with it an abundance of edible delights seem to be just about everywhere! It is hard not to over indulge 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.

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.

fruit platter.jpg

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 then at night time.

Start preparing your Christmas lunch earlier so that you can stick to a 12pm-2pm meal time 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. Further more, 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, loosing 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 rasyana. 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 may have mercury 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 own digestive tea containing over 20 organic herbs and spices.

4. Sipping Hot Water

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

Like washing the dirty grease of 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 incase 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 light vegetable soup.

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 contains 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? Lets the external fire do the cooking to make the food more compatible for you 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 cover the underlying natural state of perfect health residing in everyone.

This detox and rejuvenation program is best to be immersed in-residnce at an authentic, safely practiced ayurvedic clinic. I highly recommend Dr. Raju’s Institute of Ayureda.

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

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.

Click HERE for you Free Vital Short Home Cleanse eBook

Vital Short Home Cleanse Kit

vital-veda-large-cleansekit-1200x900.jpg

  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 Oil15ml 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

Total (with sesame based Abhyanga oil) = $120

Total (with coconut based Abhyanga oil) = $150

  • Shipping available within Australia (additional handling and postage fee).
  • Pick up from Bondi Beach, Sydney clinic available. 
  • Purchasing individual products are available.

To purchase the VSHC kit, and for any questions please email dylan@vitalveda.com.au

 

Feature Food: Banana (“Kadali”)

There are two species of Banana's - 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 is a good remedy for depression and a great replacement to snacking on chocolate as a comfort food. When depression is caused by quality of dryness, bananas actually grant courage and fortitude. (This does not mean to indulge in Banana when feeling down, eat everything in moderation).
  • It 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.

The post-digestive action (vipaka) of Banana is sour, while 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.

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

photo: by Dylan Smith taken in Tiruvannamalai. 

Other Feature Foods:

Kanji (Rice Gruel) Recipe

Kanji is a well-cooked rice soup that is very easy to digest when a light meal is required (in the evening, or whenever agni/digestion is low).

It is as nutritious as it is digestible and is very useful as a short-term diet to quickly clear undigested food material (ama) from the system (a day of kanji or even one meal of kanji works wonders after any eating "mistakes").

Cooking Procedure:

• Boil good white rice in a generous amount of water in an open pot (approx. 1/2 cup rice to seven cups water—adjust proportions according to need)
• Cook until it gets a very fine, smooth structure and the rice is almost completely dissolved.
• 10-15 minutes before it's done, add a spoon of roughly crushed cumin seed and ajwain seed, with a little black salt for taste, or rock salt.
• After cooking, can keep the kanji in a thermos so it is hot and ready to eat whenever you are hungry (kanji can be taken any time of day when you are hungry).

This is a great food to fast and cleanse. It helps eliminate toxins, specifically out the bowels and helps Apana Vata (Vata in the pelvic floor) imbalances.

How to Fast Safely and Effectively? - Just eat kanji all day!

Mung Dahl Recipe

Mung is an easy to digest lentil that provides adequate protein. Used for both cleansing and building in Ayurveda, one can eat mung dahl everyday and not only will you gain complete nutrition and satisfaction, but soon this will be the stuff you crave!

Anti-Flatulence

Mung is the only legumes that is “vata balancing.” This means that, unlike every other type of beans or lentils, they will not produce any intestinal gas. They naturally are much easier to cook, digest, and assimilate.

Promotes Sattva ("Purity")

Sattva is a quality in us that translates to “purity.” If Sattva is increased, then so is our inner stillness, clarity of mind and contentment. Love radiates and flows back to us in abundance, while the hormone oxytocin (also known as the “bonding or loving hormone”) is simultaneously secreting. Fresh, seasonal whole foods are predominately Sattvic, thus increases the Sattvic quality in us, based on the Ayurvedic law of “Like Increases Like.”

This is why Mung Dahl is considered to facilitate spiritual growth and effectively detox the body. It has long been used to nourish babies and the elderly, the sick, and the healthy during special times of detox, cleansing, and deep spiritual practice.

Ingredients

serves 3-4

  • 3/4 cup of whole green mung dahl (with green skin on) (green gram)
  • 2 or more types of any fresh seasonal vegetables finely chopped - e.g. zucchini, kale, silver-beet, spinach, dandelion, cauliflower,  broccoli etc. - by using seasonal foods, nature is providing the antidote to the harsh qualities that the season may manifest.
  • salt to taste

Spices:

  • 1tsp turmeric powder
  • pinch of black pepper
  • pinch of hing (asafoetida)
  • 1-2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1-2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 10-15 fresh curry leaves
  • leeks, spring onion or onion - all finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped - make sure to purify by removing the inner green sprout.
  • Ghee - Approx. 1-2 tablespoons.

Method

  1. Wash mung dahl and soak it for 2 hours. Even 1-6 hours of soaking is ok. The longer you soak the quicker it will cook.
  2. Boil mung dahl in a pot of water.
  3. When the mung dahl is getting more soft (test my squishing a lentil with your fingers), add vegetables that take a bit longer to cook (e.g. thick leafy green stems, broccoli stems, cauliflower, carrot etc.).
  4. Add turmeric + black pepper + salt + hing + quicker to cook vegetables such as leafy greens.
  5. In a separate pot fry the other spices in ghee along with onion, garlic and curry leaves.
  6. Add the spices in the main pot, mix well for 5 minutes to infuse the spices in the dahl.

You are adding the vegetables in the pot in a timely matter so that when the vegetables are finished cooking so are the lentils. 

Garnish with fresh coriander and fresh lemon.

Make the Meal a Complete Protein

Serve with a carbohydrate such as fresh bread and/rice or quinoa etc.
When you mix grain + legume you have all nine essential amino acids which make up a complete protein.

This explains how ancient cultures like India and Africa have been living off beans and rice for decades.

General Ratio:

  • 50% vegetables (at least)
  • 25 % protein
  • 25 % carbs

Enjoy this warming, comforting and super tasty dish that leaves you feeling energetic and satisfied after you eat.

Less cravings, sustainable energy levels and moving towards perfect health.

 

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!"

7 Ayurvedic Super Foods

According to modern science, food nutritionists, food industry leaders and dieticians, so called “superfoods” aren’t exactly “super.” Wikipedia describes that “Superfood is a marketing term used to describe foods with supposed health benefits..”

The European Union has even prohibited the marketing of products as “superfoods,” unless accompanied by a specific medical claim supported by credible scientific research.(1)

Not particularly inspiring…so I will redefine the word from an Ayurvedic perspective.

First of all, there is no need to exaggerate that foods are “super.” Whatever one uniquely needs will be their superfood. Additionally, everything is actually superfood if you know how to transform and use it.

In general, for a food to be “super” it must:

1. Promote ‘Sattva’

Sattva is a quality in us that translates to “purity.” If Sattva is increased, then so is our inner stillness, clarity of mind and contentment. Love radiates and flows back to us in abundance, while the hormone oxytocin (also known as the “bonding hormone”) is simultaneously secreting. Fresh, seasonal whole foods are predominately Sattvic, thus increases the Sattvic quality in us based on the Ayurvedic law of “like increases like.”

2. Detox and Heal the Body

Some Ayurvedic foods are prized for their powerful medicinal properties. Ayurveda valuably teaches us how to use food as medicine.

3. Directly nourish ‘Ojas’

Ojas is the vital essence of our body that translates to “vitality.”
A plentiful reserve of Ojas is reflected in the lustre of the eyes and skin (like the glow in a baby), strong physical strength, immunity and libido, good digestion, vigour and spirituality.

'Ojas' is considered to be the most refined product of digestion. Every food must metabolise through all the body’s tissues before it can become Ojas.

Ojas: a bio-celestial liquid substance that (predominately) resides in the heart, as well as all over the body in a less concentrated matter.

Building Ojas is an art. Perhaps one of the best ways to consistently build Ojas is to eat a diet of fresh unprocessed, seasonal whole foods, and have a balanced agni to support the process. A handful of special foods (some listed below) even metabolise to nourish and build Ojas directly.

The Super Seven!

The seven Ayurvedic super foods I have chosen genuinely are super. They aren’t just packed with a dense hit nutrients, minerals and essential constituents, but actually promote and support your bodies natural intelligence to absorb and produce its own required constituents itself! Further, The Super Seven promote strength, immunity, peace and contentment in the body and mind. And best of all, they are readily available to everyone! Here they are…

1. Hot Water

I am about to reveal to you a very special Ayurvedic purification technique that is excellent for eliminating toxins from the body’s system…
It sounds very simple, but you’ll find that is has a powerful influence in purifying and strengthening the gastrointestinal tract, as well as detoxing and rejuvenating the major systems of the body.

All you have to do is sip hot water frequently throughout the day.

Sipping frequently (rather than focusing on quantity) flushes the lymphatic system, softens hardened tissues (just like hot water will soften leather, unlike cold water) and dilates channels and deeply hydrates the body. It also heals and repairs the digestive system.
In a short time you’ll begin to appreciate the soothing and balancing effect of this technique. Once you have gotten used to it, you will look forward to drinking hot water on a frequent basis.

“Hot water is the most superfood.”
~ Dr. J.R. Raju.

 

 

2. Ghee

Ghee is the crown jewel that joins Ayurvedic medicine and Indian cooking. Ghee is clarified or purified butter. With all the lactose components & milk solids removed, no-one is allergic to ghee.
Ghee is light to digest and has the special quality of enkindling Agni and supports fat metabolism. It effectively detoxes the gut and is an effective source of internal lubrication.
This concentrated golden substance is highly Sattvic and directly nourishes Ojas.
Click HERE for more on the benefits of ghee

3. Cows Milk

Dairy has a bad name in the press these days. With people increasingly claiming dairy intolerances, it has become perilous in todays new-age health scene.

Let me clarify two reasons why this has developed:

1. The dairy industry in the west is increasingly producing homogenised milk from poorly treated, stress inundated cows that are being fed grains. Further, the milk is pasteurised the wrong way, with added chemicals, pesticides, preservatives and anti-biotic’s.

2. A lot of kids drink cold homogenised milk with sugar filled processed cereals, and topping it off with some fruit in their bowl or having a glass of OJ on the side – a highly “un-ayurvedic” recipe for an incompatible digestive disaster.

Hence, people develop a dairy intolerance. And it may only hit them down the track. Possibly when they finally begin to tune into their own body and become more conscious.

Let me also add, if you believe and accept the notion that “dairy is bad,” you negatively charge the micro-biome in the foods, stress out your own body and if when you eat dairy with guilt it will not digest well due to lack of harmonious compatibility. Mind is the culprit here.

However, Ayurveda on the other hand prizes dairy as one of the most medicinal and nourishing foods and one of the most anabolic foods that directly builds Ojas. Rest assured, it is not a requirement for anybody to drink milk all the time, but if someone is in need of strength or Ojas, milk is one of Ayurveda’s top choices.

What more, it is a classic Ayurveda sleep remedy to drink boiled milk with spices before bed, also having a profound stress reducing action. Modern science has proved ancient wisdom by showing cows milk has certain peptides that lower cortisol and support sleep by 50%.(2)

Cows are considered sacred animals in India and cow milk is highly revered in Ayurveda as one of the most Sattvic of foods.

Please note: milk should always be boiled with equal amounts of water and un-homogenised and preferably organic. This will make it easier to digest.

If you have difficulty with cow’s milk don’t worry, first correct your agni, then slowly introduce dairy. (Consult an Ayurvedic practitioner). Also, there are six other superfoods on the list to choose from!

 

4. Lassi

Lassi is buttermilk, or diluted yoghurt.

  • Improves digestion and a fantastic pro-biotic.
  • Lassi is the best alkaliser.
  • As Lassi improves digestion and absorption it ultimately supports calcium absorption and bone health.
  • Balances heat (pitta) and clear the physical channels.
  • It is the best remedy (with a pinch of salt) for haemorrhoids and anal fissures.
  • A great food to introduce dairy to a lactose intolerant person after they have corrected their agni.
  • Lassi is very hydrating, and a great drink to have with lunch.

*Yoghurt should be fresh.
Ratios of Yoghurt : Water: 1:4, 1:6, or 1:14.

Lassi recipe here

5. Honey

Honey is super Sattivc and directly nourishes our own life-nectar, Ojas. It is actually more of a medicine than a food. Due to its richness, it should be taken in moderation.

On the other hand, Ayurveda teaches that honey will be poisonous when heated above body temperature (that means no honey in hot teas, hot porridge, cooking with honey etc.) as it perniciously clogs the channels. This is why is it always important to purchase honey that is extracted at low temperatures.

Learn more: Honey: Nectar or Poison

6. Turmeric

Turmeric (Curcuma Longa) is the most thoroughly researched plant on this planet! and i don’t blame the scientists for the 5600 peer-reviewed and published biomedical studies.

Turmeric has a vast catalogue of health benefits, but here is an essential summary on why to use Turmeric as medicine in your daily cooking:

  • It is the best anti-inflammatory.
  • It regulates mood and boosts cognitive function.
  • Protects the gut and stomach lining.
  • Supports joints: (pain, stiffness, swelling, arthritis) and healthy blood.
  • Since turmeric is anti-carcinogenic, it is vital to use when cooking meat due to the high risk of carcinogenic properties in most meat these days.

Turmeric powder is best advised, always with a pinch of black pepper, as black pepper increases the absorption of turmeric by an astonishing 2000%!(3)

Learn More: The Essential Uses of Turmeric

7. Almonds

Almonds are also Sattvic and help to maintain our Ojas. They are a good source of zinc, strengthen the body and grounding for the mind. But they are also quite rich and heavy, so again, moderation is the key. Half a handful of almonds a day is enough. To make them lighter and easier to digest, always soak almonds overnight in water and remove their skins the next day.

If you are in any doubt about your health please be sure to consult an Ayurvedic Practitioner or your local health physician.

References:
(1)  "Superfood 'ban' comes into effect". BBC News. 2007-06-28.
(2) The Open Sleep Journal. 2009;2:128-32
(3) Research done at St. John’s Medical College, Bangalore, India Planta Med. 1998 May;64 (4):353-6. PMID: 9619120

article originally published on Welcome Earth

The Low Down on “Oil Pulling”

One of the finer crazes of the alternative/natural health scene today, Oil Pulling has been part of the Ayurvedic daily routine for thousands of years, and for many more reasons than just teeth-whitening and cosmetic benefits.
In the Sanskrit, “Gandusha” means keeping the oil in the mouth, and “Kavala” means to swish it.
Swishing oil in your mouth for 10-20 minutes daily claims to deliver a catalogue of health benefits:

Oil pulling is clearly mentioned in the classic and most esteemed textbook of Ayurveda, the Caraka Samhita. Caraka says this about oil pulling:

Keeping of oil gargle provides strength in jaws and voice, development of the face, maximum taste and relish of food. One does not suffer from dryness of throat, lip cracking and teeth become firmly rooted. The teeth do not ache or become sensitive and can chew the hardest food items.
Charaka samhita Ch V -78 to 80

Oral Health

Numerous studies of modern science cites similar results supporting the original statement made by Caraka Samhita more than 3000 years ago.

Modern science shows that while swishing with high-quality oil for over 10 minutes, the enzymes in your mouth modify to further boost and support the effectiveness of the oil.

A handful of studies show oil pulling for 10-20 minutes a day can reduce plaque, decrease Streptococcus mutans populations (bacteria that leads tooth decay and bad breath), provide better teeth cleansing and oral hygiene, and promote healthy gum tissue.

Literally “Pulling” Out Toxins

Oil Pulling got its name from the “pulling” or cleansing effect oils have when applied to (external or internal) skin.

Oils are lipophilic, meaning they attract other oils and fat soluble toxins, “pulling” them out from the surface that the oil is introduced to.

This can be observed when oil is massaged over the skin, introduced into the digestive tract via edible oils, or - as you have learnt today - when oil is swished in the mouth.

  • In the mouth, fat-soluble toxins from the oral cavity are “pulled” out by the oil, supporting a healthy mouth and fresh breath.(1,2).
  • From both the external use of sesame oil in massage and the ingestion of ghee, one study found free radicals in the blood were reduced.(3)
  • Another study observed how heavy metals and environmental toxins were “pulled” out of the blood during sesame oil massage and the ingestion of ghee during an Ayurvedic detox called panchakarma.(4)

Oil Pulling Supports Heart Health

Gum health has been linked to heart health in many studies over the years. This is why dentists take such care to support healthy gums. Poor gum health may allow foreign microbes to infiltrate the blood stream and irritate the arterial walls. Interestingly the same bacteria, Strep mutans, which surges in the mouth after a high sugar diet, is also found in unhealthy levels in the arterial walls of heart patients.

Lubricating the Head

As the oil lubricates the whole head neck and throat region, it is very effective for thyroid issues ear problems and hearing issues. It lubricates the optic nerve so as to maintain optimum eye sight and healthy eyes.

How Do You Do It?

Simple.

Oils Used

Cold pressed black sesame oil or coconut oil (inferior). Herbalised oils are superior and recommended to enhance the effect.

Method:

  • One teaspoon of this oil is swished in the mouth and sucked or pulled through the teeth for 15 - 20 minutes.
  • Swish after brushing teeth so as not to brush off the protective coating the oil has left.
  • The quantity of liquid will increase in your mouth as it collects toxins.
  • After, spit the oil down toilet or in the garden, then you may rinse your mouth out with warm water.

This practice is so easy because you can do it whenever… In the shower, during exercise, while getting ready in the morning, there’s really no excuse to not do it, as you can multi task! just don’t talk or sing at the same time.

 

 

Gandusha Oil: Medicated Oil Pulling Oil

Supersede the status quo of oil pulling with plain sesame or coconut oil by swishing with Vital Veda’s “Gandusha Oil.” This oil is prepared with a sagacious combination of many herbs, a recipe passed down for generations to my teachers, which further boosts oral health, lubrication of the head neck and throat, enhance the detoxification process, and more.

Contact Us to order Gandusha oil. 

References

(1) http://www.ait.ie/aboutaitandathlone/newsevents/pressreleases/2012pressreleases/title-16107-en.html
(2)Charaka samhita Ch V -78 to 80.
(3)Sharma HM, Midich SI, Sands D, Smith DE: Improvement in cardiovascular risk factors through Panchakarma purification procedures. J Res Educ Indian Med, 1993; 12(4); 2-13.
(4) Heron, Fagan. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine in its September/October 2002 issue, two
Credits - Dr. John Douilliard's Lifespa

 

 

Waning The Winter Woes

Become immune to the common cold or flu - Prevent it!

But if it does hit you, do not resist it. Rather, accept it and apply some of the tactics listed in this article to actually make the flu work for you!

What Exactly Is the Flu?

The flu is not a disease that calls for panic or that needs to be “treated”.

The flu is a natural detoxification that the body’s intelligence wisely instigates to “clean the house” (the body). So do not suppress it!

Your body “vents” (clears) toxins 24hrs a day. But sometimes (particularly as the seasons become colder) it gets overwhelmed and opens up all the vents for immediate clearing. This clearing comes in many forms: perspiration, breathing, sweating, rashes, diarrhoea, colds, flus and so on.

So we must facilitate this process of “cleaning the house” by allowing and assisting the toxins to be eliminated. Unfortunately people aren’t facilitating this process enough.

Common Treatment Process of the Flu

  • People are masking the symptoms with pharmaceutical drugs that fool the body into feeling that it doesn’t have any toxins to eliminate.
  • The drugs may also clog or block these “vents” (elimination channels).
  • These toxins then will get trapped deeper into the bodily channels, causing deeper problems down the track.
  • Additionally, drugs and vaccines will further add to the toxins that are trapped in the body and increases the risk and severity of "Dis-Ease" later on. No one currently knows the long term impact of these ‘foreign’ substances that are being injected into the blood streams of many people (vaccinations).

Vent the Body to Prevent Disease

If your body is not able to “vent” toxins coming in (undigested food, environmental pollutants, stressful relationships, stressful work situations etc.) you will experience discomfort.

So in winter, if you or your children get the sniffles or a severe cold, rather then stressing, here are some simple home remedies to keep these “vents” open and working effectively:

Home Remedies for the Cold and Flu

Realise and become aware that your body is “cleaning the house” during this period and the best thing you can do is to support it during the detoxification process.

  • Avoid suppressing the symptoms with a pharmaceutical drug. Yes, you might get some symptomatic short-term relief but the effects of the toxic residues that are left behind will show up down the road and your body’s natural intelligence to function will be weakened. There are other ways to relieve the discomfort as listed below. However, after you have tried natural remedies to relieve the symptoms, if you are unbearingly suffering it is sometimes better to take the pharmaceutical drugs than suffer.
  • Rest - The most important. Avoid the cold wind outside, avoid strenuous work, late nights. Stay warm.
  • Eat lighter - Cut down on your intake of meat and animal products such as cheese and yoghurt. Dinner especially should be light (soups are best).
  • Liquid diet day - any cooked and pureed foods or soups, lassi, fresh fruit juices and herbal teas can help you overcome a virus much more easily. Avoid vegetable juices.
  • Fasting (with your body type in mind) coupled with sipping hot water all day is “the best/chief among those which cure fever.”(1)
  • Sip hot water - Plain hot water is the best to clear all body’s channels and hydrate the body. Plain is best because is works on all the body’s channels, rather then specifically targeting a certain area. Plus, plain hot water is even more hydrating than lemon water! Frequency is what matters, not quantity. Sip every 10-15 minutes. You can also make a tea with turmeric + a little black pepper or cumin + ajwain tea.
  • Avoid therapies such as massage, nasya (oil administered in nose) and exercise.

Plants and Whole-Food Remedies

These can provide instant relief and still support the body and it’s natural defence system to vent.

 

Honey & Kitchen Spice Paste

Cough and cold remedy, increases immunity, fights infections. Recipe Here.

Tulsi tea - English name “Holy Basil.” Also known as the “Queen of Herbs” in Ayurveda. Tulsi is especially effective for lungs and to decongest the respiratory system.

Salt + warm water gargle - Can do all throughout the day, especially if experiencing sore throat. Use 1/2tsp-1tsp of black salt for best effect. Can add a little turmeric to the water for stronger bacteria-fighting help.

Gargle with liquorice tea - Soothe a sore throat and reduce inflammation.

Steam inhalation - Perhaps one of the most effective remedies. Add 2 drops of Vital Veda/Raju Prandhara into a bowl of boiling water, cover head and bowl with towel and inhale steam till steam is finished. Mini Steam inhalation: 1 drop of prandhara in a cup of boiling water, inhale steam until steam is finished, then drink liquid. Can do a few times a day. Order Prandhara from Vital Veda clinic. Alternative to Prandhara: 10-15 drops of eucalyptus oil in a big bowl of boiling water and inhale.

More complex herbs for deeper seated problems. Available from the Vital Veda clinic or a good Ayurvedic practitioner.

Act early

Prevention is a key component in Ayurveda. If you notice the initial stages of a symptom - waking up with a slight sore throat, then gargle with salt water, eat the Honey & Spice Mix or better take some complex herbs.

If you are beginning to feel a bit congested in the sinuses or lungs, incorporate steam inhalation into your morning routine. Jump in early to work WITH the viruses or toxins to ensure their effective elimination.

Act even earlier

Adopt an Ayurvedic diet, lifestyle and perhaps take some herbs to maintain optimum immunity and vitality and hardly ever see the start of a disease or symptom. Especially the cold or flu.

Read my articles in the blog or book in with me for a consultation to acquire a detailed lifestyle and dietary plan to tune yourself into optimum balance and wellness.

 

References:

(1) “Astanga Samgraha (of Vagbhata)” - Chaper 13: Collection of the Best, Agryasangrahaniya Asdhyaya, translated by Author: Prof. K R Srikantha Murthy