Just Breath: Science of Breathing for Optimal Health | The Breathing Diabetic (Nick Heath) #072

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Nick Heath, aka The Breathing Diabetic, is utilising simply breathing techniques to manage and improve his type 1 diabetes - a medical condition that requires 24/7, 365 days/year attention.
But simply shifting your breathing mannerism has other health benefits beyond just healthy blood sugar levels. 
Nick is a breathing nerd. He’s hooked on breathing. And the beautiful thing is that he’s not an extremist, but rather shares very practical interventions and subtle adjustments to your way of living (breathing) that has the potential to significantly heal and prevent imbalance + and optimise overall health.
We dispel the myths of oxygen is good and carbon dioxide (C02) is bad.
We explore the Nobel prize winning panacea molecule that is freely available to you, how to optimise your exercise, sitting and walking practice + much more!
Take a deep calm belly breath through the nose and get ready to dive deep into the realms of oxygen, breath and our fundamental life-force. 

About our guest: Nick Heath

Nick Heath Ph.D., a.k.a. The Breathing Diabetic, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 11.
At age 30, he began practicing simple breathing exercises that helped improve his blood sugars, improve his sleep, and increase his energy levels, all of which helped him better manage his diabetes.
Having a background in scientific research, Nick wanted to understand the inner workings of breath to not only be able to explain the reason behind the changes he was experiencing, but to exploit and push the boundaries of breath therapy.  This curiosity led him on a deep quest to understand the science behind breathing its implications on the human physiology.
Nick Heath, a.k.a. The Breathing Diabetic
By means of the The Breathing Diabetic platform he generously shares and breaks down complex pieces of wisdom for all to understand and make use of.
Nick’s formal education is in atmospheric science, and he is also a certified Oxygen Advantage instructor.

In this Episode we Discuss:

Nick’s Early History with Type 1 Diabetes

He was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at 11 years old.
At the age of 25 he started wondering what habits he could implement that would positively influence his capacity to regulate blood-sugar levels. 
  • Little by little he started changing his nutrition, and his energy levels and long-term averages of his blood sugars started to improve. 
After that he was intrigued by the lengths to which meditation, yoga and breathwork practices could allow him to attenuate and/or eradicate his diabetes. 
Up to this point he has managed to reduce his insulin injections in 40-45% while keeping stable blood-sugar levels. 

Why Put In The Effort When There's Insulin Out There?

Diabetes is not merely a nuisance in terms of having to inject insulin, but it also often turns into a liability due to its proven relationship to various long term complications, and emotional/mood instability (since blood sugar tempers with your brain chemistry therefore severely affecting mood & emotional health).  
Over time, diabetes can damage the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves.
According to the World Health Organization: 
  • Adults with diabetes have a two-to-three-fold increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
  • Diabetes is the cause of 2.6% of global blindness.
  • Diabetes is among the leading causes of kidney failure.
Being able to have a grip on your health and taking some control back from the disease is very empowering and allows for an increased wellbeing & peace of mind. 

The Relationship Between Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide In The Body

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the molecule that indicates to our body it is time to breathe. 
  • The inhaling of air is triggered by the body sensing high levels of carbon dioxide, not low levels of oxygen
Carbon dioxide loosens the bonds between the oxygen molecules and hemoglobin in red blood cells, which allows for the assimilation of those oxygen molecules into the cells of our tissues. 
In breathwork techniques such as pranayama (प्राणायाम), we are tough to reduce the volume of our breaths, which causes an increase in CO2 levels, which in turn allows more oxygen to enter the cells.
Intermittent hypoxia
This practice consists of a person or animal going through alternating periods of normoxia and hypoxia.
  • Normoxia is defined as exposure to regular oxygen levels and hypoxia as any oxygen levels lower than those of normoxia
This practice teaches your body how to withstand higher levels of CO2, which is going to allow you to breathe less air and more effortlessly in your everyday life.
Although holding your breath for too long can lead to a lowering of oxygen saturation, when done in a controlled manner it can be very therapeutic.
  • It can help with insulin sensitivity.
  • It can help with immune function.
The spleen contracts and triggers red-blood cell production to increase oxygenation, which in turn increases oxygen assimilation and energizes you.
There is a type of breathwork in which people take light inhales with deep exhales and then hold their breath while walking or jogging. This increases carbon dioxide levels to extremes and gets their body in a very acidic state which induces a lot of stress in the body and mind.
  • Many athletes practice this to increase their level of performance.

The Wim Hof Method

It basically consists of hyperventilating the body, which increases your pH to alkaline levels & severely reduces carbon dioxide concentration in the body.
  • Since high carbon dioxide levels are the triggering stimuli for breath, lowering these in that manner allows for an extended period of time in which the body doesn’t feel the need to breathe. 
What happens then is that oxygen-blood saturation in the body plummets to about 50% due to a lack of carbon dioxide
Wim Hof sitting bare-chested on ice

The Many Benefits of Nasal Breathing

Nasal breathing reduces your breathing volume naturally, so by teaching yourself to breathe through your nose consistently you will be able to breathe less and more efficiently
The turbinates in your nose filter out pollutant particles and cilia (microscopic hairs) move said particles out of your sinuses and back into your nose so that they don’t make it down into the lungs; as opposed to the mouth which doesn’t have such a complex filtering system.  
Nitric oxide is a gas that’s released in your nasal cavity.
  • It not only has antibacterial & antiviral properties, but also acts as a vaso-dilator when the air enters your lungs (opens up blood vessels and improves blood flow, thus oxygen assimilation [which in turn leads to higher energy levels]).
Nasal breathing can be of great help to those suffering from ailments such as acidity, reflux, or any other upward-moving condition (Ūrdhva ऊर्ध्व in Sanskrit).

Meditation & Breath

When meditating your body enters into a hypometabolic state, where there’s a reduced oxygen concentration & an increased carbon dioxide levels. 
  • Experiencing this regularly teaches your body how to adapt to low-oxygen availability and high carbon dioxide levels, basically allowing your physiology to do more with less resources.  

Mouth Taping

It is a life-altering practice for those who are chronic mouth breathers. 
It forces you with very little to no inconvenience, to breathe nasally during the night, which allows you to harness all the benefits of nasal breathing. 
Mouth taping assists entering deep sleep. 
Couple sleeping in bed with their mouths taped
It decreases the incidence of obstructive sleep apnea. 
Breath becomes much more regular and consistent when happening through your nose, as opposed to through your mouth.

Treating Asthma With Breathwork

Nick’s mentor and world renown author and breath practitioner, Patrick McKeown, was asthmatic and yet by the power of breath he taught his body to tolerate higher levels of carbon dioxide, which helped him quit inhalers and all the asthma-medication he was taking.  
The Buteyko Method, originally formulated by the Soviet doctor Konstantin Pavlovich Buteyko, consists of the use of chronic repetitive breathing exercises to correct hyperventilation and hyperventilation-related conditions (such as asthma).

Treating Diabetes With Breathwork

The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is composed of three main branches: the sympathetic (in charge of fight-or-flight responses), parasympathetic (in charge of rest and digest responses) and enteric nervous systems. 
  • In most cases of diabetes, the sympathetic nervous system is substantially more active than the parasympathetic
    • This causes blood sugar to fluctuate a lot, stress to be heightened,  sleep quality to be poor and cardiovascular complications, amongst many other possible ailments. 
      • Breathwork reduces the level of activity of the sympathetic nervous system, hence severely contributing to returning the autonomic nervous system to balance.
The stress alone of merely being concerned by one’s own diabetes every single day, all day, is long-term very straining for the body. 
  • It is therefore important to be equipped with tools and techniques that allow one to take back some control without needing to depend on any external source/context for relief or sustenance. 
Diabetes-related ailments mainly surge from a poor regulation of blood-sugar and improper blood circulation, and those two health fields are the ones breathwork practices manly affect. 
Tissue oxygenation being one of the main issues that lead to diabetic complications. 
  • Theory is that diabetics get less oxygen delivered to their cells, which leads to insulin resistance & chronic sympathetic (fight-or-flight) activation
  • By practicing breathing techniques that optimize gas exchange, carbon dioxide levels, and give you nasal nitric oxide (which improves oxygen assimilation into the cells), you are preventing many of these possible diabetes-related complications

Simple Breathwork Practices

Slow Breaths: 4 seconds inhalation, 6 seconds exhalation, through the nose only. After two minutes you should get a feel of how it starts to affect you.
  • This is a good place to start for anybody, even children.
Then there’s simple pranayama techniques such as alternate-nostril breathing.
Phone apps you can use:
  • iBreathe
  • Breath Wrk
    • Details on the giveaway of a 1 year-subscription down below in “Resources”.
“Breathwalking”: Counting your steps with your breath is a common easy-to-apply practice for starters on breathwork.
  • e.g. 4 steps during inhale, 6 steps during exhale (or whatever number feels comfortable)
  • For diabetics, walking after meals helps with blood-sugar spikes.

Resources

Nick’s Website HERE

Nick’s Instagram (@thebreathingdiabetic) HERE 

Nick’s email (nick@thebreathingdiabetic.comHERE

-

Buteyko Clinic HERE 

To access the giveaway (these are cumulative):

  • Post in your IG Story the IG post related to this episode & mention one takeaway.
  • Comment one takeaway on the IG post related to this episode.
  • Leave a review on any podcast-listening platform, screenshot it and email the screenshot to media@vitalveda.com.au

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Understanding Diabetes & Blood Sugar, Self-Management, Nutritional Flexibility & Chronic Disease Blessings | Drew Harrisberg #026

About Drew Harrisberg

Drew is an exercise physiologist, sports scientist, diabetes educator, and most importantly, a happy and healthy guy thriving with type 1 diabetes.


In This Episode We Discuss

The Diabetes Pandemic of Today

Nearly 1 million Australians 

India - 1 in 4 have pre-diabetes diabetes! (14% pre, 9% diabetes).

Americans - one third of Americans (almost 100 million Americans) are pre-diabetic, and 90% of them don’t know it!. Moreover, many of them think they are maintaining what they call a healthy diet!. - Undiagnosed is the scary part.
~ Study by the CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention)

Drews Story

Diabetes creeping up - Drew falling asleep in an important job interview and worse, while driving!

What Is Type 1 Diabetes

  • An auto-immune disease where your body mistakingly kills off the beta-cells of your pancreas that produces insulin (required to metabolise glucose from food), thinking that the beta-cells are foreign invaders.
  • Type 1 Diabetes as an incurable, life-long disease that requires high maintenance.
  • Rare cases to cure Type 1 Diabetes - regenerate the pancreas to be able to perform its function.
  • People with Type 1 diabetes have to administer exogenous insulin via injections or a pump to metabolise food.

Auto-Immune Diseases

The Ayurvedic view of auto-immune diseases - Correcting the mistake of intellect. 

Quantum healing to cure the incurable.

The role of gut health in diabetes and auto-immune diseases.
Glutens role in auto-immune diseases.

Dairy and Type 1 Diabetes
A1 beta-casein having a structure of amino acids that looks very soar to the structure of amino acids in the pancreas cells.

Type 2 Diabetes

Insulin doesn’t work well leading to high blood sugar.

Insulin Resistance

  • Insulin inefficiency. An inability for insulin to do its job properly. 
  • Insulin is designed to drive glucose from your blood into a tissue, like an organ or your brain. It is needs to accompany glucose during the transportation process. 
  • Then, that tissue or organ etc. will use that as fuel: burn or store the glucose. 
  • Insulin is also the most powerful anabolic hormone in your body. 
  • + heaps more functions.
  • Insulin resistance is caused by the accumulation of excess fat in tissues that are not designed to store large quantities of fat. 
  • When you are storing excess fatty acids in areas like the liver and muscles - their ability to uptake glucose gets compromised.

How Blood Sugar Rises:

  • Foods > We explode with sugar into the blood stream.
  • Sugars (glucose) are digested, forcing the pancreas to produce excess insulin to escort the glucose out of the blood stream into the cells.
  • Overtime, the pancreas is worn out from insulin levels going up again and again and our blood stream cannot handle these injections of sugar in the blood.
  • Our cells and muscles become resistant. They cannot tolerate any more sugar.
  • It lingers in the blood, but the blood has to do something with it.
  • It takes the sugar and converts it into triglycerides, belly fat, obesity or engage in Glycation - where it sticks to proteins and runs through the blood stream and becomes sticky and irritating and congests and damages the arterial walls. Increases cardiovascular damage and risk and risk of cancer and clot risks.
    • Glycation causes damage to collagen and elastin - causing wrinkles but more importantly, damages the health and elasticity of the skin that lines the arteries, heart, gut and lungs.

“Legs of Lead” as a symptom for excess glucose in your blood.

Complications of having excess glucose in your blood (high blood sugar) for to long.

The "normal range" for blood sugar is not adequate. 

Fasting blood sugar: 80-120mg/dL (USA) or 4.8-7.8mmol/L (Millimoles per Litre).

Studies have shown above 85mg/dL or 4.7mmol/L makes you at risk for degenerative diseases such as cardiovascular disease. Digestive tract cancers. 

Between 70-85mg/dL or 3.9-4.7 is closer to what Dylan adheres to.

Anecdotal experience over scientifically proven studies

People with type 1 diabetes get a deep insight into their health with the vast experiments they perform on theirselves.

Ayurveda’s Approach to Diabetes

  • Managing Type 1 Diabetes with herbs thousands years ago before science created exogenous insulin.
  • Bhasmas - metallic preparations used as medicine in Ayurveda.
  • In Ayurveda, there are 20 types of diabetes an pre-diabetes mentioned, called “Prameha” and “Madhumeha.”

Controlling your health and control in general is overrated

The circadian rhythms of blood glucose and liver function

High Fat Ketogenic Diet and Blood Sugar

  • Short term can be good, long term can be a big issue.
  • Lack of carbohydrates in the diet means the body forgets how to metabolise carbs, then when it does, it is very problematic and requires a lot of insulin to metabolise a little amount of carbs (insulin resistance).

Lipids and Kapha Dosha involved

  • Intramyocellular lipids - fat in the muscle cells.
  • Intrahepatocellular Lipids (IHCL)  - fat in the liver cells.
  • Just like in kapha in Ayurveda and its relationship with diabetes pathogenesis (prameha samprapti).

Insulin Therapy

The potential dangers of insulin and the importance of accurate dosing.

Role of exercise in insulin resistance.

Exercise induced glut4 trans-location or non insulin glut4 translocation.

GLUT4 is the predominant glucose transporter isoform expressed in the body (skeletal muscle).

The importance of walking.

Drew can reduce his insulin requirements by 50% with walking 10-15mins after a meal.

Diet, Nutrition and Blood Sugar

Simple principles - Stick to whole foods, avoid processed foods, ie. anything thats in a package.

Moderation - not a clear message.

Metabolic Flexibility

  • Fat Metabolism vs. Sugar Metabolism - Two sources of fuel.
  • Being able to tolerate carbohydrates and fat.
  • Intuitive eating on a day-to-day basis.
Soup: one of the lightest and easy-to-digest meal

Routine with flexibility

The blessing a chronic disease diagnosis and adversity.


Resources

Drews Daily Dose

Studies

  1. Higher Whole-Grain Intake Is Associated with Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes among Middle-Aged Men and Women - Reduces risk of 34%
  2. CDC - Diabetes facfts in USA
  3. Lifestyle outperforms medication for Type 2 Diabetes - “Effect of an Intensive Lifestyle Intervention on Glycemic Control in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Clinical Trial.”

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


The Epidemic of Chronic Disease Calls Ayurveda to the Rescue #004

Listen on iTunes

Epidemics of chronic diseases are exponentially growing alongside our modern lifestyle.
Ayurveda has never been so relevant to humanity than right now. And what the 2017 Nobel Prize for Medicine was won for supports this, because it was won for “Circadian Medicine,” which is basically “Ayurveda 101” (living in tune with nature’s circadian rhythms).

Half of the men reading this will get cancer in their life. 1 in 3 women will get cancer. Diabetes, auto-immune diseases, infertility, premature blindness, autism, dementia, Alzheimer’s and more are all rapidly taking over the bodies of our population

Two big culprits recently on the block are talked about: Excessive exposure to EMF (electro-magnetic fields) and blue light. Dylan shares ways to mitigate the effects of these, from very simple no-brainer adjustments to bigger steps to be more proactive in changing aspects of your life to take control of your health.

Dylan also shares basic principles and concepts of Ayurveda.

This is a recording of a talk Dylan did in February 2018 at Bondi Meditation Centre in Sydney, hosted by Matt Ringrose. It was so well received he had to share it with you...


About Dylan Smith

Founder, Ayurvedic practitioner, holistic health educator and proponent of Vedic wisdom, Dylan Smith, has a holistic passion to teach patients to effortlessly integrate new habits into their daily life. Dylan is devoted to learning, sharing and radiating this ancient knowledge for everyone to utilise and enjoy, to experience total wellness and bliss. Read more about Dylan here.


In this Episode we Discuss:

  • What is Ayurveda: The Science of Life. (05:15)
  • The 2017 Nobel Prize for Medicine was basically “Ayurveda 101.” (06:30)
  • The 5 Element and 3 Dosha Theories of Ayurveda to simplify medicine. (08:42)
  • Why Meditations are deeper and more transcending before sunrise. (11:13)
  • The true definition of “a healthy person” according to Ayurveda. (12:03)
  • Re-establishing fat metabolism for optimum energy levels, mood regulation and more.
  • The epidemic of pre-mature blindness from macular-degeneration and blue light. (22:02)
  • EMF (Electro-magnetic fields): a high biologically active cause of chronic disease. (23:53)
  • Abhyanga” to shield from EMF, energy, and many other benefits, (25:05)
  • Why EMF is the new cigarettes. (35:00)
  • Transcending disease. (38:52)
  • Pesticides and Chemicals (41:25)
  • The importance of pure physiology preconception and during pregnancy.
  • Tongue Scraping.
  • Ghee (Clarified butter) as a superior source of cooking oil. (45:05)
  • Nasya: Lubricating the brain. (45:35)
  • Way to enhance your microbiome: Eat food cooked with love, eat ghee, do self-abhyanga. (46:32)

Resources


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

Amalaki (Embilica Officinalis) Uses & Benefits

Dylan Smith harvesting amalaki

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)

amla pickle dish

Amalaki (Indian Gooseberry)

This amla recipe can be adjusted to make lemon pickle by replacing the amla with chopped-up lemons

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.

Dylan Smith harvesting amalaki

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.

Have you tried this amla pickle recipe? How did that go? Comment 👇

Honey – Nectar or Poison?

honey dripping off a honey comb

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

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

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

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

The Importance of Honey

Honey is a medicine, not so much a food.

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

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

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

The best yogavahi (catalyst)

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

The chief Anupana (Vehicle of Administration)

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

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

Good for the Eyes

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

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

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

Heart Health

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

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

Honey Heals the Skin

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

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

Digestion

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

Respiratory Health

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

Cough

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

Cough and Cold Home Remedy – Honey and spice paste.

Weight Loss, Obesity and Diabetes

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

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

Aphrodisiac and Ojas Booster

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

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

Other benefits:

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

Ways to Take Honey:

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

Honey’s Poisonous Potential

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beware of Heated Honey

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

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

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

Other Notes About Honey

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

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

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

Honey Brand Recommendations:

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

Get collecting!

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

feature photo: Cereal Mag

Related Listening


Ragi (Finger Millet) Porridge Recipe

What is Ragi?

Ragi, also known as 'finger millet' is a popular cereal grown throughout Africa and Asia. It was introduced to India 4000 years ago and is grown in the Himalayas. It is generally purchased as a very fine pinky/brown flour which can be prepared as breads, dosas, porridges, puddings and cakes. It is an awesome and delicious flour in its own right.

Properties of Ragi (Ayurvedic perspective)

Rasa (Taste): Sweet
Virya (Action): Heating
Vipaka (Post-digestive effect): Sweet
Gunas (Qualities): Dry, Light
Doshas: Balances Kapha, increases Vata and Pitta in excess.

Medicinal Qualities

  • Easy to digest
  • Nourishing
  • Treats high cholesterol, dull agni (digestive fire), diabetes, excess weight, and other excess kapha (mucus/fluid), (All millets have these actions.).

Where do I get it?

Raggi is not common in Australia (yet). You will find it in an Indian Grocery.

Ragi Porridge Recipe

PS. there is no chocolate, I swear, but it is tastier than chocolate, a little like a subtle cacao. The ragi roasted in ghee is what makes it look like melted chocolate.

Gluten Free
Serves 1

Ingredients:

  1. 2-3 tbsp ghee – ragi is quite drying, so will need to use plenty of ghee, vata constituents especially.
  2. 1⁄4 cup raggi flour
  3. 1⁄4 cup un-homogenised organic milk
  4. 1⁄2 cup boiling water
  5. 2 tsp raw/rapadura sugar or jaggery – kapha constitution can have less.
  6. a generous pinch of ground cardamom & ground cinnamon
  7. pinch of slippery elm bark powder (optional to lubricate bowels)
  8. crushed cashews or macadamia nuts or almonds (optional for more protein and to fill one up more)

 

Method:

  1. Melt the ghee in a medium sized pot over low-moderate heat. 

2. Once the ghee is melted and warm, add the raggi flour. 

3. Toast the ragi flour in the ghee for 2-3 mins until the grain turns a deep chocolate colour.

4. Remove the pot from the flame and add all of the milk then all of the boiling water, being careful of any steam or splatter that is created.5. Return the pot to the flame and gently bring to a simmer stirring continuously and vigorously with a whisk to avoid lumps.

6. Add crushed nuts (optional, for more protein).

7. The raggi will thicken suddenly. If it gets too thick, add some more boiling water until the porridge is a thick soupy consistency.

8. Keep simmering for several minutes then add the sugar/jaggery and spices and stir through.


9. Remove from the flame and let it rest for a few minutes. Serve warm.

How I got into Ragi

My friend Nikki was shopping at the Indian grocery and asked me if I wanted anything. I asked her to get me Buckwheat flour so I could make my delicious Buckwheat Pancakesbut since all the flours were labelled in Hindi, she accidentally bought me Ragi. I didn't even know it wasn't buckwheat until I made the pancakes, as they were a lot drier causing me to use load more ghee.

So I researched it on the internet and mostly came across articles saying how good it was for babies. I then came across this lovely recipe from the Mudita Institute in Byron Shire. I have tweaked it a little. It has been my favourite porridge ever since. Thanks Nikki!

This grain is defiantly worth the trip to the Indian grocery! plus you'll find other treasures.

A Sweet start to the day is the nourishing way, and the Agni gently wakes up and in balance, says 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