Banana “Kadali” Smoothie Recipe

Ingredients

serves 2

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

Method

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

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

Honey – Nectar or Poison?

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 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, honey can easily acquire a poisonous quality. All it takes is heat.

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:

  • Kel-Bee Apiaries (Sydney) - Louie comes to the Bondi Farmers Markets on Saturdays. 0414 972 065.
  • Lenny (Ocean Shores, Northern NSW) - Amazing passionate honey dealer who occasionally acquires rare and potent batches of honey.
  • 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

Nature Deficit Disorder

Yep it’s actually a thing.

This contemporary phenomenon, “Nature Deficit Disorder,” is slightly controversial in the medical industry in regards to it being recognised as a mental disorder.

Richard Louv, an author who came up with this “phrase” has stated:

“Nature-deficit disorder is not meant to be a medical diagnosis but rather to serve as a description of the human costs of alienation from the natural world.”

And boy what health costs it can have…

  • Youngers generations are being at risk of having a shorter lifespan.
  • Behavioural problems are developing as well as Attention-Deficit Disorder (ADD) and depression. Studies from the University of Illinois is showing a strong link to ADD, and recently studies in USA showed classrooms and other forms of education that used outdoor classrooms and other forms of experiential education produced significant student gain in social studies, science, language, arts and math.
  • Eye problems like myopia (short-sighted) due to lack of exposure to bright (natural outdoor) light are at jeopardy.(3,4).
  • Childhood obesity is a growing problem and an influential cause of it is separation from nature.(5)
  • A Harvard study showed a strong correlation with mental health as women living in the greenest environments were happier and less depressed.(1,2).

According to Ayurveda, spending time in the nature or green space around plants builds “Ojas” – a substance linked to longevity, vitality and radiant health.

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.

It could be in your garden, or a park. It could be regularly hiking, bush walking, camping or meditating on a beach — it all builds Ojas.

Another one of the best ways to consistently build Ojas is to eat a diet of fresh unprocessed, seasonal whole food and have a balanced agni to support the process. A handful of certain foods even metabolise to nourish and build Ojas more directly and quickly.

Depleted Ojas leaves the body vulnerable to disease.

Regularly employing these methods to building Ojas is an important action to overcome fatigue and increase vitality.

“When you feel life coming down on you, Like a heavy weight.
When you feel this crazy society, Adding to the strain.
Take a stroll to the nearest waters And remember your place.
Many moons have risen and fallen long, long before you came.”
~ Xavier Rudd

Photo: Routeburn Track, NZ  by Dylan Smith

 

References
(1) http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/15-10363/
(2) https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_158317.html
(3) New research an eye opener on cause of myopia”. 2011-06-01. Retrieved 2013-10-07.
(4) Nature Deficit Disorder, No Child Left Inside Archived January 15, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
(5) National Environmental Education Foundation

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!

Golden Milk Elixir

Just like grandma used to cook up for you with love and foresight. This nightly sleep aid and anabolic tonic holds great wisdom, incorporating one of the most nourishing foods: cows milk, with the intelligence of natures herbs and spices. You’ll sleep like a baby and super charge overnight.

Dreaming of a Good Night’s Sleep?

This Ayurvedic remedy will reduce your stress to allow you to switch off and gain a more restful and undisturbed sleep.

Supersede the Stress

Insomnia, which can increase the risk of most degenerative diseases(1) is mostly caused by stress. When we are under stress, cortisol levels (stress fighting hormones) do not decrease, rather they keep us revved up throughout the night and we don’t have the energy to calm them back down.

Modern science has once again proved ancient wisdom by showing milk has certain peptides that lower cortisol and support sleep by 50%. The improvements of sleep are remarkable:

  • Promotes deeper sleep (3)
  • Supports more restorative sleep (3)
  • Provides relaxation at the level needed for sleep (4)
  • Calms anxiety (4)
  • Improves numerous stress markers (5)
  • These peptides further support digestion, emotional state, cognitive function and even cardiovascular function. (6)

Interestingly, these peptides in milk activate GABA receptors.(4) Pharmaceutical drugs that are widely used as sedatives for stress, anxiety, and sleep target these same GABA receptors!(7)

Ojas Building

Even if you sleep well, this night-time tonic will not only upgrade your sleep to be more deep and restful, but also build your Ojas.

Ojas (OH-jas) is considered to be the most refined by-product of digestion, said to reside in the heart. Ayurveda considers ojas to be a bio-celestial substance that is our vital essence.

Our vitality, immunity, vigour, skin, sleep, digestion, spirituality and physical strength are all directly influenced by our reserve of ojas.

Ojas builds our inner silence. It Increases the ability to genetically connect with the circadian rhythms allowing the body to resonate with the rhythms and thrive. If your body is under stress, emergency alarm bells will keep ringing (flight or fight response/sympathetic nervous system) disconnecting you from the genetic ability to hear these rhythms.

Building ojas is an art. Yoga, pranayama breathing exercises, meditation, spending time in nature, sleeping at the right times, laughing, showing love and affection and giving to others, spending time being creative, relaxing, and doing things that make you happy all build ojas.

Perhaps one of the best ways to consistently build ojas is to eat a diet of fresh, unprocessed whole foods in the appropriate season.
Further, there are certain foods and herbs in Ayurveda that are great ojas-builders. These were traditionally blended with warm milk and taken before bed as a sleep aid and an ojas-builder.

Ayurveda’s Super Sleep Recipe:

  • Boil 3/4 cup of unhamogensied cows milk + 3/4 cup of water + 2 strands of saffron + 1 chopped date + 3 crushed and peeled almonds. Boil till it reduces to approximately 1 cup or till it fully foams up.
  • After the milk has boiled. Add:
  • 1/4tsp cardamom powder
  • 1/4tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 1/2tsp ghee.
  • 1/4 tsp Ashwagandha powder (optional for more ojas building and calming effect)
  • 1/4 tsp Shatavari powder (optional for more ojas building and calming effect)
  • pinch of Ojo or Samadhi (Raju family herbal preparation)
    (Can modify herbs and spices according to season and body constitution).

Sitr well, then drink and enjoy.

When to Drink It:

  • Have between dinner and sleep - approximately 45-60mins after dinner and 45-60mins before bed.
  • You can even make this your dinner.
  • Drink one cup of the golden milk each night for 3 months to rebuild ojas levels and support sleep patterns.
  • You can also have this in the morning approximately 45 minutes before breakfast or make it your breakfast, (good for people who don’t have an appetite in the morning). It is also a great replacement to coffee.

"But I Don’t Do Dairy"

If you are intolerant to dairy, it is probably indigestion, some weakness and/or your mind getting the better over you by 'accepting' the intolerance. Additionally, most milk is difficult to digest because it is unnecessarily homogenised, pasteurised the wrong way, added chemicals, pesticides, preservatives and anti-biotic’s.

However, drink the right milk and correct your agni, and you may find you can slowly introduce this medicinal lactation back into your diet.

Most places you can find milk that is non-homogenised without all these nasty additives. Getting non-pasturised or vat-pasturised, (heated at low temperature for short time), is a bonus, but the main precept is to drink non-homogenised milk. This has become so popular that mainstream supermarkets in Australia and New Zeland are now selling it. Additionally, most health-food stores will have it.

If you are very sensitive to milk, I suggest first correct agni, then slowly introduce dairy by drinking thin Lassi with lunch.

You may substitute substitute coconut or (freshly made) almond milk. Though you won’t get the benefits of the milk peptides, you’ll still have a vehicle for the ojas-building foods and herbs and some calming benefits from the warmth of the milk.

Take this milk to build some resiliency towards the stress that prevents us from sleeping like we should.

It’s tasty, nourishing and a great way to end the day, plus it’ll send you off with the clouds for the night.

 

References

(1) Occup Med (Lond). 2010
(2) The Open Sleep Journal. 2009;2:128-32
(3) J Dairy Sci. 2000 Jun
(4) Ther Umsh. 2009
(5) Eur J Nutr. 2005

 

(6) Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007

(7) FASEB J. 2001

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.

Milk Rice Recipe – For Woman’s Health

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

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

Ingredients:

serves one person

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

Method:

  1. Wash and soak rice (1 hour is enough).
  2. Boil rice in water. When thick foam gathers on to the top, strain and dispose the foam/water. (This removes the impurities from the rice).
  3. Close to when the rice is cooked, add milk with equal amount of water till the level of the liquid is approx.  2cm above the rice.
  4. Bring to the boil - take off - Serve.

"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, 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 proble, 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 the 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 complete 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 afterwards. Results are more powerful with inward attention and silence during this time.
  • Every meal during the BT should be “milk rice”. If you have a 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

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

Travel Healthy! Reduce Aeroplane Stress

Aeroplane travel will surreptitiously “suck the life out of you.” It sucks all the moisture out of your body.
With the humidity level in the cabins of most commercial aeroplanes at just 10-20%, (some are even as low as 1%!)(1), this makes aeroplanes drier than the Sahara Desert! which sits at about 25% humidity.

Take a good look at yourself in the mirror after travelling, especially if you travel a lot. If you are slightly in tune with your body, you will probably realise how much aeroplane travel accelerates your ageing process.

You may be surprised to learn the many risks associated with air travel.

For example, one study shows how bacteria can stay alive and continue to be infectious for more than a week on the arm rests, seat pockets, seats and bathroom doors of commercial aircrafts. The dry air is said to contribute to their extra-long life on airplanes.(2)

That’s not to mention the health risks associated with jet lag, dehydration, swelling and fatigue.

The good news is, I’ve compiled some effective strategies to buffer these risks. Incoporating just a few simple tips to your air travel routine will help lessen the impact of flying and help you feel more vibrant during and after your trips.

Altitude Shock = Dehydration & Dryness

Ever wonder why it is so easy to fall asleep in a plane? It is likely because the oxygen has been literally sucked out of your brain as the cabin is being pressurised.

When people flock to mountain towns to hike, ski or for leisure, it is very common for them to get altitude sickness. Even fit athletes who train at altitude can tell the difference when they climb to 3,000 meters. In a plane, this altitude change happens in just a couple of minutes!

Dehydration and body dryness is the most instant result of altitude shock.

If you are flying a lot and your body is repeatedly put through such drastic altitude changes, the effects become chronic. Chronic sub-clinical dehydration will first dry out the outer skin and then dry out the skin associated lymph beneath the skin. When this dries out, lymphatic flow is hampered, compromising its function of draining toxins and circulating white blood cells around the body for immunity.

Air Travel Survival Tools:

1. Pre-Hydrate:

For 1-2 days before you fly, make every effort to drink plenty of warm-hot water. Approximately 2-3L depending on your body weight. Fresh coconut water is also recommended if in season. On the day of your flight, sip hot water every 10-15 minutes to help further hydrate and support the lymphatic system.

2. Lubricate

Do Ayurvedic Self-Massage before and after trips or treat yourself to an Abhyanga upon arrival if available. This will not only counter the dryness but effectively move the lymph and circulate blood. Continue to topically apply oil as a moisturiser on the flight.
Pack a little Ghee as (the best) lip balm, or use the massage oil.

3. Shilajit

Used by Himalayan mountain climbers to gain energy for climbing at heights above 6,000 meters and to help oxygenate at high altitudes. The active ingredient of this ancient herb, Fulvic acid, has now been found by scientists to support oxygen and energy transport. Consider taking this herb around travel days.*
* It is best to take herbs in a therapeutic combination rather then by itself. If taking by itself, have 1 day break every 7 days. Consult an Ayurvedic practitioner.
– Pitta body types take caution as Shiljait is very heating and may aggravate Pitta.

Recycled Air

The Journal of Environmental Health Research reported that air travel increases the risk of catching a cold by 100 times because of the recycled air.

While exposure is unavoidable, we can increase our immunity and decrease our susceptibility.

Air Travel Survival Tools:

1. Nasya

My most prized aeroplane survival tool.
Nasya is an Ayurvedic technique which involves lubricating the nasal passages (responsible for immunity). Best is to use Vital Veda/Raju Nasika herbalised oil formula. Inferior but still effective is cold pressed black sesame oil.
Method: Tilt the head back and drop 1-3 drops in each nostril every hour so. The aim is to sniff it through the entire nasal passages, and even further to your brain.
Also pop a couple of drops in your ears to deal with cabin pressure.

2. Chywanprash

This trusted and popular Ayurvedic formula supports immunity. This is a classic remedy for supporting frequent travellers and mitigating your risk of catching a cold during a flight.
*Please buy quality product from a trustworthy source such as Vital Veda.

Jet Lag

Imagine air-lifting a dolphin from the Tasman Sea off the coast of Sydney, Australia to the Indian Ocean by Singapore in just 8 hours. Then, after a quick layover, air-lift that same dolphin to the harbour in Hong Kong in 4 hours. jumping-bottlenose-dolphinWould you expect that dolphin to ever re-establish normal migration patterns? If so, how long do you think it might take?

For humans too, this disruption of the body’s normal biological rhythms is very real.

Jet lag can cause fatigue and lead to cognitive decline, sleep issues, and even psychotic or mood disorders.

Air Travel Survival Tools:

1. Daily Ayurvedic Massage

Since your skin has more nerve endings than any other organ, applying herbalised oil will pacify the nervous system. Every square centimetre of the body’s skin is innervated by sensory neurons. These neurones are much happier when fed with herbalised oil, rather than left dehydrated to become irritated and over-stimulated. Learn to do self-massage.

2. Watch the Sunrise & Sunset

Watch the sunrise and sunset to re-connect with the natural circadian cycle. Natures rhythms will enter through the retina of your eyes to regulate hormones. Even if it means pulling yourself out of bed, it’s worth it, and beautiful.

IMG_0643

3. Ashwagandha

Considered by many to be one of the most potent adaptogens, this herb seems to support the body’s ability to adapt to such stress as that incurred by jet lag without the crippling impact.
– it is best to take herbs in a therapeutic combination rather then by it self. If taking by itself, have 1 day break every 7 days. Consult an Ayurvedic practitioner. I recommend the product Stresscom to get your ashwagandha in.

Blood Clots

20 million travellers will develop blood clots, or deep vein thrombosis (DVT) a year.(3)
The risk factors seem to be a combination of sitting still for hours in a pressurised cabin, lymph congestion, and dehydration.

Air Travel Survival Tools:

1. Get up and move regularly during long flights

• Walk up and down the aisles more
Yoga Asanas – find a more spacious place to do stretches – I usually go near the bathroom, back or front of a section, exit rows, rows with more leg room, empty business class areas, or my favourite, the muslim praying area.
• Stretch your neck, rotate ankles, wrists, as much as you can while sitting.

2. Herbal Support

If DVT is an issue with you, it is important consult a practitioner to tackle this problem. More complex herbs are required to dilate the channels.

3. As discussed above.

Hearing Loss

Airline cabins range from 75 decibels in the front of the plane to 85 to 100 in the back. A loud nightclub, for example, roars at about 100 decibels. The Institute for Occupational Safety and Health limits safe noise levels to 88 decibels for four hours. This suggests that there is potential risk of permanent hearing damage during frequent flights that last longer than four hours.

Air Travel Survival Tools:

1. Noise Reduction Headphones

If you are a frequent traveller, consider a set of noise reduction headphones, which reduce noise by about 40 decibels.

2. Nasya in the Ears

Pop a couple of Nasya oil drop ins your ears before flying. Keep the head on each side for about a minute for the oil to sink down deep down the ear drum.

Constipation

Very common due to jet lag, altitude shock and dehydration.

Swelling

Mainly caused by congested lymph system.
Causative factors of lymph congestion are almost all of the items discussed above, particularly:

  • Constipation dries out the lymph concentration on the gut wall.
  • Altitude shock affects cellular pressure, which is responsible for lymph movement.
  • Sitting still for hours may congest the lymph as their is no movement to pump the lymph and regulate the circulatory system.
  • Dehydration directly affects lymph flow.
  • Jet lag creates stress on the body, which is a major cause of lymph congestion.

Air Travel Survival Tools:

1. Vital Veda/ Raju “Shodana Vati”

Detoxification agent & whole-body cleansing purifier. 3-dosha blanching. Accordingly these herbal pills support regular bowel motions.

2. Triphala

*Not necessary if you are taking “Shodana Vati.”
Tripahla is a natural bowel toner that supports regular bowel movements. It can be used for short periods of time around travels without dependency. available at Vital Veda.

3. Sip Hot Water Frequently

Ensure you have a thermos with you to keep refilling. You’ll make best friends with the flight attendant, and perhaps contribute to the revolution of drink hot water rather than cold.

4. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.

These only dehydrate you further while in light.

5. Eat Very Light

It is very hard to digest in the air when you are not grounded and while your body is under such stress. Rather eat in between flights while you’re on the ground. If you get hungry in the air, eat a spoon or two of chywanprash or have fruit.

6. Vata Tea

Since the Vata dosha gets mostly thrown out during travel, a Vata tea can assist in balancing. My favourite Vata tea is from Moksha Ayurveda.

6. Tongue Scraper and Herbal Toothpaste

Don’t forget these in your carry on luggage for long flights to scrape away the ama (toxins).

7. Meditate More

Due to the harsh environment of an aeroplane, meditate as much as you like! It will buffer against jet lag, provide deep rest, and get you through the flight a lot more joyfully. Vedic meditation is recommended.

Don’t just Arrive Alive, Arrive and Thrive!

travel plane kit
my on-board travel kit. Also includes a thermos and some Vata tea bags.

 

References
(1) Robert Haru Fisher, http://www.frommers.com/articles/4606.html
(2) http://wireeagle.auburn.edu/news/1656
(3) “The Lancet,” New Zeland, 2003.
Credits: Dr. John Doulliard, Lifespa.com

 

Turmeric: Highly Medicinal Spice & Essential Uses

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.

Not another article listing countless benefits of turmeric, "I don't know where to start or what to use it for,"

Some of you may be thinking.

The bright orange rhizome deserves all these articles and documentation, but it can get a bit overwhelming.

In this article I will sum up the essentials and how to use Turmeric....

The average person in India eats about 2 to 2.5 grams of turmeric a day – almost every day of their lives. Interestingly, India has among the highest rates of prostate, breast, colon and lung health in the world. Some researchers credit turmeric for this.

The best part? Chances are, this spice may already be in your cabinet.

Turmeric has a vast catalogue of health benefits, but here is an

Essential Summary of the Benefits of Turmeric:

• Anti Inflammatory - best anti-inflammatory along with ginger.
• Mood Regulating - In one study, curcumin (the active ingredient that is so heavily researched), was shown to boost the brain chemical norepinephrine, which supports healthy mood, attentiveness, sleep, dreaming and higher learning.
• Curcumin also boosted the levels of dopamine – the “motivation” hormone that supports pleasure, emotion, satisfaction and locomotion – and serotonin, which plays a key role in mood, memory, learning, appetite, sexual behaviour, sleep, and many other functions.
• Protects Gut - Turmeric creates coating around gut area for protection. This prevents toxins from absorbing and will assist the bile in detoxifying toxins like heavy metals, parasites, pesticides, candida, fungi and more. This decongests the lymphatic system.
• Reproductive Nourishment: Breast milk purifier, sperm builder and nourishes reproductive organs.
 Joint Support - It can reduce stiffness and swelling and strengthens joints in cases of joint pain. People with arthritis should be eating plenty turmeric daily.
• Healthy blood - blood purifier, enhances blood flow and can thin blood. Supports liver function.

 

Boost Absorption: Simply Add a Little Black Pepper:

Researchers found that turmeric taken with black pepper – both common ingredients in curry – increased the absorption of turmeric by an astonishing 2000%! with no adverse effects!

How to Use Turmeric as Medicine:

  • Turmeric Powder is indicated over fresh turmeric because it is more purified and easier to digest. Fresh turmeric can be used but less than 3x a week in teas, stir fries etc. You may use fresh turmeric more if it is purified with limestone.
  • Add at the end of cooking - Curries, stir fires, meat roasts, eggs, dahls, salads, really any savoury meal calls for turmeric. Add the powder towards the end of cooking to savour all the nutrients and healing properties. A general rule is to add powdered spices at the end of cooking (except hing).
  • Anti-Viral Paste - Mix up this paste if a cough, cold/flu or virus hits you or when you feel one coming on. Step in early! Recipe here.
  • Meat - As meat is vulnerable to acquiring infections and cancerous bacteria, turmeric with its anti-cancer properties is vital to add to the cooking of meat.
  • Boosts Oil Pulling - Add a pinch turmeric powder to 1tsp of sesame oil and swish in mouth for a stronger anti-bacterial action and to heal bleeding gums.
  • Golden Milk - Mix turmeric with hot milk + other necessary spices. This promotes sleep, reduces stress, purifies breast milk amongst many more benefits. Recipe here.

External Uses:

Turmeric is popular among many beauty and skin products. Here are some home remedies and uses. Just be careful as it can stain anything it touches.

  • Disinfectant - Mix turmeric with a little ghee, butter or honey (enough to make a paste) and you have a paste to apply on cuts and wounds. Turmeric doesn't only disinfect the wound (it looks just like Betadine), but also heals it. This is a great mixture to have on hand in the first aid kit.
  • Anti-itch - Eczema, psoriasis, vitiligo, any skin condition or where itching is present apply turmeric + butter or yoghurt paste to cool down the skin and relieve the itching. This also heals the skin condition.
  • Face Mask - Purifying face mask to sterilise and draw out or pacify pimples, blackheads and oily secretions. A general mask to nourish and rejuvenate the skin.
    Recipe: mix 2 Tbsp chana flour (chickpea) +1 tsp turmeric powder + 3 tsps milk. Apply on face and lie down until mask dries, then wash off. Can also use as skin exfoliator before shower.
  • Skin-Cancer - Protects from and heals skin cancers.

Properties:

Rasa (taste): Pungent, bitter
Virya (action): Heating
Vipaka (post-digestive effect): Pungent
Doshas: Balances vata, pitta and kapha

Summary:

Simply, turmeric should be used daily in your cooking (with a pinch of black pepper). Further, get to know its potent medicinal components more by utilising the powerful powder for home remedy medical applications.