Feature Food: Banana (“Kadali”)

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

The Benefits:

  • "Banana cures obesity, kapha, diseases of the vagina, causes constipation, improves colour and destroys poisoning." (Lodhradi Gana).(1)
  • Banana is a good remedy for depression and a great replacement to snacking on chocolate as a comfort food. When depression is caused by quality of dryness, bananas actually grant courage and fortitude. (This does not mean to indulge in Banana when feeling down, eat everything in moderation).
  • It mitigates Pitta due to sweet taste, however if eaten in excess can increase pitta.
  • It increases stomach acid - beneficial for those with too little acid.
  • High in Potassium - Potassium levels are important for those whose sodium/salt intake is high and for nerves and muscles.
  • High in Vitamin B6 - Combining B12, Folic acid, and B6 is important because they are synergistically active to provide protection to the heart, brain, and nervous system and more.
  • Skin Care - It is good to incorporate in to your homemade topical skin paste. Especially for Pitta skin types.
  • Low Pesticide Levels - Banana's are not very "dirty" in the sense that conventional tree's don't require much pesticides.

Cautions:

Banana + Dairy = Incompatible Food Combination (Viruddha Ahara)

Banana mixed with dairy is highly incompatible.

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

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

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

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

Time to Eat Banana

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

Ayurvedic Properties

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

Banana Smoothie

A more compatible and healthier option.

Recipe here.

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

photo: by Dylan Smith taken in Tiruvannamalai. 

Other Feature Foods:

Ayurvedic Immunisation Over Vaccination For Babies

With the recent heat caused by Robert De Niro's controversial anti-vaccine documentary Vaxxed: From Cover-Up To Catastrophe being pulled out of the Tribeca Film Festival, interest and suspicion has stirred up in the pharmaceutical vaccine industry.

So in due course, I will share with you an Ayurvedic way of immunisation.

Vaccinations are a very sensitive topic. I will not blab on about the pharmaceutical industry, only briefly talk about some of the science associated with vaccinations.

What Is Actually In A Vaccination?

Take away the propaganda, take away the new age jargon - just look at the science. Lets look at some of the ingredients of most vaccines:

  • Formaldehyde (well known-carcinogenic)
  • Aluminium (extremely toxic, known neuro-toxin)
  • Thimerosal is a Mercury containing preservative
  • Anti-Biotics
  • Egg Protein – many vaccines are prepared using chicken eggs.
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • other heavy metals, unknown elements, germs that were not intended to be there.

These are put into a baby who has a weak and vulnerable immune system. This is further dangerous because injections bypass portals of immune defence to penetrate deeper into the body.

If you were to take a bottle and fill it with these ingredients and give it to a baby to drink, you could be charged with murder.

Vaccines Are Not 100% Safe

Contrary to what the government would like us to believe, vaccines are not 100% safe.

For example, from 1989 to 2011, the pharmaceutical industry paid out $2.3 billion a year for vaccine injuries.(1) In 2011, the Supreme Court of USA passed a law protecting pharmaceutical companies from all liability related to vaccine injuries, even if the vaccine could have somehow been made safer.(1)

In one study, published in the Journal of American Medicine (JAMA) in 2004, the influenza vaccine was linked to a life-threatening condition called Guillain-Barré syndrome.

The Hepatitis B vaccine – which is given to newborns within 12 hours of birth – has been linked to liver cell destruction and accelerated cell death.

While government bodies and medical associations insists this is necessary, Hepatitis B is only spread by blood or intimate contact with body fluids from someone infected, and mothers are always screened during pregnancy.

"We have just witnessed yet another example of the power of corporate interests censoring free speech, art, and truth." 
Vaxxed filmmakers on behalf of Robert De Niro.

Taking these isolated studies and claiming that vaccinations are completely unsafe is also way out of context when considering the benefits and immunity they provide to millions of people worldwide.

I’m not against the principle of vaccinations, just make sure they give clean vaccinations! I’m against uninformed decisions.

My Suggestions If You Are Going to Vaccinate

Reduce or Spread Out Doses For New Borns 

The high amount of vaccinations starting as early as six months old up to six years old may be way too overwhelming for the immune system.

Remove Potential Toxins from Vaccines

Perhaps the most dangerous outcome of the Supreme Courts ruling to hold harmless the pharmaceutical industry from vaccine-related injury is the subsequent lack of motivation to improve the vaccines and use more natural ingredients.

Ask your pediatrician to order vaccines without mercury or other toxic substances commonly found in vaccines. More of these are coming onto the market. Europe took mercury out of the vaccines, the UN is advocating to have it out, Australia has removed it for under 5 year-olds, USA still has it.

Additionally or as a Replacement, Administer Ayurvedic Immunisation

The Ayurvedic immunisation I am about to reveal to you is important to boost your baby's immunity if they are being vaccinated. This will (to some extent) protect your baby from the dangers of vaccines.

However, this Ayurvedic immunisation method plus proper diet and lifestyle regimen will boost the child's immunity so adequately that there is very little to no need for vaccinations at all.

 

Ayurvedic Immunisation: Swarna Prasa (Golden Substance)

Tonic For Infants: Swarna Prasa

Mix 1 part ghee + 2 parts honey + 1 pin needle tip amount of gold bhasma (ash). This should be a very small amount.

*Honey should be unheated and at least 2 months old to increase the honey’s activity levels. Gold bhasma must be obtained from a reputable source.

 

Administering Ritual

The father is to give this to the newborn with a finger from his right hand. Put on the newborn's tip of tongue, before or after their first bath, as soon as possible (but no hurry) after the baby has come out of the womb. Then continue the rest of the essential practices for the infant such as:

  • Bathing (if you didn't already bathe the infant before administering the tonic).
  • Breastfeed within the first hour (max. four hours) after exiting the womb.
  • Oil massage - All over the baby's body. Ideally using medicated ayurvedic oils like our Sishu Kumkumadi Baby Massage oil. Cold-pressed coconut oil is also fine.
  • Whisper Baby Mantra - A primordial sound you whisper to the baby to immediately resonate and calm their physiology. This communicates to the baby "don't worry, you've arrived into a Vedic family, you will be enlightened, we will give you knowledge for enlightenment. You will once again unify with totality. Relax, you can be a baby now."  - contact your local Vedic Meditation teacher to receive and be taught about the Baby Mantra.
  • Wrap Baby in silk or muslin cloth completely, especially ears. Only expose eyes and nose.

Full post-natal regimen coming soon.

How Often To Administer Swarna Prasa

At least once soon after the baby exits the womb.

After that, this can be given to the baby once a month on the Pushya Nakshatra (corresponding to certain times during the constellation of Cancer). If you administer this tonic once a month for up to 12 years old this provides a powerful immunisation for life, however 7 or 12 months is also very beneficial.

Even if you missed out on the first dose right after birth, even a toddler can start taking the tonic.

Contact Us to order specially prepared Swarna Prasa Golden Tonic for your baby, using the finest and precious ingredients and preparation methods.

 

What is your opinion on immunisations?

Please comment below.

 

References

  1. Alternative Therapies Journal. Editorial. Vaccines: Both Sides of the Coin. July/Aug 2015. Vol 21, No.4. Alternative-Therapies.com

Ayurvedic Porridge (Quick Cooking Time)

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

Sweet First

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

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

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

Ayurvedic Porridge Ingredients:

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

Method

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

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

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

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

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

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

  8. Stir a bit more then it is ready!

Makes for 1 person.

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

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

Kitchari Recipe: The Essential & Delicious Ayurvedic Dish

Beyond all other Indian meals, there is one considered to facilitate spiritual growth and effectively detox the body.

Kitchari, pronounced Kich-ah-ree, 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.

A simple porridge like blend of lentils, rice and spices, kitchari is a comfort and health food that has many nourishing and cleansing benefits. Everyone should eat Kitchari at least a couple to a few times a week to reset digestion and nourish your body and mind.

Ingredients: Split yellow mung beans along with a long grain white, basmati, or red rice and a blend of traditional Indian spices.

Why White Rice? White Rice is easier to digest because the husk has been milled off. While brown rice supplies more nutrients, the husk makes brown rice a little harder to digest. During cleansing, it is important to be gentle on an already compromised digestion. Generally brown rice is also ok.
Red Rice is the best choice because it is most easily digested and is high in B12.

Why Split Yellow Mung Beans?
These are the only legumes that are “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.

Complete and Perfect Protein
The combination of rice and legumes have been a stable around the world for thousands of years, and for a good reason. All the essential amino acids that we need are provided by both of these together, making it a complete protein. Generally when you mix grain and legume/lentil, you get complete protein.

Kitchari for Cleansing
During a cleanse, it is essential to have adequate protein to keep the blood sugar stable and the body burning fat.

One of the most common reasons folks have trouble with cleansing is due to unstable blood sugars made worse by the detox process. Look at a liquid fast for example, people are asked to drink only water, juice or veggies. For many, this type of fasting can be a strain and deplete blood sugar reserves. Then folks get really hungry, irritable, and end up with a (low blood sugar) headache or crash. The body cannot shift to fat metabolism and detox the fat cells (purpose of a cleanse) if the body is under stress and strain as a result of a difficult fast.

Basic Equation:
Stress = Fat Storing
No Stress = Fat Burning

So when you are cleansing, to detox heavy metals, preservatives, chemicals, pesticides and environmental toxins (which are stored in your fat cells), make sure you do not strain! Same goes with exercise. “No Pain No Gain” is a myth and is actually counter-productive.

Fat burning is not just to loose weight, that is just a side effective. Burning fat enhances mood stability, good sleep, increases cognitive function, less cravings, balances acidity and maintains stable and calm energy levels throughout the day.

During a cleanse you can eat kitchari daily, even for 2-3 meals a day. If you do this, you sure can change it up by adding in veges or some lean meat.

Kitchari to Heal Digestion
In India, kitchari is often the first food for babies, not only because it is so easy to digest, it also heals and soothes the intestinal wall.

With 95 percent of the body’s serotonin produced in the gut, it is clear we process our stress through the intestinal wall. Chronic stress will irritate the intestinal wall and compromise digestion, the ability to detoxify through the gut, and cope with stress. During a kitchari cleanse, the digestive system can rest while being provided the nutrition needed to heal the gut and nourish the body.

Ayurvedic Kitchari Recipe
You can play around with the quantities and types of spices according to taste, body constitution and season.

Serves 2-3


Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp of ghee (inferior is coconut oil) - use more ghee if you are doing the Vital Short Home Cleanse.
  • 1/2 cup of split yellow mung dahl
  • 1/2 cup of white rice or red rice
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 5 Tbsp freshly grated ginger (to taste)
  • 1tsp turmeric powder
  • pinch of black pepper.
  • 2-3 pinches of asafoetida
  • 15 curry leaves
  • 1 heaped tsp salt
  • 1 whole onion (finely chopped)
  • 1-3 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
  • 8 cups of water

Method:
1. Wash mung and rice then Soak for 1-2 hours in water.
2. Strain mung & rice, add (approx. 8 cups of water) in pot and cook. May need to add more water as you go.
3. In a separate heavy-bottomed pan, add ghee on medium heat. Do this when the mung+ rice is nearly finished being cooked (after approximately 5-10 mins. This depends on heat and how long you soaked the dal and rice).
4. Salute cumin, fennel, curry leaves, fresh ginger and any other herbs (not powdered herbs) in ghee until the seeds start to pop.
5. Add onion & garlic (chopped finely) and cook until slightly golden
6. Add pan fried herbs to dahl and rice and mix well, infusing the spices in the dahl and rice.
7. Add your "final spices" - turmeric + pinch of black pepper + salt + hing.
8. Cook and continue to stir for a little while. May need to add more water in till desired texture.
9. Garnish with fresh lemon, black salt and fresh coriander.

Notes:
• Diarrhea or inflammation in gut - 2 parts rice, 1 part yellow mung
• If feeling depleted or constipation: 2 yellow mung, 1 rice
• Balanced state: equal ratio of mung and rice.
• If having kitchari for dinner, best to not eat anything after (desert or milk) for full medicinal effect.
• Can add steamed vegetables or lean meat when not cleansing, or for extra blood sugar support during a cleanse. (Although this isn’t real kitchari).

Kitchari: A New Favourite in Your Kitchen

Make kitchari when you are sick, when you are sad, when you are cleansing, for your kids or a loved one when they are not feeling 100%, when you can’t be bothered to cook, when your not fully grounded from travelling, when you need to regain your strength, or when you are feeling on top of the world!

You’ll be surprised how warming and comforting it is, and soon it’ll be the stuff you crave!

Summer Regimen

“Quantity of water gets reduced by the strong heat of the sun, rivers have very little water, trees have no shade under them because of falling of ripened leaves; the leaves, bark and entwining ceepers are all dried up.”
Astanga Samgraha, ch. 4 (27-37)

Summertime... and the living is easy..

It’s also hot and dry! and it's wise to protect yourself by keeping cool. To work in harmony with this season to thrive during it. Imagine feeling prime during summertime.

The very hot sun takes away the strength of the earth and all things on earth. Scientists call this “thermal accumulation.” Particularly in the second half of summer you may begin to feel inner heat accumulate.

Summer Pathogenesis

  • The heat in your body rises, which dries out your skin and sinuses, leaving them your senses sensitive and irritated.
  • You may notice your sinuses beginning to run a lot. Creating reactive mucus is the body’s response to this dryness.
  • You may experience looser stools – the body’s response to to remove the heat. Your intestinal villi might be irritated and inflamed.
  • You may experience anger, frustration, aggressiveness - other ways your body reacts to this heat (excess pitta).

Summer (especially the second half) is an important time of year to not let the heat take over and dry us out. Take this seriously. If you don’t get rid of the heat now, the heat will turn to dryness and you will suffer the following winter.

Going from hot/dry (summer) to cold/dry (winter) will profoundly increase vata - weakening ojas - leaving you susceptible to creating the perfect breeding grounds for colds, flus, and other undesirables.

Especially if you missed the cleansing train the past spring, you may be building an accumulation of mucosa that is starting to bake onto your intestinal tract with all this heat. Ewww, right?

Well, you can mitigate this by eating the cooling fruits and vegetables from the summer harvest and incorporate some herbs, therapies and other cooling techniques.

Stay Cool, Calm and Hydrated

Summer Regimen (Grimsa Ritucharya)

Summer Diet

In the summer, when the days are long and hot, we require cooling and high-energy foods such as fruits and vegetables.

This gift of extra fruits and veggies is nature’s antidote to the hot and dry weather. They have specific microbes that move excess heat out of the body, protect the intestinal mucosa and prevent irritation and reactive mucus.

  • Food should be sweet, cold (potency/energy) and liquid;
  • Avoid, substances which possess pungent, sour, and salt tastes and hot potency (virya).
  • Pitta aggravating foods such as coffee, spicy foods, red meat, yoghurt, cheese, fermented foods.

Fruit Rules

Ayurveda says fruit should be eaten alone for optimal digestion and health.

During the summer digestion is a little weaker, allowing you to enjoy fruit (which is light) as a full meal.

Experiment with this by having fruits (alone) for breakfast and seeing how long it will last you through the day. Also fruit can be had as an afternoon snack, which can perhaps supplement for dinner.

The fruits listed below, if you eat enough of them, will encourage looser stools and/or frequent urination – stimulating the body’s heat-removing channels.

Apples

Remove heat through mild purgation. Numerous phyto-nutrients support blood sugar. Eat only organic apples! as they are one of the foods that have the most pesticides.

Pomegranates

Very powerful anti-oxidant, pitta reducing, circulates the blood and lymph. Be sure to eat the white pith.

Watermelons

Naturally cooling and hydrating. Mild-diuretic. It may seem odd, but try the Ayurvedic combination of sprinkling some black pepper on watermelon to reduce water retention. It provides a cooling zing!

  • "Rice, milk, ghee, grapes, coconut water and (raw) sugar is indicated;"(1)
  • Cooling vegetables such as asparagus, coriander (cilantro), broccoli, and leafy greens.
  • Lassi - Make it thin. View recipe.
  • Drink Coconut Water - to keep cool and hydrated. Drink fresh whole coconut rather than packaged liquid.
  • “Alcoholic drinks should not be taken, or in very little quantity with addition of large quantity of water, otherwise it will produce oedema, looseness of the joints, burning sensations and delusion;”(1)
  • Reduce Coffee - Like alcohol, coffee dehydrates the body. Ensure you sip hot water before and after both alcohol and coffee.

General quantities of your plate should be:

  • 1/2 veggies (fresh, lightly steamed etc.) (at least)
  • 1/4 protein - lentils, animal protein (meat should be no more than 10-15% of diet), and especially less in summer.
  • 1/4 starch - grains, carbohydrates.

Summer Regimen

Avoid excessive exercise.
• Avoid basking in the midday sun as it is to draining for the body. Afternoon sun is best.
Get Vitamin D - Basking in the rising and setting sun is indicated. Take advantage of the adequate amounts of UVB rays that the sun offers more so in the summer. We need about 10-15 minutes of direct mid-day sun 3-4 days a week in summer, without sun protection (sunscreen). 45 minutes of setting sun is best.

Avoid jumping in the water soon after sun bathing

“Immersing oneself in cold water soon after prolonged exposure to sunlight is the cause for disease of the skin and eyes and increase of thirst also.”(2)

  • If the body is heated up and then immediately you jump in the ocean, a lake or a pool, the heat that has been built up will immediately come out, thus causes these diseases. The nervous system will also be shocked.
  • Further, if you take a shower or jump in a pool within an hour of getting your rays – you can wash off the pre-vitamin D that sets up on your skin. You will wash it off before it undergoes the process of converting to vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol to be transported to be stored in the liver.

 

  • Protect yourself from the sun - The best way to protect yourself from the sun is by staying in the shade or by the use of hats, protective clothing, etc.
  • Stay Cool - use fans rather than air conditioning as the latter is more drying and strips away oxygen.
  • "Beautiful lakes, rivers and forests which are cool and spreading pleasant fragrances are good for recreation and to relax;"(1)

Sandalwood Paste

Anoint your forehead with paste of sandalwood to stay cool; Woman can also apply on cheek bone. Good for headache. Must use quality sandalwood paste.

Takra Dhara

A treatment important for Pitta body types during summer and anyone who live in climates where it gets hot during summer. This (authentic) treatment is a bit rare on the ‘Ayurvedic market’ but if you can receive a series of it to cool you and your hormones down, it should do you good for the summer.

Abhyanga - using cold-pressed coconut oil (preferably) prepared with herbs that mitigate pitta. Daily.

Avoid Sunscreen

According to the Environmental Working Group, only 2 out of 10 commercial sunscreens are considered safe, and only 1 out of 10 of the 1700 sunscreens tested fully protect your skin from the sun.

Sunscreen is contra-indicated because it can have chemicals that can potentially be cancerous to the body. Further, most sunscreen blocks UVB rays (rays that make vitamin D) and does not block the UVA rays (rays that can irritate, disrupt hormones, cause allergies or are carcinogenic).

Simply, when they created sunscreen they got mixed up with the rays!

In Ayurveda, the skin should be strong enough to protect itself and gain energy from the sun, rather then run away from it.

No doubt, skin under intense sun will need protection of some kind. Coconut oil is adequate for shorter amounts of time exposure. Shade and clothes are the best choice.

detailed article about what sunscreen to use coming soon...

Weaker Agni

It is important to be mindful that our digestive fire is weaker in the summer, thus we will have a harder time digesting heavy, fatty and rich foods.

Nature is cooking all the fruits and veggies on the vines and trees all summer long, so the need for us to turn on a big furnace of digestive acid to cook foods that are already pre-cooked by the sun is unnecessary.

Conclusion

So think twice this summer before indulging in barbecued ribs, milkshakes, ice-cream, pizza breads and cheese, as these are (poor quality) winter foods that our body simply does not have the acids to digest.

If you do indulge in these popular summer foods, here are some things to remember:

  • Enjoy these foods as a larger mid-day meal when agni is strongest, rather than in the evening or late at night when the digestive fire is much less efficient.
  • Yes, it is OK to eat some of these harder-to-digest foods in the summer. Just do your best do eat smaller portions on the barbecue and much larger portions of the salad, fruits and veggies.
  • Eat these foods by incorporating local ingredients and limit heat or pitta increasing foods and increase heat-reducing foods.
“Even if you eat ice cream. Enjoy it (guilt free, with love and gratitude).”
Vaidya Dr. J.R. Raju

 References:

  1. Astanga Samgraha of Vaghbata, ch.4 (27-37 1/2)
  2. Astanga Samgraha of Vaghbata, ch.9 (5)
  3. Credits: Dr. John Douillard Lifespa

 

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!

 

Tulsi (Holy Basil) – The Queen of Herbs

Described as the most holy plant on earth in the ancient Vedic texts, Tulsi is still revered today as holier than holy.

For millennia, tulsi has been grown for spiritual purposes in the backyards of most Indian homes. It's branches are carved into beads and worn to enhance spiritual progress. Its fragrance is used to purify temples and the leaves are used in sacred ceremonies to honour God and heighten one’s awareness.

What is not commonly known about the Tulsi plant are its best kept secrets, it’s medicinal value.

It's beneficial properties were originally undiscovered because the plant was so sacred that people wouldn't ingest it out of reverence and respect.

In Ayurveda, this miraculous plant literally heals and links one’s body, mind and spirit.

English name: Holy Basil
Botanical name: Ocimum Sanctum
Also known as: The Queen of Herbs

Adaptogen to Stress

Interestingly, tulsi is both spiritual and medicinal for the same reasons.
Tulsi not only helps protect the body from the degenerative effects of stress but also repairs the body from the damage done.

These are the properties of an adaptogen and tulsi is emerging as one of the world’s finest.

Tulsi treats the body at such a deep level that it steps in before the symptoms arrive, preventing stress from manifesting into disease. There is no doubt that stress is the leading cause of disease and western science is combating this by recommending a daily adaptogen.

Choosing An Adaptogen

While most stress-fighting adaptogens have hidden stimulating properties, few claim the ability to rejuvenate rather than stimulate.

Before choosing your daily adaptogen, take the product before bed. If you cannot sleep after taking it, it may be a stimulant in disguise, (e.g. ginseng) and not a pure enough adaptogen to be taken daily.

Tulsi has rejuvenating properties that boosts energy in the morning and because it is not a stimulant, supports deep restful sleep when taken before bed.

Anti-Bacterial & Anti-Viral

“How can you cure Ebola disease?” someone asked my teacher in a lecture in late 2014, when the largest Ebola epidemic in history was affecting West Africa.

Dr. Padma Raju replied: “Dip Tulsi leaves in hot water and chew, this is what they really need [in Africa] now.”
This is because Tulsi’s specific/special action (“Prabhava’’) is anti-bacterial and anti-viral and that it removes parasites from the gut (“Krimighna”).

Prana & Respiratory Health

This plant is full of Prana. This is why famously it’s principle use is for the respiratory system. Hence, it is great for cough, bronchitis, asthma, immunity and to wane fever.

In Ayurveda, we give Tulsi tea/water as a last resort for a miracle if a disease seems impossible to tackle. We also give it to people before they are about to die to bestow Prana (life-force) in them.

Water Purifier

Tulsi's broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity, which includes activity against a range of human and animal pathogens, suggests it can be used as a water purifier. Additionally add a small amount of Nirmali Seeds (Strychnos Potatorum) to purify water.

And the List Goes On...

Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-aging, anti-stress, anti-arthtritic agent, tulsi is good for anything! In addition, tulsi has been reported to lower blood pressure, boost immunity, reduce ulcers, treat allergies, cancer, infertility, diabetes and cholesterol.

Studies have shown that tulsi protects healthy cells from the toxicity of radiation and chemotherapy.

As western science continues its investigation, it will be difficult to find a condition that tulsi will not be helpful in. This is why it is the Queen of herbs.

Fresh Is Best - Capture Full Potency

A lot of the really powerful constituents are mainly in the volatile oils like eugenol and ursolic acid.

Volatile oils means the chemicals dissipate out of the air. So to capture these volatile oils (where the full potency of Tulsi resides), it should be ingested hours after harvest or as a special type of extract.

Fresh usage - Dip fresh leaves in some water and chew or brew in a tea.

Alternative to fresh - You can use it as a critical extract as the volatile oils are saved. Use half the formula of extract, plus half of the whole herb.

It is always important to use whole herbs to receive microbes and enhance biochemical intelligence, so the body can properly absorb the full spectrum of these powerful chemicals and in a safe manner (avoiding side effects).

Where Can I Get Tulsi?

Plants - In Australia, you can buy seeds (germinate them first) or seedling pots from The Herb Store, Beautanicals or Green Friends, or possibly your local local Indian Grocery.

Growing and using your own Tulsi is a very rewarding ritual. They say it really tests you a gardener’s devotion because the plant is SO sensitive to all energies and intentions.

Teas - Tea bags are readily available across the globe, go for the original tulsi, not flavoured. I drink Organic India Tulsi if I can't get fresh.

Properties

  • Rasa (taste): Pungent and Bitter
  • Virya (potency): Hot
  • Vipaka (post digestive effect): Pungent
  • Gunas (quality): Dry and light.
  • Doshas: Balances VPK. Increases pitta in excess.

Tulsi and Amla full moon yagya
photo: offerings to Tulsi part of a ceremony at the renown Raju clinic, Hyderabad, India.

 

Ayurvedic Buckwheat Pancakes Recipe

Here are light and easy to digest 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


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 the 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 on batter to the size you want & spread to make a 
pancake.

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

When bubbles start appearing on surface of pancake, spoon 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.

Serve 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

Eggplant – Feature Food

“Eggplant is the King of Vegetables, because it is the only vegetable that has a crown.”
Vaidya Dr. B.A. (Father) Raju

Purification of Foods and Herbs

All foods and herbs should be first purified to clean them and enhance the potency. It is the transformation process of all herbs and foods which is essential for safe and effective use. No point of taking ‘super foods’ in high quantity and quality if it is not prepared the right way. Even one highly medicinal herb in Ayurveda, if not purified specifically by boiling it in milk, will cause cancer. Most simple and common purification method is washing with water.

To purify eggplant

Soak in salt water for about 20mins, then pour out the black water (impurities). Then it is ready to be cooked. Eggplant can also be roasted to counter the Slimy quality.

Medicinal effect

Great for thyroid health.

Caution

Can aggravate skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis as well as joint issues like rheumatoid arthritis.

Size Matters

I will let you in on a secret. The more tender, smaller, younger the eggplant, the more medicinal. This prevents the vegetable from developing the doshas (energies in the vegetable that causes vitiation in the body tissues). Often people at the markets leave the smaller eggplants behind!

A Clean Vegetable

Although it is always best to eat organic whenever possible for safety, health and to please our microbes in our gut even more, eggplant bears little to no traces of pesticides and is safe to consume in non-organic form.(1)

Enjoy eggplant in season!

photo: my favourite type of Eggplant. Field to Feast, NSW grows and sells them with a lot of love, thus promotes positive microbiology in the food simply through loving and positive organic farming!

(1) Environmental Working Group, “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce,” 2011 edition.