How to Overcome Food Intolerances

Almonds, a very common food intolerance
Food intolerances have become common currency these days.
Some surveys even suggest that a stunning 25% of the Australian population believes they have at least one food intolerance.
I personally have worked in my clinic with many patients who believed they were intolerant to some type of food, and have now managed - with proper care and the mindful implementation of very simple & straight-forward Ayurvedic principles - to reintroduce said foods in their lives, allowing them to enjoy the treats they had already sworn off a long time ago.
Overcoming food intolerances is possible when you have the proper tools and the right understanding of how digestion & nutrition work.

Factors that increase your susceptivity and reactivity to food intolerances and allergies

Food Quality and Food Transformation (samskara):
For example, one may experience inflammatory reactions after drinking cold homogenised milk extracted from stressed cows. But non-homogenised cows milk, diluted with water, then boiled… this “lightens up” the milk: reduces kapha (mucous creating, congesting qualities), and makes milk more compatible for one to tolerate and enjoy.
Especially if a food item is hard to digest for you or triggers any health implications - those who are wondering how to overcome food intolerances need to obtain quality food and “transform it” the right way, then try & reintroduce.
Poor digestion (low digestive agni):
This is a key factor when it comes to food intolerances.
The agni is the digestive fire in your gut. If the agni is not enlivened enough, you won't be able to digest properly the foods that you eat, especially the ones that your body is "intolerant" to.
In a lot of cases, it is not so much the food you are eating, but the poor function of your metabolic pathways and digestive health that impedes you to properly digest food.
I have worked with coeliacs and many managed to eat wheat again. They don’t eat it every day, but they enjoy this nourishing grain weekly in moderation with the right tools, knowledge and intuition of their own body. They enjoy high-quality wheat cooked fresh, reaction-free.
Those who eat even a tiny amount of onion and garlic and bloat like a balloon…
Those who can’t eat oxalates (e.g. almonds, spinach, peanuts, soy, beetroot, swisschard, rhubarb, cashews, sesame seeds, etc.) without swelling up, getting a runny nose, abdominal discomfort, or itchy skin…
A lot of it can be healed. And from what I have seen, it can be easy as organic ancient grain pie.
The Mind
Another key point.
It’s amusing and fascinating how many times I see patients that only after they get their “allergy prick test”, do they get reactions after eating the foods for which they tested “positive”.

When one unquestionably “accepts” the laundry list of foods they were told to avoid (in some cases, for the rest of their life!) their mind and body accept these “allergies” and reject the food whenever it comes.

Allergy Skin-Prick Tests

For the best part, as a study in the Journal of Paediatrics showed, allergy skin-prick tests are incredibly inaccurate.

One of the problems with them is that, according to another study, patients show skin reactions to allergenic foods in 50-60% of the tests- even if the person is not allergic to that food.

Food sensitivities can be complex, however, they can be healed.
Food Intolerance Skin Prick Test

How to Conquer Food Intolerances & Allergies

There are many variables & possibilities for those wondering how to overcome food intolerances.
My general principle for healing food intolerances is - first fix the digestive fire (agni), then slowly introduce the foods in a methodical way.
Also take into consideration the nervous system, gut-brain connection, toxic exposure & more.
Just eliminating the food is not the solution. You need to fix the underlying imbalance. Because if you cannot digest wheat or milk, how are you going to digest the carcinogenic glyphosate that is being spread across the air and rain onto your organic kale? Or the vaccines and spike proteins that are being passed around. Or the external stressors, electro-magnetic fields & any toxin your body has to metabolise.
It's not a matter of avoidance, but rather of applying the proper principles to reintroduce those foods that you have labeled yourself as "intolerant" or "allergic" to.

If you want to work towards superseding food restrictions and optimise your digestion health, check out my recent online offering: “The Essence of Ayurvedic Nutrition”, and/or book an online consultation.
The Essence of Ayurvedic Nutrition - Online Course

How did you overcome your food intolerances? Comment 👇


Surya Tarpana: Remedies (Upāyas) to Enliven Sun Energy

Dylan Smith doing Surya Namaskar (salute to the Sun)
Here are some techniques to enliven Sūrya (sun) energy.
You may have been prescribed these “remedies” (Upayas) by a Jyotishi (Vedic astrologer) for your unique birth chart.
The following techniques help strengthen Surya energy and connect to the sun.
Although a lot of these are generic ways to honor the sun that is good for many people, we recommend consulting a quality jyotishi to refine how you personally should be engaging deeply in communion with celestial planetary bodies.

Surya Energy

Surya is the cosmic energy that correlates with:
  • The Self. The Soul
  • Ego, power
  • Consciousness
  • Dignity
  • Organising power
  • Leadership, Government, King - the sun governs the solar system.
Further Jyotish details:
  • Exaltation: Aries (Meesha)
  • Debilitation: Libra (Tūla)
  • Moolatrikona: Leo (Siṃha)
  • Father - relationship with one’s father
  • Education
  • Pitta dosha
  • Cakra: Ajña cakra (third eye)
  • Direction: East
  • Sun in Balance: “Atma Śatki”

Practices / Remedies to Strengthen Surya Energy:

Surya Tarpaṇa

Lord Surya, or Sūrya सूर्य is the cosmic sun.
Tarpaṇa तर्पण has many meanings:
  • Fuel
  • Food
  • Satiating
  • Refreshing
  • Gladdening
  • Saturation
Sūrya Tarpaṇa is the process of imbuing Lord Surya with refreshing nourishment and energetic attention.
Surya Tarpaṇa (Offering Water to Lord Surya) Procedure:
1. Fill a cup or vessel with pure water.
2. Face the sun (sunrise and/or sunset time is ideal).
3. Pour the water in front of the sun and look through the “waterfall” at the sun.
Dylan Smith Doing Tarpana for Lord Surya
4. If you are not performing this in or at a body of water (e.g. riverside, in a river, ocean shore or in the ocean), such as an urban setting, you can pour the water into a pot plant or garden.
5. This practice is best done after taking bath (snān). Traditionally one would bathe in a river first and then offer Tarpana to Surya. This way you are purified and energised before subtly connecting with the sun.
6. Practicing Sūrya Tarpana on Sundays should be prioritised if it is not able to be done daily.
Profound Qualities:
  • The waterfall in between your eyes and the sun is not only a protecting buffer to potentially harmful direct sunlight, but also provides a “healing filter” so the sunlight can invigorate the body and eyes that it hits. Safe and effective “sun-gazing.”
  • This is a form of Surya Namaskar: “honoring the sun” - this creates a reciprocal exchange of energy that absolutely uplifts and energies both our individual self and the essential life-giving aspect of nature.
  • Offering water to the sun cools the sun and invokes Gayatri: the feminine principle of the sun, (in you and in the environment).

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations)

Surya Namaskar has been described as the most complete mental and physical exercise available.
It involves a sequence of twelve physical yoga postures or asanas that are so much more than just an exercise.
Surya Namaskar generates prana (life-force) and charges us up like a battery through solar vitalisation.
It is a medium to enhance the energising quality of the sun in us and in the environment.
Procedure:
Dylan Smith with a Group, doing Surya Namaskar
  1. Learn Surya Namaskar from a quality yoga teacher (consider potential adjustments for your unique physiology).
  2. Perform 1 - 13 rounds of Surya Namaskar while facing the sun. This can be done at anytime, but when done at sunrise and/or sunset, there is greater power.
  3. Star with 1 round daily, and can increase to 3, 7, 9, 12 and 13 as is comfortable.
  4. Avoid Surya Namaskar when yoga asanas are contra-indicated, such as when feeling ill, during menstruation and certain medical conditions etc.

Sun Bathing (Responsibly)

Sunbathing with gratitude for the energy and life force Sūrya gives to you.
Responsible sun-bathing considers the three principles of Ayurveda:
1. Desa (habitat) - Where are you in the world. Are you in Scandinavian summer or the Australian summer?
2. Kala (time period) - What time of the day are you sunbathing? In what season of the year? For how long?
Man sunbathing at the beach
3. Patra (unique individual) - What is your skin type? Are you fair or dark-skinned? How is your tan? How used to the sun are you?
These will determine the amount of sun you should expose yourself to and when to get it.
Start with a little sun and gradually increase day-by-day. Getting a little pink is good but you do not want to burn.
Putting oil on and/or the practice self-abhyanga can help protect you from the sun and metabolise the healing properties.
Ayurveda prizes the time periods near sunrise and sunset to be exposed to the sun.
Do not fear the sun, but connect with this Divine Sentient Being.

Listen to Āditya Hṛdayam (Aditya Hrudayam)

Ādityā Hṛdayam is a Sanskrit devotional hymn dedicated to Lord Surya.
It was recited by the sage Agastya to Rāma (the “perfect” expression of the dharma) on the battlefield before fighting with the demon king Rāvaṇa.
This hymn teaches one to ascend to “defeat” the ultimate “enemy”: the darkest negativity or ignorance in one’s own life.
Āditya आदित्य is one of the names of the sun that expresses the infinite cosmic mother, the divine maternal nurturing aspects of the sun.
Aditi is one of the many names given to the cosmic Mother, Mahaśakti. She is the mother of all expressions of consciousness and the source of creative power.
Hṛdayam ह्र्दयम् has a range of meanings:
  • heart, core, essence, best or dearest part of anything
  • true or divine knowledge
  • science / veda
  • going to the heart
Āditya Hṛdayam is the sounds that sequentially enliven the true divine knowledge which is the heart of Sun energy within the heart of the beneficiary (who chants it).
Best to find Āditya Hṛdayam chanted without music or minimal music.
Procedure:
Simply listen to the Āditya Hṛdayam being chanted while you are in a de-excited state (e.g. after meditation, while resting, while sun-bathing).
Listening to Āditya Hṛdayam on Sundays and on Sūrya Jayanti (Sūryas annual birthday) should be prioritised if it is not able to be done daily.

Fasting on Sundays

Fasting the day when Surya energy is strongest makes one “less heavy” (tamasic), thus more pure (sattvic), therefore increasing our capacity to connect with the subtle energies available on Sunday (Sun energy).
There is a diverse range of approaches to fasting, and it is best to consult your health practitioner on how it is best for you. In our online course, The Essence of Ayurvedic Nutrition, we go through the variety of ways you can fast so you can choose the one that is biblically right for you.

Gayatri Mantra

Gayatri mantra is the most commonly used mantra in Yoga.
It consists of primordial sounds that invoke the aspect of the sun that governs transformation and potential illuminating intelligence, called “Savitri”.
Savitri, represents the transformational power inherent in the Sun.
Savitri is the force of nature that changes night into day.
Savitri is dominant in the moments before sunrise, when the environment shifts from darkness (of the ego) into the infinite light of the higher Self.
Chanting inwardly or listening to Gayatri mantra enhances the impulse of Divine Savitri, which activates our power to move into the realm of Divine light.
It is particularly chanted at sunrise, midday and sunset.

These are general recommendations and it is always best to consult a Jyotishi for specific advice.

What practices do you do to honor lord surya? Comment 👇

Guru Purnima (The Brightest Moon of the Year)

Guru Purnima, Full Moon
When the pleasantly cooling and Ojas-increasing moon (Soma सोम / Chandra चन्द्र) is closer to the Earth and at its fullest (pūrṇimā पूर्णिमा) and brightest, hence, effectively removing darkness (guru गुरु) on many levels.
This full moon falls this year on July 23rd. Guru Purnima next year will fall on the 13th of July and for 2023 on the 3rd of July.
This full moon day and night is when “Guru consciousness” is at its strongest. Thus, a day to honor everyone and everything in your life that removes darkness (ignorance), and awakens wisdom in you which causes your inner light to radiate.
Although it’s in the northern hemisphere where the moon reflects the most amount of sun, on Guru Purnima the whole earth experiences this huge amount of “light energy” at its fullest.
Those who reside under the brightest moon of the year (Purnima) are imbued with increased sweet vitality and radiant creative energy. 
The word guru in Sanskrit means “heavy”. The Guru acts like a heavyweight.
Chandra Deva (Moon Deity)
Chandra / Soma Deva
The Guru is so experienced, knowledgeable and established in Being that they can provide wise guidance to the pupil/worthy receptor (śiṣya शिष्य ) in Any aspect of life. I say Any because Guru (seems to) always have an answer.
If Guru doesn’t have much of an answer, Guru will spontaneously answer in a highly relevant, appropriate and impressive way that supports the need of the time and the śiṣya’s (pupil’s) journey.
As the śiṣya evolves on their spiritual path, they connect more with “spirit”. They become more subtle and less gross, more air and space element and less earth element, more light and less dense.
The Guru’s role here is to stabilise. Maintain an anchor as the śiṣya undergoes purification, cosmic illumination, kundalini (energetic) magnification and all sorts of abnormal body sensations and mind alterations.
You don’t have to have a personal “Guru” to honor, worship, or thank this Guru Purnima.

On Guru Purnima you can honor anyone or anything that has taught you something that you value, or has removed some ignorance from your life. You can even have a guru and have never met them before!

Guru is he/she who connects you to cosmic intelligence, and also Guru is that supreme cosmic intelligence itself.

This is the time of year in Jyotish (Vedic Astrology) to honor Guru consciousness that is personifying through individuals or things.
The moon is completely unobstructed by the earth - so the moon can express himself completely, in fullness, heightening emotions on earth and allowing hearts to open easier.

Auspicious Activities to engage with on Guru Purnima

You can honor in gratitude; directly or indirectly. Some things you can do on Guru Purnima are: sharing of music, love and friendships, meditation, japa (chant), being extroverted, expressing yourself, watching the moon and bathing in its nectar. 
A Puja (पूजा) ceremony, to celebrate and honor your Gurus and their lineage, is also very auspicious and in alignment with this blessed date. 
In doing so, you’ll reciprocally receive blessings, boons and energy for you to pleasantly and elegantly radiate like the full moon. 

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on Guru Purnima

“Guru Purnima is the day of infinite correlation. It is a day of supreme knowledge; it is a day of Brahman; it is the day of Guru; Guru Purnima, the fullness of Guru Dev, the fullness of the element of Guru, the fullness of pure knowledge. Guru is the expression of enlightenment, pure knowledge, the field of all possibilities, the field of infinite correlation. In that supreme awakening, in that supreme awareness, in the state of supreme knowledge we have wholeness of life, absolute value of being, pure infinity, pure eternity, pure immortality.

Guru Purnima day is structured in pure knowledge. It comes year after year to bring the awakening of the totality of life. It unfolds the full potential of knowledge and brings to fulfillment the master-disciple relationship. It is the master-disciple relationship, and that expresses itself in its totality: Full potential of all possibilities. It is a very special day. It’s a very special day for us.” – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi


How do/will you honor Guru Purnima? Comment 👇

Natural Remedies for Anxiety and Depression

Hand reaching for the sky

ANTIDEPRESSANTS may stop us from feeling unhappy, anxious or depressed but that doesn’t mean we then feel happy, radiant and fulfilled.

We just stop feeling. 

We stop feeling into our natural enthusiasm to have shared experiences with other people and other things (Love).
We stop feeling our desire to fulfil the need of the time and the needs of others (Dharma).
We stop feeling gratitude and even awareness for the beauty that permeates every single corner of life (Appreciation).
It’s no secret that anti-depressants inhibit our sex drive.
Through the alteration in cortisol and other hormones, antidepressants not only inhibit our ability to experience love, happiness and fulfilment but also weaken our immunity, making us more vulnerable to nasty diseases.
Natural Remedies for Anxiety and Depression
On the bright side, antidepressants can be life-saving medications in emergency situations.
They have an ability to provide a window of time and space for a person to put their life back together. Note this is short term, and too many people “stretch” this window of opportunity and become dependent and habituated to them
In recent years, the most prevalent mental illnesses in Australia have become Depression and Anxiety, and during the COVID-19 pandemic cases have risen exponentially worldwide.  Here at Vital Veda we have received many enquiries regarding natural remedies for anxiety and depression hence this article.
At Vital Veda, we never advise anyone to go off any medications if you are already taking any. 
We aim to make you feel better mentally, then only under the guidance of your doctor may you gradually wean off the medications if that is necessary for you.

Natural ways to Treat Anxiety and Depression

According to Ayurveda, there are a variety of natural remedies for anxiety and depression. 

At Vital Veda, we explore a variety of all-natural solutions to assist people in healing anxiety and depression without the need for antidepressants.

Here are just a few things to look at and consider.

Woman Meditating on a dock

Meditate

Meditation will quickly allow for your mind to slow down, de-excite itself and achieve a state of inner calm.
Although there are several meditation techniques, Vedic Meditation is the one we recommend the most, due to its high effectiveness and how easy it is to actually learn it.
You can find a Vedic Meditation teacher close to you by clicking HERE and scrolling down to “Vedic Meditation”.

Self-Abhyanga Massage

A daily Abhyanga practice restores the balance of all biological agents, pacifies the nervous system and enhances well-being & longevity.
Your skin is your largest organ, plus it has more nerve endings than any other part of your body. So when you anoint oil on those nerve endings and massage them, it helps ground and strengthen the nervous system.

Find a full Abhyanga Massage guide HERE & Abhyanga Massage Oils HERE

Sunrise in Nepal

Wake up with the sun and go to sleep before 10pm

Waking up early in the day increases Sattva. This is the factor for purity, lightness of being and radiance in one's life. When Sattva dominates, tamas (inertia) which is the quality which leads to depression, diminishes.
When light shines, the darkness diminishes. Feed the light, and the darkness will starve itself out. 

Optimise your sleep

Many of the chemical imbalances that afflict the brain (which naturally often lead to depression, anxiety and stress) are caused by a lack of optimum sleep. Optimizing your sleep will allow for your brain to be rested and to remain strong. 

The lack of optimum sleep has many other consequences that go beyond these three conditions, but if you are trying to address these three, sleep can not be ignored.

Fresh food cooked with love.

Fresh food is full of Prana (life-force). This helps provide positivity in life (Sattva). Left over food, frozen food or microwaved food is tamas (inertia). It is dull, has a low value of Prana and therefore makes you feel low in life.

Herbs

Samadhi

Samadhi opens the physical channels and enlivens wholeness (unity) in the mind and body. It is particularly useful for those afflicted with mental stress, tension and anxiety.
It is also helpful for restoring calm during any stressful situation, including performance anxiety. It also balances Prana Vata (movement in head, central nervous system and life-force regulator).

Manasolassa Vati

It enhances mind-body coordination and connection. Helps pacify overactive and thinking minds, therefore assisting in cases where lack of sleep and insomnia are present. Helps with depression and is useful to transition off pharmaceutical antidepressants.

Drakshadi Kashayam

This nourishing tonic strengthens and stabilises the mind and body. Helps in nervous system disorders, depression, tiredness, dizziness, anxiety and schizophrenia. It is also helpful in the treatment of alcoholism and hangovers. 

Schedule a consultation

Dylan Smith (the head Ayurvedic practitioner here at Vital Veda) can help rectify the root cause of your ailment and liberate the mind and emotions so you can experience a radiant mind and participate in the richness of life.
Click HERE to schedule an online or in-person consultation. 
Have you had experiences with antidepressants and/or natural remedies for anxiety and depression? Comment below 👇

Foraging and Curing Olives

Olive tree

Season (Kala)

As we exit the northern solstice, “Uttarayana,” which is heat dominant (Agneya)  , and transition into the southern solstice, Daksinayana, cooling and moon dominate (Saumya), here in Australia, the earth moves a little more away from the sun in the southward direction.
Seasonal transition (RtuSandhi ऋतुसन्धि) is a significant event in Ayurveda. Not adapting to the outer environment and supporting your biological changes which vulnerably occur at this sandhi (transition) time is considered one of the significant causes of disease.
So that is why in the Vedic culture, 9 nights are designated at these times of transition. These nine nights (Navratri) are provided to go more inward (opportunity for enhanced spiritual connection), eating less or some types of fasting so your cellular energy can be utilised on other biological functions than predominately digestion, and eating certain foods and herbs to assist with this transition.
Here in Australia at this time of year (around late April), nature provides olives. Ripe and ready on the tree to be brined and cured.
Olives being fermented and rich in Lactrobacillus bacteria have the action of sparking up the digestive fire (deepena karma).
This naturally aligns with nature because by the time these olives are cured and ready to eat, it’s winter, and the digestive fire is stronger as it huddles in to keep the body warm and digest higher protein and fatty foods to keep us insulated as we hibernate through winter.
Olives have a delicious abundance of monounsaturated fat. This coupled with biophenol anti-oxidants, helps regulate cholesterol by preventing the bad cholesterol in the arterial walls and supporting the good cholesterol for heart, brain and hormonal health.
Dylan Smith harvesting wild olives
Overall inflammation is reduced in the body by the phenolic compounds in olives when they are had in moderation
However, olives are quite salty and heating. So make sure to consume them in condiment sizes and eat them seasonally - in winter. Pitta types   should eat less of them as they can increase this fire which may manifest as skin diseases, acne, irritable bowel syndrome, hyperacidity and anger/irritability.  
So my fellow Australians and those around the world who are reading this or saving it for when your season comes, look for some wild or generous olive trees and have a go at curing them…

Brine and Cure Method

Brine cured olives are absolutely delicious!
The basic principle of curing olives is that you are using water and salt to extract the glycoside from them - the chemical which makes olives very bitter when picked. Then you are left with sweeter, bitter, salty tasty fruits.
  1. Soak olives in water - Put your olives in a bowl or esky or drum of pure room temperature water. (It is good to have a tap as you will be draining the water and refilling regularly). Or you can sit your olives in a strainer in a bowl of water for easy removal and water change.
  2. Cover the vessel and leave for two days.
  3. After two days, empty the water and refill with new water.
  4. Repeat this process for about 14 days total. (If you forget about your olives for an extra day or two, that is fine).
Brine Cured Olives
Now it’s time to brine…
  1. In a big jar mix 1L of pure warm-hot water with 100gm of salt non-idolised good quality salt. Warm-hot water is used so that the salt can dissolve evenly throughout the water.
  2. Note you can make 5L or 20L of brine (highly concentrated salty water). Whatever you want. Just ensure the water to salt ratio is 10:1 (10% salt). So if you are doing 5L of water, add 500gm salt.
  3. Once the jar of salt water is cooled to room temperate, add your olives in until they reach the top of the jar. It is good to squish them down tightly in. They should be fully submerged under the brine. To achieve this, add a small plate or some big flat rocks to weigh the olives down.
  4. Keep your jar of olives in a dark place with a stable temperature (like a pantry).
  5. How much time to brine? -  This depends on the size of olives, the ripeness, how long you did the water stage for (if at all, you don’t have to do this stage but it makes the olives tastier and smoother), how salty you like your olives .
  6. Taste your olives after they’ve been in the brine for 2 months and get to know the taste of brining olives. This can take 4-12 months for them to be ready.
  7. After the brine stage - When they are ready, you should strain the brine (this will be very bitter).
  8. Then store your olives by adding them into a new brine (this lasts for up to 6 months), in olive oil or in 50:50 vinegar and water solution.
  9. Add herbs and spices like rosemary, fennel and lemon slices is good to add at this into the jar for the storage phase until you eat them all.
  10. Enjoy your very own brine cured olives!
Have you ever brine cured olives? How do you use olives in your cooking? Comment below 👇
Olive brining recipe adopted from @milkwood

Related Reading: Foraging & Eating Seaweed ~ Australian Golden Kelp


3 Actual Attributes About Apples to Apprehend

Dylan Smith, practitioner of Ayurveda, foraging apples

1. Apples are a dirty fruit

Apples are one of the most pesticide-contaminated foods in the world.

Apples are ranked in the top 5 of the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) 2021 "Dirty Dozen" list along with strawberries, spinach, kale, silver-beet/collard greens and nectarines as produce with the highest amount of toxic chemicals.

2. Pervasive synthetic waxes

Apples, even if organic! are coated with multiple edible synthetic waxes to make them look shiny and to seal the moisture to extend shelf life.

Waxed apples may look glossy, shiny and firm, but they could be soggy & tasteless under their skin.
Although these waxes are classified “edible” by government authorities who hardly care about your health or science, they are very hard to digest and chances are they will turn into a toxic sticky substance (“ama”) that leads to disease.
Ironically, apples have their own natural wax which actually supports digestion, but this is scrubbed & washed off during the cleaning process of some farms.
Apples, an excellent fruit according to Ayurveda
Synthetic waxes on apples are hard to wash off, and essentially you got to peel them off to remove them. This is a shame as you miss out on beneficial antioxidants and fibre that was intended to keep the doctor away everyday.

3. Ayurvedic Properties of Apples

Apples in Ayurveda are known as Seva सेव

  • Rasa (taste): madura (sweet)
  • Virya (potency): sheeta (cooling)
  • Vipaka (post-digestive effect): madura (sweet)
  • Doshas: VP - K+
  • Gunas (qualities): guru (heavy)
  • Therapeutic affects: 
    • Apples help improve your taste capacity, hence digestion.
    • Apples provide aphrodisiac effects & increase semen.*

What apples to eat?

Of course organic, but unfortunately you will still get added waxes because national organic certification programs (like USDA) allows waxing of organic fruit if it is a non-synthetic, food grade substance (e.g beeswax, shellac), but these still cause ama.

Go explore and forage wild or feral apples.

The Snowy Mountains of NSW are absolutely flourishing at this time of year! We made apple pies, cakes, crumbles, charoset (a traditional Jewish recipe for passover, consisting of apples, wine and nuts) & apple scrap vinegar with cores & peels.
Wild apples are more common than you think.  If you harvest at the right time of the season before the birds do, you’ll have an abundance of days to keep the doctor away.

*Bhāvaprakāśa Pūrvakhanda

Related Reading: Feature Food: Banana (“Kadali”)

Did you know these attributes about apples & their properties according to Ayurveda? Comment below 👇

Cooked slices of Apple

Menstrual Health, Fertility, PCOS & Amenorrhea | Lara Briden #048

Lara Briden Podcast

Divinity blossoms where women are respected.

Women’s health is of the utmost importance since it is the woman who brings the human being onto earth.

If we can optimise the health of women, we can optimise the health of humankind.


About Our Guest: Lara Briden

Lara Briden is a naturopathic doctor and the period revolutionary—leading the change to better periods.

Informed by a strong science background and more than twenty years with patients, Lara is a passionate communicator about women’s health and alternatives to hormonal birth control.  Her book Period Repair Manual is a manifesto of natural treatment for better hormones and better periods and provides practical solutions using nutrition, supplements, and natural hormones.  Now in its second edition, the book has been an underground sensation and has worked to quietly change the lives of tens of thousands of women.

Lara has helped thousands of women find relief for period problems such as PCOS, PMS, endometriosis, and peri-menopause and currently has consulting rooms in Christchurch, New Zealand.


In This Episode We Discuss:

The Contraceptive Pill Paradigm

The paradigm that The Contraceptive Pill can replace women’s hormones or be as good as women’ hormones.

Reclaiming ovarian function and reclaiming women’s own hormones.

The importance of ovulation.

The Menstrual Cycle - cultivating shakti (divine feminine energy)

Cravings During the Menstrual Cycle

A quality source of magnesium may help with cravings during the cycle. Lara recommends Magnesium Glycinate.

The Infertility Epidemic

Related Listening

Vital Veda Podcast Banner: Ayurveda and Fertility

Dairy and Cows Milk

How your regular cows dairy (A1 casein) can be a problem for inflammation but A2 dairy can be highly medicinal.

The Importance of Melatonin on Fertility and Reproductive Health

Blue Blocking Glasses are so important for overall melatonin health.

PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome)

  • Basically the situation of elevated androgens (other hormone).
  • The problem with ultrasounds - not a valid way to diagnose PCOS.

Hypothalamic Amenorrhea

  • Commit to increased amount of food for six months but ensure digestion is proper.

Immature Reproductive Organs

Compromises the ovary-brain connection (Hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal axis).

The Contraceptive Pill

  • Pill bleed is not a real bleed.
  • Can cause immaturity of the menstrual cycle.

Related Listening

Veganism and Menstrual Health, particularly Amenorrhea

Healthy Menopause

  • Naturally it is a smooth transitioning period that can be symptom free.
  • It is closely related to insulin resistance.
  • Mindset and expectations around menopause.

+ MORE!

Resources

see show notes above.


Support The Show

Please leave me a comment below (I love to read every single one).


SHARE

Spread the word! Tell your family, friends, neighbors and all your social mates.

Share this episode on Facebook / Share this episode on Twitter


Subscribe


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


Poem to Tulsi (Holy Basil) – The Holiest of Herbs

Dylan Smith next to a Tulsi Plant

Sri Tulsi
They say you are the Queen of herbs,
and no doubt thou shall see, that therapeutically.

My dear Holy Basil, you are far more than a queen. You are mother divine whose pungent and bitter leaves shine.

Your shakti (power) provides infinite adaptability. In times of stress, your ability to balance hormones marks my nervous system tremendously impressed.

O what a nourishing caress I feel in my chest when I sip tea invigorated with your potent Prana packed leaves. It’s those powerful volatile oils that spoils toxins that attempt to coil in the soil of my respiratory tract.
My lungs smile when we make eye contact.

Dear Ocinum sanctum, you bring glory to each and every one of my atoms.
For your speciality is to avert, any bacteria or virus that becomes a virulent jerk.
You even purify water. In times when clean structured water is repelled, you help intra-cellularly hydrate our dry thirsty cells.

You reduce inflammation, gift my taste buds with delicious sensations, provide mental alertness for optimum concentration, counter harmful electro-magnetic radiations and boost my immune system’s core foundation.

My dear Sri Tulsi.
It is now winter time and now more than ever I want you to be mine. I will surrender to you and honour you. Then offer you to my cup of hot water, and then into my agni ? .

Sri Tulsi Devi, considered by the Vedas as the most holy plant of earth, I hope every one else gets to experience your supreme medicinal worth.


Where to Get Tulsi

  • Reach out on The Vital Veda Facebook Community to see if anyone near you has a cutting they can share.
  • Try your local Indian grocery store for a tulsi seedling.
  • Try gumtree or ebay.
  • In Australia, Beautanicals may have tusli seedlings.

Organic India is a wonderful brand that not only produces high quality organic tulsi, but they also regenerate Ayurvedic agriculture, village communities and protect endangered herbs.

Discount code: VITALVEDA

Dylan Smith next to a Tulsi plant

Did you ever try to grow your own tulsi? What has your relationship with this mystical herb been like? Comment 👇

Related Article: Nangali ~ Devotional Poem to an Indigenous Australian Ancient Mountain

Protein Pancakes (Gluten Free)

vegan protein pancakes

Vegan savoury & high protein pancakes that are primarily made of Urad (black gram lentil) - known to be like "meat for a vegetarian/vegan.

Medicinal Qualities: 

  • Doshas: This pancakes are good for Kapha & Pitta.
  • Season: Especially great in winter and cold climates.
  • Male Aphrodisiac - Helpful to increase sperm count in men.
  • Can be a little hard to digest. 

Ingredients

  1. Besan (chickpea) flour – 1/4 cup
  2. Urad flour - 3/4 cup
  3. Onion (chopped) - 1
  4. Salt – per taste
  5. Ajwain Seeds - 1 tsp
  6. Cumin powder – 1 tsp
  7. Tumeric – ¼ tsp
  8. Water - 1 to 2 cups
  9. Ghee or oil for cooking
  10. Fresh Coriander for garnishing
  11. Squeeze of lemon juice

Method

  1. In a large bowl mix flour, onion, salt, ajwain, turmeric & cumin seeds
  2. Add water & mix well to make a batter, ensuring no lumps of flour remain
  3. Heat tawa or non stick pan and drizzle on 1 teaspoon of ghee
  4. Spoon 2-3 tbsp of batter onto pan and spread to make a pancake
  5. Shallow fry for about ½ minute. Press down with spatula

6. Flip over and cook on other side for ½ minute

7. Spoon a little more oil or ghee on the sides of the pancake to make it crisp

8. Flip it one more time for about 10 seconds

9. Serve hot with chutney

10 Garnish: With a squeeze of lemon and fresh coriander.


Related Recipe: Sweet Buckwheat Pancakes


Did you try making these vegan protein pancakes? Please comment below on how your recipe went!


Melatonin: The Critical Hormone & How to Optimise It

Woman sunbathing, a very effective way of increasing melatonin

Melatonin is an essential hormone that provides a multitude of benefits throughout the human body.

Mistakenly it has been dubbed the hormone of sleep, but more accurately it is the "hormone of darkness," since it trains our circadian rhythms to the day and night cycles, a critical cycle to be aligned with for optimal health.

Since the 2017 Nobel Prize was won for "Circadian Medicine," volumes of research are now showing melatonin is important for many things other than sleep and jet lag.

Benefits of Melatonin

Maintains Immunity

Low melatonin = weak immune system which makes you susceptible to cancer. Melatonin is the best anti-cancer hormone because it is vital for optimal immune function.

The Body’s Most Potent Antioxidant

As declared by numerous studies. Melatonin scavenges for free radicals, stimulates genes to turn on other antioxidant systems, has access to any and every cell in the body and easily crosses the blood-brain barrier.

The process:

  • During sleep, all your brain cells shrink from 40-60%, creating room in the brain for melatonin to flood in and bind to all the oxidative stress and free radicals.
  • It then sweeps this oxidative stress (that ages us) out through cerebrospinal fluid, down into the circulatory system, for the liver and kidneys to process and eliminate out of the body.
  • Melatonin also floods through the lymphatics and detoxifies different organs throughout the night.

Energy Levels and Mitochondrial Health

Mitochondria are the energy generators for every cell. Melatonin makes life easier and more efficient for these energy generators.

  • When melatonin is removed from your brain, you loose DHA in cell membranes.
  • DHA is the only lipid that can turn sunlight into DC electric current and visa versa.
  • The DC electric circulates through your body to provide you with energy.
  • DC current also counters inflammation (DC current is a negative charge and inflammation is a positive charge).
  • Note that stress also reduces DHA. Studiess here.

Maintains Circadian Rhythms and Regulates All Other Hormones

Since all the hormones are connected like a web. Especially reproductive hormones and hormones related to metabolism an appetite.

Better Sleep, Cognitive Health, Brain Health, Weight Loss

Numerous studies show this (3),(4),(5).

Melatonin is a direct antagonist to cortisol. When melatonin is up, cortisol (stress) goes down.

Healthy Bones and Joint Health

Studies showed melatonin helps in the treatment of bone pathologies such as the osteoporosis and the adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS). It aslo may prevent bone degradation and promote bone formation.

Healthy Microbiome

Our gut bacteria are regulated by our circadian clock and are sensitive to melatonin. Melatonin, which is secreted into the gastrointestinal lumen expresses circadian patterns of swarming and motility. Studies suggest the human circadian system may regulate its microbiome through the entrainment of bacterial clocks.

Blood Sugar, Metabolic Health and Cravings

Studies showed that Melatonin regulates insulin secretion and protects against reactive oxygen species which are a threat to pancreatic β-cells (the cells that do the job of storing and releasing insulin).

β-cells are very susceptible to oxidative stress because they possess only low-antioxidative capacity.

Low melatonin levels will cause high insulin levels and high dopamine levels which causes stress (cortisol) along with an increase in cravings, addictions and metabolic disorders.

Strong cravings for carbohydrates in the summer is a natural circadian response to prepare for the famine or lack of food during the darkness of winter. (1)

When we light our homes with artifical blue light for an extra 5-6 hours after sunset, we are sending the “endless summer” message to our cellular biological clocks that it is time to crave carbs in preparation for the famine of winter. This carb craving can last for 365 days a year.(2)

More Than Meets the Eye: Skin Receptors for Melatonin

It is not just your eyes that initiate melatonin production, there are receptors in your skin.

Melatonin is mostly produced after the retinal ganglion cells in our eyes perceive light. Interestingly however, there are also photo-pigments on the skin all over the body can detect different types of light and sync peripheral rhythms with the light and dark cycle.

Neuroxin is a UVA receptor present in our skin and eye that gets stimulated by light. This receptor was only found in 2009.

This is why even blind people can still have a diurnal rhythm in sync with the light/dark cycle.

Artifical Blue Light Disrupting Melatonin

Artifical blue light destroys melatonin.

Not only does it lower melatonin, but when we are watching our computers or TV at night, or checking our emails at or before sunrise, our dirunal clock becomes confused and all the hormones become disturbed (think of our hormal system like a web, all connected).

As we learnt before, it is not only our eyes!

The skin receptors also get stimulated by artifical blue light. Surface photo-chemistry influences the tissues underneath. These spectrums can penetrate all the way to the fat tissue layer and cause free radicals, energy problems, and more.

Your thyroid only sits about half a cm under you skin. So the blue light is penetrating to the thyroid. People with hashimotos beware. Perhaps the most important remedy for low thyroid is nasya + watch the sunrise + get sunshine on your neck and protect your neck from fake blue light.

Ways to Optimise Melatonin

Here are some methods you can implement to naturally increase melatonin:

Get Sunshine

Watch the sunrise and the sunset without sunglasses, glasses or contact lenses (as these alter a holistic light spectrum by blocking specific frequencies).

Sunbathe with as much bare skin as possible. Soak up the sun in moderation. Slowly build your skin tolerance to the sun.

Proper Sleep

Melatonin is the hormone of darkness. It will build while you are asleep. Be in bed before 10 pm, and wake up with the sun.

The latest Nobel Prize proved ancient wisdom by showing maximum melatonin production is between 10pm - 2am, which Ayurveda has been saying for thousands of years is the "Pitta time," where your body metabolises food, nutrients and hormones.

The catch is you need to be asleep for the production!

No Artificial Light at Night

Artificial light at night, even if it is ambient blocks the production of melatonin needed to get to sleep and stay asleep. Use candles or revolutionize back to incandescent light bulbs for night time.

Begin reducing blue and artificial light exposure starting at sunset, or 2-3 hours before bed. Make sure there are no lights on at night while you sleep. If necessary, use blackout curtains or an eye mask to block ambient light. Ensure you still get up at sunrise.

Go camping for a couple or few days without artifical light of electronic devices. That will do wonders.

Reduce LED Lights and Screens at Night

Don't look at your phone first thing when you wake up. Do your morning routine before touching that thing.

Reduce TV and computers at night time and 2 hours before bed. We are not biologically wired at all to be exposed to such high light temperatures while the sun is not up.

Use filters on your computer, make your phone screen "most warm" 24/7 and use blue light blocking glasses.

Nasya (Nasal Drops)

Nasya is the practice of sniffing herbal oil up your nose to your pineal gland to detox the pineal gland and activate it's functions of jobs like initiating melatonin secretion.

Learn more about Nasya here.

Melatonin Rich Foods

  • Goji berries (very high source).
  • Cherries, espeically tart cherries. Tart cherry juice has been studied to help sleep.
  • Walnuts and almonds.
  • Flaxseeds
  • Tomatoes
  • Fenugreek and mustard seeds
  • Raspberries
  • Bed Time Milk Elixir - Whether its milk from mother, cow or goat, studies show it boost melatonin.

(3)

Reduce Coffee - Logic will tell you that caffeine as a stimulant will inhibit melatonin production—and it does.  Studies suggest that at night the caffeine will block melatonin production. This supersedes the constituents in coffee that actually help boost melatonin levels.

Always eat in season since all food absorbs light and you will consume the appropriate dose of electrons and meltatonin.

Supplements

I recommend you only consider supplementation after you have tried all the natural interventions above.

Those who work night shifts or very long hours, people who fly frequently and people who still struggle with sleep should consider this.

Assess whether you need a time-release or immeditate melatonin. Get quality supplements here.

Although you can get melatonin from foods and man-made pills, sunlight is the most dominant synchroniser of melatonin production. Get more sun.

References

  1. T.S Wiley. Lights Out, Sleep, Sugar and Survival. Atria Books, New York. 2000
  2. https://nutritionfacts.org/2014/04/03/foods-with-natural-melatonin/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4352910/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3001215/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3742260/https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12640-012-9337-4

Credits:

  1. Dr. John Douillard, Lifespa.com
  2. 1cm^3 contains by Alexander Wunsch
  3. Melatonin Graph: Sandhills Neurologists
  4. Old-Clock photo - Fabrizio Verrecchia
  5. City Lights - Mike Wilson
  6. City Lights Disney - Denys Nevozhai
How do you naturally increase melatonin? Comment 👇