Ayurvedic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy

Yay! You, your friend or family member is pregnant! Congratulations. I have written this guide and am here to assist you through this exciting (and sometimes scary) period of transition and growth.

According to Ayurveda, pregnancy and delivery can be the most rejuvenating experience of a women’s life, during which every cell of the mother’s body can be transformed. Unfortunately, in the west we did not get that knowledge and mothers often pay dearly with health concerns after a pregnancy.

During pregnancy, everything that the mother-to-be touches, smells, tastes, hears and sees has an imprinting influence on the foetus. Her actions not only form various health and physiological features of the future baby, but blueprint and dwell with the unborn human for their whole life which influences their health, even through old age.

That being said, this is a time for the pregnant lady to relax, retreat and do what she desires. There should be minimal restrictions and rules (these are below). She should be treated like a queen (fellas, I know you always do) and follow her desires with little friction. 

Guidelines for Throughout the Whole Pregnancy

Flood your Life with Sattva

Everything the mum-to-be does should be sattvic for both the mother and child. 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 in abundance, while the hormone oxytocin (also known as the “bonding/loving hormone”) is simultaneously secreting. 

Recommendations to enhance sattva in her mind, body and spirit:

  • Fresh, seasonal whole-foods cooked with love is sattvic food.
  • Create a nourishing and calm environment in your home and avoid stimulating and toxic (rajasic) environments like loud music and polluted air.
  • Surround yourself with loving, like-minded people and avoid toxic relationships and people who stress you out.

Self-Oil-Massage - It is always better for the soon-to-be-mum to do self-massage rather than getting by a practitioner. If receiving a massage from a practitioner, it should be a very, very light abhyanga, without touching the belly.

Learn how to do Self-Oil-Massage here

Daily Meditation - The key to a healthy pregnancy and happy mother and baby. The foetus also absorbs her peaceful and alert attitude. Vedic meditation is recommended.

Reduce EMF (Electro-Magnetic-Field) Exposure

Wireless devices emit signals (EMF) that communicate with our mitochondria and cause mitochondrial dysfunction, which is a birth for many diseases. It also generates free radicals, dehydrates our body and thrashes our adrenal stress index. You definitely don’t want to expose your vulnerable foetus to EMFs. Mainstream medicine already knows this by restricting x-rays etc., but has not yet realised the danger of wireless devices like mobile phones, laptops, wifi etc.

Ways to Reduce EMF

  • Turn your wifi, smart TVs, mobile phone off at night and when you are not using them.
  • Whenever your mobile phone is near your body, keep it on aeroplane mode.
  • Avoid high density EMF environments that are like being in a microwave. Offices for example.
  • Purchase Belly Armour - a comfy shielding material to wear when your out and about.  

Reduce Ultrasounds

Unnecessary excess radiation. Studies show they do not improve birth outcomes. Get one mid-pregnancy, at 22 weeks to check body parts.

 

Reduce Aeroplanes

Studies showed flight attendants had a double chance of miscarriages because of the dense radiation exposure. What more is flying is probably the number one activity that aggravates vata the most.

 

Sleep On Your Left Side

Best to not sleep during the day, as proper night time sleep is essential.

 

Listen to Vedic Chants

Primordial sounds vibrate to the foetus to enliven desired aspects of consciousness. The vedic sounds also increase Sattva in the pregnant lady. Some good chants to listen to are the Bhagavad Gita and Hanuman mantras.

Balance Vata

The major theme during pregnancy is to balance vata, the energy of the nervous system. This is because the growth of the foetus and the process of giving birth is governed by Apana-Vata, the downward moving Sub-dosha of Vata. In cases of stress and tiredness, the upward-moving vata – called prana vata – has to step in and is redirected downward to support the needs of the baby. Lack of prana means lack of joyful feelings of pregnancy, which can leave the mum exhausted, depleted, tired and even depressed postpartum.

The key to balance vata is:

  1. Warmth (warm, cooked, nourishing foods, warm climate)
  2. Regularity (regular sleep times, meal times, meditation, regular bowel motions etc.)
  3. Rest - As much as possible. Times are designated to carry out work, travel or anything that requires strain (5th an 6th month).

All the recommendations in this article balance vata.

All 3 of your doshas are aggravated by the significant transition of pregnancy. 

Correcting imbalances while pregnant is much easier than once the child is born! Of course it would be ideal if the woman could balance the doshas before conception. 

DIET and HERBS

Foods to Avoid Throughout the Whole Pregnancy

  • Papaya - Excess downward movement (Vata anulomana) and to much heat.
  • Pineapple - Certain enzymes which cause miscarriage and to much heat.
  • Undercooked meat (beef and pork) - A risk of contracting toxoplasmosis, parasitic disease that can infect the baby and produce many symptoms that vary from premature delivery and low birth weight, to malformations and mental retardation.
  • Raw and undercooked foods, especially leafy greens, beans and lentils.
  • Raw Fish and Seafood - includes sushi and all shellfish. Some bacteria like listeria and some parasites like anisakis can be found in contaminated seafood; they produce an intestinal infection, which can lead to dehydration. Fever and dehydration during pregnancy can be linked to abortion or preterm birth.
  • Seafood High in Mercury - The bigger and older the fish, the more likely that it’s contaminated with mercury. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) encourages pregnant women to avoid swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and tilefish. According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, pregnant women should exceed two seafood meals per week.
  • Raw Eggs - Can be contaminated with harmful bacteria, especially salmonella, which can produce a severe intestinal infection that leads to high fever and dehydration, which can be harmful for the baby. Avoid all products that may contain raw eggs, such as homemade dressings, mayonnaise, and eggnog.
  • Caffeine - you should not exceed 200 mg per day. Caffeine is a stimulant, and it may increase your heart rate and your blood pressure, both of which are not recommended during pregnancy. It crosses the placenta to your baby, increasing its heart rate as well. This has been linked to prematurity, miscarriage, and low birth weight. A cup of coffee may contain anywhere from 150 to 400 mg of caffeine, depending on the type and brew. 
  • Hot spicy foods.
  • Artificial flavours, preservatives and chemical additives.
  • Left-overs - Opposite to sattvic food (tamasic).
  • Excess honey - To heating.
  • Shodana Vati / Triphala / Laxatives - Laxative herbs that cause vata anulomana should strictly be avoided in the first trimester, and also avoided for the rest of pregnancy.

Foods to Avoid Part of the Pregnancy

  • Hing (Asafoetida) - Avoid in first trimester. Vata anulomana and sharp quality, breaks stagnation. Also no external application.
  • Turmeric - For the first 6 months. For those sensitive like older pregnant ladies and those prone to miscarriages. 
  • Raisins

Indicated Diet

Other than the foods to avoid, don’t restrict yourself to much and honour cravings.
Remember, you are eating for two body types, so you should not follow a strict diet for one body type. Honour your unique cravings in moderation, especially from the fourth month when the cravings you experience are more likely those of the baby.

  • Sweet taste - It is the most sattvic or wholesome for the baby. Dates, fresh breads cooked without oils, whole grains, rice, fruits, quinoa, cooked beetroot, carrot, sweet potato, hot milk, porridge.
  • Ghee, coconut oil.
  • Hot milk - one of the most nourishing, immunity boosting and ojas building foods.
  • Kitchari
  • Almonds soaked overnight then peeled the following day.

Tips to Help with Constipation during Pregnancy

It is important to have daily morning bowel motions during pregnancy.

  • Eat citrus fruits like oranges and mandarins.
  • Pomegranate.
  • Lots of cooked leafy greens.
  • Psyllium husk is okay after first trimester, but consult a good practitioner regarding psyllium.

Morning Sickness

Morning sickness happens because the foreign body (foetus) changes the hormones and system. Some people are not compatible with this.

This does not mean you are unhealthy, in fact, it is traditionally believed morning sickness makes a baby more stronger and helps it survive.

Nausea Remedies

  • Madiphal rasayana - A fruity liquid Ayurvedic preparation that you take a small sip of whenever nausea is there. (Pictured, available at Vital Veda).
  • Citrus fruits like lime.
  • Honey + ginger.
  • Cut the skin of unripe green lemon with your finger nail and sniff it.

Month-By-Month Pregnancy Insight

First Trimester: Extra Careful

This month is the riskiest for miscarriage. Therefore follow all the rules and diet advice more strictly including lots of rest and avoiding stress, work, travel and sex.  

Keep it a secret - Mainly for those who are first time pregnant or have been unsuccessful with conceiving or miscarriages. Ayurveda recommends this to avoid bad energy from external people, known as Dristi Dosha (“Bad Eye”).

Prop the foot end of your bed up 8cm to that you are on a slight tilt towards your head. This helps prevent miscarriage. 

4th Month: Dhauhrda (“Two Hearts”)

According to Ayurveda, in the fourth month the foetus’s heart is endowed with consciousness and the senses are said to develop.
This month is known asDhauhrda,” which means two hearts. This is because through the arteries, the heart of the foetus is connected with that of the mother. Thus, through these vessels (dhamanis), the feelings of the foetus is transferred to the mother. The mother may feel unusual desires during this period, which are probably the desires of the child. It is advisable to give a pregnant woman what ever she desires. 

During this month the women should never sleep during the day as proper night sleep is essential.

5th and 6th Month: Lenient Time

If you have to work or have sex, this is the time. During sex woman should be on their back only and do not strain abdomen.

7th Month: Nearly there

This month is in maintenance mode for a meticulous part of the pregnancy: the 8th month.

8th Month: Vital Time for Increased Rest

The 8th month is very delicate where the subtle nutrient fluid called “Ojas  that supports vitality and immunity is transferred from mother to foetus. Thus, you need to get as much rest as possible and avoid what you are meant to avoid and enhance sattva.

9th Month: It's Coming!

Sukha Prasava Ghritam ("Easy to Deliver Ghee") - A medicated ghee to help prepare the body for birth and the quicken the delivery and make it smoother.
Dose: 2tsp 2x/day before meals or with hot milk. Available from Vital Veda.

Research studies have concluded that an easy birth is high dependant on a relaxed mind. Thus, surrendering the process of labour is key to a quick birth, as well as meditation.

How to bring on labour (if not coming)

  • Abdominal massage - Using a medicated ghee called “Sukha Prasava Ghritam” or normal ghee (inferior), apply the ghee on the stomach and massage slowly and lightly in a clockwise direction downward towards the vagina.
  • Ensure you are taking Sukha Prasava Ghritam (“easy to deliver ghee”).
  • Eat more cumin and leafy vegetables.

IT'S HERE!!

Postpartum, after the baby has exited the womb, is perhaps the most important time to implement Ayurvedic interventions and practices to rejuvenate mum and ensure proper nutrient and immune accumulation for the baby.

See my Ayurvedic Post Natal Care Plan Here

 

 

Ayurvedic Post Natal Care Plan

The initial 40 days+ after delivery is of immense importance. Both mother and the baby need special attention and care. Ayurveda explains in great detail methods for mother care and baby up-bringing at this vital postpartum time which determines the future health of the newly arrived guest. Here is a detailed post natal care plan.

Immediate Vata and Hormonal Imbalance

After birth, the mother’s hormones are usually erratic. Vata, which governs the nervous system and movement (movement of body fluids, neurotransmitters, hormones, blood and lymph circulation, elimination of wastes) in the body immensely increases. This is because all of a sudden after womb evacuation a vacuum of space has manifested (vata is predominately space). 

Mum needs deep rejuvenation & strength to provide the baby with much required immunity, strength, pure and nutritious breast milk and of course, love.

To help mothers achieve optimal physical, metal and emotional health, we have formulated a post-natal care plan that starts after birth and can continue until the baby becomes a young child.

This post-natal care plan is detailed. Choose which aspects you want to implement, but note the essential recommendations.

One can start this post natal care plan at anytime along the journey. 

 

Immediate Post Delivery Procedures

In order after baby exits the womb:

Umbilical Cord Procedure

Leave the cord intact till it stops pulsating or delay the cord clamping.
Most hospitals prematurely cut the umbilical cord. This causes a loss of blood. Cord-blood is especially rich in containing precious Haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). These stem cells are responsible for maintaining blood production throughout our lives.

Science studies have confirmed the validity of delayed cord-clamping.

One study show that when cord-clamping was delayed for just 5 minutes the blood volume increased by a massive 61% from 78 ml/kg (blood volume at moment of birth) to 126 ml/kg. This placental transfusion amounted to 166 ml for a 3.500 kg infant, one-quarter of which occurred in the first 15 seconds, and one-half within 60 seconds of birth.

So even if you aren't the kind to "Lotus Birth" and wait until the cord naturally drops off, consider delaying cord clamping for at least 5 minutes.

1. Ayurvedic Immunisation Program

Swarna Prasa: Honey, Ghee and Gold purified ash (swarna bhasma) is prepared and processed in a highly complex method using high quality ingredients. This is given to the baby after being born to imbue immunity actively through the senses. This immunisation may be continually be administered once a month according to astrology (on pusyami naksatra).

Contact within to order Swarna Prasa.

Learn more here.

2. Breastfeeding

First right breast, then left. Within 1-4 hours or ideally less.

3. Oil Massage

Massage the baby from head to toe with oil. Leave oil on for approx. 45 mins before bath.
Oils used: Vital Veda Baby Abhyanga Oil, cold-pressed extra-virgin coconut or olive oil.
Check out our free Self-Massage Poster to get an idea of how to give baby massage.

4. Bath

Bath (luke warm) and baby abhyanga (oil massage) are the two most important rituals for the baby as they are growing up.

5. Baby Mantra

Parents whisper a mantra (primordial sound) into the baby's ear to induct the baby into the world. This primordial sound is familiar to the baby to ensure "don't worry, you have arrived into a vedic family, you will be enlightened, we will give you knowledge for enlightenment. Relax, you can be a baby now."

Get your baby mantra from a Vedic Meditation teacher.

Optional Gold Ornamentation: Put gold ring on right ear, then on left and then chant baby mantra.

6. Wrap Baby

After baby is finished bath, wrap baby in silk or muslin cloth completely. Especially cover ears. Only expose eyes and nose.

 

Herbal Support

Balant Kadha (Herbal Drink)

A particular fermented herbal preperation (asava) called Balant Kadha is taken once by mum for thirty days to balance the vata, hormones and more. 

This tonic relives weakness, body ache, constipation and cough. Increases appetite, energy, strength and nutritious milk. Tones up blood circulation and helps for the formation of new blood cells.

Time to take: This decoction is ideally taken the day of or the day after giving birth. Even if mum missed that (ie. is reading this article post-delivery), this herb is still highly beneficial and can performs similar action if started up until the baby is 6 months old. This is probably the most important and crucial herb.

Read more about Balant Kadha here.

If still after taking Balant Kadha more Vata reducing is to be done (to be assessed by practitioner or doctor), mum may take 5tsp of Dasmula Arista 2x/day after meals.

Gallakol Lactation Tablets

Increases lactation and purifies breast milk.

This herbal nutritive tonic can be taken by the mother even if breast milk is slightly not 100%, thus good to have on you incase.

Dosage: 2 tabs 2-4x /day before meals or as needed.

Check out our Post Natal Ayurvedic Support Kit

Vital Veda's Post Natal Ayurvedic Support Kit

Post Natal Care (continued)

7. First 11 Days

For next 11 days, no oil massage or oil application. Nor for mother. After the 11th day daily baby-massage is essential. Also for mum.

8. Skin Paste for Baby Girls 

Skin Paste: Channa flour, turmeric + perfumery herbs (sandalwood, rose, usheera). Everyday after massage, before bath. Leave skin paste on for at least for 15-20 mins. To remove toxins and prevent body hair growth. 

9. Clothes

For the first 21 days, new born wears clothes of other babies that have good karma.

10. Intimacy Between Mum and Baby

For 7-13 days, mum and baby should be alone in the room. Only people who are serving and helping can enter. This is to develop a profound intimacy, trust and prevent anxiety.

For the first 40 days, mum and baby continue this and hardly go out of the house. They should remain cocooned and protected in their room. Only people who are very close, who are serving and who have bathed and are pure can visit. 

11. Naming Ceremony

Done on the 21st day (Nama Karana).

12. Piercing Ears

Piece ears on the 21st day, 40th day, 3rd or 5th year for females along with puja.

13. Shaving Head (Mudhana) 

Shave head to improve circulation in the head and to increase hair. Done for both genders before 1 year of age, approximately at 11 months old.

14. Ayurvedic Immunisation (continued)

Once finished the swarna prasayou can administer Raju Pusyami Drops to the baby once a month until young teenage years.

Post-Natal Diet for Mum

  • The two most important foods for mum to balance the vata are ghee and garlic.
  • Garlic - remove inner green sprout and fry in ghee, then use in cooking.
  • Ojas increasing foods like hot milk, dates, coconut, warmed cooked fresh foods.
  • Cumin seeds and fennel seeds. Ajwain seeds if C-section occurred. 

Lactation Increasing Foods

  • Fenugreek, jaggery laddhus, wheat (oats), grapes/grape juice.
  • Fenugreek tea - 2 tsp fenugreek seeds, soak overnight (always soak fenugreek). Next morning boil in 2 cups of water, reduce to half and drink. - Improves child's immunity, quality of breast milk and pancreas. Drink tea 3x a day.

 

Baby Food Introduction

Introducing food to a baby is essential to develop a balanced digestion and diet of the future. We teach how to adjust the tastes provided to prevent digestion disorders, cravings and intolerances from developing. Introduce at 5 months and 5 days or 6 months and 6 days.

Baby food introduction plan coming soon.

C-Section Procedures

  • All similar. Essential to take Balant Kadha. 
  • Hug skin-to-skin contact to regulate breathing, blood sugar, heart rate, and to exchange micro-biome.
  • Vaginal Swab - swab mum’s vagina and place in babies mouth or place on nipples for baby to suck and get micro-biome.
  • Sew up mum while she is doing all these things.
  • Avoid Parisheks for mum.
  • Supplements may be required to replenish vitamins and minerals.

Disclaimer: All these information is just for information. Consult your doctor before trying any of these.

  • For more information and tips pre, during and post pregnancy contact us.
  • These herbs have no known drug interaction.
  • These products and recommendations are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

 

 

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 Care Regimen HERE

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

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

 

The Lowdown On GHEE

What is Ghee?

Ghee is the crown jewel that joins Ayurvedic medicine and Indian cooking.

Ghee is clarified or purified butter. Butter is boiled in a specific way & the lactose components & milk solids are separated and strained to produce this concentrated golden substance, ghee. Hence, no-one is allergic to ghee. It’s a totally new product after the cooking process.

Today’s western health scene is becoming aware and finally recognising the benefits of this “superfood,” that has been used in India for centuries.

Let me explain the many benefits of using ghee in your everyday cooking…

The History of Ghee

For centuries it has been used as a cooking fat and a food ingredient, but true Ayurvedic tradition uses it in various medicinal preparations. It is still today used in ritual as an esteemed offering.

The Rk Veda (a 3,500 year-old ancient Sanskrit scripture) says:

This is the secret name of ghee:
“Tongue of the gods”

“Navel of immortality.”
“Streams of ghee caress the burning wood.”
“Agni, the fire, loves them and is satisfied.”

This indicates that ghee is superb at nourishing the metabolic fires (agni), promotes longevity and is a powerful medium to carry prayer, mantra and intention to feed the Gods (the higher aspects of ourselves) through feeding the fire.

Science comparing cooking oils:

If you have a small fire with embers burning and you pour some extra-virgin organic olive oil on that fire – the fire will go out.
If you pour some ghee on the fire – the fire will roar!

Same is with your digestive fire!
Ghee stimulates digestion, enzymes and helps breakdown food. (Food will not give any nourishment until it is broken down).

Most compatible fat for the human body: Ghee is so critical for the health of the gut and immunity that the colon literally makes its own ghee (butyric acid).
Research has attested to the fact that the beneficial microbes in the gut actually make their own butyric acid, the active ingredient in butter – and even more concentrated in ghee!

Detoxing: This high-quality fat is known to pull toxins out of the tissues, while simultaneously driving nutrients deep into the cells.
Many people know of the new health-craze-ritual “oil pulling,” where you swish oil in the mouth to pull out toxins, strengthen teeth and gums and many more benefits.
Ghee is doing this action of “Pulling toxins out”… of our gut!
The ghee has a lipophilic effect on other fatty acids and fatty toxins (meaning these toxic fats are attracted to other fats like ghee), acting like a chelating agent to pull stored fat soluble toxins out of the body and back into the intestines to be eliminated by the body.

Fat metabolism: Depending on what your body needs, you can put on or loose weight. You will loose weight because ghee increases your metabolism so that the food is turned to nutrients rather than toxins, waste and excess fat.

Anti-cancer: Ghee is the highest natural source of Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) (3.7%): the only acid that is anti-cancer, (no other fat oil has linoleic acid apart from safflower oil which has 2.5%).

Anti-cholesterol: Burns the bad cholesterol in the arteries.

Counters dryness in body: Constipation, stiff bones/joints, osteoporosis, dry skin, etc. Ghee lubricates the organs and the hardened connective tissues, also making the body more flexible.

More medicinal qualities:
•    Ghee Nourishes Ojas (our immune system and the final end product of digestion) as well as Prana (our life force) and all of our tissues as it is warmly welcomed to penetrate and do its job in the body.

•    Ghee increases intelligence, refines the intellect and improves the memory.

•    Ghee increases the strength, luster and beauty of the body, slows the ageing process and improves our longevity.

•    Best lip balm for dry and cracked lips.

•    Ghee has the perfect ratio of omega-3:omega-9 fatty acids.

•    Ghee has Vitamins A, D, E and K.

•    Ghee is a very, very stable oil with a smoke point of 252 degrees celcius, making it the safest oil and fat to cook with. (Use as a replacement for cooking oil and butter).

Eating ghee doesn’t only taste amazing, it makes happy beneficial bacteria in your precious gut – the site of digestion and nutrient assimilation, the production of many mood-regulating neurotransmitters and the maintenance of strong immunity.

According to Ayurveda, digestion is everything, so feed your digestive tract the food of the gods – beautiful, luminescent, glorious, golden ghee.

Where To Get Your Ghee 

My Glorious Homemade Ghee

Obviously, obtaining and using quality ghee is key. I make ghee at specific times of the day, at auspicious times of the year and with the moon to align with the energetic fields and to increase consciousness flow (Soma) to emotionally charge and support the beneficial microbiology in this golden oil.

You can purchase directly from ME at the clinic or order/pick up from our friends Orchard Street at The Broad Place Studio in Paddington by appointment.

Love, Vitality and Nourishment from the Holy Cow!

Dylan Smith
a.k.a. “Gheeru”

homemade ghee final

Drop the Utensils, rather: Eat With Your Hands!

Ayurveda recommends eating with your fingers instead of utensils.

Before you repel this gesture, if you feel to try this, you may be surprised by what it does for your digestion and how much better food will taste and bring you enjoyment!

One Thing at a Time

Eating with your hands means you can’t check email, read, text or answer the phone. With food all over your fingers, you are stuck doing one thing at a time and this is the time to eat.

This allows us to relax and "dine."

Eating with such awareness is essential for optimum digestion and proper delivery of nutrients. People underestimate how much this can make a difference and a lot of the time - How you eat is more important then what you eat.

 

“The fingers are the sensors, and also the hand contains not only the planets, but all the nakshatras (constellations). So when you are eating with your hands it is satisfying everything [all the needs of your physiology because the planetary ‘map’ on your hands is like the DNA - it contains everything about you]. The planets and stars [imprinted] on the hand are YOUR planets. Also, when you touch the food you will know the food texture, temperature, and immediately the enzymes [and Hydrochloric Acid] will start inside you, and from the mouth itself the digestion will start.” 
Vaidya Dr. Krishna Raju

Here all the 5 senses are invited to the table.

This ritual will not take long to get the hang of. In less than a week of eating like this, you'll be natural again. And no more burning your mouth with food!

Some other recommendations for the Ritual of Eating:

  • Don’t eat when you are angry, depressed, emotionally unstable or immediately after physical exertion. This is the number one "rule" for eating in Ayurveda.
  • Sitting cross legged on the floor encourages the right pressure to assist with digestion. The pancreas is squeezed to release digestive enzymes well and you don't overeat because you realise when you are full.
  • Once your food is served, do a prayer before you start eating. Give thanks to nature for providing you with the food and can thank whichever deity you worship
  • CHEW eat morsel at least 32 times, food should be like liquid.
  • ENJOY in nourishment. Even if you are eating ice cream, enjoy it! (guilt free)