More about The Ayurveda Channel

Namaste,

Hope you are all doing well and keeping safe in these uncertain circumstances.

One of my clients is an Ayurveda teacher in US. She was practicing Ayurveda for more than 10 years …..and she did not know the very basic concept of ritucharya!!!. There are so many people who want to practice real Ayurved, however all quality information is either very expensive or very hard to find. Therefore, I am trying a new way to make authentic Ayurvedic information available in easily understandable manner.

Many people recently suggested that videos and animations are a more expressive way to explain Ayurvedic concepts. It is true because I understand better when I see something. Besides, video is always a better way to present a procedure.

So, I welcome you all to the Ayurveda Channel! Here you will find authentic Ayurvedic information direct from the original Ayurvedic texts. Initially, I will cover the basics of Ayurvedic preventive healthcare, very simple and easy to implement. Yet, these basics are the very foundation of Ayurvedic preventive healthcare. Some of the topics are –

Orientation (Essential steps for true Ayurveda immersion)

Nidan Parivarjanam Series(eliminating the cause of disease)

Ayurvedic Meals (How to choose, process and consume food)

Dinacharya ( Ayurvedic daily regimen)

Ritucharya ( Ayurvedic seasonal regimen)

I know that it is hard to change some harmful habits. But we all are intelligent creatures. And I believe that instead of telling you what to do and what not, I can present you with simple logic and leave the decision to you.

And I am sure that once you understand something, you feel empowered and more prepared to make a change. You can find a list of health habits everywhere. But I will try to explain the logic behind the Ayurvedic tenets in all my videos. I sincerely hope that it empowers you to make a positive change in your life!

The Ayurveda Channel

The Cure Without Medicine!

Hi all,

Welcome to the Ayurveda Channel. This is my attempt to put my ideas about Ayurvedic medicine in visuals and I hope that it will help to convey them in a much more effective manner.

There is so much “Ayurvedic information” available online. However, most of this information is not directly derived from any authentic Ayurvedic text. This information is a just a bye-product of the growing Ayurveda market. Unfortunately, this unverified herbal info eats on the reputation and authenticity of classical Ayurveda.

The Ayurveda Channel is an attempt to make authentic Ayurvedic information, based on classical Sanskrit text available to a layman. This is the link to a short introductory video to the Channel. Please share and subscribe if you like it. Also let me know about the Ayurvedic topics that you would like to see on this channel.

I hope that we discover the bliss of Ayurveda together, with the Ayurveda Channel.

Some Organic Info

Photo by Retha Ferguson on Pexels.com

Some Good Info –

I have a personal good experience with the above vendors.

Please find below some other good people who need help to grow! However, I don’t have a personal purchase experience with them –

If you have an eco-friendly and sustainable venture, please let me know. I will post about it free of cost.

Also, check out my new video on the Ayurveda Channel

The Ayurveda Channel

Why is a patient not allowed to have non-vegetarian food during an Ayurvedic treatment?

Ayurvedic treatment starts with stoppage of any disease aggravating factor. Appropriate food, which is easy to digest and creates minimum toxins while getting digested.

The digestion normally becomes weak when the body is faced with a disease. Non-vegetarian food is a little harder to digest and absorb as compared to the vegetarian diet. Therefore to avoid any extra burden on the digestive capacity of the body, it is advisable to avoid it.

However, it is not compulsory to avoid the non vegetarian diet. The point is to have easily digestible food. In this light, even heavy or oily vegetarian food should be avoided!

Also, Acharya Charak prescribes non vegetarian soups esp. chicken soup for early recuperation in case of Shaya(tuberculosis) if the patient is very weak. Here you can find a list of best non-vegetarian food suggested by Acharya Charak – Best Foods in Ayurveda

The food and medicine should be “satmya” or agreeable to the patient. if the patient detest the medicines or the food, he might not get the full psychosomatic benefit from them. If a person is a vegetarian by faith, chicken soup will make him more sick, if he is non-alcoholic by faith, alcoholic cough syrups might have 0 effects or side effects. Because mind controls all body responses on conscious or subconscious level. In fact, the feeling of guilt or stress due to eating non-vegetarian food, or an alcoholic cough syrup might trigger severe degrade in immunity. How stress kills your body

Similarly, an active person, for example a soldier, will benefit immensely from a light non vegetarian diet, because it is compatible to his nature. It will be unfair if he is denied his best suited diet.

Unfortunately, Ayurveda is tinged with the religious thought process. It will take sometime for the saffron fog to clear!

Please visit the link for more information – Satmya

Regards

Some Ayurved Tips on Corona Virus

Ayurveda believes that any disease is not about germs but the tendency of the body to fall sick. And therefore, Ayurveda is not about killing coronavirus inside the body. It is more about developing the internal resistance to not only coronavirus but all the diseases. Ayurveda and Law of Attraction-II

The single most important factor for coronavirus and for all diseases is “body receptivity” for the pathogens. In a state of perfect metabolic balance, there is no space for the viruses to survive. And therefore, nidan parivarjanam is the primary and the single most effective treatment for coronavirus – remove the internal cause of the disease.

Spring is a transitional junction where the winter changes to summer. The body also follows the seasonal cycle. And this seasonal change is the time, where the body is changing its physiology, suitable to the new season.

We all need a changing room. Similarly, the body also needs a secure environment to make a huge shift from the cold weather to the hot one. When the body gets exposed to pathogens during this vulnerable period, we get disorders.

Right now, the spring is coming to end and the summer is going to start. According to Ayurveda, this season brings Kapha prakop or Kapha vitiation in the body.

In short, this is the time when the body is coming out of the heat preservation mode (good hunger, digestion, less blood flow to the skin, etc. ) to heat elimination mode( suitable for summer).

According to Charak Samhita, in this season, the Kapha dosha ( includes mucus, phlegm, and other fluids in the body) melt like ice and overflow from their natural station. This excess mucus handling is extra stress to the body. And it provides a good residence for the pathogens to thrive.

And therefore, this Kapha vitiation makes us susceptible to all kinds of respiratory disorders. This is an annual cycle. A young body with a vibrant metabolism rapidly flushes away the extra mucus from the system. And that’s why there are no major systems. However, if you have weak digestion, and a week immunity, you will have to go through the cycle of seasonal disorders.

In the case of coronavirus, it is one of the many pathogens that can find a suitable abode inside your body. And therefore, the fundamental treatment is to make the body invincible for coronavirus and avoid contact with sick people.

The first and elementary factor is – digestion as it is the base for survival for all others. Here are some of the ways to boost your digestive system –Ayurvedic Lifestyle for Excellent Digestion

The second factor is the seasonal detox. In every season, one or the other dosha gets imbalanced. It is a natural cycle. Brief Ritucharya for 6 seasons

Fasting Detox

Dry fasting is the easiest, cheapest and very effective detox in case of excess Kapha in the system. Intermittent dry fasting creates an immediate Kapha balance. However, you should not be extremely weak, skinny or facing any physical trauma while dry fasting.

In Hindu tradition, there are provisions of dry fasting at least 10 days every month – Chaturthi (4th day after full/new moon), Ashtami (8th day after same), Ekadashi (11th day after same, sometimes extends for 48 hours), Chaturdashi (14th day of the waning moon), Amavasya (no moon), Poornima( full moon). There can be many more occasions of fruit/milk/no grain fasting like Shasti(6th day), Pradosh vrat(13th day), etc. Lots of other details can be added here. but this is enough to get started with.

My granny was fasting almost 15 days in a month for almost 70 years. And she doesn’t fast all that much now, but she is all upbeat when her children have developed hypertension, hyperthyroidism, IBS, migraine and a hoard of other lifestyle problems.

Bottom line is that fasting can be a good way to combat coronavirus. It is not scientifically proven in the case of coronavirus, however, fasting can reverse a lot of disorders, even cancer and is a healthy and uncomplicated way to detox.

Panchkarma

Ayurveda prescribes therapeutic vomiting for vasant detox. Vaman or therapeutic vomiting is the best treatment for excess kapha. Kanika Verma’s answer to Is panchkarma really effective?

You can try a simple vomiting procedure by drinking a lot of warm water (with a pinch of salt) and putting a finger on the back of your tongue to induce vomiting. However, you must not try it more than 2 times. Frequent touch of the finger on the inner tongue can deposit germs and irritate the outer lining. It might also induce cold and cough.

Morning is the best time to try this procedure.

Besides, it is good to go to a panchkarma center with a DEMONSTRATED history of panchkarma treatment.

Herbal Detox

Traditional food meant for preparing the body for seasonal transition is the best detox. And awla is the star ingredient you must have with every meal. In fact, you can do an awla detox in this season by having awla based recipes. Try following recipes –

  • Awla kadi (kadi prepared with boiled awla or Indian gooseberries)
  • Awla candy, Awla halwa, Awla murabba, etc. (good for kids)
  • Awla chutney varieties
  • Awla sabji
  • Awla tomato carrot soup

Note – normal temperature awla juice is cooling in nature and therefore use it very carefully if you are prone to cold and cough.

Interestingly, the traditional Indian festivals are centered around the main health supplement for the season, for example – awla Ekadashi for this month, Shat-tila (the six types of sesame preparations) for the end of winter! all these are a part of a very comprehensive Ayurvedic detox process!!!

Will keep updating this answer, thanks for reading

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Health Basics of Ayurveda

Today, most people above the age of 35 years are suffering from at least one lifestyle disease. Digestive disorders, sleep problems, and stress are more common than a few decades back.

These primary disorders are the base of severe lifestyle diseases like hypothyroidism, diabetes, hypertension, etc. And this is because of the unhealthy dietary and lifestyle habits that we are following.

The Root of Lifestyle Disorders

We have severe defects in our daily routine that interferes with our healthy metabolism. They lower our immunity and makes us more susceptible to diseases and rapid aging.

Most of the people today have no fixed routine or time for eating. They skip their meals when they are hungry. On the other hand, they eat voluptuously when they are not hungry but have time to eat.

Similarly, most of us skip sleep in the night, the natural time to sleep according to the bio-rhythm of the body. Instead, they sleep till late. They miss the healthiest time of the day – Brahma muhurat and an opportunity to reset their metabolism.

Image par Elias Schäfer de Pixabay

Flow with the Nature

However, if we review and re-tune our bodies to the natural biorhythm, we will ensure 100% prevention from all diseases and have a life full of vigor and vitality. Ayurvedic ritucharya (seasonal health regimen), dinacharya (daily health routine), and sadvritta (moral and social conduct) ensure a healthy body as well as mind.

Ayurveda defines the wrong food and lifestyle as the root cause of all diseases. The aim of Ayurveda underlines the importance of a healthy lifestyle. According to Acharya Charak the objective of Ayurveda is –


Preserve the health of the healthy |
Treat the ones who fall sick||

Compared to Ayurveda, modern preventive medicine depends mainly on health supplements. It is vague and lacks a precise and natural order of prevention. In fact, it has been only a few decades since modern medicine accepted the therapeutic importance of food or meditation.

Ayurveda is one of the oldest sciences to have an elaborate preventive system. Ayurveda defines the ideal food, cooking methods, and food habits. It defines daily lifestyle (Dinacharya), seasonal preventive lifestyle (Ritucharya), and overall prevention of all diseases by maintaining the homeostasis of the body in all kinds of external conditions (Sama Dosha).

Dinacharya

Dinacharya is the ideal daily routine, according to Ayurveda, that should be followed to maintain the health regularly. It constitutes the dos and don’ts for everything, right from brushing the teeth to ideal sleep habits. Dinacharya regimen of Ayurveda specifies even the wood(datun) that should be used for cleaning the teeth by the people of different body constitution or prakrati.

It underlines the importance of having an optimal amount of food at the right time and in the right way. It also mentions various other preventive measures like the use of Kajal (Kohl) for the daily prevention of eye diseases, the use of Ayurvedic nasal drops for the prevention of all the disorders in the head region. It stresses the benefits of the right exercise and sleeps patterns for everyone.

Our bodies are exposed to disease-causing factors every second. And therefore, we must actively prevent diseases 24X7. And Dinacharya makes this daunting task completely effortless! It provides a precise and comprehensive guide to complete health preservation. It is a complete code to prevent diseases daily.

Dinacharya also constitutes “Achar Rasayana,” a comprehensive guide to prevent all mental problems like stress, anxiety, etc. It is the ideal spiritual and social code of conduct that, if followed, can save us from various psychological and social problems.

Image par OpenClipart-Vectors de Pixabay

Ritucharya

Ritucharya is one of the most interesting Ayurvedic preventive systems. It is one of its kind as it deals with a preventive regimen for each season.

Seasons affect the body due to continuous changes in the external temperature and the environment. These seasonal changes disturb the physiological balance of the body and can cause severe disorders in the long run. Most of the problems in the body first reflect as seasonal disorders.

Ritucharya describes in detail the Ayurvedic concept of seasonal changes and their effects on body metabolism. It is the comprehensive ayurvedic preventive system that helps the body to adjust seamlessly to the changing external environment and prevent any metabolic disturbances.

Ritucharya constitutes the food habits, ideal food for each season, lifestyle changes to be incorporated with the seasonal changes, and so on. The most admirable aspect of Ritucharya is it’s a proactive approach. It makes the body immune to seasonal changes, instead of treating seasonal disorders!!!

Here are some interesting links related to ritucharya

Ritucharya

Effect of Ritu (seasons) on Dosha

Seasonal Ritucharya

Ritu Haritaki

Healthy Sleep Patterns for different seasons

Sexual Orientation During The Seasons

Asana for different seasons

Therefore, the one who will follow Ritucharya will never fall sick through the changing seasons and maintain a very high level of immunity. Ritucharya is the fountain of youth. The one who drinks from it will stay in the spring of health and youth always!!!

Unrestricted Metabolism


Ayurveda stresses the preservation of natural and unrestricted metabolism. It strictly prohibits artificial control of natural urges.

Animals live in an environment free from social bondage. And probably that’s why they stay free from diseases too. Esp. Wild animals do not have any access to medicines. Still, they usually remain healthy and live out their average lifespan, just because they do not exert unnatural control over their bodies.

However, humans lose a lot in the name of civilization and society. We tend to control our natural urges like thirst, hunger, urination, defecation, etc. very frequently. Due to social influence, we tend to control our natural urges forcefully and hinder the natural metabolic rhythm.

Ayurveda suggests that the body should be allowed the freedom of natural conduct. Most of us today have become insensitive to many of our natural urges like thirst, hunger. We might overlook thirst, hunger, or defecation if we are working or watching TV! This outrageous conduct daily impedes the brisk rate of metabolism and lowers immunity.

All classical Ayurvedic texts have a separate chapter elaborating on disorders resulting from unattended natural urges and their treatment. So, it’s a significant health issue.

Next time you are in an important meeting, don’t be sorry to sneeze or cough!

Photo by Prasanth Inturi on Pexels.com

Satvavjay


Satva means the mind, and the term satvavjay is the victory over the mind.

According to ancient Vedic wisdom, the body is nothing but a projection of the mind. If you are a “Matrix” fan, you would agree! And, therefore a sensitive, meditative, and balanced mind is the core of a healthy Ayurvedic lifestyle. It is a healthy mind that is unoccupied by external noise or clutter. A soul that listens to the body and let our social obligations, stress, fear, or anxiety take a back-seat, is the very foundation of perennial health.

Each set of human mind and body has its own dharma – swadharma. Hindus whisper “tvama vedosi” in the ears of a new-born child. It means – you are the infinite wisdom. You see, your soul, your body knows what’s best for you. And a meditative mind can help you to discover a distinct and utterly personalized approach to health. Therefore, connecting with the body through meditation is the ultimate cure to all worldly diseases.

Photo by Nandhu Kumar on Pexels.com

Jivem Shardah Shatam

The key of Ayurveda is balance! and with this key, Ayurvedic lifestyle can enable us to have a long, healthy, and fruitful life. Vedic Sutra “Jivem shardah shatam” means – let us live a hundred years(autumns). Ayurvedic preventive lifestyle, armed with healthy daily routine( Dinacharya), healthy seasonal routine (Ritucharya), ideal mental and social conduct ( Achar Rasayana), and other health habits, is the most comprehensive preventive system in the world.

Besides, these rules are simple and easy to follow. They can be readily observed by the sick and the healthy, the rich, and the poor alike. Ayurveda makes no distinction for imparting health to all. Let’s follow these age-old and time-tested tenets of Ayurveda and live a prosperous and healthful life.

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Wound Healing and swelling removal through half-baked roti (Kachchi Pakki roti)

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Tribals (majority Gond tribe) in Baster (Madhya Pradesh) have unique healing techniques. And their efficacy is more astounding than their simplicity. Here, I would like to share one such method of emergency treatment for wounds (esp. with excessive swelling)

I heard this method from a senior Ayurveda doctor posted in Madhya Pradesh tribal zone when I was still a student. Unfortunately, I do not recollect her name as we met very briefly and only once in a meditation center. However, years later, her story encouraged me to try wound healing experiments with sattu. I am incredibly grateful to her and wish her the best!.

Baster is a relatively backward area of Madhya Pradesh, blessed with beautiful forests and abundant wildlife. But other resources like proper medical care, education, infrastructure, etc. are not up to the mark. And therefore, tribals turn to nature for all their requirements. As my devoted senior went to stay and work in the rural areas, she learned to work with abundant natural resources. She had an excellent opportunity to learn the natural healing techniques first-hand from the tribal healers in Baster.

In our brief meeting, she described how she learned a non-invasive folk medicine method from the tribal healer who extracted a splinter from a leg based abscess. Interestingly, the tribal patient himself did not know that there was any foreign object inside the wound. He came with a complaint of a non-healing abscess. By that time, the injury was already 2-3 months old and badly festered.

Kachchi Pakki Roti

Roti is an Indian flatbread. It is heated on both sides equally to ensure proper cooking. However, if the roti is roasted only on one side, one side becomes slightly hard and dry, and the other unbaked part remains soft and doughy.

How to make Kachchi Pakki Roti

Make a regular wheat dough using boiled water.
Make a small roti (flatbread), large enough to cover the wound.
The ideal thickness should be around 3-6 mm. Increase roti’s thickness if the wound is deep and wide. Also, make sure that it is uniformly thick.
Heat the roti on tava for 1-2 min(depending on the thickness) to make one side roasted and slightly dry.
Make sure that the other side of the roti is slightly soft and raw.
The dry part also should not be too hard.

Where to use Kachchi-Pakki roti

In Charak Samhita (Chikitsa Sthana: Ch. 20), the use of roasted flour (rice, channa,jowar, etc.) is indicated to promote healing in the secondary stage of wound-healing.
In line with the above classical text, it is best to use Kachchi Pakki roti in case of edema of any origin. It helps to absorb the excess liquid and prevents fluid stagnation around the injury.
It can be used for extracting foreign objects from an abscess or as a poultice to heal normal wounds.

I would suggest this method in a wound where the basic blood mesh is already formed. It might work wonders for old wounds with a lot of swelling, redness, and inflammation.

I want to try Kachchi Pakki roti in the non-healing wounds of diabetic patients. I was detected with the pre-diabetic state, and my wounds would take an abnormally long time to heal. However, the use of sattu poultice (link) helped to cure my injury without the use of antibiotics. (link) Now, fortunately, with diet and lifestyle change, I am completely healthy.
The bottom line is that if sattu poultice can work for small wounds in a pre-diabetic state, Kachchi Pakki roti also can have a significant effect.

Note:
It is not advisable to use Kachchi Pakki Roti in deep wounds with excess blood flow. It can be used in a secondary stage when the initial blood flow has subsided.

How to use Kachchi-Pakki Roti

  • Make a fresh warm roti immediately before use. The warmth of roti helps to boost blood circulation in the swollen area.
  • Wipe away all moisture, sweat, or pus from the wound.
  • To ensure complete dryness, sprinkle dry turmeric powder on the wound and let it sit there for a few seconds. It will absorb all moisture.
  • Remove the wet layer of turmeric powder and sprinkle fresh powder.
  • Repeat the process till all the moisture is completely removed.
  • If possible, do a little massage around the swollen wound and apply hot, dry fomentation. You can use a heated cloth pad for it.
  • If the wound has a thick layer of dead skin, try to it scrap away as much as convenient. This step will help the wound to heal faster and reduce the rate of decay.
  • Sprinkle a fine layer of dry turmeric powder.
  • Cover the injured area with the unbaked side of roti so that the dough sticks to the injured part.
  • Tie roti with a bandage to keep it in the proper place.
  • Reduce movement in the injured part to ensure that roti stays in place.
  • Change the roti twice a day in a cold/normal climate. You can change it thrice in hot and humid weather.

I understand that this half baked (Kachchi-raw, Pakki-baked) roti resembles the skin in some manner – hard and dry externally, soft and meshy on the inside. And it can serve as an extra layer where the skin can safely deposit its debris without exposure to the harsh external environment or pathogens. Typically, abnormal protrusions like boils, warts, pimples, etc. also serve the same functions in the skin.

Happy Ending!!!

Let’s continue with the tribal story. With the application of this Kachchi Pakki(half baked) roti continuously for a few weeks, she could see the tip of a wooden chip emerging from the abscess. Even the patient had no clue that about the splinter(a sharp piece of wood) inside his calf. But his abscess failed to heal in any other way, which was an indication of something stuck inside.

After a few weeks (I do not have the full details), the fragment came out completely. It was stuck to the roti and was gently pulled out. In fact, the body needed a safe medium to open the abscess and expel the foreign object. Besides, this method also produced excellent results in swelling elimination as well.

This experiment is no more than a tale that I heard from a senior. The final proof in Ayurveda is pratyaksha praman(visible and replicable evidence). I am sharing this information so that if anyone has the facility to experiment on this method with animals/humans safely should try it. I have an intuition that it might work. And if it does, so many complicated things will become more straightforward, and with more such information, emergency healthcare will be so much cheaper, esp. in the rural areas.

Let’s hope that this information multiplies and. I have not used this method personally, and therefore, if you want to experiment with this treatment, try it on a tiny cut/wound. As soon as I get my next cut, I will make sure that I try it and share my experiences with all of you.

Thanks for reading!

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Ayurveda is not a market driven economy, it is a gift driven economy!

The Ayurveda Channel

Back to nature!

Importance of organic, local and seasonal food

Today we have surplus food production, all kinds of fruits and vegetables are available throughout the year, and everywhere. For example, dragon fruit a native to china is available in the US, and strawberries are available in the Middle East. But, are you sure that this is real progress?

Now people have more than enough to eat, but they are falling sick from eating this food. Today we have more diabetes, hypertension, hormonal imbalances, and cancers than ever before, and there is an urgent need to look at some of the possible reasons.

GM food – Changing the core, is it worth the cost?

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Genetic engineering of seeds has helped us to have crops that are most resistant to pests, seasonal changes, diseases, etc. But there is almost no long term research on the food safety of this produce. Let me give you one typical example – now strawberry grows around the year, even in the frosty weather and never gets spoilt. This achievement is a result of genetic engineering. Strawberry genes are modified by adding a gene from a fish that survives in chilling water. So, now strawberries are as resistant as the fish against the cold.

Another example is corn. Corn is genetically modified to kill a pest. When this pest ingests the corn, the modified grains cause internal bleeding and hemorrhage in pest’s intestines. And let’s observe that there is a growing problem of leaky gut and irritable bowel syndrome, where the intestines get inflamed and sometimes perforated!

Now people are more allergic to a wide variety of food, and it can be anything from peanuts to fresh coriander! One of the hypotheses is that genetically modified food is not natural. Our body recognizes all-natural genetic structures, like natural grains, meat, milk, etc.  But when a genetically modified food enters the body, it appears like unidentified foreign elements. Body tags it as a dangerous substance and triggers an autoimmune reaction as a protective response. And this logic completely fits in the health puzzle. Since we have so many genetically modified foods, anything can trigger an allergic reaction in the body. So, now can you guess why so many people have milk allergies today?

A few decades back, the natural genes of the cow were mixed with buffalo enhance the milk production. The milk these cow-like animals produce is not identifiable by the body, it is not natural, it does not fit anywhere, just like an anomaly! Sadly, there have been cases where people have been through near-death experiences due to severe milk allergies.

We are losing our food. Soon there will be lesser food and more food-like substances that are not edible at all! Can you call this progress? We are becoming weaker and more and more vulnerable as a race! This is serious.

Why seasonal food is the best?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It is high time for us to retrace our steps back to organic food. And interestingly organic food is naturally seasonal. You will never find a natural crop of mango in winter, it is a summer fruit, and lo! It helps to combat harsh heat waves in the tropical climate. Seasonal produce is the only food. Rest is genetically modified poison.

Similarly, all hydrating fruits like water melon, litchi, melon etc naturally grow in summer, when we rapidly lose water to summer heat. On the other hand, there is a huge variety of fruits and vegetables found in the winter season, when the digestive system is considered to be at its best.

According to Ayurveda, cabbage, cauliflower, green peas all cause vata aggravation in the body. However, they grow in winter and can be well digested by the strong  winter digestion. But if you were to eat the same vegetables in rainy season, they might lead to severe vata vitiation in the body. And therefore, these vegetables are unavailable in the

Why local food is the best?

Photo by Huy Phan on Pexels.com

Everything is available everywhere. This is the result of another human intrusion in the natural scheme of nature.  Cardamom naturally grows in a hot climate, for example in south India and according to Indian traditional science Ayurveda, it is cooling in nature. Cardamom is also an excellent remedy for all kinds of inflammatory disorders. The produce suits the weather! Cardamom is excellent for people living in a hot climate.

Let’s take another example, saffron naturally grows in a frigid climate, and it is hot in temperament. Now the frosty state of Kashmir in India is the largest producer of saffron. And look at the level of perfection in nature. Saffron is excellent for people in cold climate. However, hot food for hot weather is not a great combination. But since saffron is readily available now in middle east, may God save the natives there! Dates are a better option for them.

Content is the key

When God said, “Be content with what you have,” I think that it was also a piece of health advice. Let’s not run after Italian oregano, or California almonds, or Quinoa from Peru. Local food is the best. If we be content , we will be healthy!

Let’s choose our food, consciously. Let’s not have more but good food. Let’s stop poking our finger at the fine balance of nature. Let’s use human intelligence for the betterment and not for the destruction of our race and our planet.

Best wishes!

WHY FOOD IS THE BEST CURE?

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Good Food and Bad Food According to Ayurveda – I : Food that should not be consumed

Keeping in mind that food cannot be cooked separately for all persons in a house, Acharya Charak describes the food quality that should be taken regularly for all seasons and all prakrati, along with food that should be used very rarely by all prakrati individuals. However, it is particularly important to refrain from the bad food even if you have to stay hungry, as it is said that one should not eat poison even if he has nothing left to eat!

chili lot
Photo by Artem Bali on Pexels.com

Food that should not be eaten regularly (occasionally, once or twice a year or for the medicinal purpose)

  • Dried Meat
  • Dried Vegetables
  • Lotus roots
  • Non-vegetarian diet for the weak

Dried Meat and Vegetables

It is very convenient and sometimes cheap to store dried meat or vegetables for easy use later. Many times people store dried vegetables to be used during the offseason. Dried or dehydrated meat/vegetables are now being frequently used in “Ready to cook” food. But such products should not be used every day.

The food should be consumed in its fresh or natural form as much as possible. According to my personal hypothesis, food that is naturally juicy, like most of the meat and vegetables, when consumed in dried form,  tends to absorb extra water from the intestines for getting into its original digestible form. It might swell in the intestines. If the adequate amount of moisture is not available, it might not be digested properly. Such food might create toxins due to incomplete digestion.

Dried Vegetables

Most of the vegetables that grow above the ground like cabbage, cauliflower, brinjal, beans, peas, bottle gourds,  etc. are dry in nature and they cause Vata imbalance(dryness in the body) when consumed without hot spices/oil etc. Also, most of the green leafy vegetables are heavy, dry and have a tendency to cause bloating (esp during the rains) if not cooked along with proper spices. When these vegetables are used in the dried form, the dryness produced in the body is multifold. Besides, it can seriously derail the digestive system. This is true for almost all the vegetables.

Therefore, if you have the option of using dried red chilies for the fresh green ones, please choose the fresh green chillis. Dried methi leaves, normally used as a flavor enhancing agent in Indian cooking, also should be used once in a while.

close up cooking cuisine delicious
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Meat, esp pork is supposed to be extremely heavy in nature and can cause severe digestive problems (Vata derangement) if consumed in the dried form. Beef is recommended only in diseased conditions, not otherwise. Most of the meat is heavy to digest. Dehydrated meat is harder to digest and can cause severe Vata vitiation in the body.

It is said that such food takes a long time to get digested and after digestion does not fuel the digestive fire, instead leaves it weakened. Therefore such food is classified as Dhatupradushak or contaminator of the metabolism/tissue systems. In order to understand this concept, let us take the example of throwing sand on the fire. The sand does not get burnt but brings down the intensity of the fire. It might even extinguish a weak fire!

Ideally, we should stop using the packaged ready to cook masalas which contain dried vegetables like onion, garlic, or dried chicken pieces.

dosakaya-pickle-recipe.jpgInstead, meat or vegetables stored in pickled form are oiled, tender and better option for easy cooking than the dried ones.

However, dried meat and vegetables, even when used rarely, should be cooked in water/moisture/oil in order to make them soft and easily digestible. They should be served hot in order to stimulate the digestion. Digestive herbs like ginger, black pepper, asafoetida, cumin etc. should be used to make them easy to digest and absorb.

ginger-1191945_960_720That reminds me about dried ginger powder! There are some exceptions to everything. Dried root vegetables like potato chips can be kept for long duration and consumed after frying. The use of water or oil for proper cooking is indispensable. Still, a fresh potato is a 1000 times better than the dried potato. The dried ginger powder is an Ayurvedic medicine, easy to digest and produces heat in the body and therefore is not a bad food choice. Pumpkin in dried form is not damaging to health, therefore Vadi(a dried Indian curry material) made by sun-drying the chunks of pumpkin paste and spices, are not harmful.

Also, this concept is not applicable to the medicinal herbs(aushadhi) like Ashwagandha to coriander seeds. They can be stored in the dried powdered form of at least one year. However, their other preparations like jam (chavanprash), tablets, alcohols are more useful and have a longer shelf life.

Dried meat and vegetables are not great everyday food, but they might be used for medicinal purposes, as according to Ayurveda, everything in the universe can be used as a medicine. For example, dried radish soup is used to relieve severe bronchitis.

Considering all the health dimensions of dried vegetables and meat, it is best to avoid most of the dried vegetables and meat, unless prescribed by a trained physician.

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Lotus Roots

Lotus roots are considered to be very heavy and not digestible in the human system. Therefore they should not be consumed at all.

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Non-vegetarian diet for the weak

Normally a person who is weak and thin is advised to consume a non-vegetarian diet, as according to Ayurveda also, flesh is the best diet to increase flesh. However, a weak person with a bad digestion should never consume non-vegetarian diet, as it can seriously hamper his digestion capacity. Ideally, according to the Ayurvedic procedure of weight gain, a very weak person should improve his digestion and health primarily on a vegetarian diet and digestive medicines. After that, he should gradually move to a non-vegetarian diet. A non-vegetarian diet for a weak person with retarded digestion is like a college assignment for a school kid. The chances of successful completion are almost nil. Besides, such a diet will cause further retardation of the already weak digestion.

The central idea of the above guidelines is to preserve the digestion. Digestion is the fuels the life-force in the body and anything that hampers digestion should be avoided at all cost.

 

Dosha

Dosha is something which has tendency to malaise or spoil. It can be understood as a factor of catabolism (breaking down process in the body)

Also Dosha is a concept in itself.

According to Ayurveda, there are 3 kinds of Dosha or body temperaments – Vata, Pitta and Khapha.

It is said that as life resides in heart but no one can see it, similarly these temperaments guide the body physiology but no one can see them. In short, they are the 3 basic and distinguishable behaviour or metabolism patterns of the body.

Nature of Dosha

Let us understand this concept through an example of a wooden stick, which can endure pressure, force or weight up to a certain level. It has a yielding point after it will not be able to support the kinetic energy and will break. Similarly it will have a point of heat after which it will start burning. Same is with inertia. It will have a certain amount of inertia according to its weight, size etc. that gives the stability and opposes changes in its state of existence.

Same is with our body, in a more dynamic sense. Our body can hold certain amount of total kinetic energy, with specific channels of flow or function. This amount or holding capacity differs from person to person, just as volume differs from container to container. It also has different but definite capacities for heat and inertia.

The basis of Prakruti or natural body constitution lies in the different capacities of the individuals. Let us assume that the total energy (of all types) is 6X.One body will have capacity to hold 3X of kinetic energy, 2X of heat energy and X of inertia. This body will be of vata dominant prakruti, or VPK prakruti. Similarly if a body has capacity to hold more of heat energy – 3X, it will be Pitta dominant body.

VATA – It is the concept of kinetic energy in the body. All motion inside body or by the body is because of Vata. Vata is said to be made of Vayu (motion element) and Akash (space element).

PITTA – It is the concept of transformation energy, any chemical reactions, heat generation is considered to be under Pitta. It is made of fire (Heat element)

KAPHA – It is closer to the concept of inertia, mass, stability in the body. It is made of Jal (water element) and Prithvi (mass)

There is no single dosha at work at any point in time. One dosha might dominate or direct one process, but all 3 dosha contribute to it. There is natural tendency of Dosha or physiological patterns to spoil the body by either excess or deficiency of motion, transformation or inertia. When out of control, these become the negative forces in the body. They are balanced by Dhatu and Ooja (life force). Any imbalance tilting towards Dosha causes diseases.

Each of these behaviour pattern or syndrome has 3 aspects – Normal physiology, Excess and Deficiency.

 

Role of Dosha

Dosha are like different maintenance programs for different situations. They support a specific type of metabolism, have a set time and place of function and aim to produce specific results.

During any activity, entire body comes together and every part of the body contributes to produce a single result. Some parts contribute more, some contribute less. But there is no single isolated activity happening in the body at any point in time. Everything is connected. The organs of the body synchronize their activities under single command. It must be difficult for brain to communicate to each cell. The body parts communicate through their secretions or electric signals. But Dosha is like a pre-programmed code, triggering chain reaction in the entire body. Under a particular dosha and given a specific environment, each body cell will behave in a particular fashion, contributing towards a single result. Dosha are comprehensive platforms that define what each part will do to perform a particular activity. They align the body activities to produce a single desired effect.

We can compare it to the sympathetic and non-sympathetic nervous systems.

Let us take the example of digestion. Pitta dosha is the parent dosha for digestion. Complete digestion can be divided in 3 parts.

 

DIGESTION

 

 

 

Kapha stage:  Beginning of digestion

When the digestion of food begins, the blood supply to other parts of the body, like the limbs, brain etc. is reduced and diverted to the intestines for absorption (that is why we feel sleepy and lethargic immediately after a meal). It is advised that one should walk 100 steps to keep the kapha balanced during this time. So the hands, legs, brain etc are synchronized to the digestion in stomach because of Kapha dosha. This is a very simple example

Pitta stage: Complete breakdown

Various organs (gall bladder, pancreas) secrete their juices in the alimentary canal to aid digestion. Simultaneously, liver detoxifies the digested juices in the blood and produces the heat through digestion. This is time of chemical transformation and heat production. Blood gets fresh supply of nutrients. Body cells start assimilating the nutrition transported by the blood. Body becomes active. This is good time to sleep in summer, to keep the heat through activities, low and balance the heat of digestion.

Vata stage: Absorption and excretion

After complete digestion, the food gets absorbed though the small intestine (nutrients) and large intestine (water). Large intestine is the site of vata. This stage of digestion involves constant motion and absorption of water.

The important point is that with the beginning of digestion, other parts of the body, even the eyelids perform their function by getting drowsy or the legs by forfeiting extra blood supply, or the brain. And all this is orchestrated by the dosha. So we can appropriately evaluate what will be the condition of eyeballs or liver or legs when a particular dosha is active, vitiated or balanced.

Taking the same example forward, if the food is too heavy to digest; the Kapha dosha will get vitiated. This means that the Kapha program will not shut down at the correct time and will keep running in wrong condition and for wrong (longer) duration. The digestion of food will not reach the next stage properly and the errors in digestions will be carried forward in the form of toxins.

Best example is the process of sexual stimulation. Parent dosha for sex is vata, which is a kind of lord of all physical activity.

During sexual intercourse, the entire body activity is synchronized to achieve a single result. Eyes close to enhance the effect of skin receptors. Conscious brain activity is more imagination based (Pitta is associated with logic, Kapha with the memory and vata with imagination or creativity). Movements of hands, legs, penis / vagina are co-ordinated to achieve the desired outcome. Sperm friendly secretions lubricate the vagina to ensure safe and easy passage. This is a most elucidating example of perfect organ coordination on vata platform.

The key of health is in the balance of these Dosha.


Importance of Vata

Have you ever wondered why it is always Vata, Pitta and Kapha and not Kapha , Pitta , Vata or Pitta, Kapha and Vata.

It is because Vata is the most important and defining force among all three. After Vata comes Pitta and finally Kapha, most innocuous one.

This is because Kinetic energy is considered to be the most important here, which can affect other factors. Kinetic energy produces heat and can destroy inertia. Also Kinetic energy of the body is in direct control of the being. An Individual can use his kinetic energy at will and change or balance energy equation of the body. We can heat up the body by exercise and reduce inertia. Vata, because of its influence on other dosha, can cause maximum diseases. Hence Ayurveda chooses to establish Vata (Kinetic energy) as a greater force than the rest.

Sequence of Dosha

If we consider a lifespan or any natural phenomenon, Ayurveda has a rule that everything starts with stability (Kapha state), goes to the stage of transformation or maturity (Pitta state) and deterioration (Vata state).Same rule applies to human body as well. Child is in Kaphaj state, youth is in Pittaj state and elderly in Vataj state and interestingly all these are more prone to disease attributed to respective Dosha. For example, children are more prone to cold and coughs (Kaphaj disorders), youths are prone to acme, pimple according to their Prakruti (Pittaj disorders), and old people are prone to joint pain (Vataj disorders)

Similarly first 1/3rd of day is Kaphaj, second 1/3rd is Pittaj and third 1/3rd is Vataj. Again the symptoms of respective diseases exaggerate during the respective times, for example cold, sneezing etc. increases in the morning (Kaphaj), acidity is aggravates in daytime (Pittaj) and joint pain increases during the evening time.

The seasons come and go in a cycle but the cycle is considered from Hemant according to Ayurveda, which is the coldest season (Kaphaj state), then move towards summer (Pittaj state) and rains (Vataj state). In Sharad the effect of Vata subsides completely, to regain the Kaphaj state.