Ayurvedic Self-Healing Migraine Protocol – Diet

If you are reading my migraine post for the first time, please refer to following links for more details –

What are Dosha?

Ayurveda on Migraine

Ayurvedic Detox for Migraine

I hope that the week one detox plan helped you gain some momentum. If possible, try to stick to Ghee detox as much as possible throughout this treatment protocol as it will eliminate the very foundation of migraine disorder.

However, mental satisfaction is the very essence of Ayurvedic treatment. Therefore, if you are not able to stick to the Ghee Detox, you can switch breakfast and lunch to a regular diet. However, I would advise you to still continue with an exclusive ghee diet at least for dinner (in a minimal amount enough to quench hunger).

In this blog, I am going to help you choose the best food options that will prevent vata dosha and migraine aggravation. However, the sutra remains – whatever you eat, cook it in Ghee (except fruits).

Fruits
In fruits, you already know what to avoid. Please refer to the fruit detox plan.

Soaked Almonds

Besides, organic almond soaked overnight in water are very good for migraine. After soaking the almonds overnight, peel off the cover, and slow grind them to a very fine paste. Mix brown sugar or powdered rock candy in 1:1 ratio. Eat the paste and drink lukewarm organic milk (optional) after that , for better absorption.

Avoid eating anything for next 30 min or when you feel hungry, whichever is earlier.

Vegetables
Migraine patients must avoid following vegetables – brinjal, green peas, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, puli broccoli, mustard leaves, spinach, and all kinds of green leafy vegetables like spinach, bitter gourd, potatoes, water caltrop, etc.
However, vegetables cooked in Ghee are less harmful.

Spices
Avoid the use of red chili powder, mustard seeds,

Grains
Wheat and rice are the best options for migraine patients. However, avoid fine flour (maida) bread, white bread, cookies, cakes, and other sweets made out of any grain.

Migraine patients should avoid all kinds of pulses, lentils and millets unless advised otherwise. All these grains are very dry and cause vata vitiation in the body. Daily consumption of the above grains can aggravate migraines in intensity. However, lentils/millets tempered with Ghee are not very harmful. Only moong dal (green gram) is a lentil that does not cause vata vititation and can used safely in migraine condition.

Migraine patients must also avoid urad dal (black gram) at all costs, except south Indian dishes prepared from fermented urad dal.

Meat
Non-vegetarian fat from pig, deer, buffalo, bison, sheep, goat, horse, chicken, turkey crab, all kinds of the mollusk is highly recommended in the soup form for all migraine patients.
All kinds of fish and marine animals are also perfect for all migraine patients. Specially rohu fish is the best for migraines. It is essential to temper these soups with digestive herbs like black pepper, black cardamom, cumin, etc.

Avoid meat of rabbit, primarily fruit-grain eating small birds like the sparrow, parakeet, etc.

However, if you are a vegan, please avoid all meat as they will only add to migraines. Veganism itself is enough to cure not only migraines but all kinds of physical and mental problems!

Cooked food
Please avoid Idli/raw radish/curd at night, according to Ayurveda.
Try to avoid grain-based meals at night. Stick to fruits/boiled vegetables/meat soup at night.

Processed Food
Try to avoid eating all processed/packaged/ready to eat/ready to cook and ready to kill food. If you have a problem cooking or have no access to freshly cooked food, better stick to the ghee-fruit diet. You can mix and match between ghee and fruit diet to satisfy your taste buds.

Fats

Pure ghee is highly recommended in migraine treatment. Other oils like cold-pressed sesame, mustard oil are also edible. However, if you have any kind of congestion, or kapha related disorders like chronic cough and cold, try to avoid

Appetizers –

It is important to ensure that you have good amount of appetizers and digestive Herbs to adequately digest and absorb the oily food recommended in migraine. Therefore, it is advisable to use a good amount of black pepper, Hing, cumin seeds, bay leaves, black cardamom, star anise, cinnamon etc. in your food. Appetizing soups also can be very helpful if only they do not contain flatulence-causing vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower etc. Also exercises will help the oil to spread throughout the body and relieve dryness.

Some recommended recipes for migraine patients

Fried Radish

  • Take 500 grams of diced radish. Heat 50 ml ghee Sesame/mustard/olive oil in a frying pan.
  • Add a pinch of asafoetida, 1/2 tsp ajwain(caraway),1/2 tsp seeds cumin seeds and let them crackle for 10 sec.
  • Add diced radish and fry them till they turn soft. Add salt to taste.

You can The same procedure can be used for making Fried Arabi (colocasia), carrot, jackfruit, green banana, and air potato.
Please avoid the use of jackfruit if you have a weak digestive system. Raw jackfruit is an absolute no in Migraine. Also, avoid eating all raw vegetables.

Home remedy for Migraine relief for week 2

I have come across a home remedy that has helped me treat 6-7 migraine patients myself, without any medicine. This week you can start with this home remedy and see if it works for you too. Also, please share your experience with me, it will be helpful for everyone to know the effectiveness of this combination.

Mix equal amount of powdered almond, rock candy (misri), white pepper, cow’s ghee. Consume one tsp of this paste with normal water, everyday early morning empty stomach. Avoid eating anything for next 1 hour. You can also mix the ingredients and store.

In the next blog, I will share important lifestyle tips for migraine management.

Hope this information helps you to gain better control of your life.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti!

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Good Food and Bad Food According to Ayurveda – Food that should be consumed in miniscule quantities

There is some food that can be consumed regularly but only in small quantities or after a short break. Salt is the best example of such food. Too little salt or too much salt, both will spoil the dish. But just the appropriate amount can do wonders to both the taste and the health.

3 such food items are described in Charak Samhita, that might or might not be taken every day, but should be consumed only in a very small quantity.

  • Pippali (Long pepper)
  • Acids
  • Salt

Piper_longumPippali (Long pepper)

Ayurvedic properties of Pippali

Pippali or long pepper is light to digest, unctuous, sharp (rapid action), bitter with sweet vipaka and anushnasheet virya (not too hot or cold temperament).

Appropriate Use of Pippali

Looking at the qualities, it looks good for everyday use. Pippali is also used in many ayurvedic medicines. But, according to Acharya Charak, it should not be used every day because, after a long use, it has a tendency of increasing phlegm formation.

Excessive Use of Pippali

Regular consumption of Pippali is said to vitiate both Kapha and pitta. It does not pacify Vata also. It is beneficial to use Pippali only for a short duration and in small quantity, as prescribed by a trained Ayurveda physician.

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Acid

Ayurvedic properties of Acids (Charak Samhita)

Acid or Amla( Sanskrit) stimulates the taste buds, fuels the digestion, causes weight gain, increases the mental alertness, strengthens the sense organs, increases strength, balances the Vata, satisfies the heart, stimulates salivation, extracts the ingested food towards stomach( as a result of salivation) or extracts from the ingested food, lubricates/moistens the alimentary canal, nourishes the body. Acid is light, hot temperament and unctuous in nature.

Appropriate Use of Acid

Acidic food products such as aerated drinks, canned food, Tamarind, Vinegar, soya sauce, citric acid, lemon juice etc. should not be used in large quantity every day. They as be used as flavoring or seasoning agent in minimum required quantity. Also, elderly people should refrain from using such sour tasting edibles because these food items vitiate Vata and can cause joint pain, general body pain, and swelling. Too much of acid consumption should be strictly avoided during autumn, summer, and springtime for a healthy long life because these are the seasons where the body is the weakest. (Effect of Ritu (seasons) on Dosha)

According to the ideal food habits, the acidic food should be consumed in the middle of the meal as it will stimulate the digestion of the sweet food eaten earlier, it will kill the satiety generated by the sweet food, reheat the digestive tract and promote lubrication in the alimentary canal.

According to Ayurveda, a complete meal contains all 6 kinds of tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent). Therefore, some acid should be there in the diet every day in very small quantities. But in order to ensure that we do not need to add extremely sour food items like tamarind, vinegar, raw mango etc. to our meals. Some good sources of acids that can be used every day are Awla (Indian gooseberry), Orange, Sweet lemon, Citron, Pomegranate (slightly sour) etc.

Excessive Use of Acid 

It is important to note that all these symptoms are caused only due to excessive use of acid. Slight use of acidic substances by a healthy person will not cause the following symptoms. However, if the person already has vitiated pitta or is suffering from some disease, even a small amount of acid might cause significant damage, just like a small push to anyone standing on the brink of a pond might make him fall in the water.

Excessive use of acidic substances in daily food intake can cause a lot of problems –

  • It can affect dental health. An acidic environment in the mouth can promote dental cavity.
  • Acidic food over-excites the muscles in the eyes and causes them to shut. Such overstimulation might cause eye disorders.
  • Acidic food overstimulates the nerves in the skin and causes goosebumps.
  • Acidic food increases Pitta Dosha. Along with it, it creates all kinds of pitta problems like inflammation, swelling, balding etc.
  • Acidic food can cause blood disorders.
  • Acidic food causes inflammations in the muscular tissue
  • Acidic food slows down the metabolism
  • Acidic food causes swelling in the body of the degenerated, injured, thin and weak.

Apart from the above-stated disorders, excessive use of acids causes early hair fall, damage to eyesight and impotence. It is interesting that Charak Samhita specifically mentions that people in eastern countries (China, Thailand etc.) use too much acid in the food. This the reason for the specific facial features(chinky eyes) found in them (Charak Samhita: Viman Sthana – 17). However, earlier even the oriental people did not use vinegar and soya sauce every day. Their traditional daily diet was mainly rice and vegetables only. According to Confucius “Although there are plenty of meats, they should not be cooked more than the staple food.” Staple food here is the rice and the vegetables.

baked basil bio bread

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Salt

Ayurvedic properties of Salt

Salt is a good digestive. It serves as a great humidifying agent. It stimulates the hunger. It helps to remove the Kapha . It helps in the formation of feces in the intestines. It is fast acting, spreads quickly in the body. It promotes the expulsion of the feces. It is a declogging agent. It eliminates vata too. It prevents the accumulation of Dosha. It can overpower all other tastes. It stimulates the saliva secretion. It is not heavy to digest, but unctuous and hot temperament.

Appropriate Use of Salt 

Salt should be used in minimum possible quantities. It can be used in almost all the dishes, but its amount should be minuscule. One should never consume excess salt.

man standing beside black steel frame
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Excessive Use of Salt

Excessive use of salt can cause serious disorders in the body –

  • pollutes the pitta dosha and blood tissue. It can cause all kinds of blood and skin related disorders.
  • increases the heat and thirst in the body. Excess salt can even cause fainting.
  • can cause wasting in the muscles and promotes accumulation of poisonous substances in the body.
  • can cause loosening of the gums.
  • can cause impotence.
  • reduces the capability of sense organs.

According to Charak, excessive use of salt causes weakness and low stamina in the body, baldness, early hair whitening and wrinkled skin.

Basically, salt induces and stimulates the chemical or digestive processes that can turn destructive if uncontrolled. According to Ayurveda, salt is considered to the nutritive factor majorly responsible for accelerated aging.

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
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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.

chicken close up dish food
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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.

 

Know thy food – Basic Ayurvedic Classification of Food

According to Ayurveda, the one who eats healthy food will never need any medicine; and the one who eats unhealthy food will never benefit from any medicine. Therefore it is important to know thy food!

According to Ayurveda, every edible substance on earth has 3 properties –

Doshashamak (Pacifier of Dosha)- It balances the dosha (physiological systems of the body). Herbs like turmeric, ginger, black pepper can be classified as Doshashamak. Turmeric balances Kapha and Pitta, ginger and black pepper balances Vata and Kapha.

assorted spices near white ceramic bowls
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Dhatupradushak( Contaminator of Dhatu)- It contaminates the vital tissue systems. Ayurveda believes that the diseases can occur only when there is a suitable environment for their incubation inside the body system. A contaminated dhatu is the ignorant king who unsuspectingly allows the trojan horse of diseases inside the body. It is like the traitor of Sparta who gave away the strategic secrets and led to the defeat of his kingdom. Therefore, all diseases have roots inside the body and these roots are formed by the Dhatupradushak food and lifestyle habits we practice.

Onion can be considered as an example of Dhatupradushak, as it is Guru (heavy to digest). Anything that is heavy to digest is taxing for the digestive system to absorb. It has a hot temperament and helps to balance Vata. However, it is heavy, sweet in taste, and unctuous. Therefore, onion has a tendency to vitiate Kapha Dosha. Onion is also sharp in action and has bitter as its secondary taste. Therefore, it can vitiate pitta dosha by disturbing the physiological processes.

red brown white and purple onions and garlic displayed
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Swasthyahitkarak(Beneficial for Health) – It is the substance that is indisputably good for health. It is important to note that all Ayurvedic guidelines should be considered in a context. Sutra is the system that provides a comprehensive context for all rules. Ghee, Honey, rice, moong dal are some of the swasthyahitkarak foods, that cause almost no harm to the body in the widest range of situations.

spoon honey jar glass
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Now, there is no physical substance that when taken in any quantity, any time and in any manner will be incontestably good for health. For example, rice is considered good for health and according to Ayurveda, one should have it every day. But uncooked rice is disastrous if consumed, an excessive amount of cooked rice is not good, polished rice is unhealthy etc. Therefore, there is a context where a substance is doshashamak, dhatupradoshak or Swasthyahitkarak. This is the broad view.

Now for practical purposes, how can we classify day to day objects in these 3 categories? Well, we can do that in the same way as we classify the solid, liquid and gas. Everything that exists on this earth can acquire any of the 3 states of physical existence, in specific conditions. For example, oxygen is a gas in normal circumstances. However, it can be transformed to liquid when compressed, or even solid. But still, for all practical purposes, it is classified as a gas, because that is its natural form of existence. In the same way, even arsenic can be good for the body. It is actually used in many of the Rasa Shastra medicines. But, for all practical purposes, it is classified as a toxin. Because it has a natural toxic effect on the body. Similarly, haritaki (Terminelia chebula) is extolled to be as benevolent as a mother towards the stomach but it is not supposed to be consumed more than a specific period of time. Still, for all practical purposes, it is a swasthyahitkarak herb.

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Besides, it is important to note that each human body is different. What is good for one person might not be good for the other. For example, eating curd might be good for a person with good digestion, but buttermilk is better for a person with weak digestion. But this classification is still applicable for everyone. For example, as swasthyahitkarak substance, Ghee is invariably good for all humans, (pure and natural) milk is nourishing for all children. Similarly, too much acid like vinegar is dhatupradushak for all people. And Amla is pitta doshashamak for everyone.

Therefore, irrespective of the body type, this classification is the basis on which we can choose the food that we should eat or the food that we should avoid, in general.

  • Swasthyahitkarak food items should be consumed every day.
  • Doshashamak food items should be consumed according to requirement.
  • Dhatupradushak food items should be consumed rarely or not at all.

If we follow these plain and simple rules of eating, we will never fall sick.

The most interesting thing about substance(dravya) as described in Ayurveda is Kal (time), Disha(dimension), Mana(mind) and Atma (soul) are classified as substances. Therefore the above 3 classifications are applicable to the lifestyle and the thought process also.

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