Digestion According To Ayurveda

 

Disclaimer:
All content included on this website (including, but not limited to,  images, photos, graphics and text) is the property of ‘Healthy Ayurveda’ and ‘Vedic Sage’ and as such is protected by US and international copyright and other intellectual property laws. 

 

 

Digestion According To Ayurveda

The fundamentals of Ayurveda is centered around digestion and takes into consideration:
  • Rasa: the 6 differing tastes ... which are sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent
  • Virya: the potency or power contained within food and/or medicine
  • Vipaka: the influence of food at the tissue level once digestion within the GI tract is complete
  • Prabhava ... which will be discussed further in another post

 

 

According To Ayurveda ...
Every substance is made up of a combination of the "5 Great Elements"
The '5 Great Elements' called "Panchmahabhutas" are ether, air, fire, water and earth.

... and based upon the combination or proportion of the 5 elements [panchmahabhutas] contained within a particular substance ultimately determines the taste [rasa], qualities [gunas] and actions [karmas] the substance [dravya] will possess.
It's important to understand that the food we ingest - changes at every stage of digestion and knowing these very changes allows us  to appreciate the therapeutic nature of  food - allowing us to eat  deliberately according to one's needs.
Taste [Rasa]

Our initial perception of food [apart from seeing and smelling of food] is taste. According to the teachings of Ayurveda, tastes have an effect on doshas which then creates an influence upon the body and mind.

Before we go any further ... 
In order to understand the correlation of tastes and its influence upon doshas ...
it's important to appreciate the correlation of the elements and the principle of like increases like; and opposites help to balance excess.
Samanya Vishesha Siddant 
Substances having properties and actions similar to that of dosha-dhatu-and malas
.... will bring about an increase in such doshas-dhatus and malas.
Like Increases Like ...
Opposites Help To Balance Excess ...
The inverse is equally important.  Meaning, substances which have dissimilar or opposing properties  ... will cause a decrease in the function of doshas-dhatus- and malas.
which have opposing functions.

 

 

More Simplified:

  • like increases like
  • opposites tend to reduce excesss

 

 

The Correlation ...

There is a correlation of the 5 Great Elements [ether, air, fire, water, and earth]
and the 6 tastes: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent.
Although all substances contain all 5 elements
- Sweet taste contains all the elements but is  predominately water and earth
- Sour taste is predominately fire and earth
- Salty taste is predominately  fire and water
- Pungent is predominately fire and air
- Bitter being predominately ether and air
- Astringent taste is predominately air and earth.
SWEET TASTE ...
 

Sweet taste being that predominately  of water and earth elements has both oily and heavy qualities which naturally increases kapha dosha. The heavy and oily qualities of food that are sweet in nature will naturally increase the inherent heavy & oily qualities of kapha dosha which will then influence the body & mind conditioned to kapha dosha. Sweet tastes is pleasing to the senses and nourishes all 7 bodily tissues [i.e. dhatu]. Sweet taste promotes anabolic growth. Proper intake of sweet taste increases strength & longevity. Sweet taste improves complexion, promotes healthy hair and skin.

 

 

SOUR TASTE ... 
Sour taste is predominately fire and water elements which possess light and oily qualities which will tend to increase pitta dosha. Pitta influences the body & mind with sourness which stimulates salivation, stimulates appetite  ... via enhancing the secretion of digestive enzymes.
SALTY TASTE ...
Salty taste is predominately fire and earth elements which has heating and sharp qualities from fire and heavy quality from earth which will tend to increase pitta dosha.
Pitta influences the body and mind with conditions such as salty taste stimulates appetite and enhances digestion.
PUNGENT TASTE ...
Pungent taste is predominately air and fire elements  which has dry, light, hot and sharp qualities. Due to these qualities this will naturally increase both vata and pitta dosha which influences the body and mind ....
Pungent taste stimulates Agni, improves digestion.
Pungent taste clears the sinuses by stimulating nasal secretions
... which helps dissolve and remove kapha dosha.
BITTER TASTE ...
Bitter taste is predominately ether and air elements which has light, dry and cool qualities which tends to increase vata dosha. Bitter taste clears the palate. Bitter taste creates firmness to the skin and muscles and due to its cooling nature, tends to be an antipyretic.

ASTRINGENT TASTE ... 

Astringent taste is predomately air and earth elements which has dry, cool and heavy qualities which tends to increase vata dosha. Astringent taste improves absorption and due to its action of reducing excess flow tends to create binding of the stool and can lead to constipation.
The Correlation 
By understanding the correlation between:
- the 5 Great Elements [ether, air, fire, water, and earth]
- the 6 tastes [sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, astringent]
- and the 3 doshas [vata, pitta, and kapha]
we can then construct a chart that allows us to use food in a therapeutic fashion.

*Vata dosha is decreased with: sweet, sour and salty tastes.

*Pitta dosha is decreased with: sweet, bitter and astringent tastes.

*Kapha dosha is decreased with: pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes. 

As food moves into the stomach and eventually into the small intestine for further digestion ... a more profound effect takes place which is considered virya. The actual Sanskrit word  "Virya" comes from the root Veer; which implies power & potency. Therefore, Virya is the energy, the power, the strength & potency which allows food to exert its actions upon bodily tissue.

Generally speaking,
Virya can be classified into two categories: Heating & Cooling which then exerts its influence upon dosha & Agni;  which ultimately exerts its influence upon bodily tissue.
There is also the school of thought [i.e. Asthavida Virya] which describes 8 separate Virya [hot, cold, oily, dry, light, heavy, soft, and sharp]. These 8 separate virya are considered the 8 strongest of the 20 qualities. Strongest in the sense of : most potent, longer acting, and having more shakti [power].
FOR CONVENIENCE: 
We often refer to virya as either being heating or cooling. Since, out of the 8 strongest of 20 qualities ... heating and cooling tend to be the strongest.
HEATING VIRYA:
- reduces both vata and kapha ... and increases pitta dosha
- since pitta dosha increases; naturally Agni is increased.
- more specifically; heating virya leads to dipana [which stimulates Agni]
- heating virya promotes pachana which improves digestion.
COOLING VIRYA:
- reduces pitta dosha ... while increasing kapha and vata dosha
- since kapha generally tends to inhibit Agni
... this will naturally promote growth and anabolic activity.
Interesting Note ...
As mentioned previously, virya means power and potency.  Aside from prabhav [which seemingly is in another league of its own], Virya is the most powerful influence of all the digestive factors [rasa, virya, vipaka]. Because of this, virya is strongly considered in regards to the administration of medicine.
Tastes is initially perceived on the tongue as food is ingested. As food becomes further digested in the stomach and small intestine
... the more profound and longer-acting influence of Virya occurs
... acting upon NOT only dosha ... BUT ... JaatharaAgni [the digestive metabolic fire].
Digestion Is A Process
Digestion is a process and as food is digested along the G.I. tract. There are a series of reactions thereby creating partially digested food-products along the way.

Vipaka is the final substance derived from food that results after digestion within the gastrointestinal tract is complete. This substance [with its physical-chemical structure],

its qualities and its corresponding influence upon doshas and bodily tissue is vipaka.
However, before we can appreciate vipaka
... it's important to discuss Avastha Paka
... which is equally fascinating!!
All throughout this Process of digestion ... are by-products of partially digested food. Each stage of digestion forms a substance which has certain physical-chemical characteristics with corresponding qualities and therefore ... exerting specific influence upon the doshas. And the doshas ... themselves, influencing actions throughout the body.

Let's take a step back and take a closer look at the food once ingested. We've discussed how perception of taste occurs via the tongue ... which immediately influences the doshas.

Next, as food travels down the esophagus and enters the stomach this initiates a cascade of gastric juices; [i.e. gastrin, mucin, HCL, pepsin, renin] and when the ingested food and the gastric juices within the stomach combine

... this creates a "sweet phase" of digestion ... called Madhura Avastha Paka
... and this causes the formation of kapha
... which creates a sense of contentment and fullness.
Amla Avastha Paka ... 
As food continues to become digested, the combination of partially digested food along with gastric juices now entering into the small intestine with the addition of bile and pancreatic juices
creates a substance which now has a unique chemical structure, with unique qualities different than ... what was initially ingested, and different than what was in the stomach.
as food enters the small intestine and mixes with bile and pancreatic digestive juices. This creates the SOUR phase of digestion called "Amla Avastha paka".  This sourness creates the increased influence of pitta dosha which may also exacerbate certain pitta conditions such as itching, hives, rash and urticaria, etc.
As the process of digestion continues ... 
Food from the small intestine now enters into the large intestine; the colon. As food enters the large intestine much of the digestive process is almost complete as the colon absorbs mainly water and certain minerals.
Through this process [of absorption of water] the digested substance now takes on a set of new characteristics which are more  dry and light ... and therefore, increases the influence of VATA dosha. This may exacerbate certain Vata  conditions such as gas, bloating, constipation etc.
Are We Done With Digestion?

Kind of.

Once food has entered the large intestine and water and mineral absorption are complete ... digestion within the gastrointestinal tract is complete.

However, digestion at the tissue level is yet to begin.  Hence, the importance of vipaka; which is the post-digestive effect. 
Meaning, the effect of food upon the body;  at the tissue and cellular level.

The final substance formed after complete digestion [[within the gastrointestinal tract]] is considered vipaka.  The influence of vipaka occurs on bodily tissue as well as malas [bodily wastes; i.e. feces ... which formed within the GI tract].

Although the Classical text of Ayurveda slightly differ.
Most consider Vipaka to be of 3; Sweet, Sour, and Pungent.
Vipaka has effects on both bodily tissue and waste products [i.e. feces, urine, sweat].
Sweet Vipaka increases Kapha  ... and therefore promotes growth [i.e. anabolic action]
Sweet vipaka also helps with the elimination of waste products; waste products being feces, urine and sweat.

Sour Vipaka  increases Pitta ... and therefore promotes metabolic activities.

Sour vipaka tends to create loose stool and can even be the cause of diarrhea and it may tend to create acidic urine and sweat.
Pungent Vipaka increases Vata ... and therefore promotes depletion [i.e. catabolic actions]
Pungent Vipaka tends to reduce flow of waste products; therefore being constipating.
Hope You Enjoyed!!

Disclaimer:
All content included on this website (including, but not limited to,  images, photos, graphics and text) is the property of ‘Healthy Ayurveda’ and ‘Vedic Sage’ and as such is protected by US and international copyright and other intellectual property laws. 

This information is strictly for educational purpose only and not considered medical advice. Always first discuss with your primary care physician before considering any new health regimen.


The Ayurveda Guide: Spring Season

 

The Ayurveda Guide: Spring Season
The shift to springtime weather and energy has begun. Fickle, changing hot-and-cold days send mixed signals to the body. This natural weather flux demands more flexibility in the body, because the body senses the shift of seasons on a cellular level and begins a natural detox. Many of us experience that, during the cold weather, we tend to eat more. Eating more then is natural, as it is Vata-pacifying (Vata is the mind-body operating principle that governs movement and is associated with fall and winter). The extra weight naturally keeps us warmer and feeling more comfortable in the cold winter months.

Ayurveda honors that change within ...

We have all had the experience of feeling cold when we have missed our main meal. Food is the fuel that allows our metabolism to keep us at normal body temperature. This increase of winter food can also lead to the build-up of ama, or toxins. Animals living in nature slim down in the spring, losing their winter fat, and we humans, by design, naturally move in the same direction. Ayurveda has long recognized that different things are happening inside of us during each season. Ayurveda honors that "change within" and recognizes – and supports – that the body wants to do something different as the seasons come and go.

Spring is invigorating. It's a time of renewal and rejuvenation. The sunlight and warmth return. Life leaves behind the chilly winter silence and starts to stir again. Cleansing is natural in spring – we often feel a deep urge to rid ourselves of old unwanted items and create a new space. Ayurveda understands this deeply-seated tendency as something very significant: a powerful natural movement within; a physiological trend to clean out. Ayurveda offers a great number of tools for just such deep cleansing.

The Winter Ama Build-up

Over winter, toxins can build up in the body. They find their way into us through foods, the air, water, chemicals, GMOs, pollution and preservatives. Our own digestive fire, called agni in Ayurveda, also plays a role. Overeating during the holidays, and overall poor eating habits, can dampen agni and lead to a build-up of ama – which results in sluggishness, extra pounds, poor sleep or worse. Pressure from work, family and financial concerns may also build up and bog you down physically and mentally.

The build-up of ama, or undigested material, ends up stored in our cells, circulatory and microcirculatory channels, slowing everything down and gumming everything up, including the digestion and elimination processes. The Ayurvedic solution is this: given an opportunity, the body will detox naturally – it's built to do that.

The build-up of ama, or undigested material, ends up stored in our cells, circulatory and microcirculatory channels, slowing everything down and gumming everything up, including the digestion and elimination processes. The Ayurvedic solution is this: given an opportunity, the body will detox naturally – it's built to do that.

The build-up of ama, or undigested material, ends up stored in our cells, circulatory and microcirculatory channels, slowing everything down and gumming everything up, including the digestion and elimination processes. The Ayurvedic solution is this: given an opportunity, the body will detox naturally – it's built to do that.

At-Home Ayurvedic Detoxification

Ancient Herbal Formulations – Ayurvedic formulas carefully crafted by Maharishi Ayurveda can help the detoxifying process any time of the year. There are two formulas in particular that can gently and efficiently jump-start a refreshing, springtime cleanse.

Using 18 traditional Ayurvedic herbs, Elim-Tox works to detoxify the colon and digestive tract. It continues on to cleanse the liver, sweat glands, blood, nutritive fluids and fat tissue. Each pore is purified as the micro-channels of the body release waste, and cellular pathways for vital nutrients are renewed.

Elim-Tox-O is a similar but gentler formula for those who experience heartburn, acne and excess stomach acid (tendency toward Pitta imbalance). Absorption of nutrients is promoted as the liver gently detoxes. At the same time the blood, fatty tissues and muscles are purified.

Organic Digest Tone (Triphala Plus) contains three revered Ayurvedic fruits — Amla, Chebulic myrobalan and Belleric myrobalan. It accomplishes two important tasks overnight: creating ojas, the finest by-product of balanced digestion, and strengthening and balancing agni, the digestive fire. Each of the herbs in this traditional formulation rejuvenates and supports wellness. It is an Ayurvedic Rasayana, acknowledged for its ability to nourish at the deepest levels of the body and mind. For this, it is considered one of the most valuable Ayurvedic herbal preparations in the world. In addition, a fourth ingredient, Cabbage Rose, is added to support the synergy of the other ingredients and promote their effectiveness.

Supporting Spring Immunity

Beej-bhumi: Immunity is traditionally explained in Ayurveda using the beej-bhumi illustration. It means "seed and land." The body is the land, and pathogens are seeds. If the body is filled with ama and lacking in ojas (the finest product of good digestion), the pathogens find fertile ground for growing. If digestion is strong, and ojas rather than ama predominates in the body, then the seeds don't take root.

Take a Breath: Everyone is more susceptible to respiratory problems when the seasons are changing, such as in the fall and early spring. This is because the body functions differently in each season, and in the transition between the hot and cold seasons the agni, or digestive fire, can start to fluctuate dramatically. If you do not adjust your diet and routine and follow the Ayurvedic guidelines for the seasonal transitions, you can build up ama. The soil is then primed to grow a seed.

That is why respiratory issues and allergen reactions abound for some in the fall and early spring. In the early spring, there is an added factor, because ama accumulated during the winter starts to dissolve in our system, flooding the micro-channels and overloading the immune system. The body's immune system is weakened, and becomes a fertile ground for bacteria. In the case of allergens, the body misidentifies and attacks itself, resulting in the allergen symptoms that make us feel so uncomfortable.

Bio-Immune combines traditional purifying herbs with Ayurvedic minerals, including mica. Because it is made traditionally, it takes over six months to prepare! The herbs and minerals together help the immune system without side effects. This herbal combination also helps eliminate digestive impurities and toxins that can affect natural immunity. Bio-Immune tablets, Sniffle Free tablets, and Cold Weather Defense tablets are all immune-promoting herbal supplements that you can take during the winter and spring season to support respiratory health. The herbs in Bio-Immune promote neuro-immune responses, purify the liver and blood, and dissolve ama and amavisha (a more reactive form of ama that has settled in one part of the body). Take one or two tablets of Bio-Immune each morning and evening to support overall immunity.

Premium Amla Berry (formerly ReGen Vitality) – a potent Rasayana (nourishing blend of herbs) for overall rejuvenation. Good nutrition requires a balance of the six Ayurvedic tastes — sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent. Amla is one of just a handful of herbs that contain five of the six taste categories — all except lavan, or salty. Such balanced nutrition means that Amla helps balance all three of the basic operating principles of mind and body — Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Taken in combination with Bio-Immune and Organic Digest Tone, it is a powerhouse for supporting immunity.

Cold Weather Defense promotes the body's natural defenses by offering nutritional support.

The herbs have a variety of functions:

  • Promote well-being and comfort
  • Help balance the moisture level and mucus in the lungs and sinuses
  • Aid digestion for decreased production of toxic food residues
  • Help remove toxins that can weaken resistance
  • Nourish the body's natural defense mechanism

 

Sniffle Free – Cold weather can compromise your body's ability to handle cold temperatures that can dampen the digestive fire (agni) and weaken the body. Sniffle Free supports natural agni, which is often compromised by colder weather. This formula also aids your resistance to the cold, helps lubricate the lungs and helps restore your body's balance of moisture and mucus.

Organic Genitrac – The traditional Ayurvedic herbs in this formulation help cleanse and purify the urinary tract. When the urinary tract isn’t functioning properly, toxins accumulate, breeding bacteria, which leads to more toxins, further impeding urination. One out of five women will be affected by a urinary tract issue. While it’s much rarer for men to experience urinary tract issues, it can be much more serious when they do. The best approach is to maintain the health of the genitourinary tract in the first place.

There a number of Ayurvedic herbals supporting immunity. The complete list can be found here.

Best Ama-Burning Diet Tips

Spring is an ideal time to do gentle purification treatments called Panchakarma. The transition periods between the seasons, in fall and the early spring, are when the body is primed to purify itself of accumulated toxins. Panchakarma includes a full program of Ayurvedic massage, steam baths and intestinal cleansing treatments, to rid your body of ama accumulated during the previous season. Panchakarma also strengthens your agni, or digestive fire, so more ama won't be accumulated.

If you can't go to a clinic for panchakarma, you can still follow an Ayurvedic regimen at home to cleanse the body of ama during the transition between the seasons. Diet is key. Eating warm, light, nourishing foods such as soups, or light meals of mildly-spiced vegetables with grains such as quinoa, couscous and millet, helps the body cleanse. Enjoying a lighter diet for a few weeks while the weather is changing helps burn away ama rather than accumulate it. Lots of rest at the optimal times is a powerful, age-old secret of Ayurveda. So is drinking plenty of warm fluids, daily walks and other exercise suitable for your body type.

If you feel less hungry at mealtimes than usual, or if you feel heavy and dull in the two hours immediately after a meal, these are indications that your digestive fire is burning low. To help enhance your agni, make a delicious Pomegranate Chutney to accompany your meal.

Cooking your food with immune-supporting spices such as cumin, fennel, coriander, turmeric, ginger and black pepper is also an important way to enhance agni and reduce ama.

You can also take one tablet of the Maharishi Ayurveda herbal supplement Herbal Di-Gest with each meal to promote digestion or, if Organic Digest Tone does not stimulate elimination, take two to three capsules of Herbal Cleanse at night if you are feeling constipated from time to time.

Consider adding the traditional Ayurvedic herbs that support respiratory health. Protection Plus Respiratory System contains 26 herbs that act synergistically to protect the lungs from respiratory problems. This formula separates ama from the Shleshaka Kapha, the subdosha related to joint lubrication and body fluids, making it easier to cleanse the lungs. It also cleanses the channels of ama and nurtures, lubricates, and restores balance to the lungs as the impurities are dissolved, supporting the body's natural immunity.

You can also drink a warm, immune-supporting tea such as Sniffle Free Tea twice a day, with your meal or after it. The herbs in this thermogenic tea will help balance Kapha immediately. If your head is feeling heavy or congested, you can also use Sniffle Free Aroma oil to help create balance and clear the sinuses.

Tips for a Deep Spring Detox

  • Take advantage of the abundance of fresh organic spring greens and organic grains.
  • Enjoy organic fruit, juices and whole milk rather than more-processed options.
  • Drink plenty of purified water.
  • Consuming at least 2 quarts a day will help flush out toxins.
  • Enjoy exercise outdoors on a regular basis.
  • Favor foods that are warm, light and easy to digest.
  • Reduce or avoid red meat, refined and canned foods, salt.
  • Limit or avoid coffee, dairy products and alcohol intake. 

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.


The Making Of "Dr. Vasant Lad Documentary"

Dr. Vasant Lad Documentary
The term ‘Upanishad’ literally means, “sitting down near” or “sitting close to”, and it implies listening closely to the mystic doctrines of a guru or a spiritual teacher, who has realized the fundamental truth of life. It has been said that the best teachers teach from the heart and not from the book. To many, Dr. Vasant Lad is just that, a guru and a spiritual teacher. Dr. Lad is both a physician and professor who is considered one of the foremost expects on the subject of Ayurveda. Each year, Dr. Lad travels throughout the world, consulting privately and giving lectures. Coming to the United States in 1979 and lecturing for over 30 years, Dr. Lad has influenced and touched the hearts of his students. Rare are the teachers who affect eternity, never knowing where their influence stops. Alexander the great once wrote, “I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well”. For those who have been fortunate enough to spend time and learn from Dr. Lad know that feeling. Many students are familiar with the silence that occurs as Dr. Lad enters a room. Not only is that silence a form of respect but even deeper, in that silence, love exists. Quite often, Dr. Lad’s lectures will transition into a philosophical inquiry bringing attention and awareness to the inner universe within oneself; i.e. “reality”. Dr. Lad has said that Ayurveda is a science of moment-to-moment living, observing every moment in an unbroken flow of attention.

“Dr. Vasant Lad is a true Vaidya - a knower of reality.”
- Deepak Chopra, M.D.

Dr. Lad Documentary Trailer - Directory Jeremy Frindel

Coming Early 2017
When Dr. Vasant Lad was eight years old, his guru predicted that he would one day spread the teachings and practices of Ayurveda in the United States. For a small boy in rural India who couldn't speak English, this seemed impossible, but that is exactly what came to be. This feature length documentary follows the journey of a simple man who has devoted his life to one of the oldest known medical systems in the world: Ayurveda. In 1979, Len Blank sponsored Dr. Lad on a his first visit to the US to travel and share Ayurveda with the general population. Since that time, Dr. Lad has spent 35 years traveling all over the world sharing the ancient science of Ayurveda, created the first and largest institute for Ayurvedic studies in the west, and spearheaded an awakening of this ancient medical system in the modern world.

The film follows the journey from Dr. Lad's childhood to his medical training and the Ayurveda movement in the West that his work has sparked. Filming began on this project in 2013 with travel to India and New Mexico to film Dr. Lad. This film has the enthusiastic support of Vasant Lad and the Ayurvedic Institute, and is being independently funded by individuals donating or investing privately.

Want To Support The Making Of This Documentary? 
Please help by making a tax-deductible contribution. Help create a documentary film exploring the life of a pioneer in the field of Ayurveda: teacher, author, spokesperson, and Ayurvedic physician, Vasant Lad. Production began on this documentary last year, and we are currently fundraising the needed finances to complete the film. With your support, this inspiring film can come to life!
Click Here - To Support This Documentary!! 

The Director
Jeremy Frindel
Jeremy Frindel is a Brooklyn based filmmaker whose directorial debut ONE TRACK HEART: THE STORY OF KRISHNA DAS was released theatrically in the US in 2013 by Zeitgeist Films. ONE TRACK HEART was awarded Best Documentary at five film festivals, and has screened at dozens of other film festivals around the world, as well as theatrically in over 100 US cities. He earned a BA in Film Scoring from the Berklee College of Music in 2001, and has been engaged in the many aspects of filmmaking ever since. He has worked as an editor and sound editor on such films as Some Kind of Monster, Bernard & Doris, The Baxter and the Oscar nominated, Junebug.


How To Easily Make Delicious Kitchari

How To  Make Kitchari
For its easy digestibility and flavored simplicity, kitchari has long been valued in nearly every indian household. Despite its name in hindi, which means “a mess” or “all mixed up”, India’s traditional science of Ayurveda considers this dish to be nourishing and is often used as part of its seasonal cleansing programs [i.e. Panchakarma]. Not only is kitchadi nourishing but with certain spice combinations, kitchadi can also greatly help to improve digestion.

Kitchari Kit This kit provides all the basic supplies you need to make Kitchari for 7 days.

The Spice Of Life
Spiced generously or by adding extra ginger you can make kitchari a simple lunch on a cool autumn or winter afternoon. Likewise, the addition of ghee [clarified butter] garnished with fresh cilantro and a splash of lime helps to make kitchari the most delicious and satisfying  meal anytime of the year.


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup basmati rice
  • 1 cup mung daal [split yellow]
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 -1 inch ginger root [chopped or grated]
  • pinch of mineral salt [approx. 1/4 tsp]
  • 2 tsp ghee
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 pinch asafoetida [hing]
  • handful fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1  1/2 cups of assorted vegetables [optional]


Easy Preparation:

Add 6 cups of water to the rice and daal in a heavy-bottomed pot
Cook on medium heat while covered for approx 20 minutes; until cooked softly
In another saucepan, sauté the seeds [cumin, mustard] in ghee until they begin to pop.
Next, add the other spices [coriander, cumin powder and turmeric] to this mix
Stir the sautéed spices into the cooked daal, rice, [and vegetable] mixture
Add mineral salt and cilantro. Then enjoy.

Resource:
The Ayurvedic Institute - Online Resource: Kitchari Recipe
Photo Credit: BrunchFastClub.com


Amrit Kalash - The Nectar Of Immortality & The Queen Of Ayurvedic Formulas

 

Amrit Kalash - The Nectar Of Immortality
According to Indian mythology, during the ancient of times there was much suffering amongst humanity. The gods and demons [Devas & Asuras] got together and made a solemn oath to help resolve the origin of all suffering. Together they entered the depths of the ocean and churned the water to produce the most precious gift - Amrit Kalash. Amrit Kalash is thought to be the ambrosial gift to bring about health and happiness for all of humanity.

Amrit Kalash
Traditional ayurvedic formula of 13 herbs that supports the health of mind, brain, and nerves; increases vitality and inner strength; powerful antioxidant — research shows it to be up to 1,000 times more effective than vitamins C and E

The Queen Of All Ayurvedic Formulas
Amrit Kalash is produced in 250 meticulous steps and is often called “herbs for enlightenment”. This is because Amrit Kalash is a masterful blend of many herbs which helps to promote perfect health, longevity, bliss, and man’s full potential - enlightenment.


Yat Jara Vyadhi Nashanam Tat Rasayanam

"that which negates old age and disease is called a Rasayana”


A Masterful Rasayana

The science of Ayurveda speaks volumes about individual fruits, herbs and spices that are considered Rasayanas. Amrit Kalash has it all. For example, the two main fruit in Amrit Kalash are Indian Gooseberry [Amalaki] and Indian Gallnut [Haritaki] which are considered to be the premier Rasayanas in the category of fruit. The classical texts of Ayurveda have made it clear that these two fruit support a long and healthy life of bliss and happiness. In the category of spices, Turmeric and Long Pepper (Pippali) are revered for their healing benefits. Other herbs to help make Amrit Kalash the “Queen Of All Rasayanas” belong to a category of herbs called ‘Medhya Rasayanas’ - which refers to herbs which enhance the ability to learn, retain and recall knowledge. These intellectual herbs [i.e. Medhya] include Indian Pennywort [Gotu Kola/Brahmi], Shakapushpi, and Aloeweed. 


A Charming Video Discussing The Benefits Of Amrit Kalash


Positive Influence On Immunity

Stressors of the modern lifestyle seem to be impacting everyone, everywhere. No better way to manage stressors than to consider a powerful Rasayana to help nourish the mind, body and spirit in a very holistic and balanced way. Immunity is very well described in Ayurveda as “Bala” - which encompasses a holistic concept of physical, mental, emotional and psychological immunity. An immune boosting herb in Amrit Kalash worth mentioning is Guduchi. Another name for Guduchi is “Amrita” [immortal] due to several implications. For one, this plant appears to be indestructible. If you cut a vine off the main plant, the cut vine tends to grow aerial roots and keeps growing even without water and soil. Another herb in Amrit Kalash also referred as “Amrita” is Indian Gallnut [Haritaki]. Haritaki is considered extremely beneficial in helping to flush out certain toxins and enhance the immune system. Just as Amrit Kalash is beginning to sound to good to be true, it gets even more unbelievable. Amalaki also enhances the immune boosting qualities of Amrit Kalash. In fact, Amalaki is considered to have the richest source of vitamin C in the plant world. Even further, the vitamin C from Amalaki is thought to be in the form that is resistant to both heat and light and is easily assimilated by the body. Amongst many other benefits, research on Amrit Kalash has also revealed it to be a powerful scavenger of free radicals.

Ojas - The Substance Which Sustains Life
Ojas is considered to be the refined by-product of healthy digestion. The ancient wisdom of Ayurveda explains ojas as being that substance which sustains life. It is also said that when ojas is optimal in both quality and quantity - one will be happy and healthy. The meticulous process involved in the creation of Amrit Kalash is thought to help promote the formation of ojas.

Disclaimer:
This information is strictly for educational purpose and provides information about the tradition of Ayurveda. Always first discuss the risk/benefits/alternatives with your primary care physician before considering any new health regimen.


3 Health Reasons Why You May Not Want To Drink Smoothies - An Ayurvedic Perspective

 

3 Reasons Not To Drink Smoothies
While your immune boosting superfood smoothie may be chock-full of nutrients, power-packed with vitamins, and loaded with antioxidants it may actually be adding undue burden to your digestion and overall health. There is no denying the sense of clarity and lightness one feels from eating raw food. However, many raw food enthusiast have attested that over a period of time there is often a sense of ungroundedness that develops and the science of Ayurveda has just the explanation for this.

"All disease begins in the gut." - Hippocrates

1. Smoothies Are Difficult To Digest
The process of eating, according to Ayurveda, is metaphorically similar to a burning fire. The whole aim of Ayurveda is to balance this digestive fire so that we can digest our meals efficiently and smoothly. Foods which are raw and uncooked add additional strain upon the digestive fire and often require greater energy [i.e. enzymes] to properly break down food. Our digestive fire likes simplicity and may not have any problems digesting a few veggies. However, the dense, rough, and heavy qualities of raw food [in large amounts] is generally considered difficult to digest and therefore can lead to symptoms of indigestion. Incidentally, over 90% of Americans suffer from everyday digestive problems such as gas, bloating, stomach pain, constipation and heartburn - and smoothies may just aggravate these “vata” conditions even further. 

2. Indigestion [Increases Vata]
According to the wisdom of Ayurveda “vata” is made primarily of the air element and has the qualities of dry, rough, cold, mobile and is changeable. When vata is aggravated it can cause certain qualitative changes within the body such as increased dryness, roughness, coldness, mobility and variability within the body/mind. Very simply - this can be experienced as variable appetite; gas or pain after eating; dry constipation or loose motions (increased mobility); and dry/rough skin and hair.

DRY:
Due to the dry quality, vata often leads to dry skin, dehydration and even that annoying cracking and popping of the joints.

LIGHT:
The light quality, if increased, can result in the feeling of being ungrounded, light-headed and even lead to insomnia if this quality persists.

COLD:
If you ever shake the hands of a vata type, you will take notice of cold hands. Vata makes one sensitive to cold weather and will often experience pain and stiffness in muscles and joints, specifically in cold weather.

ROUGH:
Vata creates vulnerability to developing dry, rough, and scaly skin. Likewise, the inner lining of the body [i.e. mucosal lining] can also become dry and rough and according to these principles is the underlying cause of fissures along the mucosal lining.

MOBILE:
As mentioned above, the air element of vata types is always moving, resembling the wind. If this mobile quality is increased, this can lead to abnormal movements of the body such as tics, spasms, tremors and even agitation within the mind giving rise to uncertainty and anxiety.

3. Raw Food Can Eventually Be Depleting
The science of Ayurveda talks a great deal about “Ojas” as being the end result of healthy digestion and balance of all bodily tissues. In fact, it is ojas which gives vitality to the body and clarity to the mind. As mentioned above - raw uncooked vegetables tends to increase vata. Vata can be likened to the modern understanding of catabolism or the breaking down of tissues. This may be great for shedding off a few extra pounds initially. However, in the long term this is considered to be depleting and as a result may prevent the formation of ojas - the quintessence vitality of life.

Why Not Consider Delicious Almond Milk Instead? 

Ingredients:
- 2 cups almonds
- 4 cups filtered water
- 1/4 c. cacao powder
- 8 dates
- 1/4 c. honey or maple syrup
- 1 vanilla bean or 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp each of cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or pumpkin spice

If You Must ...

Again, there is no denying that super food green veggies smoothies are jam-packed with immune boosting antioxidants and vital minerals [ie. vitamins].  For those who cannot resist drinking such a delicious blend of drinkable goodness, here are some suggestions for making smoothies more easier on digestion.

  1. Room temperature: make your smoothie with vegetables/fruit which are kept as room temperature; not cold.
  2. Spice it up. Therefore, consider adding warming spices such as ginger, turmeric, cayenne, cardamom or cinnamon to your smoothie.
  3. Healthy fats. In order to help prevent the roller-coaster peak and through of blood sugar levels it is recommended to add healthy fats for digestibility and to help aide in the absorption of [fat soluable] nutrients. Therefore, consider adding cold pressed coconut oil or even a deliciously ripened avocado.

One More Thing - Food Incompatibilities!
Unfortunately, it is rare to find a smoothie in accordance to the basic principles outlined by Ayurveda. Generally speaking, fruit mixed with milk or yogurt and fruit mixed with vegetables is considered  to be poor choices regarding food combinations. Ayurveda speaks a great deal regarding qualities each food contains and we can think of these poor food combinations as being opposing qualities which promote digestive conditions [i.e. fermentation, putrefaction, I.B.S., etc.]

Click Here - For More Information On Food Combining