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Women are endowed with tremendous sexual capacity, from multiple orgasms to female ejaculation. Yet women who come to our Ayurveda clinic often express dissatisfaction within their sexual lives. There are many factors that may hold women back from attaining their full sexual potential: trauma, physical health problems, unsatisfactory intimate relationship, lack of training on the part of the woman or her partner, to name but a few.

It would take a book rather than a short blog to address all these concerns. So today we'll just look at the most simple scenario. You're happy with your partner and were enjoying a good sex life until something affected your libido. That 'something' could be an illness, a stressor or a hormonal change such as pregnancy, nursing, or your menopausal transition.

First of all, check with your doctor. Specifically, ask about your thyroid. If your thyroid is under-functioning, that will flatten your libido. And many stressors do lower thyroid function. All your hormones--sex hormones, thyroid hormones, adrenal hormones--are controlled by a multi-tiered system. The higher centres of your brain talk to your hypothalamus. Your hypothalamus talks to your pituitary and your pituitary talks to each endocrine gland (the glands that produce hormones). The glands in turn talk to the pituitary. It's a finely orchestrated system, but if one instrument is out of tune, the whole symphony goes wrong. And so if stress throws your higher brain centres out of tune, the end result could be problems with your thyroid and or your sex hormones.

From an Ayurvedic standpoint, we're dealing with ojas, that mysterious core energy that governs your general wellbeing. So we could try some simple recipes that enhance your ojas and tone your nervous system and endocrine glands. It's also a good idea to see an Ayurvedic practitioner for a holistic look at your overall wellness and balance.

Special Ojas-building recipes:

  • Shatavari Kalpa: Roast an ounce of Shatavari with one or two tablespoons ghee in a cast iron pan until light brown and add two tablespoons turbinado sugar, two pinches saffron and a pinch of cardamom. A teaspoon of this recipe can be taken in the morning or at bedtime with a cup of warm cow's milk or almond milk.
  • Shatavari Ghee: This is a special ghee medicated with shatavari. Take a teaspoon twice daily followed by warm cow's milk, warm almond milk or warm water.
  • Ashwagandha milk: Drink a cup of warm milk at bedtime. Stir in a teaspoon of Ashwagandha and two pinches of nutmeg. Ideal for vata women or in winter.
  • Almond Restorative Drink

Ingredients

10 raw almonds

1 cup pure water

1 cup milk

1 Tablespoon organic rose petals

1 tsp ghee

1/32 tsp saffron

1/8 tsp ground cardamom

pinch of black pepper ½ tsp of sweetener

Directions

Soak almonds and water together overnight.In the morning, drain off the water and rub the skins off the almonds. Bring the milk to a boil. Pour the milk in the blender with the peeled almonds. Add rose petals, ghee, saffron, cardamom, black pepper, and sweetener. Blend until smooth. Drink 3-4 times a week.

  • Non-dairy Almond drink

Ingredients

10 raw almonds

2 cups pure water

20 raisins

1 Tablespoon organic rose petals

1 tsp ghee

1/32 tsp saffron

1/8 tsp ground cardamom

1 pinch of black pepper

Directions

Soak almonds in 1 cup of water overnight, and soak raisins in 1 cup of water either overnight or for several hours. In the morning, drain off the almond water and rub the skins off the almonds.In a blender, add the raisins AND their soaking water with the drained and peeled almonds. Add rose petals, ghee, saffron, cardamom, black pepper. Blend until smooth. Drink 3-4 times a week.

  • Date Milk Shake

Ingredients

4-5 whole dates

1 cup whole organic milk

2 pinches cinnamon powder

Instructions

Boil milk until it foams once. Turn off heat. Put milk, cinnamon and dates in automatic blender. Blend until dates are ground fine. Serve warm in winter, room temperature or slightly cool (not cold) in summer or if a strong Pitta imbalance exists.

  • Vegan Fig shake

1/4 c. coconut milk
1/2 c. filtered water
2 large or 3 small figs cut in small pieces;
use dried figs if fresh are unavailable
1 date, pitted and finely chopped
dash of cinnamon

Place all ingredients in blender and puree at high speed until
smooth and frothy. Yum.

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Vijikarana is that which produces lineage of progeny, quick sexual stimulation, enables one to perform the sexual act with women uninterruptedly and vigorously like a horse, makes one charming for women, promotes indestructible and infallible semen even in old persons. Charak Samhita.

If I had thought ahead, this blog could have been ready for Valentine's. But I'm sure the topic is of year-round interest and especially as we head into spring! There are really three key aspects of male sexual rejuvenation:

  • Good diet and lifestyle
  • Ejaculatory control
  • Special Ayurvedic recipes known as vajikarana or aphrodisiacs.

Good Diet and Lifestyle

Young men: Burning the candle at both ends is not good for your sexual energy. Sleep and rest are needed to make semen. And Shakespeare's famous quote, "It promotes the desire but takes away the performance," applies to both alcohol and marijuana. These substances have both immediate and long term effects on your sexual functioning. Smoking cigarettes, which used to be seen as sexy, not only makes your mouth, skin and breath smell bad, it also constricts the blood vessels which need to dilate to give you an erection. And--eat real food! The only sexually rejuvenating thing about pizza is garlic.

Older men: Diet and lifestyle are crucial for your sexual health. Obesity, diabetes, pre-diabetes and high cholesterol are all bad news for sexual potency. These kapha conditions can gum up the blood vessels that supply your penis and even damage the nerves as well. So stay low-carb, have plenty of fruits and veggies, and exercise daily for sexual health just as much as for heart health. Job stress can wear away at libido--keep your priorities in place. Some blood pressure or cholesterol medications may harm virility. Depending on your individual health situation, an Ayurvedic practitioner might be able to help you avoid the need of such medications. Prevention is better than cure!

Ejaculatory Control

Typically, we in the West think of male orgasm and ejaculation as more or less synonymous. But men, like women, can experience different kinds of orgasm, which don't have to involve ejaculation. Developing ejaculatory control helps you conserve your sexual energy as well as please your partner more--especially a female partner. Learn ejaculatory control with the help of an excellent book, Taoist Secrets of Love: Cultivating Male Sexual Energy.

Special Vajikarana Recipes

  • Ashwagandha milk: Drink a cup of warm milk at bedtime. Stir in a teaspoon of Ashwagandha and two pinches of nutmeg. The aphrodisiac effect comes on first and the soporific effect an hour later. Ideal for vata men or in winter.
  • Rose milk: Stir of spoonful of rose petal jam into a cup of warm milk and drink at bedtime. Rose petal jam (gulkund) is avaiable from Indian grocery stores or Maharishi Ayurveda outlets. Use the ashwagandha recipe in cold weather and the rose recipe in summer.
  • Shatavari milk: Drink a cup of warm milk at bedtime. Stir in a teaspoon of shatavari. This recipe is good year-round for pitta men.
  • Triphala vajikarana: Leave triphala paste left overnight in an iron vessel. Next day, mix it with licorice tea and take with ghee and honey. This is the best one for kapha men.
  • Almond and rice dessert is a delicious vajiakarana and can be eaten prior to or after lovemaking.
  • If you're feeling adventurous, try making urad dal kheer (payasam). This traditional recipe is found in the Ananga Ranga Sutra, a classical manual on the erotic arts.
  • Your personal vajikarana formula: Visit your Ayurvedic practitioner to receive a personal vajikarana formula tailored to your needs.

Various kinds of nutritious and palatable food, sweet, luscious and refreshing liquid cordials, speech that gladdens the ears and touch that seems delicious to the skin, clear nights mellowed by the beams of the full moon and damsels young, beautiful and gay, dulcet songs that charm the soul and captivate the mind, use of betel-leaves, wine and wreaths of flowers and a merry, careless heart; these are the best aphrodisiacs in life. Sushruta Samhita

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Next time--sexual rejuvenation for women!

Chayote Curry

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Chayote, sechium edule, is a member of the curcubitacae family native to Mexico. But this vegetable has found its way into the homes and on to the thalis of South India as chowchow. There are many recipes to prepare chowchow in line with traditional South Indian cuisine. Studies show chayote to contain as many as eight anti-oxidant flavonoids. it shows antimicrobial activity against multi-resistant staph. and enterococci, as well as against gram negative food poisoning bacteria like e. coli, salmonella and shigella. It has anti-ulcer, laxative and diuretic properties. It is anticonvulsant (can prevent seizures), and hepatoprotective (protects the liver). It also protects the kidneys from toxic damage as well. Here's a chayote recipe we prepared recently.

Chayote Curry

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

• 3 chayotes, chopped (discard the seed from chayote)

• ¼ cauliflower broken into florets

• 1 carrot, cubed to bite sized pieces

• 1 Tb of fresh grated coconut

• 6 small green chilli

• 1/2 tsp salt

• 1/2 tsp turmeric

• 1 tsp oil

• 1 tsp cumin

• 1 tsp mustard seeds

• 4-6 curry leaves

Preparation:

1. Heat oil in a pan. Add curry leaves, cumin and then mustard seeds.

2. When they start to splutter add the chayote, cauliflower and carrot cubes. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Grind green chillies and coconut finely to paste.

4. When the vegetables are almost tender, stir in the green chilli and coconut paste, salt and turmeric. Mix thoroughly and cook for few more minutes, covered until the vegetables reach the tenderness you desire.

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As spring approaches you might be thinking about cleaning out closets and drawers or scrubbing paintwork. According to the ancient texts of Ayurveda, in spring we also need to clean out kapha from our bodies. During the winter months, kapha has accumulated in the form of excess slime, mucus and phlegm. We might be noticing post nasal drip, stuffy sinuses, cough, breathlessness, sluggishness, lethargy, weight gain or a tendency to fall asleep after eating. These are all symptoms of kapha buildup. As spring comes and the snows melt, kapha liquifies. This could result in spring colds or allergies. So during the spring season we need to expell excess kapha.

The time from mid March to early May is ideal for pancha karma, a special Ayurvedic cleasing program tailored to individual needs. You might have heard about pancha karma but imagine that it is an expensive process done in a resort or spa, or something you need to travel to India to experience. But while these are possible ways to go though pancha karma, you can also do PK (as we like to call pancha karma) in your own home at minimal expense, or receive some treatments from a local PK therapist, who will provide therapies as indicated by your Ayurvedic practitioner. However, you will need to get a few days off work, just one reason why it's important to plan ahead!

Before starting your week of pancha karma, you will need to prepare your body with a month of cleansing herbs. So this is the time to visit your Ayurvedic practitioner to discuss pancha karma. During your pre-PK visit, your practitioner will:

  • Asses your overall health history to see if PK is appropriate for you this spring
  • Give attention to any habits such as smoking, drinking alcohol (more than a glass a week), bingeing or drinking coffee. If you have an active habit, there's a danger you will slip back into it right after PK and do yorself more harm than good.
  • Give suggestions for cleaning up your diet in preparation for PK
  • Create a personalized cleansing formula to prepare you for PK
  • Create your personal PK plan and co-ordinate with other care providers such as PK therapist
  • Ensure that you have all the needed products for your cleanse, such as specialized oils etc.

Even if you're not doing PK, spring is still a good time to re-evaluate your diet and habits and take some cleansing herbs. After all, it's Lent, a tradtional time to give up bad habits! Enjoy some special recipes such as Cleansing Kitcheri, Liver Cleanse Sabji or Daikon and Mustard Greens. And check in with your practitioner for a spring tune up.

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Teething is a difficult time for both you and your baby. In fact in a study shows that health professionals in Victoria, Australia believed that parents experience as much distress as the infants themselves during teething.

General Care

  • Teething is a vata experience, both because of the pain involved and because it is a transition. Take care of your baby's vata with daily oil massage and avoiding cold droughts.
  • Teething is a natural process. But because it disturbs vata--and hence the other doshas--your baby may suffer from various disorders like fever, headache, thirst, vertigo, pinkeye, vomiting, respiratory troubles, diarrhea and rashes. For the most part, these manifestations will subside naturally with home remedies. But of course, more important conditions requiring medical attention could come on co-incidentally with teething.
  • Teething is a vata time for you as well. Give yourself a daily oil massage too!

Specific Remedies

  • Massage your baby's gums with pippali ghee. This will not only ease the pain, it will also support healthy teething.
  • Dilute one drop of clove oil in 1-2 tablespoons of coconut or sunflower oil, dip your clean forefinger in this mix and gently massage the affected area to relieve sore gums
  • Rub vanilla extract on your baby's gums to soothe inflammation. (Buy alcohol free vanilla extract).
  • Rub diluted almond extract over baby's gums to soothe pain and inflammation
  • Teething Necklace: Traditionally, the root of vitex negundo or chaste tree was used as an anti-inflammatory teething amulet (necklace). Nowadays amber teething necklaces are used for similar effect.

If there are dental concerns beyond normal teething, pippali and amlaki may be mixed in ghee and given both on the gums and internally. (The traditional remedy calls for honey, now not used for babies because of botulism concerns).

References

  1. Wake M, Hesketh K. Teething symptoms: cross sectional survey of five groups of child health professionals. BMJ 2002; 325:814.
  2. Teething from the Ayurvedic point of view BMJ 2002;325:814
  3. http://ayurveda.iloveindia.com
  4. http://www.ayurveddoctor.com
  5. Kumara Tantram of Ravana remedies 106, 107

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There's a whispering of spring in the air! This year Valentine's Day will be closely followed by Mahashivaratri, the Great Night of Shiva. These two celebrations of life, love and fertility bring the reality of spring nearer. In Boulder County, mountain bluebirds will soon be returning. Great-horned owls and golden eagles are starting to build their nests, yellow mahonia blooms in the foothills and butterflies may venture out on sunny days to sip the oozing sap.

The weeks between now and mid March are a transitional period between the warming and vata soothing regimens of winter and the lightening and cleansing of spring. The windy weather of early spring and the sudden snows and cold snaps are drying and roughening. So we still need to wrap up warmly, keep our homes warm and avoid cold draughts. In England we have a saying, "Ne'er cast a clout 'til May is out." This roughly translates as: 'It's better in this season to be overdressed than underdressed.' Keep going with your oil massages, soups and broths, but start using nasya (nose drops) as well. Ask your Ayurvedic practitioner to recommend the best spring nasya for your body type, or make your own ginger-rose-jaggery nasya, consisting of a decoction of equal parts fresh ginger, organic rose petals and jaggery. Jaggery, a product made from boiled down sugar cane juice, is avaialble in Indian stores (and Mexican markets too). This preparation is tridoshically balanced, the coolness of rose balancing the heat of ginger.

As you start transitioning your diet from winter to spring, begin adding some green salads and cooked bitter greens. Take a lighter breakfast than in winter. And enjoy recipes that are both cleansing and grounding, such as Daikon Sabji with Mustard Greens, Cabbage and Chickpea Soup and Beet Raita. Gently begin your spring cleansing by taking triphala. Steep half a teasoon of tripahala in boiling water for ten minutes, strain and drink at bedtime.

Take some time on Mahashivaratri, February 17th, to chant, pray or meditate and have a great early spring!

Carrot Raita

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Carrot raita is a tasty side dish that adds beta carotene to your meal and colour to your plate. Pair it with Daikon Sabji with Mustard Greens. The daikon will help you absorb the beta carotene.

Carrot Raita

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw carrots
  • 2 Tbs ghee
  • ½ tsp black mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 pinch hing
  • 1 Tb cilantro, chopped
  • ½ small green chili, chopped fine
  • 1 small handful cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • ¼ tsp salt

Preparation:

  1. Wash the carrots and grate medium fine.
  2. Stir the carrots into the yogurt and mix gently.
  3. Heat the ghee in a small saucepan and add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and hing.
  4. Stir until the seeds pop, then add the chilli and cilantro.
  5. Remove from the heat.
  6. Mix the cooked spices and the salt into the yogurt/carrot mix.

Source: Usha & Vasant Lad, Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing (New Mexico, The Ayurvedic Press, 1994).

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Chef Scott Bears prepares daikon sabji

Daikon, known in Ayurveda as mulaka, is in season now. Radishes are sharp, hot, pungent and bitter but sweeten when cooked. They increase digestive fire and treat heart disorders and vitiated vata. Daikon treats cough, breathlessness, piles, and eye disorders and strengthens the liver and spleen. When sautéed in oil or ghee, daikon pacifies all three doshas. Daikon radish is also known as Nepali mulaka because it is grown in Nepal. This recipe is based on the village cuisine of Western Nepal. We often had similar dishes in Maharashtra, prepared from the smaller icicle radish.

Daikon supports digestion of beta carotene, hence this recipe is a good one, since it maximizes digestion of the beta carotene from the greens.

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Frying the spices and chilies

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Sauteeing the mustard greens

Daikon Sabji

Serves: 6

This is a great recipe for early Spring. If you can get the daikons with their greens, this is ideal. If not use Osaka purple mustard greens or the regular mustard greens as a substitute. This recipe cleanses the liver and palate. Pitta should use extra cilantro.

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium daikons or one bunch of bunched daikons
  • Greens from the daikons or one bunch mustard greens (preferably Osaka purple)
  • 1Tb ghee or mustard oil
  • 1 Tb cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp brown or black mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tsp mild chili powder
  • 1" piece of ginger root, scraped and finely chopped
  • 1 jalopeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped (omit for pitta)
  • 1 tsp organic turmeric powder
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 2 Tbs chopped cilantro (double for pitta)

Preparation:

  1. Slice the daikons and steam until fork tender. Wash and chop the greens.
  2. Heat the oil or ghee in a wok on medium high.
  3. Add the mustard seeds and cook until they turn grey and pop.
  4. Turn the heat to warm and add the cumin seeds, then the fenugreek seeds.
  5. Turn the heat off as son as the seeds are browned and then add the powdered spices.
  6. Let them cook for a few minutes in the hot oil, then add the ginger and jalapeño and turn the heat to medium.
  7. The moisture from the ginger will stop the spices burning.
  8. As soon as the ginger is lightly browned, sprinkle the greens with water and toss into the spices.
  9. Cover and let cook for five minutes or so, until the greens are tender.
  10. Now stir in the cooked daikons, salt and cilantro.
  11. Cook together for a few minutes, being careful not to overcook the greens.

Serve with Cleansing Kitcheri and carrot raita.

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Playing the Irish Washerwoman

The summer before last, I was staying with my sister Kate in rural Donegal, in the West of Ireland. One morning, I heard my brother-in-law, Sean, playing Irish fiddle while my niece, Emily, played penny whistle. I stepped into the room and began accompanying them with claps. "I know that song, The Irish Washerwoman," I remarked. "I must have played it long ago for my violin grade exams." At that, Sean thrust a fiddle into my hands.

"Play it! Play The Irish Washerwoman!"

Sean had thrown me a challenge. True, after years of instruction and thousands of hours of practice, the violin wasn't exactly new to me. But there had been a multi-decade gap since my violin student days. And, even for an adept classical violinist, Celtic fiddle is a chance to begin anew, with fresh styles and techniques. Would I take up the challenge and make room in my already full life for something new and different? Or, once I returned to my normal routine in America, would I go back to 'business as usual'? Would Irish fiddle be anything more than a holiday fling?

What makes us respond to new challenges? And what holds us back, keeps us in the same rut, doing things because we always do it that way? When we take on something new or do things differently, our entire mind-body complex has a chance to grow, developing fresh roots and branches. Underused muscles are trained, fresh synaptic connections made, new friendships created. If the call of the new is relocation or travel, new vistas open up to us. If we undertake something novel in our current location, we discover unforeseen venues and social circumstances, experiencing our old hometown in a different way.

Yet paradoxically, we may be avoiding new challenges precisely because of the potential benefits they offer. More often than not, we cling to old patterns that have long reinforced our sense of identity--ahamkar, the illusory identification. We hold these patterns in our musculature, resisting the new yoga class or exercise routine that could help to re-pattern us. We cling to old emotions in our fat, continuing to eat the comfort foods that fill our fat cells. We create routines and thought patterns that may not serve us but promote our sense of me and mine. "Me, I'm so busy. Me, I'm so overworked. Me, I'm so undervalued. Me, I'm so important".

Opening ourselves to new challenges and letting go of old patterns are two inner revolutions that go hand in hand. We need to let go of habits that don't serve us in order to make room for new interests and activities. And we need fresh stimulus and new input to divert us from the deeply-rutted road of old habits. For example, we could take a morning walk with a friend instead of meeting that friend for coffee. According to Ayurveda, unhealthy habits are best reduced gradually and healthy habits are best introduced slowly. If we typically eat out, we could begin by planning one day a week to cook. Perhaps we cook with our significant other as a social activity and enjoy a meal together. Gradually we acquire kitchen utensils and ingredients and begin collecting recipes. The food is better and less expensive and soon we are cooking twice a week, then three times a week. Cooking becomes a hobby, then a passion and eventually we find we have become a gourmet cook and we're giving dinner parties and organizing potlucks. Now eating out is just an occasional treat and home-cooked food is our lifestyle. We have a new skillset and a deeper appreciation for food and eating.

Although there can be many benefits to taking on a new challenge, not everything that is novel is necessarily beneficial. As we all know, 'New!' is a favored hype word in the world of marketing. As a society we have taken on an attitude of 'because we can.' We have dammed rivers, built vast cities, conquered space, split the atom, cloned sheep and genetically engineered our food 'because we can.' When faced with the opportunity to get out of a rut or break a pattern, it's important to ask why. What is the benefit of this new activity? For people leading a mediocre and stultifying life in the late fifties and early sixties, 'wife-swapping parties' came into vogue--still known and practiced today as the Swinging lifestyle, perhaps because the latter phrase sounds less sexist than 'wife swapping', which implies that women are property. No doubt Swinging is challenging, at least at first, and no doubt it is perceived as something new. The question is--does it benefit? Is it a challenge worth taking?

Opening our lives to new challenges requires discrimination as well as willingness and perseverance. In Vedic dharma we are taught that there are four legitimate aims of life--dharma, artha, kama and moksha. Of these aims of life, artha or wealth and kama or pleasure are pursued under the umbrella of dharma, that is, in accordance with the divine order, or in alignment with the true nature of things. Dharma is an overarching principle that invites us to free ourselves from the sway of craving, anger and ignorance. Dharma can only be set aside when we enter the dynamic of moksha or liberation. Within the dynamic of moksha, our whole being is consumed by the passion for the welfare of all. Rules no longer apply only because we have no inclination at all to do anything that would harm another being. As St Augustine said, 'Love and do what you like.'

In the two examples given above, home cooking and 'wife swapping', kama or the pleasure principle is involved. Once we begin to derive pleasure from cooking at home, we want to do it more and more. This starts to benefit our health, our pocketbook and our relationships, as we take up the challenge of pursuing kama in accordance with dharma. In the 'wife-swapping' example, there is an opportunity to pursue kama outside dharma. Fuelling our craving, we soon become satisfied only by more and more extreme stimuli, becoming enslaved to that which we supposed would 'free' us.

The call of the new can be the clarion call of awakening or the siren song of seduction. When our life is shallow, when we live on the surface and lack meaning, we yearn for the new, yet we often choose the siren's song to lull us asleep amid the mediocrity. Instead, we can hold ourselves ready for invitations to deeper meaning. Sometimes, 'do what most you fear to do,' can be a good guideline; inviting courage, revealing a profound challenge that leads to growth. Overcoming our fears and limitations, we become stronger and fuller, living life with more depth and enthusiasm. But first we need to check in and see what part of us is fearful. There is no need to do what our conscience fears, but every reason to do what our old patterns dread.

A new year is a time to experience a sense of willingness to take on new challenges, readiness to encounter what these challenges bring up and discrimination to discern how to respond to the various challenges and invitations that present themselves. Is this a life-giving opportunity or a diversion from our path?

Eighteen months after my visit to Donegal, I'm still practicing fiddle daily and connecting with Sean on Skype for lessons. Despite all the difficulties of taking on something new, I am making time to renew my childhood love affair with the violin. I'm gaining upper body strength, honing my musical skills, nourishing my Celtic roots and making some great new friends. And I'm working on my classical violin skills as well. Slowly I'm overcoming performance anxiety and letting go of the fear of failure. I have a wonderful new stress release activity at end of a busy day. I'm glad I took up a challenge, because it has brought more joy into my life!

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I was gifted this Zephirin Amelot violin when I was ten years old!

Beet Raita Recipe

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Raitas, yoghurt salads, are a refreshing relish. The addition of raita can turn a one-pot dish into a satisfying meal or full meal into a feast. Beet raita is a particularly colourful choice, adding to the beauty as well as the nutrition of your meal. We based this delicious recipe on one in Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing. However, our chef, Scott Bears, did not like the idea of serving raw beets, so decided to parboil the beets before grating them. For a simple meal, serve with cabbage kitcheri. For a festive dinner, serve with rice, Gujarati Tridoshic Dal, Eggplant Sabji with Bitter Melon and apple chutney. Enjoy!

Beet Raita

Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:

· 1 cup parboiled beets, peeled and grated

· 2 Tbs ghee

· ½ tsp black mustard seeds

· ½ tsp cumin seeds

· 1 pinch hing

· 1 Tb cilantro, chopped

· ½ small green chili OR 1 lrg pinch cayenne

· 5 curry leaves, fresh or dried

· 1 cup plain yogurt

· ¼ tsp salt

Preparation:

  1. Add the beets to the yogurt and stir gently.
  2. Heat the ghee on medium heat in saucepan.
  3. Add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and hing. Stir until the seeds pop.
  4. Add the cilantro, curry leaves, and chilli or cayenne.
  5. Mix well, take off the stove.
  6. Cool a little and add to the yogurt and beets. Mix well.

Modified from: Usha & Vasant Lad, Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing (New Mexico, The Ayurvedic Press, 1994).





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