Nopales with Mole.JPG

Enjoy this healthy and delicious Mexican recipe from guest blogger Savitri, offering the blood sugar lowering benfits of nopales (cactus) as well the antioxidants of chocolate.

Ingredients

  • 3-4 cups chopped, steamed nopales (cactus)
  • 1 pound mushrooms (sliced into 2 or 3 pieces)
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. oregano
  • Ghee as needed
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. In a large pan over medium heat, fry the oregano and cumin with ghee for a few seconds.
  2. Chop the onion and garlic. Add to the pan and cook until the onion becomes translucent.
  3. Add the mushrooms to the pan.
  4. Add the nopales to the pan.
  5. Let all the flavors to mix.
  6. Add salt and pepper.

Mole sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 dried guajillo chillies, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 dried ancho chillies, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 dried california chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tbsp. ghee
  • 1 tbsp. cumin seeds
    ½ tsp. fennel seed
  • ½ tsp. coriander
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 3 peppercorns
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 2 corn tortillas, cut into strips
  • 1/3 cup almonds (soaked overnight and peeled)
  • 1/3 cup of brown sesame seeds
  • 1 ounce dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp. jaggery
  • 1 tsp. salt or to taste.

Preparation

  1. Toast the chillies in a dry pan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until warm and aromatic, about 3 minutes.
  2. Then soak the chillies in boiling water until they are soft.
  3. Cook tomatoes in a dry skillet on medium-high heat until soft and blackened, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Add them to the blender.
  4. Toast tortilla strips in a dry pan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Or you may put them in your toaster. Add them to the blender.
  5. In a pan, sauté the raisins with ghee until they puff. Add to the blender.
  6. Sauté the almonds, and add them to the blender.
  7. Sauté the sesame seeds until they have a light golden color, and add them to the blender.
  8. Sauté all the spices with ghee.
  9. Using a paper towel, remove the excess ghee. Grind in a spice grinder and add to the blender.
  10. Add about 2 ½ cups of water. Blend everything.
  11. Pour chile sauce into a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in chocolate, jaggery, and salt.
  12. Bring mixture to a simmer; stir until chocolate is melted and sauce is thickened and slightly reduced, 10 to 15 minutes.

**Serve the mole over the nopales and mushrooms. Sprinkle some sesame seeds on the top of the mole.

Enjoy!

Alakananda Ma is a Certified Ayurvedic Doctor (NAMA) and graduate of a top London medical school. She is co-founder of Alandi Ayurveda Clinic and Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula in Boulder Colorado, as well as a spiritual mother, teacher, flower essence maker and storyteller. Alakananda is well known and highly respected in the Ayurveda community both nationally and internationally.

Enliven your holistic health! Book an ayurvedic consultation with Alakananda Ma to support the overall rejuvenation of your body, mind, and spirit. In-person and phone appointments available. Book now!

Alandi Images Milk Cow.jpg

Cows and their milk hold a special place in Vedic lore. A hymn in the Rig Veda, a gavo agaman extolls the virtue of cows. " The cows have come and have brought us good fortune. In our stalls, contented, may they stay." (The Vedic Experience: Mantramanjari by Panikkar, Raimon). Lord Krishna enjoys his childhood and youth as a cowherd boy in Vrindavan, dancing with milkmaids, known as Gopis. And Dhanvantari, the God of Ayurveda is born of the churning of the ocean of milk.

Milk in general is considered as 'the best of all life-giving (jivaniya) substances'; since it is the pure essence of grass. And in ancient times specific herbs would be given to cows to create special types of milk--for example, a pure white cow would be fed amlaki, a herb for longevity and rejuvenation. Drinking milk from such a cow was part of an ancient process of kayakalpa or youth-restoration.

Sushrut considers the milk of cow, goat, camel, sheep, buffalo, horse and mother's milk. However, although camel milk is second only to mother's milk in its unique suitability for humans, we will consider here only cow and goat milk, as these are the most widely available.

Sanskrit: Dugdha or kshīra

Latin name: there is not a scientific name but the Latin word is lactis

Hindi: दूध doodh

Rasa: Sweet (madhura)

Virya: Cold (shita)

Vipak:

Guna: Heavy (guru), emollient (snigdha), slimy (slakshna), cloudy (picchila), mild (manda)

Reduces vata and pitta

Dhatus: Rasa, rakta, mamsa, asthi, majja,

Srotansi: Rasa, rakta, mamsa, asthi, majja, sthanya, manovaha,

Actions (karmas) of milk in general:

  • Laxative
  • Life-giving
  • Rejuvenative
  • Refirgerant
  • Good beverage to restore energy after exercise
  • Sacred
  • Building
  • Tonic
  • Spermatopoeitic
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Medhya (builds intellectual capacity)
  • Heals factures
  • Good in nutritive basti (enema)
  • Increases longevity
  • Can be used as emetic and purgative
  • Builds ojas

Used in:

  • Chronic fever
  • Cough
  • Breathlessness
  • Wasting diseases
  • Gulma
  • Psychosis
  • Acites
  • Epilepsy
  • Vertigo
  • Delirium
  • Burning sensations
  • Morbid thirst
  • Diseases of the heart
  • Bladder diseases
  • Dysentery
  • Haemorrhoids
  • Colic
  • Constipation
  • Malabsorption
  • Female reproductive disorders
  • Nourishing children, the elderly and those with cachexia or debility.
  • Use to rebuild energy after sex or physical labour

Special points about cow's milk

  • Demulcent
  • Does not increase slimy secretions
  • Heavy
  • Good elixir
  • Sweet, cold, calms vata and pitta
  • One of the most effective life-giving (jivaniya) remedies

Special points about goat's milk

  • Shares most of the benefits of cow's milk
  • It is lighter than cow's milk
  • It is astringent and appetizing
  • Helpful in breathlessness, cough and GERD.
  • Curative in all diseases
  • Goats tend to favour bitter and pungent greens; goat milk is more appropriate for kapha.

Morning vs. evening milking

Traditional dairy farmers will separate milk from the morning and evening milking; for example in traditional Morbier cheese one layer was from the morning and the second from the evening. Sushrut considers morning milk to be heavier, colder and more slowly digested, as it was produced by night, when the cow was resting and temperatures we cooler. Evening milk is invigorating to the eye and restores vata to a healthy state.

Milk temperature

Milk should not be consumed cold; cold milk is extremely heavy and mucus-forming. However, it should not be over-boiled unless one wishes to gain weight.

Remedies:

Remedies using milk are numerous; we mention a few of the most important.

Using milk internally:

Methods of preparing milk remedies:

Kshirapaka:

  1. Boil 1 part herb with 8 parts milk and 32 parts water. Then boil out the water so only the 8 parts of milk remains (from Sarngadhara Samhita).
  2. 2 Tbsp. herb, 1½ cups milk and 4 cups water. Boil down to 3 cups liquid, add sweetener and strain the milk. Then boil down to 1½ cups milk.
  3. Herbs prepared in equal quantities of milk and water, the water boiled out.

Sidha dughdam:

Boil ½ tsp of herb in ¼ cup water and 1 cup of milk. Boil until there is only one cup liquid left.

Spiced milk:

Simmer the spice in the milk for just a few minutes (for example nutmeg)

Herb stirred into milk:

Milk is only slightly warmed, not boiled. Herbs such as Shatavari, Ashwagandha, or Arjuna are simply mixed in.

Some specific remedies:

  1. Bronchial Congestion: Pippali milk. ½ tsp. ground pippali, 1 cup milk, ¼ cup water, cook down to 1 cup liquid.
  2. Sore throat, cough: Turmeric Milk. ½ tsp. ground turmeric, 1 cup milk, ¼ cup water, cook down to 1 cup liquid.
  3. Dry cough: Ginger milk. ½ tsp. ground ginger, 1 cup milk, ¼ cup water
  4. Hyperacidity: drink 1 cup hot milk with 1 tsp. cardamom.
  5. Hyperacidity, heartburn: Shatavari 1t, milk 1c, drink in early morning.
  6. Chronic indigestion: Ginger milk. ½ tsp. ground ginger, 1 cup milk, ¼ cup water, cook down to 1 cup liquid.
  7. Lymphatic congestion: Pepper milk. ½ tsp. ground peppercorn, 1 cup milk, ¼ cup water, cook down to 1 cup liquid.
  8. Fractures, injuries, osteoporosis: Turmeric milk. ½ tsp. ground turmeric, 1 cup milk, ¼ cup water, cook down to 1 cup liquid
  9. Chronic fatigue, low libido: Almond milk. ¼ tsp. ground cardamom, ¼ tsp. ground almonds, 1 cup milk, ¼ cup water, cook down to 1 cup liquid.
  10. Memory, libido: 1tsp. cardamom in 1 cup milk, cool, add honey, drink before bed.
  11. Insomnia: mix two pinches nutmeg in a cup of boiling milk; simmer for a minute and drink.
  12. Sexual debility: 1 cup hot milk at bedtime with a pinch of saffron (works best if you soak the saffron in a little hot water for at least 20 minutes and add the saffron and its soak water to the milk).
  13. Low ojas, sexual debility: Fry 4-5 almonds in ghee. Add a pinch of saffron and a cup of hot milk and blend until smooth. Drink at bedtime.
  14. For spermatogenesis: 1t ashwagandha with 1 cup milk morning and evening
  15. Low libido: Ashwagandha 1 t ,hot milk 1 c one hour before sex.
  16. Sexual debility: (men or women) Ashwagandha 1 tsp water ½ cup , cow milk 1 cup boil back to one cup total
  17. Poor sleep: Ashwagandha 1 t with 1 cup hot milk 2 hours before sleep.
  18. Poor sleep: 1 cup hot milk at bedtime with a pinch of nutmeg and a pinch of saffron (works best if you soak the saffron in a little hot water for at least 20 minutes and add the saffron and its soak water to the milk).
  19. Poor memory, mild cognitive impairment: Saffron brahmi milk--Soak 1 pinch saffron in a little hot water for at least 20 minutes. Meanwhile bring 1 cup milk to the boil and add 1 tsp brahmi (gotu kola). Let steep for 10 minutes and strain. Now and add the saffron and its soak water to the milk. Drink this preparation at bedtime.

Using milk externally

  1. Burns and scalds: immediately pour on cold milk or soak affected area in cold milk.
  2. Eye irritant: If the eye has been exposed to a irritant, immediately irrigate with cold milk.
  3. Acne: make a face mask with nutmeg, milk and honey and apply
  4. Beauty: milk is used in an array of facial masks and similar treatments.

Alandi Images Milk Goat.jpg

Alakananda Ma is a Certified Ayurvedic Doctor (NAMA) and graduate of a top London medical school. She is co-founder of Alandi Ayurveda Clinic and Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula in Boulder Colorado, as well as a spiritual mother, teacher, flower essence maker and storyteller. Alakananda is well known and highly respected in the Ayurveda community both nationally and internationally.

Enliven your holistic health! Book an ayurvedic consultation with Alakananda Ma to support the overall rejuvenation of your body, mind, and spirit. In-person and phone appointments available. Book now!

Here is a vegetarian or vegan, gluten free, Ayurvedic Thanksgiving menu. You could create a vegetarian Thanksgiving or use these recipes to add variety to the traditional turkey dinner. Enjoy a nourishing and healthy Thanksgiving!

  • Brussels sprouts with almonds
  • Roasted carrots with ginger
  • Buckwheat-stuffed acorn squash with chard and pecans
  • Sweet potato khir (add photo)
  • Cranberry chutney

Brussels Sprouts with Almonds


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Serves: 2 as a side dish

(1 lb Brussels sprouts serves 4-5)

Ingredients:

10-12 Brussels sprouts, each about 1" in diameter, trimmed, with cross cut on bottom stalk

10-12 almonds, soaked, blanched and slivered

1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds

1-2 tablespoons ghee

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Water for boiling

Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  • Steam Brussels sprouts until tender
  • Quarter the Brussels sprouts lengthwise
  • Heat the ghee in a pan or wok until it is clear.
  • Add the cumin and almonds and toast for 2-3 minutes until they brown lightly.
  • Add the Brussels sprouts, season, and sauté for a few minutes.
  • Add the lemon juice, toss and serve.

Whole Roasted carrots with fresh ginger

modified from from http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/whole-roasted-carrots-with-fresh-ginger

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Garden carrots, orange, white and purple, are used here.

1 pound medium carrots, peeled

1/4 cup water

4 large garlic cloves, peeled

Six 1/4-inch slices fresh ginger

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Olives for garnish

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a medium baking dish, combine the carrots with the water, garlic, ginger, olive oil and butter and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Cover with foil and roast for 30 minutes, until tender.
  3. Uncover and roast for about 30 minutes longer, until the water has evaporated and the carrots are lightly browned in spots.
  4. Transfer the carrots, olives and garlic to a plate and serve.

Buckwheat-Stuffed Acorn Squash with Swiss Chard and Pecans
As you can see, I used a pretty good-sized acorn squash for this recipe. The recipe fed four hungry people, with each stuffed half being halved, so each person ate a quarter of a squash, along with the side dishes.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 acorn squash, halved through the middle
  • 2/3 cups buckwheat kasha
  • 1and a half cups vegetable broth
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • ½ cup toasted, chopped pecans
  • 1 bunch of Swiss Chard
  • 2 Tbsp rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp sage
  • Olive oil for frying
  • 2 pinches of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 pinches nutmeg
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Halve acorn squash through the middle to create a pretty starry effect. Place squash flesh side down in a pan with a ¼ inch of water. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes.
  3. Toast buckwheat in a skillet. Place in a pot and add vegetable broth. Cook until it's soft and there's no water left (20 minutes or so).
  4. In a skillet, sauté shallot and garlic. Add the raisins and wait a few seconds for them to puff up. Then add Swiss chard, herbs and and spices.
  5. Next add the buckwheat. Salt to taste and adjust seasonings.
  6. Add the toasted, chopped pecans.
  7. Once the squash halves are soft, stuff the mixture inside the halves. Bake in the oven for an additional 10 minutes.

Sweet potato ('Yam') Khir

Serves 8

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1 pinch saffron

2 Tbsp. boiling water

½ cup ghee or coconut oil

2 packed cups grated orange 'yams' (= half pound yams)

1 can coconut milk

¼ tsp ground cardamom

2 pinches ground ginger

¼ cup turbinado sugar

Pour the 2 Tbsp. boiling water over the saffron and soak for as long as possible.

Peel and wash the yams (actually they are orange sweet potatoes but stores call them yams). Grate very finely.

Heat a large pot and add the ghee or coconut oil. Stir in the grated yams and keep stirring until they are light brown and fragrant.

Pour the coconut milk over the yams, stirring well.

Add the cardamom, ginger, soaked saffron (with saffron water) and sugar. Stir a few times and bring to a boil.

Keep stirring as it thickens to prevent it sticking.

Cook for an hour at least, at a gentle boil. Add water as needed.

Turn off the heat and cover until ready to serve.

Cranberry Apple Chutney

Ingredients
2 punnets organic cranberries (4 cups)
4 cups chopped apples
1 orange
1/4 cup raisins
2 tbsp chopped pecans
2" piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped finely
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped finely
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
2 sticks cinnamon
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 Tbsp ghee or sunflower oil
6 cloves, ground
1 star anise, ground (optional but good)
2 pinches mace
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
Water as needed

Recipe
Put washed cranberries and washed chopped apples in heavy bottomed pan. Grate 1tsp of the orange peel and add. Now squeeze the orange and add the juice. Bring to boil and simmer, stirring frequently to prevent sticking and adding water as needed for a saucy, jam-like consistency. Once it is simmering, add sugar and raisins.
In a small frying pan, melt the ghee, add cumin seeds and chilies and fry until they darken a shade. Now add chopped ginger and cinnamon and fry until the ginger is browned. Add the fried spices to the chutney, then the spice powders (clove, star anise, mace, cardamom.) When the chutney is almost cooked, add the chopped nuts.

Cranberry Chutney.jpg

Alakananda Ma is a Certified Ayurvedic Doctor (NAMA) and graduate of a top London medical school. She is co-founder of Alandi Ayurveda Clinic and Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula in Boulder Colorado, as well as a spiritual mother, teacher, flower essence maker and storyteller. Alakananda is well known and highly respected in the Ayurveda community both nationally and internationally.

Enliven your holistic health! Book an ayurvedic consultation with Alakananda Ma to support the overall rejuvenation of your body, mind, and spirit. In-person and phone appointments available. Book now!

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This week, enjoy Jhinga Alu Posto, Shipra Lodh's generations-old Bengali recipe, as described by her daughter.

(Scroll down for recipe)

This recipe uses beige poppy seeds aka white poppy seeds which can be purchased from an Indian grocery store. This is also where, hopefully, you can get the ridged gourd.

Beige or white poppy seeds.png

Beige poppy seeds

Indulge me as I write this recipe - it is as long and filled with love as is the process by which I like to cook!

I'm assuming that after your daily yoga and meditation, you've listened to your body and heard it request the warming, creamy (but without cream) and lingering taste of jhinga alu posto, right? Well then, let's take a quick jaunt to the store and pick up a fresh ridged gourd, preferably tender to the touch, yet with no bruises nor hints of impending mold. Errand done, let's hop, skip and jump on the way home, visualizing the yummy times ahead.

Soak the gourd in 1:10 vinegar:water solution for a few minutes and then rinse off. With a peeler, slide down longitudinally to strip off the dark strips on the ridges, keeping the valleys' skin intact. The action should feel like playing a slide guitar held at an angle, right? You might as well sing along: know any songs about gourds, squashes or melons?

Peeling ridged gourd.png

Peeling and singing done, chop up the gourd in approximately 3/4 inch cubes.

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Heat enough oil of your choice (but one without a dominant flavor) on a saucepan to enable sautéing the gourd, and proceed with the sautéing on medium heat.

Sauteeing ridged gourd.png

While the gourd is sautéing, reach into your pantry's potato basket and pick potatoes that would add up to about half the volume of the ridged gourd. Make sure you don't get so absorbed in 'eye'ing those potatoes that you forget to stir the sautéing gourd periodically to avoid burning. You may or may not choose to peel the potatoes, but do chop them into ½ inch cubes. You are chopping them into pieces smaller than the gourd pieces because after cooking, the gourd will shrink somewhat, and you'll end up with a dish in which all parts have democratic equality with regard to size and volume!

Potatoes.png

Glance over at the saucepan - most likely the gourd pieces are still intact in their cubic shapes. So let the potatoes sit on the cutting board for a bit, and you could proceed to prepare some garlic purée, unless you have some ready in the freezer (I purée a moderate sized batch at a time, pour into a Ziploc, flatten into a thin sheet and freeze, so that when needed, I can just break off however much I need).

Glance over at the saucepan again. Are the gourd pieces beginning to lose their shape?

Gourd getting cooked.png

If yes, it is time to add the cubed potatoes and continue sautéing. If the oil has disappeared, you can add a bit more.

Adding potatoes.png

After a while, the oil will disappear again. This time, instead of adding oil again, you can choose to make the recipe not too oily and instead add some salt. This will make the potatoes sweat, adding moisture to the pan. Turn the heat to low, cover the pan, and do a little jig because you can now take a mini break.

Or maybe not. If you don't already have some poppy-coconut purée in the freezer from prior kitchen escapades, you can take your singing and dancing toes to the high-performance blender (like a Vitamix), where you can purée beige (not black) poppy seeds and some fresh coconut. I think you like coconut twice as much as poppy, which is good because that's how this ancient recipe goes too. Depending on your spice tolerance, you can add a green chilli or two to the blender too (two, to, too - cool!). Feel free to use water to nudge the blender along, but not so much that you'll later need a lot of time drying it up in its avatar as a sauce on the pan. For this recipe you'll need a total "sauce" of about 2 tbsp, but you might want to make multiples of that to enable easier pureeing and then freeze the excess for future use (maybe in little cups as you see in the photo).

Cocnut poppy seed mix.png

Let's do the glancing thing again. How is the saucepan doing under the lid? Needs stirring? Then give it the love it deserves. Is it too vata-ish (dry)? Feel free to give it a drink, like say, a few teaspoons of water. Cover it again.

Now it's time to do some yoga stretches. And listen to some good music. And catch up on some reading. And do some mahanarayan tailam massages. And make an herbal infusion. And look at the pickles collection. And make some rice and daal to round out the upcoming meal.

Let's look at the saucepan again. If drying, add some turmeric in a space created in the middle, then toss it around in that little space to roast it for 3-5 seconds to transform its raw flavor to the yummier roasted flavor. Stir and cover for a short while, say, a minute.

Adding turmeric.png

Soon after that minute, to prevent burning the gourd and potato pieces due to the drying effect of the turmeric powder, add the poppy-coconut-green chilli purée as well as the garlic. The picture shows the relative proportion of the poppy-coconut-green chilli purée (in the center) and the garlic (toward the top rear).

Adding Garlic.png

Stir. And a dash of sugar or jaggery to balance out the flavors. Stir. Add a little mustard oil to add a bit of tangy edginess. Time to cover and simmer again on low heat, ensuring you've added enough water to the saucepan, if necessary, to last the entire duration that you'll be soaking in that hot bath with, maybe, lavender essential oil (in the bath water, not in the dish!).

You emerge from your bath tub, open that bathroom door, and oooh, what's that aroma in the air? You are tempted to head straight to the kitchen! When you do get there after getting dressed, you might want to do a taste test and adjust for salt-sugar-chilli-mustard oil balance, and make sure it's NOT al dente - slightly naturally mashed is yummy and good!

How do you eat it? Well, you can mix it with rice and use it as a starter course. Alternatively, you can use it as the side vegetable that goes with rice and daal. If using it as a starter course, make sure it is a little runny so that when mixed with rice the course is not too dry; you'd also want to anticipate the salt level for dilution by the rice. If using it as a side vegetable, make sure it is on the drier side so that it doesn't run into the rice and daal.

Alakananda Ma is a Certified Ayurvedic Doctor (NAMA) and graduate of a top London medical school. She is co-founder of Alandi Ayurveda Clinic and Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula in Boulder Colorado, as well as a spiritual mother, teacher, flower essence maker and storyteller. Alakananda is well known and highly respected in the Ayurveda community both nationally and internationally.

Enliven your holistic health! Book an ayurvedic consultation with Alakananda Ma to support the overall rejuvenation of your body, mind, and spirit. In-person and phone appointments available. Book now!

Summary

Ingredients:

Ridged Gourd 1 - 1.5lb

Potato 1 - 1.5lb

Turmeric ½ -1 tsp

Garlic 2 - 4 cloves

White Poppy seeds 2 - 3 tsp (from Indian grocery store)

Fresh coconut 4 - 6 tsp

Green chilli To taste, say 1

Salt To taste, say ½ -1 tsp

Jaggery/sugar To taste, say ¼ - ½ tsp

Mustard oil 1 - 2 tsp

Cooking oil 2 - 4 tsp

Water As necessary

Steps:

  • Peel the ridged gourd's ridges, dice into 3/4 inch cubes, sauté in oil in saucepan over medium heat for about 15 mins
  • Dice potatoes into ½ inch cubes, add to saucepan , add some oil if necessary, stir, add salt after about 15 mins
  • When dry, add turmeric and roast. Add coconut-poppy seeds-green chilli puree, garlic puree, jaggery, mustard oil. Simmer covered for 45 mins, ensuring moisture periodically.

The above love-filled process takes about 1½ hours and feeds about 2-4 persons, depending upon prevailing appetites and whether it is used as a starter course or as a side dish. As an alternative, the entire dish can be made in as little as 15 minutes if you boil (or pressure cook) the gourd and potato cubes first. Then all you'll need to do is roast the turmeric, add the purées and flavors and stir in the boiled vegetables. It will taste somewhat like it ideally should, but you'll definitely feel the far lower dose of love in it!

Caution: If you have a blood test coming up, the poppy seeds might skew the results. You may accordingly choose to substitute white or brown sesame seeds for the poppy seeds.

Alandi Images Flu Season Survival Kit.JPG

It's November, the days are growing short, and we know that flu season is on its way. Get prepared with an Ayurvedic flu season survival kit! Better still, this kit will still be useful when winter gives way to spring and allergy season arrives.

(If you are pregnant, diabetic, have high blood pressure or are taking blood thinners, please consult your practitioner before using these remedies)

Neti pot (nasal rinse cup): use for colds, sinus infections and allergies (See here how to do nasal rinse and dry your nose correctly afterwards)

Neem Soap: Use for hand washing especially during flu season--it's a great antiviral and antibacterial soap.

Natural mineral salt or Himalayan salt:

  • Use in tub to relieve coughs and colds
  • Use in neti pot for sinus conditions and allergies
  • Use with turmeric as gargle
  • Use in steam for coughs

Turmeric:

  • Use with hot water and salt as gargle for sore throats
  • Mix with honey and eat for allergies
  • Use with ginger and tulsi as a tea for coughs, colds and flus

Tulsi: Use with ginger and turmeric as tea for coughs, colds and flus, or just enjoy it on its own.

Ginger:

  • Use with turmeric and tulsi as a tea for coughs, colds and flus
  • Use with lemon and honey to relieve upper respiratory tract infections
  • Use with baking soda in tub to promote sweating and relieve aches

Organic Raw Honey:

  • Sweeten your turmeric, tulsi and ginger tea
  • USe with lemon and ginger for colds
  • Take with turmeric for allergies
  • Eat by the spoon as an expectorant
  • Mix with sitopaladi

Licorice: Use as tea for sore throat

Sitopaladi: Use for coughs, colds and flus, half a teaspoon three times daily.

Chyavanprash: Take to aid recovery after colds and flus; or as a preventative to support immunity

Alakananda Ma is a Certified Ayurvedic Doctor (NAMA) and graduate of a top London medical school. She is co-founder of Alandi Ayurveda Clinic and Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula in Boulder Colorado, as well as a spiritual mother, teacher, flower essence maker and storyteller. Alakananda is well known and highly respected in the Ayurveda community both nationally and internationally.

Enliven your holistic health! Book an ayurvedic consultation with Alakananda Ma to support the overall rejuvenation of your body, mind, and spirit. In-person and phone appointments available. Book now!

Alandi Images Legume-free  almond hummus.JPG

Love hummus but can't digest beans? Here is a great legume-free almond hummus from guest blogger Savitri. In fact it's so delicious, you will want to try it even if you can eat regular hummus. And if you make your own almond milk, it's a wonderful way to use up the almond pulp.

Ingredients

1.5 cups almond pulp

3 Tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. cumin seeds

1 tsp. ghee

2 garlic cloves

3 Tbsp. of lime jiuce (or more to taste)

2 Tbsp. tahini (or more to taste)

Salt and black pepper to taste

1 pinch of cayenne (optional)

1 - 2 Tb of water (you may add more to get the desired consistency)

Preparation

After you strain your homemade almond milk, keep the pulp to make your almond hummus.

Fry the garlic with the ghee.

When the garlic is almost done, add the cumin seeds roast them for a few seconds.

Put all the ingredients in your food processor or blender, and blend it until is smooth.

Serve it with carrots, celery or your favorite gluten free bread.

Enjoy!

Alakananda Ma is a Certified Ayurvedic Doctor (NAMA) and graduate of a top London medical school. She is co-founder of Alandi Ayurveda Clinic and Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula in Boulder Colorado, as well as a spiritual mother, teacher, flower essence maker and storyteller. Alakananda is well known and highly respected in the Ayurveda community both nationally and internationally.

Enliven your holistic health! Book an ayurvedic consultation with Alakananda Ma to support the overall rejuvenation of your body, mind, and spirit. In-person and phone appointments available. Book now!

Alandi Inages Hemorrhoid Remedies.JPG

Hemorrhoids or piles can be a troublesome ailment for many people. Here are some Ayurvedic home remedies that may offer some relief.

The most important food remedy for hemorrhoids is known as buttermilk or takram. This is not the same as the cultured buttermilk sold in the supermarket. To make takram or Indian buttermilk, take half a cup of organic whole milk yoghurt and add half a cup of pure water. Put this mixture in the blender and thoroughly blend. Ideally, if the yoghurt is not homogenized, you will see some yellow butter droplets rising to the top.

Some of the items suggested in these remedies are best purchased from your local Indian grocery store. This includes ajwain, a spice, and black salt.

Home remedies for hemorrhoids that are not bleeding but are painful or itch

Remedies to take internally:

  1. Ajwain ¼ tsp. and black salt ¼ tsp., taken with takram twice a day.
  2. Black pepper ¼ tsp. taken with 1 cup takram twice a day.
  3. Mix together ½ tsp. ginger juice, 1 tsp. mint juice, 1 tsp. lemon juice and 1tsp. honey. Eat daily.
  4. Sesame seed decoction: Take 2 cups of water and add about 2.5 Tbsp. sesame seeds to it. Simmer until the quantity is reduced to one third of its original amount. This can be taken every day.

Remedies to apply externally:

  1. Take adequate amounts of turmeric powder and add mustard oil and onion juice to it. Make this into a paste and apply directly on the area of piles. Wear a pad to prevent staining of underwear.
  2. Mix an adequate amount of turmeric in ghee and apply directly on the piles. Wear a pad to prevent staining of underwear.
  3. Take a sitz bath with chamomile and comfrey tea.

Home remedies for bleeding hemorrhoids

  1. 1 Tbsp. fresh pomegranate juice taken with 1-2 tsp. raw sugar twice a day.
  2. Haritaki - ¼ to ¾ tsp., to be taken with ¼ cup warm water, twice a day.
  3. 3 tsp. pomegranate rind to be taken with equal part of raw sugar twice a day: or another version of this remedy is--Take one cup pomegranate rind powder. Add 4 cups water to it and boil the mixture. Allow it to cool. Take one glass of this mixture each morning and evening.
  4. Take 2 tsp. mustard seeds and grind to powder. Add ten tablespoons of goat's milk and drink before breakfast.
  5. Grind a few mustard seeds and add to fresh yoghurt. Stir well and eat before breakfast. Follow with a glass of yoghurt blended with an equal amount of water.

Remedies to apply externally:

  1. Take one tablespoon of honey and mix it with radish juice. Apply it on the area of the piles
  2. Make a paste of turmeric mixed in mustard oil and apply to the area. Wear a pad to prevent staining of underwear.
  3. Take a sitz bath with barberry tea.

If your hemorrhoid is persistent, please consult a doctor. You may need treatment such as cauterization, or your hemorrhoid symptoms might relate to a more serious condtion within your anus, rectum or colon.

Alakananda Ma is a Certified Ayurvedic Doctor (NAMA) and graduate of a top London medical school. She is co-founder of Alandi Ayurveda Clinic and Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula in Boulder Colorado, as well as a spiritual mother, teacher, flower essence maker and storyteller. Alakananda is well known and highly respected in the Ayurveda community both nationally and internationally.

Enliven your holistic health! Book an ayurvedic consultation with Alakananda Ma to support the overall rejuvenation of your body, mind, and spirit. In-person and phone appointments available. Book now!

Alandi Images Honey.jpg

"How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" says the Psalmist. Honey is the epitome of sweetness and deliciousness, yet this golden treat is also an important Ayurvedic medicinal food.

Scientific Name: The honeybee is called apis mellifera

Sanskrit: Madhu

Hindi: Madhu

Ecological Status: Seven species of Hawaiian yellow-faced bees were added to the endangered species list in 2016. Bee populations worldwide are declining at an alarming rate due to factors including varroa mites, neonicotinoid pesticides and climate change.

The goddess of honeybees, the mysterious Queen Bee, is known as Bhramari Devi or Bhramarambika. She resides in one of South India's most important temples, Shri Sailyam in Andhra Pradesh. Bhramarambika is s special protector of the Feminine. Long ago, a demon, Arunadānava, tried to take over the heavens intending to drive out the gods and capture the beautiful goddesses. The goddesses appealed to Adi Shakti, the supreme feminine power, who transformed herself into a black bee with a swarm of bees emanating from her. The bees surrounded and protected the goddesses. They filled the world with their buzzing and destroyed the demon army, while the Queen Bee herself stung Arunadānava to death. This myth shows a profound understanding not only of the Queen Bee but also of the fact that guard bees are female warriors who will fight to the death to protect the hive and queen. Tiny bees are capable of fighting off a marauding bear.

Bhramari Devi.jpg

Rasa: Sweet, astringent after-taste (Anurasa)

Virya: Cooling

Vipak: Sweet

Guna: Light, dry

Brings down kapha by lightness, brings down vata and pitta due to sliminess, sweetness and astringent taste.

Fresh honey is best for pitta and older, crystallized honey is better as an expectorant, anti-fat and anti-kapha medicine.

Contains: Dextrose, levulose, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, calcium, amino acids. Natural raw honey contains valuable pollen and propolis constituents including p-coumaric acid, pinocembrin, and pinobanksin 5-methyl ether, which benefit immunity.

Karmas:

  • Drying
  • Scraping
  • Unites wounds
  • Purifies wounds, burns and ulcers
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Astringent
  • Yogavahi--carries herbs and medicines to the minutest subtle channels
  • Anti-obesity
  • Cures hiccough
  • Expectorant
  • Anti-parasitical
  • Antitoxic
  • Demulcent

Used in:

  • Asthma, breathlessness and cough
  • Dysentery
  • Vomiting tendency (although excess can act as an emetic)
  • Morbid thirst
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Obesity
  • Wounds and burns
  • Used correctly, can be curative for diabetes
  • Hiccup

Remedies:

For all these remedies, you need to use high quality raw honey.

  1. Canker sores, also known as apthous ulcers: Gently clean the sore with a cotton swab dipped in some water or saline solution, then gently apply some natural raw honey with a swab. Do this after each meal. (You need runny honey for this remedy).
  2. Peptic ulcers: Drink a cup of warm milk with a teaspoon of honey and a pinch of cardamom twice a day.
  3. Nausea, vomiting, indigestion: Mix equal parts lemon juice and honey. Lick this mixture slowly to calm symptoms.
  4. Bleeding piles: Take one tablespoon of honey and mix it with radish juice. Apply it on the area of the piles
  5. Hiccup: Hold honey in the mouth or slowly lick honey.
  6. Cold or catarrh: mix ½ tsp. cinnamon with 1 tsp. honey. Eat this mixture two or three times a day.
  7. Colds and sore throats: Hot water with a squeeze of lemon and a spoonful of honey can be taken 2-3 times a day.
  8. Allergies: Mix 1tsp. turmeric powder with 2 tsp. local honey and lick for fast relief of allergy symptoms.
  9. Cough: Mix a pinch of black pepper in honey and lick it from a spoon. If you have pippali, add a pinch too. (Pippali= piper longum or long pepper)
  10. Bronchitis: Mix fresh ginger juice and honey together to form a linctus and lick it from a spoon.
  11. Asthma: Mix a pinch of pippali powder in honey and lick it from a spoon as soon as you get asthma warning signs.
  12. Burns: Apply a 'honey bandage' by spreading honey over a non-stick dressing and then taping over the burn.
  13. Scrapes, cuts and abrasions: Dressing the wound with honey can help healing and prevent infection.
  14. Diabetic ulcers: Sprinkle turmeric or a mixture of powdered neem and turmeric on the ulcer and then apply a honey bandage, using a non-stick dressing.
  15. Obesity: Drink a cup of hot water in the morning with a teaspoon of raw honey. Ideally, add a pinch of pippali.
  16. Conjunctivitis, blepharitis: Dissolve ¼ teaspoon of honey in warm (not boiling) distilled water and add a pinch of Himalayan salt. You can gently drop this in the eye using a dropper.
  17. Honey for hair health: Mix a tablespoon of coconut oil and a tablespoon of honey and apply to dry or wet hair. Wait about half an hour before shampooing out.
  18. Honey facial: After washing your face, take a couple of tablespoons of honey and apply it gently to your face. Leave on for fifteen minutes and then wash off with lukewarm water.

Alakananda Ma is a Certified Ayurvedic Doctor (NAMA) and graduate of a top London medical school. She is co-founder of Alandi Ayurveda Clinic and Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula in Boulder Colorado, as well as a spiritual mother, teacher, flower essence maker and storyteller. Alakananda is well known and highly respected in the Ayurveda community both nationally and internationally.

Enliven your holistic health! Book an ayurvedic consultation with Alakananda Ma to support the overall rejuvenation of your body, mind, and spirit. In-person and phone appointments available. Book now!

Alandi Images Pomegranates.jpg

Pomegranate

Latin name: Punica granatum L

Sanskrit: dādima

Family: Lythraceae

Hindi: Anār

Pomegranate in history and myth

Pomegranate originated in the region between Iran and Northern India, where it has been cultivated for millennia and still remains a characteristic feature of the cuisine. Since ancient times pomegranates have been grown in the Mediterranean region, the Middle East and South Asia. Pomegranate plays a rich part in the myths, lore and literature of the Silk Road lands and the Mediterranean, finding its place in Greco-Roman, Jewish, Christian and Islamic scriptures and rituals. Islamic Hadith notes that pomegranate "cleanses you of Satan and from evil aspirations for forty days." And in another inspiring Islamic quote, the Prophet Muhammed's cousin, Sayyiduna Ali, said that the light of Allah (God) is in the heart of whoever eats pomegranate.

The fruiting of the pomegranate heralds the onset of winter; so it is told that Persephone was abducted by Hades (Pluto) and carried off to the underworld. Because she ate four pomegranate seeds in the realm of Hades, she had to spend four months a year in the Underworld, returning to bring the springtime.

Spilling over with fertility in the form of rich, ruby-red seeds, pomegranate is a symbol of Divine Mother and of the Madonna, as beautifully portrayed by Botticelli.

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BOTTICELLI, Sandro, Madonna of the Pomegranate (Madonna della Melagrana), Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Pomegranate is known as an Ayurvedic pharmacy in its own right. The bark and root bark are used for diarrhea and dysentery, while the fruit and the rind (pericarp) are used as medicinal foods and home remedies as well as in more complex Ayurvedic formulations. Pomegranate rind is a rich source of phytoestrogens helpful for menopause. The fruit contains numerous antioxidants including phenolics, flavonoids, ellagitannins, and proanthocyanidin compounds as well as minerals, mainly potassium.

Despite containing phytoestrogens, pomegranate is not merely safe in breast cancer; pomegranate has been shown in vitro and in animal studies to inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells, prostate cancer and skin cancer. Pomegranate is also a beneficial antioxidant for heart disease and blood lipid disorders and has been found in animal models to help erectile dysfunction. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2014/686921/

Pomegranate seed essential oil is obtained by pressing pomegranate seeds and is a rich source of the antioxidants ellagic acid and punicic acid. Keep a bottle of organic pomegranate essential oil in your bathroom and apply it to any inflamed or sun-damaged areas. It is usually safe for sensitive facial skin.

Pomegranate breast oil is made by mixing one part pomegranate rind with sixteen parts water, cooking this down to four parts and then cooking this decoction into an equal amount of mustard oil until all the water is evaporated, after which the pomegranate peel is strained out. This oil is rich in compounds that help prevent breast cancer and can be used for a weekly or daily breast massage.

Pomegranate juice is an important Ayurvedic medicine. Fresh is ideal; if you are using bottled pomegranate juice, dilute with water.

Sweet varietals of pomegranate are the most highly prized in Ayurvedic texts and by Islamic hakims (traditional doctors) and the following information refers to sweet pomegranate:

Rasa: Sweet, sour, astringent with a touch of bitter

Virya: Cooling

Vipak: Sweet

Guna: Light

Calms all three doshas

Actions:

  • Relieves morbid thirst
  • Relieves burning sensations
  • Anti-febrile
  • Removes bad odour from stomach, throat and mouth
  • Nourishing
  • Promotes semen
  • Absorbent, binds stools
  • Brain tonic
  • Tonic
  • Builds blood
  • Antiparasitical

Used in:

  • Intestinal parasites
  • Anaemia
  • Fever
  • Thirst
  • Debility
  • Diarrhoea and dysentery
  • Cough
  • Halitosis
  • Bleeding piles
  • Heart palpitations

Remedies:

  1. Bad taste in mouth or lack of relish for food: Do mouthwash with some pomegranate juice with a pinch of rock salt and a teaspoon of honey, holding it in the mouth for as long as possible. It is said to cure even incurable loss of appetite.
  2. Nosebleed: instill 2 drops pomegranate juice into each nostril.
  3. Burning eyes: instill 1 drop of fresh or diluted pomegranate juice into each eye at bedtime.
  4. Nausea, especially in pregnancy: Drink a cup of pomegranate juice with a pinch of cardamom.
  5. Cough, especially in child: ½ cup pomegranate juice with a pinch of ginger and a pinch of pippali (piper longum).
  6. Rashes, hives: 1 cup pomegranate juice with 1 tsp. turbinado sugar and a pinch of ginger.
  7. Excess thirst, dehydration: 1 cup pomegranate juice, ½ cup grape juice, 1 tsp. tubinado sugar, 1 pinch ginger powder.
  8. Bleeding piles: For hemorrhoids that are painful and bleed, take 1 Tbsp. fresh pomegranate juice with 1-2 tsp. raw sugar twice a day.
  9. Bleeding piles: Take 1 cup pomegranate rind powder. Add 4 cups water to it and boil the mixture. Allow it to cool. One glass of this mixture can be taken each morning and evening.
  10. Dysentery: ½ cup pomegranate juice with pinch clove and 2 pinches ginger powder 2-3 x daily.
  11. Weight reduction: Fast on pomegranate juice two days a week.

Pomegranate home remedy sources: Alandi Remedies Manual and Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing by Usha and Vasant Lad.

Alakananda Ma is a Certified Ayurvedic Doctor (NAMA) and graduate of a top London medical school. She is co-founder of Alandi Ayurveda Clinic and Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula in Boulder Colorado, as well as a spiritual mother, teacher, flower essence maker and storyteller. Alakananda is well known and highly respected in the Ayurveda community both nationally and internationally.

Enliven your holistic health! Book an ayurvedic consultation with Alakananda Ma to support the overall rejuvenation of your body, mind, and spirit. In-person and phone appointments available. Book now!

Alandi Images Ganesha Carrot.jpg

An Indian carrot variety looking like Ganesha

Revered in ancient Rome as an aphrodisiac and proverbial for their benefits on eyesight, carrots are sweet and bitter with a heating energy. They calm vata and kapha. Their high antioxidant content is the reason why carrots are used for blood cleansing, liver cleansing and cancer healing. Yet, delicious and comforting as they are, carrots may disturb pitta if consumed in excess. Balance carrots with pitta-soothing vegetables such as green peas, leafy dark greens or cilantro. And be especially cautious with carrot juice, because it is highly concentrated. It is best for pitta to combine cucumber, cilantro or aloe vera juice with their carrot juice.

Daucus carota subsp. sativus (Hoffm.) Arcang.

Apiaceae

Sanskrit: Gājara

Hindi: Gājar

Carrots were first cultivated on the Iranian plateau--a region comprising today's Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. Although wild carrots (Daucus carota var carota) have a woody and unpleasant-tasting whitish root, the agriculturalists of five thousand years ago developed tasty and nutritious purple and yellow carrots. Over centuries of cultivation, carrots with different nutritional profiles were developed. In Europe we are accustomed to orange carrots, which are the richest variety for beta-carotene content and easy to grow as well. However, in India, red, purple and near-black carrots were grown, (Daucus carota ssp. sativus var. atrorubens Alef.). Purple and black carrots contain major antioxidants--anthocyanins, pheolics and flavonoids, while red carrots are a good source of the important eye nutrient, lycopene. Seeds of these Asiatic carrots are now available from seed companies. We recommend growing or using both European and Asiatic varieties of carrot for their specialized antioxidant profile, although red and black carrots are definitely more erratic producers than standard orange varieties.

Rasa: Madhura tikta (Sweet and bitter)

Virya: Ushna (heating)

Vipak: Katu (pungent)

Guna:Laghu (light)

Karmas:

  • Anti-haemorrhage
  • Anti-haemorrhoid
  • Anti-dysenteric
  • Good for eye health

Remedies:

  1. Diarrhoea and dysentery: Well-steamed carrots with ghee are the first vegetable to eat after an episode of diarrhea or dysentery and help in gut healing. Carrots are an important prebiotic food to aid restoration of your microbiome.
  2. Haemorrhoids: 1 cup carrot juice with 2 tsp. cilantro juice twice daily on an empty stomach.
  3. Sprue and malabsorption: 1 cup carrot juice with a pinch of trikatu twice daily. (Trikatu consists of dry ginger, black pepper and pippali or long pepper. If you don't have trikatu use dry ginger instead).
  4. Chronic indigestion: 1 cup carrot juice with 1 pinch dry ginger powder daily.
  5. Cancer support: Combine ½ cup carrot juice and ½ cup aloe vera juice and take twice daily.
  6. Alcohol detox: Take 1 cup carrot-beet-cucumber juice daily and eat a daily portion of Liver Cleanse Sabji.
  7. Probiotic support: In North India it is traditional to make a lacto-fermented carrot beverage known as kanji for probiotic support.

Sources:Alandi Pulse Manual, Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing by Usha and Vasant Lad.

Alandi Images carrots in bowl.JPG

Orange, yellow and purple garden carrots.

Alakananda Ma is a Certified Ayurvedic Doctor (NAMA) and graduate of a top London medical school. She is co-founder of Alandi Ayurveda Clinic and Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula in Boulder Colorado, as well as a spiritual mother, teacher, flower essence maker and storyteller. Alakananda is well known and highly respected in the Ayurveda community both nationally and internationally.

Enliven your holistic health! Book an ayurvedic consultation with Alakananda Ma to support the overall rejuvenation of your body, mind, and spirit. In-person and phone appointments available. Book now!

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