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Tridoshic 'Yam' Kitcheri

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1cup split hulled mung beans
1 cup basmati rice
3 tbsp ghee
1 and half inches minced fresh ginger
2 tbsp shredded coconut
1 tsp turmeric 
1 handful cilantro leaves
8 green cardamom pods
8 whole cloves
11 black peppercorns
3 inch piece cinnamon stick
3 bay leaves Salt to taste
1 large yam, cubed (actually a golden sweet potato)

  • Rinse mung beans well with cold water and soak for a few hours 
  • Rinse rice well and soak while beans are cooking
  • Put ginger, coconut, turmeric, cilantro and some water in a blender or food processor and blend. Use enough water to blend well.
  • In a large pot, melt ghee over medium heat and sauté cardamom pods (split open first), cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon stick and bay leaves for a few minutes. Then add the blended spices and sauté for a few more minutes until lightly cooked
  • Next add beans and yams; cook for a couple more minutes. Add enough water to cover the beans with at least 3 inches of water and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to simmer. Cook for about 45 minutes or until the beans are completely broken down. Then add the rice and cook until the rice is broken apart. Add more water as needed Salt to taste and enjoy!


Green Peas and Cancer

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Peas in pods.

Peas in pods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I always eat my peas with honey;
I've done it all my life.
They do taste kind of funny
but It keeps them on my knife.

My father used to enjoy reading me this rhyme from the Penguin Book of Comical and Curious Verse. He also loved to grow peas in the garden of our Victorian house. We would shell them and eat them lightly steamed with butter and mint.

As a teenager I used to volunteer for Help the Aged by visiting a ninety year old widow, Mrs Scopes. She loved to tell me 'Old Wive's Tales'. One oft-repeated saying was "Peas give you cancer, my father said." As it turns out, this adage could not be further from the truth. In fact an unique constituent of green peas, coumestrol, is being investigated for its benefits in preventing cancer. A Mexico City study pointed to the potential of green peas in preventing stomach cancer (1). And the Prostate Cancer Sweden Study points to green peas as helpful in preventing prostate cancer (2). The antioxidant components of green peas may also be helpful in breast cancer (3) as well as in preventing heart disease.

According to Ayurveda, green peas are pitta soothing and laxative, beneficial for purisha vaha srotas or the colon. Enjoy green peas with rice, in kitcheri,in a sabji or vegetable curry with cauliflower and potato or in matar paneer. Or serve them like my father did, lightly steamed with butter and mint

1. Hernandez-Ramirez R, Galvan-Portillo M, Ward M et al. Dietary intake of polyphenols, nitrate and nitrite and gastric cancer risk in Mexico City. Int J Cancer. 2009 September 15; 125(6): 1424-1430. 2009.
2. Maria Hedelin, Åsa Klint, Ellen T. Chang, Rino Bellocco, Jan-Erik Johansson, Swen-Olof Andersson, Satu-Maarit Heinonen, Herman Adlercreutz, Hans-Olov Adami and Henrik Grönberg, et al.  Dietary Phytoestrogen, Serum Enterolactone and Risk of Prostate Cancer: The Cancer Prostate Sweden Study (Sweden) Cancer Causes and Control

Volume 17, Number 2 (2006), 169-180, DOI: 10.1007/s10552-005-0342-2
Pamela J. Magee* and Ian R. Rowland Phyto-oestrogens, their mechanism of action: current evidence for a role in breast and prostate cancer British Journal of Nutrition (2004), 91, 513-531

English: A bowl of white granulated sugar. The...

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 Addiction to sugar is a significant cause of overweight, obesity, diabetes, dental caries, candidiasis and adrenal deficiency. In addition, by lowering immunity, white sugar may contribute to the incidence of cancer and acute and chronic infections. Although white sugar as an addiction of choice affects all ages from infancy on, individuals born in the 1950s are particularly susceptible, due to the prevalence of sweetened infant formula at that period.  All types of agni may be involved in sugar cravings, but the nature, consequences and management of sugar addiction differs depending upon the agni type.


Visham Agni and Sugar

The individual with visham agni has cravings for sweet, salty, sour, spicy and oily foods. They are just as likely to indulge in tortilla chips and salsa, potato chips, French fries and ketchup, salted peanuts or crackers as in sugar. To complicate matters, manufacturers frequently include sugar in savory items such as crackers, chips or peanut butter. Often, such individuals may realize that sweet baked goods such as cookies upset their digestion. Instead, they will use M&Ms or chocolate peanuts, seeking the combination of sweet, fat and crunch.

 The impact of white sugar on such an individual can be devastating to the adrenals. Vata-provoked clients with visham agni are prone to under-eating and random meal plans. Breakfast could be a few Twinkies or a Power Bar in the car on the way to work. Feeling hungry while at work, they may snack on chips, crackers, doughnuts or whatever is in the office or the vending machine. After a salad for lunch, they are hungry again by mid afternoon and begin consuming chocolate and other munchies. By dinner time, they have no appetite left, having wasted their available agni on junk foods. Each time sugar is eaten, it stimulates an adrenal-type energy rush, gradually leading to adrenal exhaustion, especially if combined with caffeine. As the adrenals become increasingly exhausted, the urge to eat sugar grows stronger, in response to the need to "get some energy". As much as sugar may be a cause of overweight in other agni types, it  can contribute to chronic underweight in the person with visham agni. Yet despite being underweight, the junk-food junkie may have more toxic hard fat in the system than the pitta with a chubby little belly.


A young woman with this agni condition worked at a residential elder care facility. When at home, she followed a strict diet of brown rice, steamed vegetables and carrot juice. At work, she indulged in big portions of lasagna and stacks of Oreo Cookies. After explaining to her that there was in fact nothing wrong with lasagna for her constitution, we encouraged her to stash healthy treats at the elder care facility, so that Oreo Cookies would not tempt her.  This strategy works well for both visham agni and tikshnagni.  Creating a stash of suitable treats made with whole sugars or other natural sweeteners gives an outlet for the desire stimulated by the presence of poor quality sweets.

A good remedy to balance sweet cravings for vata can be prepared using Ashwagandha. Roast an ounce of Ashwagandha in ghee and add a tablespoon of date sugar. Store in a screw top glass jar in the refrigerator.  This can be eaten in the morning about twenty minutes before breakfast, in the mid afternoon-- if sweet cravings arise-- and at bed time with a cup of hot milk. To help reduce the stress levels that exacerbate sweet cravings, tulsi tea can be used as a general beverage or Tranquil Mind formula can be taken three times daily. For adrenal exhaustion, Stress Ease can also be taken.


Tikshnagni and Sugar

The individual with tikshnagni craves sweet, bitter and astringent foods. A sugary cup of black tea satisfies the desire for a mixture of sweet with astringent, a cup of sweet latte or a rich dark chocolate meets the need for a mixture of sweet and bitter. Unfortunately, caffeine and white sugar provoke pitta, intensifying tikshnagni. Thus, the more the pitta individual indulges in white sugar, coffee, tea and supermarket chocolate, the worse their tikshnagni becomes and the more strongly they crave sweets. Next, they begin to crave yeasted breads and sweet baked goods in an attempt to diminish their raging inner fire. Yeast, being sour, further provokes pitta, worsening tikshnagni.  People with tikshnagni need extra protein, a slower burning fuel. Thus the empty calories of muffins, cookies, cupcakes and brownies only serve to make them hungrier. Soon they are twenty to thirty pounds overweight while being essentially malnourished.

A fifty year old real estate agent with a pitta prakruti presented with a lifelong history of tikshnagni and compulsive overeating. She came from an alcoholic family and had been an active alcoholic herself for ten years, a typical finding with tikshnagni and sugar addiction. She had a set of very strict diet guidelines that inevitably fell apart each evening. Until that point each day she perceived herself as a person who ate healthily and avoided dairy and processed flours. She took fruit for breakfast and typically ate a business lunch with her clients. Feeling remorseful about the size of her stressful lunch, she took only fish and salad for dinner. Like most stressed out individuals with tikshnagni, she began craving chocolate around four in the afternoon, but held back, determined to be 'good.' By the end of her austere dinner she was ready to spend the rest of the evening consuming chocolate, ice cream and cookies. She was about forty pounds overweight.

Her troubles each day began with her fruit breakfast. Although this may be a good strategy for a healthy pitta with a tranquil life, fruit was not advisable for breakfast given her tikshnagni and the competitive nature of her job, with its stressful lunches. Instead of starting the day with the sweet taste, she could begin with bitter.  A half teaspoon of Mahasudarshan in a teaspoon of honey works well for most people to diminish cravings for breads and sweets. This can be followed, twenty minutes later, by a breakfast containing protein. It is better to avoid a sweet breakfast altogether in this situation and to start the day with a small but complete meal such as a bowl of kitcheri and a whole wheat chapatti.   

To regulate tikshnagni she could prepare Shatavari Kalpa.  Roast an ounce of Shatavari with ghee and add a tablespoon of sucanat or turbinado sugar. This can be taken mid-morning and mid-afternoon to prevent hypoglycemia and to regulate tikshnagni. For stress and addictive tendencies she should drink Brahmi tea three times daily. She could also take Stress Ease three times daily.

Mandagni and sugar.

For the kapha individual with mandagni, sugar addiction is truly a   life or death situation. Waking sluggish and dull, kapha seeks energy from a donut or sugary cereal with cold milk. Although this gives a short burst of adrenal energy, these foods, to which a majority of individuals with mandagni are allergic, serve only to make him more sluggish and sleepy. Worse still, in kapha individuals, the insulin response is easily over stimulated. Whereas vata will burn all the sugar they consume in a frenetic rush of adrenal energy, kapha's body will immediately respond by storing sugar as fat. Gradually, the pancreas becomes more and more oversensitive, leading to a peri-diabetic condition of obesity, low energy and constant cravings for sweets and refined flours. White sugar and refined flour do not contain enough chromium for their own metabolism and thus deplete the body of chromium, essential to metabolism and to the functioning of the pancreas. Continued over-consumption of such refined foods will tip the kapha individual from peri-diabetes to diabetes proper, complete with retinopathy, neuropathy, arterial disease and diabetic ulcers. This is truly a high price to pay for a bowl of cereal and a Snickers Bar a day.

A forty year old financial planner had reached a level of mandagni so severe that not only wheat, dairy and sugar but even brown rice made him nauseated, tired, heavy and dull. He was sixty pounds overweight and lived on an energy roller-coaster, consuming caffeinated soda and sugar to get a burst of energy and then breads and cereal to calm him down. The breads made him tired and lethargic, so then he needed sugar and caffeine, which wired him, after which he needed more bread. In a few short years, if he did not change his ways, he would be diabetic.

He could be helped by taking a teaspoon of Shardunika after each meal or Sweet Ease formula three times daily. This would help balance his insulin secretion and reduce his craving for sweets. As with tikshnagni, a morning dose of Mahasudarshan would help with his craving for breads. Ten minutes before each meal he could take a half teaspoon of organic turmeric powder to aid in balancing the blood sugar load from that meal. To help reduce weight and kindle agni, he could use Trikatu. For stress he could take Bacopa tea three times daily or Mental Clarity formula, which would help with the sluggishness and lethargy that drove him to drink Pepsi-Cola.

In accordance with the basic principles of Ayurveda, although white sugar is a poison for all three doshas, its use must be handled very differently depending upon agni type. It is essential, as we have seen, to provide dietary counseling and to offer appropriate stress- reduction strategies, as sugar consumption is a manifestation of mental stress and a cause of physiological stress. Because of the importance of stress in the overall picture, it may often be wise to begin the treatment program with the appropriate stress-reducing herbs and to hold the other suggestions for a later appointment.



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Gluten Free Eating

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Gluten Free Eating

by Alakananda Ma

Photograph of 4 gluten sources. Top: High-glut...

Image via Wikipedia

Your Ayurvedic Practitioner has determined that, according to Ayurveda, you may be benefitted by a gluten free diet. Typically you will do a three-month trial of this diet, to see if the effects are beneficial for your overall health goals. The trial will work ONLY if you are totally gluten free for the three-month period. Tell your Doctor that you are on a gluten free diet. For certain tests, it may be necessary to eat gluten in order for the test to work.

Gluten is the protein part of wheat, rye, barley, and other related grains. Some people cannot tolerate gluten when it comes in contact with the small intestine. This condition is known as celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. There is also evidence that a skin disorder called dermatitis herpetiformis is associated with gluten intolerance.

In patients with celiac disease, gluten injures the lining of the small intestine. This injury results in weight loss, bloating, diarrhea, gas, abdominal cramps, or vitamin and mineral deficiencies. There may be many other manifestations including neurological or cognitive effects, malaise, fatigue or inflammation. Not all people with gluten sensitivity notice intestinal symptoms. When patients totally eliminate gluten from the diet, the lining of the intestine has a chance to heal and other symptoms may abate or disappear.

Removing gluten from the diet is not easy. Grains are used in the preparation of many foods. It is often hard to tell by an ingredient's name what may be in it, so it is easy to eat gluten without even knowing it. However, staying on a strict gluten-free diet may dramatically improve your condition.

Oats is a grain the merits special attention. Oats are believed safe in patients with celiac disease although this was not always the case. The problem with oat products is not the grain but rather the manufacturing process. When oats are processed in the same facilities as wheat, contamination can occur even with the best cleaning protocol. Oat products can now be found that are not cross contaminated. These can be tried after an initial period of 6 months to see if they can be tolerated. Most, but not all patients can tolerate pure oat products. Many other products are contaminated with gluten in the milling process so it is safest always to purchase food labeled gluten free. Most natural foods markets now have a gluten free aisle for your convenience.

  • Do not eat anything that contains the following grains: wheat, rye, and barley.
  • The following can be eaten in any amount: corn, potato, rice, soybeans, tapioca, arrowroot, carob, buckwheat, millet, amaranth and quinoa. (But if they are milled, look for the gluten free label!)
  • Distilled white vinegar does not contain gluten.
  • Malt vinegar does contain gluten.

Grains are used in the processing of many ingredients, so it will be necessary to seek out hidden gluten. The following terms found in food labels may mean that there is gluten in the product.

  • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP), unless made from soy or corn
  • Flour or Cereal products, unless made with pure rice flour, corn flour, potato flour, or soy flour
  • Vegetable Protein unless made from soy or corn
  • Malt or Malt Flavoring unless derived from corn
  • Modified Starch or Modified Food Starch unless arrowroot, corn, potato, tapioca, waxy maize, or maize is used
  • Vegetable Gum unless vegetable gums are carob bean gum, locust bean gum, cellulose gum, guar gum, gum arabic, gum aracia, gum tragacanth, xanthan gum, or vegetable starch
  • Soy Sauce or Soy Sauce Solids unless you know they do not contain wheat, as in wheat-free tamari.

Any of the following words on food labels usually means that a grain containing gluten has been used

  • stabilizer
  • starch
  • flavoring
  • emulsifier
  • hydrolyzed plant protein

There are now several companies that produce gluten-free products, and several support groups to provide delicious recipes and help patients adapt to the gluten-free diet.

Organized Groups

The Food Allergy Network

11781 Lee Jackson Hwy, Suite 160

Fairfax, VA 22033-3309

(800) 929-4040


American Celiac Society

P.O. Box 23455
New Orleans, LA 70183-0455


Celiac Sprue

Association/USA, Inc.

P.O. Box 31700

Omaha, NE 68131-0700

(402) 558-0600
(877) CSA-4-CSA


Celiac Disease Foundation

13251 Ventura Blvd., Suite 1

Studio City, CA 91604-1838

(818) 990-2354


Gluten Intolerance Group

15110 10th Avenue SW, Suite A

Seattle, WA 98166-1820

(206) 246-6652

Companies That Sell Gluten-Free Products

Dietary Specialists, Inc.

P.O. Box 227

Rochester, NY 14601

(716) 263-2787

To place an order: 1-800-544-0099


Ener-G Foods, Inc.

5960 1st Avenue. S.

P.O. Box 84487

Seattle, WA 98124-5787

(206) 767-6660

Toll free: 1-800-331-5222

Gluten Free Pantry
P.O. Box 840
Glastonbury, CT 06033



3750 Francis Hughes

Laval, Quebec

Canada H7L5A9

1-(450) 629-7689

Toll free: 1-800-363-DIET (3438)

Fax: 1-(450)-629-4781




The Really Great Food Company

P.O. Box 2239

St. James, NY 11780

Toll free: 1-800-593-5377




The Gluten-free Gourmet
More from the Gluten-free Gourmet
Bette Hagma

Gluten Freeda Online Cooking Magazine




Food Group

Do Not Contain Gluten

May Contain Gluten

Contain Gluten

Milk & milk products

whole, low fat, skim, dry, evaporated, or condensed milk; buttermilk; cream; whipping cream; American cheese; all aged cheeses, such as Cheddar, Swiss, Edam, and Parmesan

sour cream commercial chocolate milk and drinks, non-dairy creamers, all other cheese products, yogurt

(Buy natural live yoghurt without thickeners or make your own)

malted drinks

Meat or meat substitutes

100% meat (no grain additives); seafood; poultry (breaded with pure cornmeal, potato flour, or rice flour); peanut butter; eggs; dried beans or peas; p

meat patties; canned meat; sausages; cold cuts; bologna; hot dogs; stew; hamburger; chili; commercial omelets, soufflés, fondue; soy protein meat substitutes

croquettes, breaded fish, chicken loaves made with bread or bread crumbs, breaded or floured meats, meatloaf, meatballs, pizza, ravioli, any meat or meat substitute, rye, barley, oats, gluten stabilizers

Breads & grains

cream of rice; cornmeal; hominy; basmati rice; brown rice; red rice; wild rice; gluten-free noodles; rice wafers; pure corn tortillas; specially prepared breads made with corn, rice, potato, soybean, tapioca arrowroot ,carob, buckwheat, millet, amaranth and quinoa flour; puffed rice.(Note: many vatas do not tolerate GF flour with tapioca flour, so just use plain rice flour or rice bread)

packaged rice mixes, cornbread, ready-to-eat cereals containing malt flavoring

breads, buns, rolls, biscuits, muffins, crackers, and cereals containing wheat, wheat germ, oats, barley, rye, bran, graham flour, malt; kasha; bulgur; Melba toast; matzo; bread crumbs; pastry; pizza dough; regular noodles, spaghetti, macaroni, and other pasta; rusks; dumplings; zwieback; pretzels; prepared mixes for waffles and pancakes; bread stuffing or filling (Note: you can special order gluten free kosher Passover matzoh online)

Fats & oils

Butter, ghee, sunflower oil, olive oil, coconut oil, mustard oil.

salad dressings, non-dairy creamers, mayonnaise

gravy and cream sauces thickened with flour


plain, fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruit; all fruit juices

pie fillings, thickened or prepared fruit, fruit fillings



fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables; white and sweet potatoes; yams

vegetables with sauces, commercially prepared vegetables and salads, canned baked beans, pickles, marinated vegetables, commercially seasoned vegetables

creamed or breaded vegetables; those prepared with wheat, rye, oats, barley, or gluten stabilizers

Snacks & desserts

Turbinado sugar, raw cane sugar, jam, honey, molasses, pure cocoa,  popcorn, carob

custards, puddings, ice cream, ices, sherbet, pie fillings, candies, chocolate, chewing gum, cocoa, potato chips

cakes, cookies, doughnuts, pastries, dumplings, ice cream cones, pies, prepared cake and cookie mixes, pretzels, bread pudding


tea, carbonated beverages (except root beer), fruit juices, mineral and carbonated waters, wines, instant or ground coffee

cocoa mixes, root beer, chocolate drinks, nutritional supplements, beverage mixes

Postum™, Ovaltine™, malt-containing drinks, cocomalt, beer, ale, gin, whiskey, rye


those made with allowed ingredients

commercially prepared soups, broths, soup mixes, bouillon cubes

soups thickened with wheat flour or gluten-containing grains; soup containing barley, pasta, or noodles

Thickening agents

 arrowroot starch; corn flour, germ, or bran; potato flour; potato starch flour; rice bran and flour; rice polish; soy flour; tapioca, sago


wheat starch; all flours containing wheat, oats, rye, malt, barley, or graham flour; all-purpose flour; white flour; wheat flour; bran; cracker meal; durham flour; wheat germ


glutent-free soy sauce (tamari), distilled white vinegar, olives, pickles, relish, ketchup

flavoring syrups (for pancakes or ice cream), mayonnaise, horseradish, salad dressings, tomato sauces, meat sauce, mustard, taco sauce, soy sauce, chip dips



salt, pepper, herbs, flavored extracts, food coloring, cloves, kitchen spices such as turmeric cumin, coriander and fennel, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cream of tartar.

curry powder (safer to make your own) seasoning mixes, meat extracts

synthetic pepper, brewer's yeast (unless prepared with a sugar molasses base), yeast extract (contains barley)

Prescription products


all medicines: check with pharmacist or pharmaceutical company





Alakananda Ma's Gluten Free Recipes

Cleansing Kitcheri

1/2 cup split mung beans
1 cup basmati rice
Wash them both thoroughly, melt ghee and add spices: fresh ginger, tumeric (fresh or powdered), powdered fennel, cumin and coriander. Add rice, beans and 6 cups water, then bring to boil. Turn down to simmer for 45 minutes or until mung beans are very soft in pot on stove (or make in crock pot cooking overnight--be sure there's plenty of water or you're making a much larger batch to activate the heating elements in the crock pot).

After cooking, add salt to taste. If you live at altitude, cook the mung beans for 45 minutes while soaking the rice, then add the rice and cook for 45 minutes more.



Tridoshic Yam Kitcheri


Pacifies vata, pitta and Kapha


1cup split hulled mung beans

1 cup basmati rice

3 tbsp ghee

1 and half inches minced fresh ginger

2 tbsp shredded coconut

1 tsp turmeric

1 handful cilantro leaves

8 green cardamom pods

8 whole cloves

11 black peppercorns

3 inch piece cinnamon stick

3 bay leaves

Salt to taste

1 large yam, cubed


Rinse mung beans well with cold water and soak for a few hours

Rinse rice well and soak while beans are cooking

Put ginger, coconut, turmeric, cilantro and some water in a blender or food processor and blend. Use enough water to blend well.


In a large pot, melt ghee over medium heat and sauté cardamom pods (split open first), cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon stick and bay leaves for a few minutes. Then add the blended spices and sauté for a few more minutes until lightly cooked.


Next add beans and yams; cook for a couple more minutes. Add enough water to cover the beans with at least 3 inches  of water and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to simmer .Cook for about 45 minutes or until the beans are completely broken down. Then add the rice and cook until the rice is broken apart. Add more water as needed  Salt to taste and enjoy!



Golden Harvest Rice


This warming fall recipe makes use of the seasonal vegetables of harvest time. Soothing for vata and easily digestible, it can be balanced for pitta with the addition of cilantro and for kapha with cayenne or black pepper. Omitting the cashews, it is a great recipe for small children! Serves 6.


1 cup basmati rice

2 cups water

1 pinch saffron

1 medium sized pumpkin or winter squash

1 yellow or orange bell pepper

1 cup sweet corn

½ cup cashews

8 cloves

3 cardamoms, split open

2 black cardamoms, split open

1 tsp cumin seeds

½ tsp mustard seeds

1 bay leaf

1 stick cinnamon

1 pinch hing

1" piece of ginger, finely chopped

3 Tbsp ghee or sunflower oil

1 tsp salt


Wash the basmati rice; soak for an hour and drain.  Allow to air-dry. Boil the water; add the saffron and leave to steep. Peel and cut the squash or pumpkin into 1" cubes and stir-fry or sauté in 1 Tbsp of the ghee or oil until fork-tender (about 30 min). Meanwhile, chop the pepper. Heat half the remaining ghee or oil in a heavy flat bottomed pan and gently fry the cashews until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon. Add the remaining ghee, if needed. When the ghee is hot but not smoking, lower the heat and add the spices and ginger, frying until the ginger browns and the mustard seeds pop. Add the hing and within a few seconds the pepper and corn. Stir fry for a few minutes, and then add the rice and cook for a minute or two until the grains are translucent.  Add the saffron water, cashews and squash. Bring to the boil, cover and cook at low heat for 25 minutes. Stir with a fork and serve with wedges of lime.                         







Cold Cure Dal



Serves 4-6

1 cup red lentils

4-6 cups water

One bottle gourd (louki) peeled and  cubed

1" piece peeled and grated fresh ginger

1 tsp turmeric

2 tbsp ghee

2 royal black cardamoms, lightly crushed open

1" piece cinnamon stick

2 bay leaves

1 tsp garam masala

1-2 tsp cumin seeds

Half teaspoon fenugreek seeds

1 pinch hing

1 tsp jaggery or muscovado sugar

1-2 whole dried red chillies

1 handful chopped cilantro

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

6 curry leaves


This is a recipe for a chilly day, when you feel shivery, spaced out, as if you might be getting a chill or a head cold.

Wash the lentils carefully. In a large pan, boil together the lentils, tomatoes, ginger root, turmeric, half the ghee, cardamom, cinnamon stick and bay leaves. When the lentils begin to break up, add the louki. Alternatively, for a quick recipe, pressure-cook the dal with the above ingredients and meanwhile, steam the louki.

In a wok or frying pan, heat the rest of the ghee. Turn the burner to warm and add the cumin seeds, then the fenugreek seeds.  When they have browned, add the sweetener and chillies, and then the hing and curry leaves. Immediately add to the cooked lentil-louki mix. It will sizzle as you add it. Cook for ten minutes more to let the flavours mingle. At the last minute, drop in the cilantro and add salt to taste.  Serve over basmati rice.


Louki is a smooth green gourd that is demulcent and rejuvenative. Its astringent and slightly bitter taste benefits pitta and kapha. The spices in this recipe have been specifically chosen to

Kindle agni, burn toxins, promote sweating, strengthen the lungs and sinuses and drive out cold and damp. Enjoy!





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English: milk bottle showing cream at the top

Image via Wikipedia

by Alakananda Ma

In last month's article, we looked into nourishing rasa in the debilitated and dehydrated patient. This month we will consider the role of milk in nourishing rasa at times when extra building is needed (santarpana). Such instances include post partum and nursing mothers, patients with TB (rajayakshma), convalescent patients and those recovering from surgery. Often the first phase is the gentle rehabilitation of digestion described in Part I and the second pause is santarpana.


Liquid foods are of vital importance in nourishing rasa, a liquid dhatu.  Just as water is of prime importance in the early stages of nourishing rasa, so does milk come into its own during the santarpana phase. Both classical and modern scientific concerns are vital in understanding where, how and for whom the various kinds of milk are beneficial. Sushrut considers eight kinds of milks, of which three--camel milk, horse milk and elephant milk--are not typically available in the US. We will consider first cow's milk, the most abundant and readily available type of milk in our society. In speaking about milk in general, Sushrut describes it as 'the best of all nutritive (jivaniya) substances' (1). Possessed of guru, shita and slakshna qualities (heavy, cold and slimy) and a sweet taste, milk is considered beneficial for vata, pitta, mental disorders, chronic fever, cough, wasting diseases, heart disease, miscarriage, fractures and TB, among other conditions (2). It is regarded as a sacred food which is building (bruhaniya), tonic, spermatopoietic (shukral), rasayana and vajikarana (aphrodisiac) (2).  Cow's milk in particular is demulcent, heavy, a sacred elixir and calming to vatta and pitta (3).


So when our ancient texts describe milk in such glowing terms, why is milk today implicated in a range of conditions from leaky gut syndrome to asthma and eczema to heart disease? The answer is simple--a sacred food is so only when produced in the traditional, sacred way. The milk of a modern Holstein cow, produced on a feedlot from a diet of GMO corn, antibiotics, pesticides, rBGH and rendered animals, homogenized to extend its shelf life, pasteurized, refrigerated and bottled in plastic bears little resemblance to the sacred elixir of life described in our texts. And this is where modern food science comes into play in our understanding of milk.

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With my sister and her family in Wales, those of us who don't eat meat  enjoyed a vegetarian version of traditional Christmas dinner.


Main dish--Chestnuts simmered in cream
Roast potatoes

Brussels sprouts
Roasted parsnips
Roasted carrots
Chestnut stuffing (unstuffed)
Sage and onion stuffing
Bread sauce
Cranberry sauce

The meal was actually healthy! Chestnuts are a great source of protein, dietary fibre, Vitamin C, folate, B vitamins and minerals including iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc and potassium. Parsnips area major source of folate. Brussels sprouts are high in Vitamin C as well as cancer-preventing glutathione. Carrots provide beta carotene. Potatoes, like chestnuts, are gluten free and a great source of VitamIn C. So Christmas dinner, traditionally made, offers benefits especially for winter health and for women of childbearing are who need a folate-rich diet. 

This was followed by vegan gluten free Christmas pudding. All Mum would say about this recipe was that she followed Great-grandma Olivia's recipe while omitting flour, sugar, breadcrumbs and eggs and substituting vegetarian suet. Or here is a vegan recipe link:


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Gluten Free Pizza Crust

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Spinach pizza

Image via Wikipedia

Undeniably un-ayurvedic, but when you're having a pizza craving, and you're gluten-free, instead of caving in and suffering the dire consequences, try your hand at making your own delicious homemade pizza crust...

Oh, and serve it to your wheat eating friends for pizza night, they'll be shocked at how good this is.

Gluten-Free Pizza Crust

Makes two 12" or 14" pizzas, depending on the thickness of the crust you prefer

Important: a heavy-duty stand mixer will make this dough a breeze.


Have all ingredients at room temperature.


Mix on low speed in a heavy-duty mixer bowl with the paddle attachment for 1 minute:


1 c brown rice flour, toasted if desired (at 325 degrees F for 30 minutes)

1 c white rice flour

1-1/2 c tapioca flour

½ c potato starch

2 tsp xanthan gum (or 3 tbl arrowroot flour)

1 tbl sugar

1 tsp salt

2 tbl active dry or quick rising yeast


Add and mix on low speed for 1 minute:


1 c buttermilk

3 tbl olive oil

1-1/2 tsp rice or apple cider vinegar

2 large eggs

1 large egg white

¼ c very warm (115 degrees to 125 degrees F) water


Increase the speed to medium-high and mix for 4 minutes.  Grease or oil two 12" or 14" pizza pans (or tin pie pans with sloping sides).  Sprinkle with:


2 tbl cornmeal or polenta


With wet hands, press the batter onto the pan and spread it evenly.  Cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel and let rise at room temperature until puffy, about 20 minutes.


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Prick the pizza crust all over with a fork and bake for 15 minutes. 


Cover with sauce and other toppings, and continue baking for 10 minutes for thin crust or 15 minutes for thick crust. 




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Liver Cleanse Sabji

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Liver Cleanse Sabji


 This is a recipe to cleanse old pitta from the liver and to ground and nourish vata.   For pitta, choose Chioggia or golden beets rather than the standard red ones and use plenty of cilantro. For kapha add a hot green pepper and cook the vegetables more lightly to avoid releasing the sugars. Serves 6.

Liver Cleanse Sabji 1.jpg


4 medium carrots

2 beets

1 daikon

2 tbsp ghee or sunflower oil

1 bunch bitter dark greens (turnip, kale or collard)

1'' fresh turmeric, finely chopped, or 1 tsp organic turmeric powder

1" fresh ginger, finely chopped

1 Tbsp cumin seeds

Pinch hing

½ tsp salt

1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped.


Wash and slice the root vegetables. Heat half the ghee in a wok or frying pan and stir fry the vegetables. When they begin to soften, add the greens, cover and sauté to the desired tenderness. Meanwhile, in a small fry pan, heat the rest of the ghee. When it is hot but not smoking, lower the heat and add cumin, turmeric and ginger. Fry until the cumin seeds brown, add the hing and toss into the vegetables. Stir in the salt and cilantro and serve.

Seen here with Cleansing Kitcheri and Spinach Raita.

 Liver Cleanse Sabji 2.jpg


green tomato goodness

Image by garlandcannon via Flickr

As the first frost rolls around, gardeners are left with hastily-harvested green tomatoes. So what now? After growng these tomatoes with love and care, what will be their fate?

Vine Ripened Green Tomatoes
Yes, you can vine ripen your green tomatoes by picking the entire plant. Stretch a string across the room where you want to ripen the tomatoes and hang the plants upside down on the string. This will give you a supply of vine ripened tomatoes well past your frost date.

Picked and Ripened Green Tomatoes
In case you already picked your green tomatoes, or don't have room to string them up, green tomatoes can be ripened in a brown paper bag ,a gunny sack, a bowl covered with a dish towel, or for large quantities, a bucket covered with a towel. At the outset, sort through your green tomatoes, setting aside any blemished ones for immediate use (see recipes below) and ripening the unblemished ones. Check the tomatoes several times a week to remove any that might be rotting.

Partially ripe tomatoes
Partially ripe tomatoes can be ripened by the above methods or by placing in a sunny windowsill.

Using Green Tomatoes as a Vegetable
Green tomatoes are a tasty addition to stir fries and soups and can be substituted for other tomatoes in many recipes. Just remember that they take longer to cook than ripe tomatoes.

Green Tomato Chutney
4 lb green tomatoes
2 sweet red, yellow or orange bell peppers
2 hot green chillies
2" piece of fresh ginger
1 cup raisins
1 Tbsp brown mustard seeds
2 cups soft brown sugar or Sucanat
Zest of one lemon, grated
2 sticks cinnamon
1 tsp ghee or sunflower oil
1/2 cup water

Wash the tomatoes thoroughly and inspect them, cutting out any blemishes. Dice the tomatoes and bell peppers.  Chop the green chillies and ginger finely. Select a large pan with a heavy bottom. Heat the ghee or oil and add the mustard seeds.As soon as the mustard seeds turn grey and pop, add the cinnamon sticks, green chillies and ginger and stir until the ginger and chillies brown. Immediately add the other ingredients and bring to a boil while stirring. Turn heat to medium high and simmer, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon to prevent sticking on the bottom. Continue until it has a thick, jam-like consistency.
The chutney can be served fresh and hot or canned in glass canning jars. Canned chutney should be served hot, since chutneys will be much more tasty that way.



Today's spontaneous creation from whatever was at hand... A delicious vegetarian dish for a main meal. These quantities exactly served five people.  Enjoy the recipe and happy cooking!

5 red potatoes
2 delicata squashes
1 bunch rainbow chard
1 handful cilantro,
2" fresh ginger, chopped finely
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
2 tbs ghee
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp garam masala
1Tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
Water, about half a cup

Parboil the potatoes and then cube them. (DO NOT peel, most of the nutrients are in or near the skin). Cube delicata squash. Chop chard. In cast iron wok or tawa heat the ghee, turn up to medium high. Add mustard seeds. As soon as they turn grey and pop, turn heat down to low and add the fennel and then the cumin. When they darken slightly, add the ginger. When ginger has browned, add the turmeric, garam masala and ground coriander and stir in for a minute. Now add the tomatoes and turn the heat up to medium. When the tomatoes have softened, add the potatoes, squash and chard and stir carefully until the vegetables are coated with the spices. Next add the salt and about half a cup of water, put on lid and simmer, stirring every few minues and adding more water if needed to prevent sticking. Cook until the vegetables are soft, about twenty minutes. Chop the cilantro finely and add at the end, right before serving. Serve with rice, dal and chutney or pickle.

We also chopped fresh cilantro and mixed with coconut powder for a pitta-soothing condiment. Cilantro helps chelate heavy metals.


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