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July 10, 2013

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The Ayurvedic Day: the acceptable face of routine.

July 10, 2013

calendar-page

ROUTINE, for most of us, has pretty negative associations: boring, colourless and deathly. But, as with all things in the universe, it is all about achieving the right balance. A young child needs a daily routine as repetitive, predictable activity provides a sense of security and also marks time which can be incomprehesively long to the young mind.

Routine in adult life prevents chaos from getting the better of you; it helps you to mobilise, get organised and to be consistent. This in turn allows you to accumulate energy, as well as to enjoy the odd spontaneous action, filled with joy, creativity and freedom.

The Ayurvedic day plan is a balanced framework based on routine and focusing on managing the body’s Vata dosha processes. This balance is important in preventing the build up of toxins in the body, as well as in preventing the spread of disease and lowered immunity. Following the routines recommended in Ayurveda does not mean self-limitation: they serve our health – its protection, recovery and maintenance. And since the concept of health here refers to both the physical and the emotional, as well as mental and spiritual, realms, we can all benefit from the balance we need to experience joy and happiness as a permanent fixture of our lives.

The Ayurvedic daily programme: rituals

1. Getting up – before sunrise or at approximately 6.00. The doshas present in our body have their own internal clock, and so exercise an authority over time. The Vata dosha is active between the hours of 2.00 and 6.00 in the morning (hence the dream phase during this time) and 14.00-18.00 pm. It’s much easier to get up about 6.00, when this busy dosha is still active, but not when the sleepy, sluggish Kapha comes into play (6.00 – 10.00). We often feel more lively when we get up early than when lying in to 10am.

2. In the bathroom- wash your eyes, face, teeth, clean your tongue, rinse out your nose (this removes dust, bacteria, fungi and dried mucus, hence preventing infection: just immerse your nose in some warm water cupped in your hands, take a gentle breath then blow your nose: repeat 2-3 times; after several attempts your nose will get used to this)

3. Drink approximately 200 ml of warm water, perhaps with a dash of lemon juice and honey (doing this approx. 30 mins before breakfast rinses and gently awakens your digestive tract)

4. Go to the toilet: make a habit of emptying your bowels every morning – just like throwing out the rubbish every day. Eastern medical science attaches great importance to this as constipation (i.e. bowel movement of less than once a day) is harmful. Waste quickly becomes a toxin when held in the intestine, and this toxin can then pass through the intestinal wall if not expelled. According to TMC, the largest flow of energy in the large intestine takes place between  5-7 am, so do take advantage of the body’s natural rhythm.

5. Early morning gymnastics (10-15 min, Jivananda exercises are particularly recommended – link below)

6. Breathing exercises (min 5 min, try Jivananda exercises- link below)

7. Meditation or prayer

8. Oil massage (greatly pacifies Vata, purifies and warms the body)

9. Shower/getting dressed (try to use natural toiletries and comfortable clothing materials)

10. Nourishing, hot breakfast (ideally porridge, oatmeal, miso soup, vegetables, etc.)

11. Work: ensure a positive atmosphere at the workplace, drink plenty of water and take regular breaks.

12. Lunch (ideally between 12-13, when the ‘digestive fires’ are at their height)

13. Return from work (leave your job at the front door. Good for switching into ‘home mode’ are: giving yourself a scalp massage; taking a shower; breathing / relaxation exercises)

14. Relaxation / quality time with family and friends

15. Evening meal at around 18-19:00. Our digestive system needs minimum 4 hours to digest a substantial meal. When you go to bed with a full stomach digestion interferes with sleep and the tired body does not effectively digest food, which then decomposes in the intestines, in turn producing AMA. In addition, in the evening (20-23:00), as part of the daily cycle, glands and  organs produce enzymes and hormones which do essential work such as rebuilding cells. If the body’s energy is focused instead on digestion, then this corrective balance is lost: in the longterm risking a sudden onset of the ‘at home in Jakarta’ syndrome, which entails constant repair – and constant harmful elements.

16. Golden milk (a secret recipe Ayurvedic recipe), helps digestion and induces restful sleep.

17. Meditation or prayer

18. Going to bed: between 22-23:00. This is the best time, during which we more easily fall asleep and when sleep is also at its most effective. Getting up at around 6:00 the next day is ideal, as Ayurveda recommends min 6-8 hours of sleep. However, it is also known that sleep before midnight is much more valuable than during the “Hour of the Spirits.” Every hour of sleep ‘before’ is worth twice every hour of sleep deprivation after midnight. This rule unfortunately works the other way too: every hour lost after midnight is worth double of those before, and is difficult to make up, even if you sleep till the following afternoon.

Reading the above list, I wouldn’t be surprised if you get a headache: so many steps to remember! Try to start by implementing just two or three of these points. It’s always a good idea to plan your routine on paper, as this makes it easier to separate those things which just fly around in the head as a ‘to do’ from those that you really want / can do. In addition, once ideas or tasks take a written form they become ‘real’, finding a spatial and chronological form which somehow assists in making them happen.

If you want to change everything at once, it’s highly likely that you will soon give up. I myself introduced the above points one by one: in the end – at some indefinable point- all of these things become a daily habit and do not require any effort. Contrary to appearances by implementing these steps you actually gain time, by means of: better organisation; improved peace of mind and regular reinvigoration. The reward is better physical and mental health, greater resistance to stress and effective cleansing of the body. Good Luck!

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In developing the list I referred closely to the JIVANANDA program, developed at Jiva Clinic, India (see flyer).

Alcohol, Ayurveda and how to deal with a hangover

June 2, 2013

We are admittedly now well past the festive season, but there is always an opportunity for celebration. Recently, for instance, saw the first anniversary of the launch of my NATURASIA blog. And for me, a glass of light Japanese plum wine was just the ticket (though of course, I am also happy to accept congratulations 😉 ).

The consumption of alcohol in Europe has the advantage that, after a lively party in winter, we can choose to freshen up by going home on foot across a frosty city, or by taking a brisk walk next morning. In Indonesia we don’t have this option. The rainy season brings us plenty of warmth and moisture, as well as frequent cloudbursts – trapping us in our homes. A temperature which consistently hovers at about 30C also reduces our tolerance to alcohol. The effect of a few glasses of wine or cocktails can be significant, on the one hand – on our pockets, as alcohol is expensive ;), on the other hand – a terrible hangover, with a feeling of weakness and headache extending over many days.

As with all things in Ayurveda, alcohol is considered to be a substance that has the potential to both heal and toxify. Above all, however, it is considered a toxin and therefore Ayurveda sets very strict rules regarding its consumption (relating to amounts, type, time of day, year, state of health, type of constitution / doshes /, nature, current emotional connection with food etc). In small quantities, alcohol can help with digestion and sleep. In larger amounts though it quickly becomes toxic: to body, mind and spirit.

Fortunately, Ayurveda has methods for alleviating the symptoms of excessive alcohol intake. These should not, however, become a regular antidote: keep in mind that alcohol damages the stomach and liver, as well as leads to an increase in PITA body doshas, which are linked to many serious diseases. No moralising here – it’s all about restraint and moderation.

 Some Ayurvedic hangover cures:

  •  1 cup water, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, pinch of salt. Just before drinking, add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. The drink quickly acts on raised PITA levels; bringing immediate relief.
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, pinch of cumin powder.
  • If you feel sleepy and sluggish, have a headache or upset stomach, try lassi. Mix 1 cup of plain yogurt with 1 cup water and a pinch of cumin powder. Drink 3-4 times a day. This prevents dehydration, relieves nausea and reduces the burning sensation in the stomach.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, preferably water or coconut juice (works well on dehydration and supplements electrolytes, which reduce in levels after alcohol consumption).
  • To detox, take 1 tablespoon of aloe vera (in the form of juice or gel), 3 times daily.

Facial reflexology can also be of help with a hangover. While a massage at this time can be quite aneffort, it’s worth a try and the effort will certainly pay off. Stimulating (by massage or rubbing and kneading with the fingertips) the shaded areas in the illustration below stimulates the liver and gall bladder to detoxify the body. The selected points should be pressed by the fingertips for 40-60 seconds each. This form of self-treatment can be repeated several times to improve the feeling of well-being.

alkoholpo

Every nation has its own proven ways to handle a hangover. Some interesting and ‘natural’ methods can be found here:

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/hangover-remedies-world-article-1.1230423

Turmeric – a spice more precious than gold

April 28, 2013

kurkuma

Jamu – the traditional Indonesian art of herbal medicine, uses turmeric in the preparation of an unusual drink used for toning and cleansing: Kunit Assam (Kunyit Asam), which has an unusual colour (sunset gold), an unusual taste (rather tart, sweet-and-sour) and some pretty unusual effects…

The lucky (such as myself, presently) who live in areas where both tamarind and turmeric can be sourced fresh, and (btw, if you don’t yet, please do begin to make use of this wonderful opportunity) have access to ingredients with a unique intensity of aroma and flavour. If you are not as lucky as that, don’t worry, as tamarind paste from a jar and turmeric powder will do the trick; while not as flavourful as the fresh version, it has similar healing properties.

Jamu uses a variety of turmeric called Temu Lawak. As with other varieties, it’s good for the digestion and aids the removal of gallstones. It is used to treat diarrhea, constipation, muscle cramps, fever, skin problems, circulatory and liver problems. It is also good for healthy milk production in mothers and an effective treatment of vaginal discharge. Indonesian woman drink tumeric on a daily basis, rightly believing in its blood purifying properties and its ability to remove toxins, as well as for slimming.

 Ingredients

  • 1 large or 5 small pieces of turmeric root (or about 2 tablespoons of powdered turmeric);
  • 2 tamarind flesh balls – seedless (or 1 tbsp tamarind paste);
  • Coconut or palm sugar, according to taste;
  • 1 – 1.5 cups of water.

Preparation

Peel and grate turmeric, mix the remaining ingredients and add water. Slowly bring to the boil and remove. Strain before serving. Drink hot or cold.

The priceless properties of turmeric

Turmeric is the most widely used spice in India, the heart and soul of every curry. It is also used in religious ceremonies, as well as a medicine, a textile dye and as a cosmetic. Hindus prepare a paste of milk and turmeric (for oily skin), or cream and turmeric (for dry skin) for facial cleansing and smoothing the skin. When applied to the bodies of brides it gives the skin an extraordinary radiance, and mixed with water it is used as a body hair remover.

I’ll admit I’ve yet to summon up the courage to try it on my skin, for fear it might simply turn it yellow, and so far now I am sticking with internal use only.

Laboratory research confirms what people have known for thousands of years about the positive effects of turmeric; the most important of which are its potent anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic qualities. It is also used in the treatment of flatulence, indigestion, colic, liver disease, hepatitis, chickenpox, scabies and arthritis. It relieves asthma, coughs and sore throats (dissolve 1/4 tsp turmeric powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of warm water and gargle.) It is a natural antibiotic, helps in the treatment of diabetes (capsules) cleanses the skin (eczema and hives) and lowers cholesterol.

It’s good to keep all the above in mind – and to make turmeric an essential part of your diet; not only for its fine taste but also as a safeguard against many conditions. Small amounts can be added to Indian (dal, curry), Thai or Indonesian dished, soups, vegetables, beans, meat, porridge or rice. It’s also good to add to food which tends to cause wind; as well as to high-protein meals.

Enjoy!

——–

translated by Mark | (polish version)

AMA – Mother of diseases

April 25, 2013

amla

This blog has focused many times on AMA. What is it? Well, something we would be better off without, right now! While not easy, it’s fortunately possible to get rid of. But I’m getting ahead of myself….

What is AMA and how does it arise?

AMA, in Ayurveda, is known as a toxic mucus. Initially lining the intestinal wall, it later spreads throughout the body where it looks for suitable places to build up and cause disease. It is a fertile medium for the growth of bacteria and fungi and so is responsible for inflammations, as well as the weakening of the digestive system, high cholesterol, asthma, joint pain, cysts, tumours, diarrhea, hair loss and weight problems.

AMA has actually been familiar to Europeans under different guises for at least 1000 years. St. Hildegard of Bingen, the renowned German mystic and healer, wrote of toxic, penetrating substances in which parasites thrive. Her studies of folk medicine as well as her philosophical works are highly regarded today throughout the world.

AMA accumulates in the body because there are no easy channels by which it can be removed. As its removal requires time and effort it is desirable to prevent its accumulation. Where does AMA come from? Undigested food particles accumulate in the intestine and begin to break down, creating AMA.

There are several factors which encourage growth of AMA levels:

  • Consuming large amounts of processed foods or fried foods, foods hard to digest or containing white flour, sugar and preservatives, junk food, meat (which the body cannot easily digest);
  • Nutrition not in accordance with one’s Ayurvedic type;
  • Excessive eating during one meal or eating ‘all the time’;
  • Suppressing the digestive process with icy drinks;
  • Reduced effectiveness of the gastrointestinal tract (lowered metabolism);
  • Eating while stressed.

How can I check if I have AMA?

  • Decreased appetite (or increased appetite for sweets);
  • Heaviness in the stomach after eating, feeling of being full or of distended abdomen, constipation, heartburn;
  • Listlessness during the day, chronic fatigue;
  • Coated tongue (see ‘how to clean’ below);
  • Sticky mucous stool which sinks in the toilet (it should float) or is difficult to flush;
  • Frequent infection, weakened immunity
  • Excessive weight

Cleansing the body – removing AMA

AMA is considered by Ayurveda to be the ‘mother’ of most diseases. So treatment of such, besides the relief of the symptoms of the particular disease, usually focuses on the cleansing of the body of AMA, so as to remove the cause as well as the effect.

Methods for the removal of AMA

  • In the morning clean the tongue and sensory organs (eyes, ears, nose);
  • Drink, on an empty stomach, a glass of warm water;
  • Aloe Vera – 1 tablespoon in the morning balances doshas, ​neutralizes toxins and cleanses and stimulates the liver;
  • Eat fresh, easily digestible, produce which stimulates the digestive system (using spices for cooking);
  • Drink ginger or mint tea (2-3 times daily)
  • Try this anti-AMA remedy: In equal proportions mix ginger, cumin, anise (or cilantro) and mint powder, take one teaspoon mixture after a meal with some water. Store mixture in a sealed container;
  • during and after meals drink hot water;
  • Regular exercise, including breathing exercises (e.g. Jivananda) helps to unlock and remove AMA from body tissue, as oxygen is removed from AMA cells;
  • Self-massage with oil;
  • In the evening, before bedtime, drink some Gold Milk (recipe)
  • In the evening try Ayurvedic herbal Triphala blend (description at the bottom of post), which detaches AMA from the walls of the intestines and facilitates its elimination. It is also helpful for constipation (in Poland this is available at online stores; in Singapore in Little India, and in Indonesia at the Mustafa Indian store);
  • In addition you can perform a digestive process balancing procedure (described below).

After this initial cleansing of the body of AMA, it is advisable to practice an occasional cleansing diet over a few days, or alternatively a weekly fast of water or juice. This helps in the fight against excessive weight, while ridding the body/preventing build up of AMA.

AMA and the mind

A few words about a different form of AMA, which works in relation to the mind. If our nervous system is not able to ‘digest’ stimuli provided to us, because they are ‘too difficult’ or ‘too much’ for us, then a serious mental blockage may result; causing anxiety, neurosis, depression, psychosis or autoimmune diseases.

Cleansing the mind of AMA mind can be achieved using techniques such as ensuring silence, deep breathing, concentration, meditation and proper rest (regular sleep of 6-7 hours). In difficult cases psychotherapy may be indicated.

We can care for our mind by following a consistent path of self-development, by building strong relationships with worthy people, as well as by controlling what we feed our senses: what we hear, see, smell, and think. All these help make the mind stronger and more stable. Try a simple test: devote a day to watching movies full of aggression or fear, listen to aggressive music, get involved in arguments. Then for the next day avoid reading bad news on the Internet, focus on positive thinking, listen to relaxing music and meet with good friends.

You don’t even need to take the test in order to understand what effect our external environment has on us. Failure to control these negative external factors over a long period of time can be extremely harmful. Everyone has a different tolerance level, so finding your own personal threshold, as well as effective methods for combating stress, are essential in developing and sustaining your well being. Good luck!

AMLA / Amalaki (pictured above) is an Indian gooseberry variety. It’s very sour, but also extremely rich in vitamin C. It is often added to shampoos and hair oils (prevents hair loss), as well as cosmetics and medicines. It is the main ingredient of Triphala and Chyawanprash, as well as of Ayurvedic jam. Purifying and revitalizing the body, it is found in most Indian homes (Recommended dosage: 1 teaspoon 1-2 times a day, available in Poland at online stores and on eBay). Hindus also appreciate Triphala, a compound excellent for constipation and used to purify the blood, gastrointestinal tract and the whole body. As a famous Indian saying goes, ‘you don’t have a mother? Do not worry, as long as you have Triphala.’

translated by Mark / (polish version)

The Map of Dreams: how to design your own happiness

April 6, 2013

mapamarzen

Our daughter believes in magical creatures such as Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. She also believes that if anyone sees them they will disappear forever, so they hide from human eyes. This elusiveness is precisely the reason why adults in turn say that mythical creatures and magic in general do not exist. It was ever thus. No Fairy Godmother is able to fulfill our dreams, especially those of adults, without us ourselves taking care to make sure that they come true. However we need to start by understanding what our dreams actually are. When I interview them, many adults are unable to define their dreams. Let’s seek them out and then bring them out to light. Let’s see them in all their true colours and glory…. and start the process of making them come true.

If you want to get to your destination you always need good directions or a map. So make your own map of your dreams and you will see that achieving your goals is easier than you think.

It’s fun to invite the whole family, children and friends to join in. And it’s also a revelation to see their maps. If you prefer to have a go at make at making a map yourself, first grab some ‘me’ time, when you are sure not be bothered, turn on some good music, make yourself a good cup of coffee or tea and get to work.

When to make a map

You should make your map during the first new moon of the year in Aries. This year it falls on April 10. You have 48 hours to complete the map. For those who miss it this time around, the next good time is the next New Moon in Aries. According to spiritual masters, the new moon supports all forms of growth and has a positive effect on the initiation of new projects. It is therefore ideal for our purposes.

What you will need

– A sheet of paper on which to create your own map (any size)
– A stack of glossy magazines, those good for cut out pictures, drawings, headlines
etc
– Glue, scissors, crayons, markers and paint

How to make the map

The Map is effective for a full year from its design. Think about all the good things you would like to happen over that period. Some dreams take longer than a year to realise, but you can start on these now too.

Focus entirely on yourself, and think about what you wish for… you. Remember: for you no dream is too crazy, big or unrealistic. Now, using your magazines, look for photos, drawings or headlines/other text which illustrate your dream, even if symbolically. Their meanings to you need not be immediately apparent to others; however it’s important that you will clearly remember what they mean.

They can relate to everything from material wants; such as money, a nice new designer purse, a long dreamed of car or house (yes, there is nothing to be ashamed of in planning your wealth!), health, love, or passing an exam. This is your map and your dreams: you just have to release them from your head.

Pictures and drawings work best because our subconscious, which is responsible for carrying out our deepest desires, reacts more effectively to pictures, but you can also paste or write key words if this helps. Now draw or cut and glue your selections onto your sheet of paper in the form of a collage – the magic of mandala.

What to do next

First, take a quick look at your work and … do not judge or compare with others. It’s your dream, even if the map looks somewhat kitschy, you know what it is about. You can learn a lot about yourself from what you see on it.

The mind map can be hung in a prominent place or hidden in the bottom drawer; but it should be easily accessible for the whole year to remind us of our dreams. A good place might be on the inside of your wardrobe, as that’s a place you look every day. Some dreams come true in a year, others need more time.

After one year, you may find that some dreams are outdated and not worth paying any more attention to. Ditch them: if we do not do keep order of our dreams the old and outdated will continue to occupy our attention and so waste our energy. Regular verification helps to redirect this energy to carry out what is important for us now and frees us from the shadows of the past.

How it works

The map works by (apart from magic ;)) pure psychology. Finding and calling something ‘a dream’ is the first step towards its fulfillment: only from this point can they begin to materialise. Named and imprinted in the subconscious mind, they demand our attention and energy in order to implement. The map, in reminding us of our dreams, regularly reinforces their image in our brain.

Working with images frees the imagination and allows your creative juices to flow. Images stimulate the brain in a refreshing and relaxing manner as a kind of meditation and therapy. Working out our plans and dreams – by working on your Map of Dreams – allows you to see them in a clearer light, prepares you psychologically for carrying them out and automatically improves your mood.

Designing the map also helps in alleviating an unhealthy mind set into which we often find ourselves: when we lose sight of our dreams because they are covered in dust and all we can see in front of you is hard, unrewarding work. That’s when we begin to think that we are stuck in a job, forgetting that it once brought us joy and a path to fulfill our dreams.

The Map of Dreams will also help in actually fulfilling those New Year’s resolutions which, when not properly recorded are (at least after a few months) forgotten. Placing them on your map reminds you of their existence and of their key role in your big plan, without which we tend to delay their implementation year after year, finally deciding that they are unrealistic. However dreams do come true – if you just allow them to materialise.

Can a collage made with colorful cut outs be magic? Of course!

If you don’t believe me, have a go for yourself – and have fun.

ps. This will be my fourth year of fun and adventure in creating and carrying out my own dream map. Although its effect can be explained by the laws of psychology and quantum physics, I’m content to allow myself to return to the child’s world full of magic and to believe in the miracles that happen. This allows me to reach for more than normally seems realistic. And that’s the magic of dreams, which adults do not always find easy to see.

Vegan smoothies: a gentle and effective start to your day

February 27, 2013

budzikowo

According to Ayurveda, between the hours of 6 and 10 am Kapha dosha is prevalent (typified by slowness, density and a feeling of heaviness). So eating a hearty breakfast can cause sluggishness and drowsiness. Smoothies, however, are a great idea for a light breakfast: healthy, nutritious and energizing – as well as instantaneous. Using grains, nuts and fruits as a base you can create any number of compositions. And do miss out on milk and yogurt, as they chill the body as well as encourage mucus, especially in the morning. Also, fruit acids have a negative effect on yogurt bacteria, as well as bacteria on vitamins.

These three suggestions will ensure the blender becomes your best friend; you’ll even learn to love its noisy rattle in the morning.

Almond Elixir of the Gods (Ayurvedic recipe)

• 5 almonds (shelled and soaked overnight)
• 2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup
• 1 cup of soy, rice or almond milk
• 1 banana
• cinnamon to taste
• (optional) 1 tablespoon of aloe vera

Mix in a blender until smooth: a rich source of protein and great for the digestion.

Oatmeal and banana smoothie

In the evening, pour (previously boiled and cooled) water onto:

• 1/2 cup of oatmeal
• a handful of sunflower seeds (rinsed)
• raisins or other dried fruit.

In the morning add more water and the remaining ingredients below, then mix in blender:

• 1 banana
• cinnamon / ginger to taste
• honey to taste

My daughter has loved this one for years and swears it’s a chocolate smoothie;).

Green Power – a sports smoothie

For those whose day starts with a workout:

• 1 banana
• 1/2 cup mango or pineapple (or other fresh fruit)
• 2 cups water (or apple juice)
• 1 teaspoon of spirulina powder
• 1/2 teaspoon of miso paste

Mix all ingredients in a blender for 1-2 minutes. Drink 15-45 minutes before a workout, or just after. Although the intense green color can initially be a little off-putting, you’ll soon be won over by its amazing taste and noticeable energy boost during workout. This smoothie is light and doesn’t cause any gastrointestinal discomfort. It’s possible to replace spirulina with chlorella or barley powder. They are a rich source of protein, vitamins and microelements. They help cleanse the body, control weight and strengthen the immune system. Miso also complements the salt and electrolytes lost through sweat during training.

Enjoy…..and have a great day!

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These (slightly) adapted recipes are taken from the ‘Eat and Run’ Scott Jurek and The Chopra Center Cookbook.

Golden milk, an Ayurvedic secret recipe

February 11, 2013

zlote-mleko

I have written about gold many times. There was golden sesame in Japanese gomasio , golden honey coloured sesame oil, Ghee – the liquid gold, turmeric – a spice more precious than gold, soon I will also be writing about (real) gold in cosmetics.

The popularity of both the metal and the colour is as great and constant as fascination with the sun, the source of golden light, light and life dating back thousands of years.

So here’s another product, the name of which, golden milk, comes from the golden light of the sun and its soothing qualities.

While Ayurveda recommends drinking milk, as a holy, precious and irreplaceable food (of course we are talking about real milk from real cows, not out of a box), it does not recommend drinking it without prior preparation. In the West, the
widespread and unquestioning focus on milk as a source of protein and calcium, assisting in the prevention of osteoporosis and in the strengthening of bones in children, has led to the growth of allergies to milk (or rather to the lactose it contains).
Paradoxically, factory produced milk actually hinders the absorption of calcium, resulting in multitudes of asthmatics resulting from the production of a harmful mucus in the body (AME), as well as causing brittle bones. Few people know that UHT milk contains minuscule particles that penetrate cell membranes and which cause inflammation, leading to allergies, atherosclerosis and heart disease.

Golden milk, however, not only utilises milk’s valuable properties (soya milk is not suitable for this purpose), but also has therapeutic effects. Heating milk with turmeric, for instance, neutralises enzymes needed for digestion in calves (for us unnecessary and even harmful). Golden milk also:

• increases the body’s level of odżas
• Improves digestion and immunity
• is easily digested
• removes the harmful AMA mucus from the body
• helps in the digestion of the last meal of the day, allowing the body to focus on other
tasks
• brings peace of mind (helpful in sleep disorders and with problems in falling asleep)
• is ideal for all ages, both children and the elderly

Methods of preparation

Version 1

Bring 1 cup of cow or goat’s milk to the boil with 1/8 teaspoon turmeric, boil for 3-5 minutes. Let stand and strain. After cooling sweeten with honey to taste. For variety, add cinnamon, cardamom or ginger according to taste.

Version 2

In Kundalini yoga, golden milk is used to improve the flexibility of the spine and body. It removes stiffness, lubricates the joints and removes calcification. Use as a treatment for one month:

Make a paste from turmeric powder by heating with a little water for 8 minutes (can be refrigerated for up to a month). Then add 1-2 teaspoons of hot milk (you can use soya) and sweeten with honey.

The colour, smell and texture of golden milk acts like a balm for the senses. It is recommended especially in states of exhaustion, stress, insomnia, or during a cold (it works much like milk and garlic, popular in Poland, but is so much better!). In the case of constipation, you can add a teaspoon of ghee. I know many people who simply cannot imagine an this post evening meal ritual ;).

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Alternative sources of calcium (for those milk lovers upset so far!) are almonds, salmon, tofu, broccoli, sardines, beans, sunflower seeds and chickpeas.

The easy delights of linseed (flaxseed) pesto

November 7, 2012

Flax – cultivated and used in Poland for centuries, is still comparatively unknown for its properties but becoming increasingly appreciated. Americans have consulted a wide range of studies which support the increased interest in its properties. For instance, preliminary studies indicate that flax may inhibit the development of cancer (breast and prostate).

Often called ‘the Gold of the Polish fields’, in any of its forms flax is priceless. This fibre, used in the manufacture of textiles, is greatly appreciated by those who enjoy its convenience, natural comfort and ecology, as well as its medicinal properties. It was used in ancient times for treatment of wounds; due to its ‘breathability’, absorbent properties and swift healing properties. In its seed form (linseed) it is also renowned for its healing properties: it effectively protects the stomach; relieves dry coughs and soothes skin irritations. Linseed oil is also known for its therapeutic effects on the heart.

In Poland, linseed oil has been used for generations in the preparation of a favourite Christmas Eve cabbage dish. While its bitterness is not to everyone’s taste, it’s worth introducing into your diet as it contains, essential for any healthy diet, polyunsaturated fatty acids, Omega 3 and Omega 6.

Both linseed and linseed (flaxseed) oil are recommended in cases such as:

• high cholesterol
• diseases of the heart and blood vessels
• blood clots and embolism
• immune system deficiencies
• weakening of the nervous system, depression and ADHD
• chronic intestinal inflammation
• constipation
• dry cough
• diabetes
• normalistion of estrogen levels during menopause

How to use

Roast the linseed and sprinkle onto sandwiches, salads or vegetables; adding to porridge at breakfast. You can also use it for baking bread; or a version of gomashio (a dry condiment, similar to furikake, often used in Japanese cuisine). In cases of indigestion, irritable bowel, constipation or nervous conditions try as an infusion. It’s best to buy the seeds whole and grind yourself regularly to avoid oxidization. For those who do not like the rather glutinous consistency I recommend infusing the seeds whole (1 teaspoon per glass of hot water; this is easy to drink, even for children, as it doesn’t have a strong taste. This infusion is also great for coughs, especially of the dry, painful, evening, allergic and asthmatic varieties.

Due to its estrogen level balancing action, linseed is recommended for all women at a dose of about 1-2 tablespoons per day, as a preventative measure for breast cancer.

Linseed oil can be added as a dressing to salads or vegetables and generally used just like any other cold-pressed oils. Do not overdo the amount though, as you can always have too much of a good thing. Its bitter taste may also not be to everyone’s taste, so try mixing it with a touch of olive oil.

The following is a recipe using this oil mixture. It’s one of my favorites (firstly because it’s simple, also it’s tasty and healthy):

Red beets with three oils and roasted sunflower seeds

Cook, preferably by steaming red beets. After cooling off, peel, thinly slice and arrange on a plate. Pour 3 different cold pressed oils (choose from a range of oils – olive, apricot, almond, linseed, pumpkin seed, avocado, etc.). Then sprinkle with roasted sunflower seeds (for a richer version, sprinkle a small amount of feta). The dish is great alone or as a side dish.

Care should be taken to ensure a regular amount of linseed oil in the diet. The following recipe for me was a real breakthrough. This is something delicious I keep up my sleeve, my family loves it and it contains a huge amount of valuable ingredients, trace elements and vitamins. It looks after the body on a daily basis much as a handful of supplements does, is both natural and delicious …. and happens to contain linseed oil.

Seed pesto

In a food processor grind, in equal proportions (e.g. 1/4 cup of each seed type, ground separately):

• Almonds
• Sunflower seeds
• Pumpkin seeds (ensure worm-free)
• Linseed
• light sesame
• nuts

The seeds should be pre-rinsed in water with lemon juice and allowed to dry. This not only rids them of dust and dirt but also spores of fungi, mold and other unwanted organisms. Add to the mix additional seeds such as black cumin, according to taste, health properties or imagination.

Stir the mixture and pour on linseed oil (you can also mix in another type of oil) until the consistency is similar to that of pesto. Leave for the flavors to blend. The taste can be a little bitter, but this depends largely on the types and quantity of oils in the pesto. Almonds and sunflower seeds also add a balancing sweetness. Keep refrigerated in a sealed ceramic container or jar covered in aluminum foil to protect from light.

Suggestions for use:

The pesto can be used in sandwiches, salads, vegetables, cereal, or eaten straight away on its own: 1-2 teaspoons 1-2 times a day (chew well, with plenty of saliva). It provides plenty of energy and is also a great substitute for sweets. It’s also delicious; as I’m sure everyone who tries it will agree.

(polish version)

Lentils? Don’t ‘dis’ them, they’re delicious!

November 1, 2012

When asked how vegetarians supplement protein in their diet, I answer ‘lentils’. But although tasty and easy to prepare, many people do not know how to go about it.

I fell in love with lentils thanks to Indian cuisine. In India, where the world’s largest number of vegetarians are found, it is usually cooked as Dal. Used with a wide variety of spices and ingredients – always tasty, nutritious and healthy – lentils are worth a ​permanent place on the menu.

Before use, rinse, and if you want to shorten the cooking time – soak (especially brown and black lentils) a few hours will do.

Here are my favourite tried and tested recipes; mostly here by special request of my delighted – and surprised – non-veg friends:

Three Lentil Dal

1/3 cup yellow lentils
1/3 cup red lentils
1/3 cup brown lentils
2 cups of water
1-2 tablespoons ghee or olive oil
1 onion, 3-4 cloves of garlic, 2 chopped medium tomatoes
spices according to taste: cumin, coriander, mustard, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, paprika

Lightly roast the spices on the ghee . Add some chopped tomato, garlic and onions, stir-fry. Pour on turmeric and garam masala, stir fry.

Sprinkle on the 3 types of lentils, then add the chopped tomatoes and heat while stirring. Cover with water or the vegetable juice and add salt to taste. I like to add some dried curry leaves, which give the dish an exceptional flavour.

Cover then cook for about 15-20 minutes, until lentils are tender and some of the water has boiled off (depending on preferred consistency). Tastes great by itself, hot or cold, but also goes well with basmati rice or bread. For those who have problems with bloating I would also recommend adding a little Kombu Algae (konbu). Just a small piece makes beans and peas easier to digest.

Chicory boats with lentils

1/2 cup yellow lentils
1/2 small onion, 2 cloves of garlic
ghee or oil
chicory leaves

On the ghee fry the finely chopped onion and garlic. Rinse and add lentils. Add water (about 1 cup) and boil till the water evaporates, making sure to keep stirring to avoid scorching. Lentils should be soft but not mushy. If preferred add a small amount of salt or spices (such as turmeric). The result should be a sweet, mild flavour, contrasting nicely with the slight bitterness of chicory.

The lentils are now ready to be placed on the chicory leaves, and hey presto, a great hot or cold snack!

Lentil Pate

1 cup lentils (yellow, red, brown, or mixed)
2-3 eggs
vegetables, according to the following:

Version I (my favourite): 1 cup of chopped leek stewed in butter or olive oil (i.e. plenty of fat), salt and pepper, nutmeg according to taste.

Version II: braised onions, garlic and mushrooms, salt, pepper.

Version III: 1 cup course grated carrots, lightly steamed with other vegetables, salt, pepper, cumin, chilli, turmeric and other spices according to taste.

Pour 2 cups of water on the lentils, cover and cook for 20-30 minutes, until the water boils off and the lentils soften. Allow to cool. Stir in the prepared vegetables and eggs and season; aiming for a semi-liquid consistency.

Bake for 30 minutes at 180 º C. Cool and store in the refrigerator before removing the baking foil.

I use two small molds (made of silicone, so you don’t have to lubricate them beforehand). This is my first and so far only pate recipe which is always successful: it always tastes good and never crumbles!

TIP: it’s worth trying the pate together with horseradish. A tried and tested method is whipped cream (32%), mixed with a few teaspoons of horseradish.

Delish…..!

_____

Recipies received, adapted and borrowed from Ela, Krzysia, Krysia and Agnieszka Kręglicka. Thank you!

(polish version)


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