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Ayurveda Patrika

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall 1998

 

Issue 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greetings

Sharir indriye satva atma samyoge dhari jivitam iti ayu
“Life is the conjunction of the soul, mind, senses and body.”
- Charaka Samhita
(Su. 1.42)

 

Food Tips

Heetam Ashniyat - eat what is good for you
Ushnam Ashniyat -
eat warm cooked food
Snigdham Ashniyat - cook with ghee or oil
Matravat Ashniyat -
eat appropriate amount

This quotation is from the Ashtanga Sangraha, and reflects the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda in preparing and enjoying our meals.

About Soy Products

Soy itself is nourishing and beneficial for a vegetarian diet, and is suitable for a vata or pitta pacifying diet. For a kapha reducing diet soy should be used sparingly. The way in which the soybean is prepared determines its suitability from an Ayurvedic prespective. Unfortunately many of the commercially available soy products are heavily fermented and will ultimately aggravate vata and pitta doshas. So with soy, the simpler and fresher the better. To cook beans at home, sort out the broken and discolored beans and soak in plenty of water for 8 to 12 hours. Rinse well. Pressure cook for 20 minutes with enough fresh water to just cover the beans, a few slices of ginger root, and optionally a 3 inch piece of kombu seaweed. Discard ginger and kombu. Add the beans to soups, or sauté briefly with cumin powder and salt or Bragg’s, or prepare this pate.

Red Pepper Soy Pate

1 cup dry Soy Beans, cooked as above

2 cups chopped Red Bell Pepper

½ cup finely chopped sweet Onion

½ cup toasted Sunflower Seeds

3 Tbs. Olive Oil

1 tsp. Hing, 2 tsp. Cumin Powder

 

Heat oil and cook spices briefly. Add onion and red pepper and sauté on low heat until very soft. Mash or food process all ingredients, a sprinkle of lemon juice, and salt to taste. Garnish with paprika or chopped parsley.

 

Tofu is like cheese, it’s cultured and heavy, so don’t eat too much of it. The quality of the tofu is important. Ideally, tofu should be bought from an oriental market or health food store where they make it fresh, and used within 2 days. Tofu should be soft and have a bland taste. As tofu gets older it becomes fermented, gets harder, and gains a stronger, slightly sour taste. This tofu should be avoided, as it is hard to digest and aggravates pitta dosha. Tofu must be cooked thoroughly to deactivate an enzyme that interferes with digestion: steam it, boil it in soups, or sauté it. Fresh pure soy milk is good stuff, very light to digest and high in protein. However, most commercial soy milk is not so pure. Usually they add a fermented sweetener like malt or rice syrup, oil and other ingredients, and it appears to be homogenized. Homogenization is a refining process that makes milk harder to digest and increases vata dosha. Look for pure, unsweetened soy milk with no additional ingredients; there are a few available. Most other soy products like soy sauce, tamari, miso, tempeh, and soy cheese are not recommended. They are highly refined and fermented. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos is a soy sauce that is not fermented and can be used in place of salt.

 

Happy Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie

 

1 15 oz. can Pumpkin

½ cup Milk (Cow, Soy, Rice…)

½ cup Maple Syrup

¼ cup Sucanat

1 Tbs. Ener-G brand Egg Replacer or Tapioca Starch mixed with 2 Tbs. cold water

½ tsp. Salt, ¼ tsp. Cloves, ¾ tsp. Cinnamon

2 tsp. finely grated Ginger Root

Mix all ingredients, pour into an unbaked 9” pie crust. You can make a great crust with spelt flour, or half spelt and half barley, and ghee, following a standard pie crust recipe. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then at 350 for 30 minutes.

Kalabuddhi indriyarthanan yog mithya na chaati cha dravyashrayanam vyadhinam trividho hetusangraha
“Misuse of time, intellect and the senses are the three-fold cause of disorders of the mind and body.”
- Charaka Samhita
(Su. 1.54)

The above quotation from this ancient Sanskrit treatise on Ayurveda is illustrating the root causes of disease or imbalance. In chapter 7 of Dr. Joshi’s book Ayurveda and Panchakarma you can find a detailed description of this process. In reviewing these three factors that contribute to imbalance, perhaps prajnaparadha, or misuse of the intellect, is the one we are most familiar with. We have all done something in this life that we know inherently is not good for us. However, understanding the role the sense organs play in maintaining health will help us to better create balance in our minds and bodies.

The sense organs act as a bridge to receive information from the external environment and send it to the mind, which in turn directs the physiology of the body. The senses also act to protect us by identifying that which is not good for us through the actions of hearing, sight, smell, taste and touch. Unfortunately, in the modern world our sensory functions are getting abuses. High technology coupled with the stress of everyday life has put an overload on our senses. It is important that we make time to nourish them and three important tools for accomplishing this are the regular practice of meditation, pranayama and abhyanga.

Meditation is probably the most effective tool to calm the mind and thereby calm the senses. This gives the senses an opportunity to rest and rejuvenate, and also nourishes the senses by enhancing the consciousness of the mind. Pranayama, or alternate nostril breathing, nourishes all the senses by taking in more prana for the mind and body, and also improves the sense of smell. Abhyanga, or self-oil massage, is the third effective method to nourish our largest organ of the body, the skin, and directly works to calm vata dosha. To understand better the correlation between oleation and pacification of vata dosha we can compare the qualities of vata: dry, rough, light, cold, and mobile; to those of warm oil: oily, soft, heavy, warm, and steady. Abhyanga has all of the opposite qualities of vata dosha and therefore will act to mitigate the effects of increased vata. There’s more information about nourishing the senses in Chapter 6 of  Ayurveda and Panchakarma.

As the dry weather of Fall approaches, we will start to see and increase in vata in the external environment and consequently it will increase in us as well. One of the jobs vata dosha does is to direct the functioning of the senses, and so by helping vata stay balanced we are nourishing our senses as well. Of all the gifts Ayurveda has to offer to help manage vata, probably abhyanga is the best. Try to find the time to do abhyanga at least three times a week. Use either plain sesame oil or one of the herbal oils available through our Center. Heat it to just a little above body temperature and apply a thin coast beginning at the top of the head and moving down to the soles of the feet. If you can’t find time for this at least try applying oil to the top of the head and soles of the feet. Mornings are a great time to do abhyanga, but evening time before bed will work as well.

 

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