We have all heard the age-old adage, “You are what you eat”. The proverb is as relevant today as it was in the 18th century when it was first uttered by the French lawyer Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. Our body is a biological machine at its simplest. When provided with appropriate fuel (nutrition) the body is capable of thought, speech and emotions. Supplying your body with old, ineffective or adulterated fuel tends to clog the systems and slow us down. As a result of the fast pace, the world has come to accept, fast food has made its way into our daily diet. However, the time they save comes at a cost to our body and general health.
Regular consumption of fast foods, processed and canned foods are detrimental to our growth and development. Obesity, abdominal disorders like constipation and stomach ache, stunted growth and malnutrition are common by-products of regular fast food consumption. Such physical problems negatively affect our psyche, causing stress, anxiety, restlessness and depression in extreme cases. To moderate the effects of modern life on our body, we need to include more organic and natural foods in our diet. Home-cooked meals with large amounts of fiber and nutrients help to relax the mind and reduce the toxin build-up. In the following sections, we have outlined a few recipes that you can try at your home to stay healthy during these modern times.
Ayurveda uses the word Ama to refer to the undigested, unabsorbed and unexcreted food remnants in our body. These leftovers circulate the body and clog various essential organ systems, causing disease and disorders. Getting rid of Ama is the first step in curing many disorders of the body. Ama build-up may be seen in the form of
- Stomach disorders
- Feeling constantly tired
- Foul-smelling sweat and breath
- Sudden changes in the appetite
Cleansing the body of Ama begins by eating the proper kinds of food. Depending on your dominant Dosha different fruits and vegetables must be consumed. Check out our article on Doshas for more information. Your inherent Agni or digestive fire also plays a significant role in controlling Ama levels. Agni helps to liquefy and expel the toxins from the body. The two recipes mentioned below focus on controlling Ama levels while also fortifying Agni.
Recipe 1: Homemade Chyawanprash Detox Recipe
Chyawanprash requires very little introduction. The herbal blend does a splendid job at boosting your immune system while also controlling the levels of Ama. For the recipe you will need, ½ kg of Amla, ½ kg of Jaggery, some Saffron (Kesar), 1/3 cup of Ghee, 1 Tej Patta, 1 Cinnamon stick, some Dry Ginger, 10 g of Bamboo manna, 10 g of Long Pepper, 5 g of Cobra’s Saffron (Nagkesar), 5 g of Nutmeg, 5- 7 pieces green Cardamom, 5 g of Clove and 5 g of Black Pepper.
Firstly, add the Amla and two cups of water into a cooker and cook for 2 whistles. Grind the spices together into a fine powder in a blender. Once the Amla has cooled, extract the seeds and blend the pulp in a blender. Next, add Ghee to a cooking pan. After the Ghee melts, add the blended Amla and cook over a medium flame till the mixture thickens and dries. To this, add powdered Jaggery and mix well. Once the Jaggery mixes evenly, the dish should darken. Now, stir the mix over a low flame for 5-7 minutes after which the spice powder is added to it. Cook for a few minutes while stirring continuously. Finally, add the Saffron, cook for 1 minute and then kill the heat. Once the mix has cooled, transfer it into an airtight glass jar for storage. Your Chyawanprash is ready!
Recipe 2: Cucumber Kitchari Detox Recipe
Today we bring to you a classic Ayurvedic recipe reimagined with a modern twist. Kitchari is a traditional Ayurvedic cleansing recipe made of Split mung, Basmati rice and various spices. This reimagined recipe however uses Cucumber as the main ingredient. You will need 400 g Cucumber, 100 ml Coconut Oil, 1 tsp. Black Mustard seeds, 250 g shallots (small onions), 5-10 Curry leaves, 1 tsp. Turmeric powder, 300 g Coconut, 1 tsp. Roasted ground Cumin seed and 300 ml Yoghurt to make this recipe.
Chop and boil the peeled Cucumbers for 5-10 minutes. Add some oil in a pan fry the Mustard seeds. Once they start to pop, add the small onions and curry leaves and cook well. Next, add the boiled cucumber and Turmeric powder to the pan and allow it to cook for 5 minutes. Finally, add the grated Coconut, Cumin seeds and Salt (to taste). Cover the pan with a lid and let it cook for five minutes. Kill the heat and allow the dosh to cool. Add the Yoghurt to the cooled dish before serving.
Recipe 3: Detox Herbal Tea Detox Recipe
Tea has an almost reverential status in our country. Hardly a day goes by when my family and I have not collectively consumed at least 15 cups of tea! While I am partial to Green Tea, the others prefer your classic Ginger Milk Tea. Taking the tea aesthetic one step further, here is an Ayurvedic Detox Tea recipe. For making the tea, you will need 1/4 tsp. whole cumin, 1/2 tsp. whole coriander, 1/2 tsp. whole fennel and Water. Boil about two liters of water early in the day. Add the spices and herbs to the hot water and let it infuse for 10-15 minutes. Strain out tea and store in a thermos. This Ayurvedic Detox Tea is best consumed warm and you can sip on throughout the day!
In addition to these recipes, you must also take care to avoid heavy, oily foods, cold drinks, consume at least 1 liter of water daily, and exercise regularly to cleanse your body thoroughly. The Amrutam Detox Key Herb is a quick alternative to the above recipes. Consuming the herbal mix regularly helps to rid your body of Ama and reigniting your internal Agni.
How to use the Detox Key Herb Mix: You can make a simple herbal tea using the Detox Key Herb mix for daily consumption. Simply, soak 1 tsp, of the mix in a cup of warm water and then boil it for 10 minutes. Drink the herbal tea on an empty stomach to obtain the best results.
Budhi Key Recipes
While the lack of proper nutrition explains the various physical problems one faces, eating the wrong kinds of food may adversely affect your mental health as well. Stress, anxiety and emotional disorders are some of the problems you may face. Overconsumption of sweet, processed and highly caffeinated foods are responsible in part for the production of stress hormones that burdens the mind and body. Mentioned below are two simple recipes that help to keep stress in check.
Recipe 1: Overnight Oatmeal-Date Cup
Having oats for breakfast is a great way to start your day, both for your stomach and your mind. Certain compounds in the oats are capable of promoting the production of serotonin, our happy chemical! This simple dish can be assembled in less than five minutes and should be done the night before to allow the oats to soak in the milk. For the recipe, you will need half a cup of Oats, Milk, Chopped Dates and Nuts of your choice. Simply add the Oats into a cup or a jar. Pour milk into the cup until the oats are properly submerged. Top it with the chopped Dates and allow the mix to soak overnight. Place the jar in the fridge while it soaks. Your Oatmeal-Date cup is ready! Top the dish with chopped nuts of your choice for a delicious chilled breakfast.
Recipe 2: Beans Thoran
Thoran is a type of dry vegetable dish that is found in South India, especially Kerala. Coconut is added to most Thoran dishes and is a great stress reliever as well as taste enhancer. You will need 400g Bush Beans, 100 ml Coconut Oil, 1 tsp. Black Mustard seeds, ½ tsp. Fenugreek seeds, 4 cloves Garlic, 200 g Onions, 5-10 Curry leaves, 1 tsp. Turmeric powder, 1 tsp. Chili powder, 60 ml Tomato puree and 200 g Coconut for the dish.
To begin, blanch the beans and keep them aside for later. In a pan, heat the Coconut oil. To this add the Mustard and Fenugreek seeds. After they have popped, add the Garlic, Onions and Curry Leaves and sauté. After 5-7 minutes add the Turmeric and Chili Powder, Salt (as per taste) and the Tomato puree and allow it to cook well. Finally, add the blanched beans and Grated Coconut to the dish and allow it to cook for a few minutes before killing the heat.
Recipe 3: Stress Relief Tea
And in the end, we have a tea recipe, because there isn’t any problem a good cup of tea can’t solve. For the recipe, you will need 2 tsp. dried Holy Basil, 1 tsp. dried Lemon balm, 1 tsp. dried Chamomile tea leaves, 1/2 tsp. dried Lavender (optional) and 1/2 tsp. dried Eleuthero root (Siberian Ginseng, optional). Simply add all the ingredients into a cup, add hot water to it and let it soak for 15-20 minutes. Strain out the solids and enjoy your delicious Stress Relax Rea! You may add Jaggery or Honey to sweeten the Tea.
As mentioned in the previous section, in addition to eating healthy foods one must also work out, avoid unhealthy foods and hydrate frequently to stay in optimal conditions. If the recipes mentioned don’t cut it for you, check out our Budhi Key Herb Mix to relax yourself. This Medhya Rasayana contains herbs like Brahmi, Jatamansi and Ashwagandha all of which are potent stress busters in addition to other Ayurvedic herbs.
How to use the Budhi Key Herb Mix: You can prepare a simple herbal tea using the Budhi Mix similar to the Detox Mix. Soak 1 tsp. of the mix in 200 ml of warm before boiling it for 10-15 minutes. Filter the mix and your Stress Relieving Herbal tea is ready to be served.
Consuming the right kinds of food is crucial for staying healthy and at peace. If my body is my temple, I would be very careful of what I was putting in it, as should YOU!
Reference 2: Stress-Management: Leads from Ayurveda