Ayurveda Day 84: Let’s Have a Takra Talk

Today I want to talk about takras. I’ve spoken briefly about them in the past, but I’d like to go more in depth into their benefits.

A takra is a spiced yogurt drink. It is super easy to make, and has wonderful benefits.

Composition:

Generally equal parts water and plain yogurt or buttermilk, blended at room temperature with powdered spices. Amounts vary depending on dosha.

Preparation:

Vata:

1/2 cup yogurt

1/2 cup water

1/8th tsp or less salt

1/8th tsp pippali or 1/4 tsp hingwastika

*You can also use chai spices for a nice blend: up to 1 tsp of fennel, ginger, cardamom, coriander, fennel total.

Pitta:

1/3 cup yogurt

2/3 cup water

1/2 tsp licorice plus 1/tsp fennel, cumin, and coriander total.

* Adding mint, cilantro, and other such fresh cooling herbs will add wonderful flavour and pacify pitta.

Kapha:

1 oz yogurt (2tbsp)

7 oz water (makes one cup)

3/4 tsp trikatu, pinch of salt, 1 tsp honey

For diarrhea:

Add 1/8th tsp to 1/4 tsp nutmeg in takra

When to drink:

Let your takra sit for a few hours or prepare the night before to allow the spices to marry with the yogurt. If you find that you don’t like the taste and want to add sugar, it’s because you aren’t letting it steep enough.

Take between meals to support agni (digestive fire). Wait at least 1 hour after eating to have takra, and avoid eating for at least 1 hour after drinking takra.

Benefits:

– Best for abdominal diseases

– light, dry, easily absorbed

– great post digestive effect

– helps to increase/stabilize agni, improves absorption of nutrients, anti-diarrheal

– tastes great!

– quick and easy to make!

Now that we are in the time of year where pitta is accumulating, it will be at it’s peak in the summer. Having takras between meals as a stand alone treatment is a great way to get in digestive herbs and help tonify the body. If you’ve never heard of these herbs before, just try them out! You can order online at mountainrose, organicindia, and other such sites (which I am not affiliated with).

Have fun making takras and cool the pitta as we approach our lovely summer season!

With gratitude,

S

Ayurveda Day 83: The Liver pt.2 – Love Your Liver!

I’ve spoken before about the liver and how important it is in our body. An often underrated organ, it is responsible for approximately 500 different functions in the body. Liver dysfunction is a serious problem but most of us are constantly doing things that vitiate our liver and make it’s job more difficult.

If we go on too long ignoring our liver, major health problems can occur. We become more susceptible to diseases such as Hepatitis (inflammation of the liver) and Cirrhosis (scar tissue build up in the liver). Hepatitis doesn’t get the media attention it deserves; it kills more people per year than AIDS.

Once the disease gets to this point, treatment becomes extremely difficult. In fact, signs of liver distress can even appear upon birth. Babies that are born with jaundice have been shown to have complications in many other areas of development down the road (such as ADHD). The liver filters all our blood before sending it elsewhere. It can affect every area of the body, including neural pathways. So love your liver!

In my previous blog about the liver (linked above), I mentioned how eating at the appropriate times can help to take care of the liver. Beyond that however, we are entering a time of year where pitta is increasing. Pitta, amongst being a dosha, also literally translates to bile. The liver is responsible for the production of bile, and since we are in the time of year where pitta is accumulating (once summer hits it will be at it’s peak), we need to do all we can to pacify pitta in the body to take care of the liver.

The best thing we can do right now to help the liver as pitta accumulates is to drink cold infusions throughout the day. Cold infusions are teas that are steeped overnight cold.

The best herbs to use are alteratives (which cleanse and purify blood/lymph) and nervine sedatives (to bring down the mental heat and intensity of pitta). The great thing is, there are some herbs that do both!

Chrysanthemum, chamomile, gotu kola, and skullcap are great choices. If you just want to take care of the liver however and don’t really need to bring down that much pitta, then some good herbs are echinacea, dandelion root, and mint.

Many of these herbs can be found online. I recommend sites like banyanbotanicals, mountainrose, and organicindia. I am not affiliated with said sites.

To make your cold infusion tea, simply take 2oz of the herb and steep in 2 quarts of water overnight. Then drink this instead of water throughout the day. That’s it! You are now taking care of your liver when it needs you the most!

Cold infusion teas are one great way to love your liver. However, we also need to make sure we are not further vitiating the liver while we do this. Eat cooling foods instead of spicy/greasy/fried foods. Make sure to eat before sundown so that you go to bed on an empty stomach and aren’t forcing the liver to do more work while it should be resting. Finally, avoid alcohol, coffee, and sugars. All of these will aggravate the liver.

To this you may say,

“Pfft, my liver is fine. I do those things all the time and I have no problems!”

Here are some symptoms of liver distress, to gauge your liver’s health:

– hard to fall asleep at night and wake in the morning

– wake feeling sluggish

– sclera isn’t clear

– flu like symptoms

– generalized fatigue

– nausea

– skin rashes

– headaches

My bet is on the possibility that you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms regularly. Because this is what a healthy liver will manifest as:

– clear eyes w/ vibrant whiteness

– clear skin

– good digestion

– regular sleeping/waking cycles

– good energy levels

– absence of liver distress symptoms

So unless you can tick off all the above criteria, now’s the time to start taking care of your liver. And even if your liver is fine, it is still a good idea to start drinking some cold infusions! Now’s the time to take care of the liver as summer approaches.

Love your liver!

With gratitude,

S

Ayurveda Day 82: The Health Pyramid

Growing up we all probably saw things like the food pyramid, telling us what to eat. Food is only one aspect of health however, as we have our mind and our body to deal with when it comes to health.

So what is most important then? Diet? Exercise? Meditation? Aromatherapy? A picture is worth a thousand words:

The Health Pyramid:

We start by building a solid foundation:

Daily RoutinesAre we going to bed on time, waking up on time, living an orderly and sattwic lifestyle, doing neti, doing abhyanga, etc?

Food HabitsAre we following the Healthy Eating Guidelines?

Food Choices and SpicesAre we eating according to what will pacify our doshas?

*Any herbal formulas we take just help to support this step of the pyramid.

Next, we want to work on the emotional/mental aspect of our health:

Balancing the MindDo we have a meditation practice we are following?

Breathing PracticesThe bridge between the mind and body is the breath. Are we aware of it and practice it?

ExerciseAre we doing yoga asanas (poses) to pacify our doshas?

* I would add one more aspect here, and it’s to spend more time in nature. You can accomplish all of these three practices if you take a walk outside and sit by a tree.

Finally, with these solid foundations in place, we can work on other senses to help support our health:

5 Sense Therapies – note that no matter how much chromotherapy or aromatherapy one uses, it won’t really help you without building the first two steps of your pyramid first.

Stress comes at us in life from all angles. For a vata, they might feel fear and anxiety, worrying about fantasies they create in their mind that aren’t actually happening. Pittas may feel anger, competition, intensity, jealousy, judgment. Kaphas may become melancholic, stubborn, refusing to change as stress accumulates.

The great thing about this pyramid is that it applies to all doshas!

It can be so easy when we are in stressful situations to fall into a vicious cycle.
“I have no appetite and that’s stressing me out so I can’t eat!”

“I do my best work when I am stressed, therefore I wait until things are at their worst so I can fuel myself!”

“I am stressed because I am overweight so I eat more to feel better and become more stressed!”

These are all signs of vata, pitta, and kapha types expressing their stress. If you can recognize when this is happening, and that the vicious cycle is occurring, all you need to do is refer to this pyramid.

Start with your daily routines. I promise you if you are stressed and you try to meditate, eat proper foods, and do aromatherapy before getting proper sleep and cleaning your cluttered living space, that it just won’t stick. So start simple, start small. Work with your daily routines and feel as you become more organized externally that so will you internally in body and mind. From there, now you have the clarity of perception to work on how you eat, then what you eat.

The best thing you can take from this is to stop the vicious stress cycle and change your internal dialogue to this:

“Man I am stressed right now. I should look at my daily habits and routines and change something.”

With gratitude,

S



Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 64 other followers

%d bloggers like this: