Ancient’s Best Skincare Range

Posted by on March 11, 2017 in Herbs, Products.

A few years back we developed a unique and beautiful range of skincare with a difference. It was formulated based on classical Ayurveda. Each product was based on a complex formulation of herbs formulated to be Dosha Pacifying whilst still achieving its role as a beauty product.

Even though we are now out of stock of that first product run, if resources permit we may produce this product again. Those who used it loved it!

Read on to hear more about this story if you are interested in natural beauty products suited to you as an individual.

Unique Selling Points about Ancient’s Best Dosha Pacifying Skincare Range:

  • A fresh and original approach to skincare and beauty
  • An ancient tradition in a ready to use and modern package that is accessible to all
  • Classical formulations of herbal compounds and natural oils suited to each individual
  • Made in New Zealand employing modern manufacturing practices and ingredients suited to high quality natural/organic products
  • Five years in the making! Extensive research, trials, and experimentation completed prior to release

Nicky Ancient's Best websize (4) crop

 Skincare Packaging

Our Ayurvedic Skincare Range includes a Dosha Pacifying Cleanser, Toner, and Moisturiser for each Dosha (Vata, Pitta, Kapha). They are designed to work together as a set and come attractively packaged in a special box (3 x 100 ml bottles – Cleanser + Toner + Moisturiser).

We are very proud of the beautiful design of our skincare boxes (the box was created, manufactured and printed by Pakworld in Christchurch, and graphic design is by Eyecatcher Designs in Blenheim). The box itself is designed to hold each skincare set with a window showing the label of one bottle and the inserts from each side of this window protecting each bottle from the others within the box. The box also serves to protect the skincare from light.

Each Dosha box has its own vibrant colour which is chosen to represent a colour which will help to pacify the excess of that Dosha. For example the Pitta box is a cooling, calming blue, the Kapha box an energising, heating red, and the Vata box a gentle, grounding green. The mango leaf design that wraps around the top of the box is also printed on the inside of the box in a softer shade highlighting the time, thought, and care that has gone into the design of the products and the packaging.

A brochure has been printed to accompany the skincare range – for the pdf copy please click here to see it.

Don’t know which product to use? Click here to go to our Dosha Quiz to find out your current imbalanced state (Vikriti) and then choose the appropriate Dosha Pacifying products. Please note that this quiz is not for diagnostic purposes as this can only be determined through Naadi Parikshai (Pulse Reading).

Vata Set Cropped

Philosophy behind these unique natural products:

Beauty is a timeless quality that we all possess. Outer beauty may be seen in our skin, hair, and eyes, in our movements and posture, and in our freshness and vitality. This outer appearance is intimately linked to our inner beauty which relates to our power of digestion and elimination, and to living our life in a supportive and positive way that brings out our strengths. Enhancing our beauty comes from self knowledge which comes about by understanding our nature (our individual and unique constitution). True and lasting beauty manifests as wisdom and skill in the way we live our lives.

Just as each and every one of us is unique so must all we do be tailored to our individual needs. In Ayurveda it is understood that outer beauty comes first from inner beauty, understanding and accepting our self, and developing a life-style that is correct and compatible for us as unique individuals. This includes what we put on our skin as this too becomes food for the body and must suit us.

In Ayurvedic skincare the herbs and oils are chosen to suit the individual constitution and to pacify the Dosha that is most aggravated. This is the root cause of any inner and outer disturbances. Once the root cause is addressed many of the symptoms that are being experienced may drop away. Many modern skin care products are “cosmetic” in the way they work – meaning to ‘cover up’. They are mostly created to work on symptoms such as dry skin, oily skin, acne, etc without consideration to what the root cause of these problems is.

How are Ancient’s Best products different from other herbal products?

It is not a matter of one herb being better than another but which herb is more correct and compatible for each person. Ancient’s Best has selected traditional herbs and oils to support and pacify each specific Dosha in addition to having the qualities needed to carry out the function of that product (such as cleansing, toning, moisturising etc).

Other products tend to select herbs based purely on the properties of the individual herb or herbs without taking into account what in fact suits the individual using that product. There is always a risk when using such products that the herbs are not compatible to the person and over time this can cause disturbance.

Ancient’s Best products are not single herb products but contain a number of herbs chosen for their suitability to pacify a particular Dosha, as well as their synergistic qualities working in combination with other herbs. It is understood in Ayurveda that using several herbs with similar qualities gives a more powerful effect and greater benefits than using a single herb.

A Modern Approach to Traditional Products

Although all Ancient’s Best products are made using traditional knowledge the method of manufacture is modern so the products are accessible and easy to use as one would any conventional cleanser, toner, or moisturiser. Packaging is clear so the product can be seen and bottles are light and easy to carry when travelling. Lotion pumps easily lock shut without loss of the product and release small amounts of lotion so as to reduce waste.

Nicky Ancient's Best (2) crop

‘Food is Medicine and Medicine is Food’:

Just as we have to be very particular with what we eat and when we eat and how much we eat etc.; it is equally important to understand the nature and qualities of your Skin Care products as they are but ‘food’ too.  This is what we have aspired to achieve with our Skin Care products, not only food for your skin but food for the whole being…

Life-style Management:

The traditional application of Ayurveda is focussed primarily on a Life-style management approach and this is the most important factor in terms of stability. Life-style is everything and anything that affects you and because you are unique it must be correct and compatible for you.

Our Ancient’s Best Skin Care products are formulated and prepared as we would any Ayurvedic remedy prepared for the individual for treating imbalances of the Dosha that has caused some symptoms of dis-ease to appear. That much study and care has gone into selecting the right and suitable herbs to do the right work and function.

What are the benefits for me?

The benefits of using our Skin Care products will be good for all but if you abide by the principles of Ayurvedic Lifestyle management, then the skin care products can offer miraculous changes and improvements. This is because our Skin Care products act as a corrector of Dosha imbalances and not just to do some surface or cosmetic work as most skin care products do. These products work at the root level and not superficially. Thus though it takes a little longer for effective results, the results once obtained will remain as part of you and your life.

So you can expect long term and long lasting benefits and not just improvement of your skin quality. The approach is holistic; where you are recognised, respected, and cared for as a unique individual.

Joy – what is it?

Posted by on March 2, 2017 in Musings.

One explanation could be a feeling of pleasure or great happiness coming from the fulfilment of a desire, success or achievement, fame, name, wealth, health even…

Who could possibly obtain it, explain it, or share it with another? Can anyone live continuously in a joyful state? In this life we all experience ups and downs and we all suffer. We all know pain, hurt, despair, betrayal and fear. We know them all too well. But do any of us really know Joy?

joy2

For something to be True, it must always be so. True in the beginning, true in the middle, and true in the end. Yet we know that every moment everything changes. So Truth cannot be found in the material world as nothing stays the same, all is in constant flux, all passes.

Seeking pleasure only leads to the disappointment and disillusionment of the pain that inevitably follows. We learn that one cannot exist without the other. Such is the nature of duality. Good and bad, black and white, hot and cold, light and dark, right and wrong, joy and sorrow. All coexist, in fact they cannot exist without the other. We are jumping for joy when we get our way, the next minute drowning in despair and fuming with anger when things don’t go our way. What kind of existence is this!

duality shot

The wise taught us the path to finding real Joy and ultimate Truth. It lay not in the duality of Nature but in the recognition of the Self. The Indians call this Atman. That which is unborn, undying, untouched, unchanging. That which exists in us all. Call it whatever you want as a name will not change it.

Achieving that knowledge of the self brings ultimate Joy as then we are able to watch things rise and fall, and appreciate the ebb and flow of nature. We are detached yet aware. We see the same Self in every person no matter how different they are to ourselves. We do our work with full attention and care but without attachment to the results. We learn that attachment to desires will ultimately lead to frustration and anger – we lose self control and judgement. Our life purpose is unrealised and wasted.

The ancients taught that happiness and joy are our birthright but a correct understanding and appreciation is needed. Understanding our unique body and mind, how it works, recognising our strengths and weaknesses, keeping as stable as possible, and accepting things the way they are rather than how we might want them to be.

There is no need to seek or look for Joy – it is in fact our natural and true state and has never left us. We just have to find out why we aren’t experiencing it. For example, if we stand before a mirror that is covered in steam and cannot see our face, we take a cloth and wipe away the steam and then we can see. Our face was there all along but we just needed to remove the screen that prevented us seeing clearly.

All comes through practice, our own effort and personal experience. This is where the practices of Ayurveda and Yoga were introduced. As teachers our work is to help you understand how you are unique and what is needed to gain the stability and strength to ultimately experience limitless Joy.

Like to learn more?

  • We will offer a 2 Day Ayurvedic Lifestyle Workshop in April 2017 here in Blenheim (including your own assessment of your unique body and mind which will also reveal the root cause of any disturbances you may be experiencing)
  • Attend a Yoga class series or a Breathing Workshop to learn techniques to focus, concentrate and relax your body and mind – check our new Marlborough website
  • Visit our website, read our articles – www.ancientsbest.co.nz
  • We are always happy to offer short talks about Ayurveda here at our clinic or to a group, just ask

Some quick tips to help bring more joyfulness to your life:

  • Don’t expect permanence in an impermanent world
  • Take responsibility for your Life
  • Live in the Now, the past is dead and gone and the future may never come
  • All things pass – don’t try to hold on to anything or anyone
  • Give freely and without expectation of return
  • Develop your self-awareness and understanding of your unique body and mind
  • Accept that others see the world differently, don’t blame or judge or ‘follow the crowd’
  • Remember that Joy lies within

UNLEARNING

Posted by on February 26, 2017 in Ayurveda (General).

Having passed the stage of ACCEPTANCE, the next part would be to understand and carry out the process of UNLEARNING. This is a purge of all that we have come to know and understand about ourself and our surroundings. Right or wrong,  correct or incorrect, it does not matter but the process of unlearning helps us to start on a clean slate or life.

unlearning

Unlearning is a process where we can learn to give up and let go of pet theories, pre-conceived ideas, imaginings, wishful thinking, fantasies, myth, popular belief and etc. The above are all detrimental and destructive to understanding and accepting how various natural laws function and work.

We are all unique so we all need our own set of rules and laws.

 

The Difference between Traditional and Modern Ayurveda Part 2

Posted by on in Ayurveda (General).

As we saw in Part 1 of this blog a significant change has occurred in the way Ayurveda is taught and practiced in modern times. Part 2 of this blog explains why this has happened.

First it is important to understand the Indian or Hindu mind and secondly how modern history has affected the culture and thinking of this nation.

There is no difference in the Hindu/Buddhist mind between religion and spirituality. They are the same but it is understood there are different levels of understanding, growth and evolution. As discussed in Part 1 the Indian mind is subtle and symbolic rather than literal. This has resulted in many misunderstandings and misinterpretations.

Hinduism allows worship from the lowest to highest forms. Traditionally Ayurveda is nothing but reflections of various concepts from the Hindu / Buddhist religion. As we have already seen Modern Ayurveda is secular and it sees Ayurveda as a system of medicine.

Ayurveda, though introduced and codified in India, has spread its roots worldwide. Greek traders took the concept to Greece and developed Unani, a system of medicine based on Ayurvedic principles. Buddhist monks introduced Ayurveda and martial arts to Tibet and South East Asia and China.

Silambam_icon

Silambam – Indian martial arts for self defence

From here evolved the Thai version of ‘Ayurved’ or Thai Traditional Herbal Medicine and Thai Traditional Massage, and in China Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and widely known arts such as Kung-Fu. Acupuncture was part of traditional Ayurveda also, known as ‘suchi veda’, the science of piercing or spearing, but is no longer practiced in Ayurveda.

yin and yang symbol

Traditional Chinese Medicine – Yin & Yang

Over the years, from the principles of Ayurveda, there arose in these other parts of the world very distinct and unique local systems of healing. Today many have forgotten their timeless and ancient roots. This is for many reasons but primarily those of politics, commercial gain, racial pride or ignorance. Ironically, in the West systems such as Traditional Chinese Medicine are more widely recognised than Ayurveda, the mother or root from where such systems originated.

Ayurveda in India lost the patronage it enjoyed under Hindu/Buddhist rule due to the occupation of the Muslims and the British over an almost 1000 year period. Some parts of the tradition were no longer accepted under the new rulers so the continuity of the system was virtually destroyed and forced underground.

When India regained its independence the Indian government made all efforts to reintroduce all things ‘Indian’ and Ayurveda was one of them.

Sadly however, the original concept of Ayurveda as a system of Yoga was unable to be reintroduced in its original form.

This is because traditionally, the system was based on the Gurukulam or Hermitage where young students lived and studied with the teacher and family as a student and child of that family.

The fundamental practice and line of study was spirituality based on Sanatana Dharma (eternal truth or Hinduism). A similar practice existed with Indian Buddhist students in later times.

However, modern independent India as a secular state did not sponsor the traditional system due to politics.

Indian Christians and Muslims could not fit into this traditional Yogic system due to their views on religion and life. Because of this a system similar to allopathy was introduced using certain aspects of Ayurvedic treatment but missing out on the core of Ayurveda, that is first concerned with the individual as a whole and not just the disease.

This explains why Ayurveda is practised so differently today.

So the India of classical or traditional Ayurveda and the India of today can be seen to be very different. India is not the land many people of the western world think it to be.

It was a land of the wise and of the learned and of the realized but maybe a thousand years ago!

Having almost lost its character and culture, the bulk of the people today no longer see themselves as spiritual beings first and body and mind second. For the past 1000 years they have been ruled by foreigners who have introduced much of their values and ideas and mostly forcefully. Many became even embarrassed of their culture due to the opinion of the colonial rulers who saw these traditions as uncivilised. Much of their own traditions and culture and arts were denied them.

Long before that, they have already become weak and splintered into hundreds of minor states and further weakened by infighting.

Today the the majority of the Indians no longer understand nor appreciate many things Indian, especially those of the esoteric and of the spiritual. Many are stuck with the crudest form of worship, bordering on idolatry.

Many do not know anything about the true meaning of Yoga nor of subtle sciences such as Ayurveda. All of such, if practiced is in its basic form or a part only. But yet when approached, they talk as though they are the wisest of the wise. Because they are aware of their ancient roots, they feel that they qualify automatically or by default!

Focusing only on symptoms and the treatment of disease is something many people are becoming increasingly wary of today.

This has been the approach of Modern Conventional medicine or Allopathy and now those in India seem to have taken up what the Western culture has already wearied of!

This is indeed an irony as it is the Indians who first introduced that concept of total well-being and the principles of Holistic and total living. Living as a Whole in total harmony with nature is what Holistic Living is about and this eventually will lead to deeper spiritual realization.

So how do the Traditional and Modern approaches to Ayurveda relate to Yoga?

Again a clear understanding of Yoga is needed here. Yoga is the Whole, where All is One and One is All. Remembering the Wave (the body and mind) is never separate from the Ocean (Truth or Yoga).

This is the goal and purpose of Traditional Ayurveda as with all Yogic systems or paths.

The One-ness of All

The One-ness of All

The Difference between Traditional and Modern Ayurveda Part 1

Posted by on February 22, 2017 in Ayurveda (General).

The word Ayur-Veda specifically means the “Science or Knowledge of Life or Longevity”.

In other words, it means ‘how we are to live and manage our life’. An appropriate term to describe Ayur-Veda is ‘The Yoga of Life’.

It is a system that – when correctly understood, applied and practiced – leads one to Yoga, our ultimate goal or Dharma. It is a wholly Spiritual system and discipline.

Teacher imparting knowledge to students

             Teacher imparting knowledge to students

At Ancient’s Best our focus is classical/traditional and there some differences between what we practice and the modern approach of Ayurveda.

This article is to expand and explain how and why things have changed today and what the meaning of ‘Traditional’ really is. The first part explains what traditional actually means and how Ayurveda was practised and how we still practice it at Ancient’s Best. The second part of the article looks at why things have changed so much over the years.

This explanation is very important as the word ‘Traditional’ is very commonly and incorrectly used thus confusing many people not the least Ayurvedic Practitioners!

Modern Ayurveda is allopathic in its approach and is secular rather than religious or spiritual.

The role of modern Ayurveda is that of a system of alternative medicine that treats diseases and the symptoms of diseases. The only real difference to modern medicine is that natural approaches such as herbs and massage are used rather than chemical drugs. But the focus is still on treating the disease. The principles and philosophy of Ayurveda are not the key or essence in this modern system, but rather a topic to be studied in a theoretical sense.

Modern Ayurvedic Doctors address and see themselves as Doctors and go through a  five year (or longer) disciplinary program at University and study most of what a Modern-day Doctor has to study, in addition to some aspects of Ayurvedic Philosophy and principles.

Classically, Ayurveda also looked at the management of disease and symptoms but this was only an aspect or more secondary approach to working with an individual. It was never the primary focus. Today modern Ayurveda focuses almost completely on this aspect, with the spiritual focus greatly or completely diminished.

To most, the two approaches, traditional and modern, are thought to be the same, even to those who are practicing this Science of Life!

Many of these modern Ayurvedic Doctors may indeed have ancestors that followed the traditions closely. In fact when people in India talk about tradition (Sampradya in Sanskrit and Paramparai in Tamil), it could mean they have a lineage of forefathers who have followed a particular and Ancient discipline or practice of Yoga, Ayurveda or Tantric rituals.

The student could claim to be Traditional if he or she has undertaken to practice the similar science as handed down to him or her by his or her forefathers. But how can one claim a particular tradition if one has chosen to study Ayurveda in a University and become an Ayurvedic Doctor rather than follow the path of his or her elders?

Another factor that confuses is that some treatment centres in India have been around for many years and they may even be quite strict in terms of their use of food, herbs, exercise etc. They use the terms Authentic and Traditional but the difference again is the approach being one of disease treatment rather than total treatment. Modern Ayurveda is still symptomatic in its focus.

Classical or Traditional Ayurveda is not well understood today. This is not just in the West but especially so in India.

Classical Ayurveda focuses on the subtle or underlying disturbances in an individual rather than the symptoms or characteristics they are exhibiting. These are the root causes of any problems manifest now or still on the way.

Identifying the root cause cannot be achieved by modern diagnostic approaches ,and in fact the mind or intellect must be suspended by one well versed in spiritual practice and who can be free of Ego, conditioned thoughts, and preconceived ideas.

These qualities cannot and are not taught in modern day colleges of higher learning and take a different level of discipline and practice to master.

Another problem in modern times relates to using characterisation to determine subtle disturbance (termed ‘Dosha’) from personality or physical characteristics.

This has led to many cases of misdiagnosis (both by students and practitioners) and therefore incorrect and inappropriate treatment. A lot of this harks back to misinterpretation and incorrect translation of Indian texts which are symbolic and subtle in their meaning rather than literal. These mistakes in interpretation have become ‘facts’ as they are constantly repeated and printed in numerous books and websites.

Of course it is a lot easier to identify and work on symptoms than to work traditionally!

Firstly, symptoms are already apparent and can be seen and accepted. The subtle is much more difficult to appreciate or sense and the problem may still be ‘on the way’ rather than manifest so far less urgent to the minds of many patients and therapists. They may even doubt any such disturbance exists as they can’t yet ‘see it’.

Secondly, any symptomatic treatment is likely to give some immediate relief and this is welcomed and gives comfort to the one suffering. It may appear the problem has gone, at least temporarily, and it is no longer disturbing our life in the same way. We don’t need to think about it until such time we get sick again.

Thirdly most symptomatic treatments don’t require major changes in lifestyle, thinking, or habits, all of which take discipline, responsibility, effort and time.

This is not just true for the student/patient but especially so for the practitioner who must guide, confront, direct, and continually educate and challenge the patient/student they are working with.

This takes an enormous amount of time and energy as we aren’t just trying to overcome the disturbances themselves, but more importantly, trying to adjust routines and attitudes that may be stubbornly and deeply entrenched. And the mind is ever ready to resist change, to doubt, and to sabotage all efforts.

Traditional Ayurveda is, at the end of the day, often a battle with Ego, and it takes an evolved student to realise this and have the patience to persevere, to grow, and to have faith in the practitioner, in themselves, and ultimately in the Self that is all.

The traditional and spiritual path appears a much harder road to travel and yet it is the road we are all on whether we realise it or not. Ignorance of this is why we suffer in the first place and this is the real tragedy and sickness of our modern world.

So where has this shift in approach and thinking occurred and why? We will address this in the second part of this short article as a separate blog post.

Accepting things the way they are

Posted by on February 19, 2017 in Musings.

Are you able to accept things the way they are?

A Life with simple rules and a commonsense approach is what is needed for a reasonably trouble-free life.

Acceptance of any situation in our life, be it good or bad, right or wrong, fair or unfair, correct or incorrect, it does not matter; accept that situation which is happening at that moment in time and don’t deny or fight it. It is happening and so what is there to deny or fight! If it not supposed to happen, would it happen? No.

acceptance

Accepting a situation, whatever it may be, would firstly reduce anxiety and tension. It further allows us to immediately conserve huge amounts of energy. This energy could then go to what it is meant for in the first place, to detoxify, nourish, strengthen, and stabilise our body and mind.

Acceptance is therefore the first rule we need to understand and abide by in order for a stable life.

Rasam (South Indian astringent soup)

Posted by on October 15, 2016 in Food.

rasam

Rasam is a typical South Indian soup. It is warming, helps with digestion, and very nice to take in cold weather. According to Ayurveda its primary taste is astringent which is necessary to end the digestive process in any meal. We should start a meal with the sweet taste and end with the astringent taste.

Main Ingredients:

  • 1 lemon sized tamarind (approx 1 tbsp tightly packed seedless tamarind) + ½ cup warm water
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • ½ tsp of asafoetida powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds/
  • 2-3 dry red chilies, broken and deseeded
  • 2 tsp chopped coriander leaves
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • Salt as required

To be powdered to a semi coarse consistency:

  • 3 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp whole black pepper
  • 6-7 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

How to make the recipe:

  1. soak the tamarind in ½ cup warm water for 20 to 30 mins.
  2. squeeze the pulp from the soaked tamarind. strain and keep aside.
  3. in a dry grinder or coffee grinder, powder the cumin seeds, whole black pepper and garlic to a semi fine consistency.
  4. heat oil in a pan. crackle the mustard seeds first.
  5. add the curry leaves, red chilies & asafoetida and fry for some seconds till the red chilies deepen their colour.
  6. temper on a low flame so that the spices don’t burn.
  7. than add the tomatoes and sauté till the tomatoes soften.
  8. then add the semi coarsely powdered cumin, black pepper and garlic along with   turmeric powder.
  9. stir and then add the tamarind pulp. add water and stir well. season with salt.
  10. just let the whole Rasam come to a gentle boil uncovered.
  11. then switch off the fire and add chopped coriander leaves.
  12. serve Rasam hot, plain or with steamed rice.

Healthy food is Correct food!

Posted by on July 2, 2016 in Ayurveda (General), Food, Uncategorized.

Food is Medicine and Medicine is Food! Healthy food becomes healthy provided it is correct, compatible, suitable etc for each individual. This is for the simple reason that each and every one of us are uniquely different and therefore need to have our own personalised daily life-style activities starting with food. This is Ayurveda; the knowledge of living our life correctly according to our own constitution (prakriti/vikriti). What suits one need not have to suit the other! 

Dis-ease Management

Posted by on June 30, 2016 in Dis-Ease & Disturbances.

Patient

Dis-ease Management

Be it any kind of disease or disturbances, it is always due to the inherent weakness or disturbance of the individual and not so much to the external factors that often are perceived to be the ’cause’ of Diseases. In the study of History, we come across stories of impregnable fortress eventually becoming breached. We subsequently learn that the breach became possible only because a traitor caused this breach to happen but from within! Otherwise it would remain impregnable. The body and mind works in a very similar manner. Vibrant and virile health offers strong immunity and this is our impregnable fortress.

Take for instance allergies due to certain substance in a particular food item. This substance is ingested by everyone who eats this food item but then it effects one more then the other. The one who suffers extensively due to this substance, we say the person is allergic to that substance. However it does not mean the person who does not suffer allergy is immune to the substance but it only means the body is better equiped to manage the allergy. Just because most such people do not exhibit symptoms of allergy, it does not mean they do not suffer the allergy but they do!

Why is it that one person suffers so badly from a substance in a food item and the other does not! The answer is obviously not in the food item but in the individual.
There are means to help support the individual to build the resistance to the allergic substance by means of firstly undergoing correct detoxification and thereafter a rejuvenating program but this has to be strictly based on the unique individual and not just any standard program that is readily available in the market. It has to be tailor-made to suit the individual constitution.

However in order for the program to be successful, the individual must have the will, faith, confidence and trust in the system and in the practitioner and more importantly the willingness to ‘work the program’ but this is often found to be so very lacking and deficient.

People want to be ‘cured,’ but they are so unwilling to seriously work the program or they begrudge the cost involved. Years of incorrect understanding and mismanagement of the individuals body and mind has caused the dis-ease but yet they expect it to be removed overnight!
Vaidyar mani

Millet – benefits and how to cook

Posted by on November 22, 2015 in Food.

Millet is a highly nutritious seed (rather than a grain) that is gluten free and packed with minerals and vitamins. It has been used for centuries in China, India, Greece, Egypt and Africa, in everything from bread to couscous, and as cereal.

 

Millet

Millet

Research has indicated the following key benefits of including millet in your diet:

  • It acts as a probiotic to feed microflora
  • It provides serotonin to calm and soothe
  • It helps to hydrate the colon for more regular bowel movements
  • It is a great energy source so ideal for athletes
  • It is a complete protein source when combined with legumes (as in the Kitchadi recipe below) and therefore is ideal for vegetarians
  • It has a high amount of fibre and digests easily
  • It is has a low glycemic index so is a very suitable food for diabetics as well as for those with high cholesterol
  • All millet varieties show high antioxidant activity

Below are some guidelines of how to prepare plain millet (very suitable as a rice substitute) and also a millet Kitchadi (which you may need to experiment with to get the taste and consistency you like).

Millet can be used by all Dosha but is most suitable for pacifying Pitta and Kapha.

 

Making plain millet (as a rice substitute)

Look for barnyard millet if available, otherwise any millet will do
Wash thoroughly
Soak for one to two hours
Put in a non stick pot or rice cooker and add two cups of water for each one cup of millet
Add a pinch of salt
Bring to boil and keep stirring, then reduce heat, cover with a tight fitting cover and let it cook over low heat for ten minutes without disturbing it
After ten minutes turn off the heat and let it rest for 10-15 minutes to cool down
Before serving use a fork to fluff up the millet so it doesn’t stick together

 

Millet Khichdi

Ingredients needed:

  • Onion – 1 (diced)
  • Green chilli -1, slit slightly
  • Ginger – 2 inch piece scrape off skin, chop finely and make into a paste
  • Millet – 1 cup
  • Moong dhaal split yellow variety – 1/2 cup
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Salt as needed to taste
  • Vegetables and greens (to suit your Dosha) chopped
  • Water – 3 ½ cups

For the seasoning :

  • Ghee – 1 Tbsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Urad dhall – 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds -1/2 tsp
  • Whole black peppercorns – 10
  • Dry Red chilli (whole) – 1 piece
  • Asafoetida (Hing powder) – 1/4 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 12 leaves

Preparation:

  1. Chop all the vegetables into medium sized pieces (half or three quarter cook first depending on how big the pieces are and how long they take to cook)
  2. Wash and soak millet and Moong dhall separately for 2 hours or overnight
  3. Heat ghee in a deep frying pan. When ghee is hot, add mustard seeds, when it splutters, add urad dal, cumin seeds, red chillies, Asafoetida (Hing), black pepper and curry leaves (fry quickly and be careful not to burn)
  4. Add chopped onions, ginger, green chillies and saute until onions turn golden brown
  5. Then add all the vegetables, turmeric powder, salt needed and saute for 2-3 minutes or until 3/4 cooked
  6. Drain the water from the millet and moong. Then add the millet and moong together into the frying pan and stir in well
  7. Then add the water and add salt to taste or according to Dosha and bring to the boil. Then cover fully and reduce to simmer for 10 minutes. Do not open cover in between
  8. After ten minutes, turn off heat and let settle for 15 minutes
  9. Then use a fork to fluff up the mixture and serve to eat
  10. This could be eaten with some Indian spiced pickles and goes well with some appalam (the South Indian version of the Pappadam) according to Dosha

Dosha Notes: For Pitta omit the chillis and don’t eat the peppercorns. For Vata use 2 Tbs of ghee