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Spice Bites

My friend Hanni at www.hanniyoga.com posted a recipe for a Homemade Tumeric Snap Almond Milk. I could not wait to try it. Once I was able to make it I decided that the spiced almond pulp that was leftover after straining the liquid was so yummy smelling that I had to put it to use right away. So I created these spice bites that are absolutely scrumptious. They lasted less than 24 hours in my house! 

1 cup spices almond pulp

2 cups shredded, unsweetened coconut

2 vanilla beans (scrapped) or 2 tsp vanilla extract

3 TBL maple syrup or honey

4 TBL coconut oil

1 TBL hot water

Place all ingredients in a food processor. Mix until a dough has formed. Place contents in a bowl and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Take out of fridge and pack dough into 2 inch round bites and place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 200 degrees for about an hour until slightly dry on the outside. Let cool. Eat slowly and enjoy all the flavors! 

Options:

Vata people - Can add 2 dates to food processor before mixing. After baking, roll dehydrated spice Bite in melted chocolate, stick in freezer for 15 minutes, pull out for your own healthy version of a cake pop. 

Kapha people - use honey instead of maple syrup.

Pitta people - as is.

A Grounding and Nourishing Treat for all Doshas

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Navigating Breakfast

 

Breakfast is an important meal, but not all of us are actually hungry in the morning. Many people, articles and nutritionists have told us that we have to eat in the morning because of all sorts of reasons: kick starts metabolism, gives us more energy, keeps us from eating more later in the day, etc., and for some of us this may be true, but not for all. So if you are TRULY not hungry in the morning have a cup of herbal teas and some fresh fruit and call it good (not being hungry in the morning may mean your body needs extra time to process through the food from the night before, and therefore more food is not necessary). Eating when you are not hungry can put out your digestive fire, and in Ayurveda terms, that means digestion slows, metabolism slows and your food turns into sludge in the body. So eating at a consistent time is important. But also eating when you are hungry and not eating when you are not hungry, can help you to keep your fire burning bright and strong. 

If you are hungry at breakfast, do not ignore it, it means you have a strong fire and you need some nourishment, so have a decent sized breakfast, nothing too light but not too heavy either. Make sure it is warm. Kitchari, oatmeal, eggs with veggies, steamed vegetables or freshly made muffins can be a perfect choice. Here is a recipe for those of you who need a little something in the morning. Eat well!

Gluten Free, Vegan, Morning Glory Muffins

1 ¼ cup buckwheat flour

¼ tapioca flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon powdered ginger

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon Baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

3 mashed bananas or 6 pitted dates (soak in 2 tablespoons hot water then mash)  

½ cup coconut oil or ghee or sunflower oil

2-4 tablespoons maple syrup or honey

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

½ cup raisins

½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

3 grated carrots

½ cup hemp hearts

Optional ingredients

            Chocolate chips

            Coco nibs

            Candied ginger pieces

            Crushed pineapple

            1 egg

 

Preheat oven to 345 degrees. Grease muffin pan. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. Set aside. Mash bananas and add vanilla. Mix in raisins, coconut, carrots, hemp hearts and any other optional ingredients. Combine with flour mixture and scoop into muffin pan. Bake 20-25 minutes. These are wonderful breakfast treats with a little nut butter and ghee, or a wonderful afternoon snack with tea for a little pick me up. 

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Kitchari

Kitchari with organic vegetables

Kitchari with organic vegetables

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1⁄2 cup mung dal
  • 2 tbsp ghee (if you don't have ghee, use butter)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/8 tsp hing (asafoetida) - optional
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp black pepper corns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 – 2 cups chopped vegetables (optional)

Preparation:

Wash rice and mung dal and soak overnight. Drain soak water.

In a medium saucepan warm the ghee. Add the spices, except for the fresh ginger, and sauté for one to two minutes. Add rice and mung beans and sauté for another couple of minutes. Then add 6 cups of water and your grated ginger and bring to a boil. Once the kitchari has come to a boil reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook until it is tender (approx. 30-45 minutes). If you are adding vegetables to your kitchari, add the longer cooking vegetables such as carrots and beets halfway through the cooking. Add the vegetables that cook faster such as leafy greens near the end. Add more water if needed. Typically, kitchari is the consistency of a vegetable stew as opposed to a broth. Garnish with fresh cilantro and add salt to taste (optional).

Makes 4 servings

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A Tasty Treat That Packs a Huge Punch

                                                                                                                                                       Amla Fruit

                                                                                                                                                       Amla Fruit

Fall means back to school, which can mean cold and flu season for many people. It also means slowing down after a busy summer and possibly experiencing low immunity due to burn out, which lead to more susceptibility to getting sick. Consistent stress can also lead to degeneration of the body, leaving us more vulnerable to diseases and the common cold and flu. However, Ayurveda gives us a tasty treat to help us out during these times. It is an ancient recipe that helps us boost our immunity, build our ojas and maintain our vibrancy… It is known as Chavanprash.

What is it?

This dark, rich, jam-like substance is sweet, a bit sour and slightly tangy and it is known for many of its rejuvenating and immune boosting properties. It contains 15-40 different medicinal Ayurvedic herbs (depending on the company) along with honey, ghee, sesame oil and raw sugar. Its base ingredient is fresh amalaki fruit; also know as Indian Gooseberry, Embilica Officinalis or Amla. This fruit is one of the strongest rasayanas (rejuvenative) and antioxidant in Ayurvedic Medicine and it contains the highest natural source of vitamin C, with 300mg per fruit (1), which is equivalent to 6 oranges. Most formulas call for around 15,000mg of amalaki fruit per jar/container. Even more impressive is that the vitamin C from the amalaki fruit is highly bioavailable because it is a part of a tannoid complex, which protects it from being destroyed by heat or light (5).

What is it good for?

Famous for its ability to promote youthfulness, general cognition and prevent disease, Chyavanprash can be used for all doshic types to rejuvenate the seven tissues, specifically rasa (plasma), rakta (blood), mamsa (muscles), shukra (male reproduction) and Artava (female reproduction) (3). It is also very nourishing for the heart, lungs, bones and kidneys (2). 

Common uses:

Immunity: Helps to increase resistance to infectious diseases by building hemoglobin and white blood cells. It also nourishes the mucous membranes of the lungs to help clear phlegm. In addition, it is used to help alleviate asthma symptoms (4).

Reproduction: Nourishes the reproductive tissues and is used in cases of debility, infertility, sexual weakness or low libido (4).

Recovery: Very helpful to take when recovering from illness or stress and it will help to restore balance to the tissues and bring back strength (4).

Anemia: Helps to clean and build the blood (4).

Heart and Brain:The perfect blend of Ayurvedic herbs acts as a cardiac stimulant and helps in smooth functioning of the heart. Chyawanprash nourishes the brain cells by supporting the nervous system and enhances co-ordination and memory power. The tonic is good for students as it increases retention and recall (2)”.

Digestion: Promotes a healthy metabolism and can act as a digestive.

Skin: Helps to improve the skin and complexion, giving an overall healthy glow.

How to enjoy it:

Mainly taken in the cooler months of fall and winter or when under stress, it can be consumed by the entire family: young children through the elderly.  This jam tastes quite delicious on its own, spread on a piece of toast or mixed into a cup of warm milk (dairy, almond or coconut) or water.  1-2 teaspoons in the morning and evening is the recommended dose, or follow your Ayurvedic Practitioners recommendations. Be cautious when taking in warm weather for pitta types or with indigestion or if you have heavy ama (toxic) build-up. Contraindicated for pregnancy and severe diarrhea.

History:

According to Charaka Samhita (ancient Ayurvedic text), "From the administration of rasayana one obtains longevity of life, memory, apprehension, health, youth, brightness, complexion, excellence of voice, great strength of body and the senses, power of making speech true, bows (from others), and comeliness of features." Chyavanprash is considered this rasayana (6).

It is said that Chyavanprash was first made by the Ashwin Kumaras, the celestial physicians in order to help the elderly sage, Cyavana, who required virility and youth in order to satisfy his young bride. The results of this request became Chyavanprash.

Where to buy it:

aking sure you have a great quality product is important. There are many sellers out there but many of them will to have the authentic ingredients needed for the true effects. There are companies out there like Banyan Botanicals, Life Spa, Organic India and Himalayan Institute that have quality products that you can purchase online. The taste varies between them all. If you like sweeter, go with Banyan. If you like sour, I have found the Himalayan brand to be perfectly tart. 

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(1) Lad, V., & Frawley, D. (1986). The yoga of herbs: An Ayurvedic guide to herbal medicine. (p. 157-158) Santa Fe, N.M.: Lotus Press.

(2) The story of Chyavanaprash. Ayurveda4all. https://m.facebook.com/notes/ayurveda4uall/the-story-of-chyawanprash-in-ayurveda/10153202913135516/

(3) Lad, V. (2012). Textbook of Ayurveda (Vol. 3, p. 343 & 418). Albuquerque, N.M.: Ayurvedic Press.

(4) Pole, S. (2013). Ayurvedic medicine the principles of traditional practice (p. 296). London: Singing Dragon.

(5) Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science. Phytochemistry, traditional uses and cancer chemopreventive activity of Amla (Phyllanthus emblica): The Sustainer. 02 (01); 2011: 176-183. http://japsonline.com/admin/php/uploads/365_pdf.pdf

(6)  Dharmananda. PH.D, S. (2000, August 1). APPENDIX 1: Therapeutic Interpretation Based on Chyawanprash Ingredients. Retrieved September 27, 2015.

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Diamond Dates

                              
Dates soaked in ghee are a great snack. Dates increase vitality and strengthen immunity. Also great for Ojas, the fine essence of kapha.

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Slice the dates in half and remove pits. Quarter the dates if you want smaller bites sized pieces. Fill a jar with dates and pour ghee over them. Add cardamom and/or cinnamon. Soak for 1 day to 2 weeks. Will keep indefinitely unrefrigerated. Best for Vata types or in the winter when you may need more nourishment. Dig in!

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