Wednesday, December 31, 2008



Humans are the only species on the Planet who actually go out of their way to feed their children CRAP.All other animals instinctly seek out the best nutrition the can find.Birds find grubs,worms and insects feed their young ,Honeybees painstakingly collect pollen & create a nutrient-rich food that gives rise to a living Queen Bee,& even dogs,cats and cows try to find the most nutrient-rich foods to offer their offspring.

But Humans...??? Most of them "REWARD" their children with junk food,sugary sodas,Candy laced with petrochemical coloring additives and refined sugars that promote OBESITY & DIABETES.Most parents dont even make any real effort to follow nutritional discipline at home..!! They simply buy whatever their children saw advertised on Television,caving in to the all powerful "NAG FACTOR" that junk food companies fully exploit when marketing to children.

As a result, Human children are the least healthy youngsters of any species on the planet.For example, Baby Dolphins are healthier than baby humans,and they are born with healthier nervous systems,fewer toxins & a lot more common sense...!!

Speaking of common sense ,Nearly all mammals have the common sense to feed their children their own mother's milk.A Kitten will drink from its mother cat's milk.A foal will drink from its mother mare 's milk like that..But humans..?? We're sort of stupid.We mostly drink cow's,sometimes sheep..!!!

Of all the mammals on planet earth , only humans are dumb enough to seek out mammary gland juice of another species while shunning the breast milk of their own species.And did we choose the milk of a species SMARTER than us that might have more brain boosting nutrients? NOPE.We get our milk from A Low-IQ species Well suited to pulling A plow cow"s milk ain"t exactly brain nutrition folks. Some people have a hard time understading that becuause they've been drinking too much of the stuff and those mushy neurons crammed into their thick skulls are firing a bit on the slow side.In that also we are not drinking the fresh milk of any other species rather we process it to powder or any other form and drink that milk...!!!

Humans by the way are not only so collectively short sighted that they feed their children crap foods and they actually still havent figured out why so many of their children are obase and diabetic..!! It's like beating yourself on the hand with a hammer and wondering why your fingers hurt.Gee, the evidence isn't that

difficult to figure out,Folks.If you feed your kids sugar, toxic chemical additives,mind altering pharmaceuticals and toxic shampoos,lotions and toothpaste,you're going to end up with mutant children who aren't exactcly NOBEL PRIZE material.

This is not rocket science.The real mystery is how the food companies keep getting away with all the denial of the evidence linking processed foods and beverages to children's health problems.I guess it helps that they influence the Government regulators and practically own the mainstream of media.they also buy all the prime shelf space at grocery stores,sponser the big sporting events,and have successfully infiltrated schools and hospitals with junk food restaurents and vending machines.

If the birds & the bees have figured out how to raise healthy offspring,you'd think that humans might have the brain power to raise their healthy children,Too. And some PARENTS ARE... There are lot of great parents out there raising kids on macrobiotic diet,A vegetarian diet or ZERO -PROCESSED -FOODs diet..Good jobs to all the parents who actually teach their children healthful eating habits!!


Unfortunately,those parents are rare.Most parents just buy whatever crap is being peddled on TV these days.And they feed their kids cancer causing processed meats,hyperactivity causing food additives and obesity promoting refined sugars.They load them up on high fructose corn syrup and then wonder why little johnny weighs 150 pounds..!!(Must be the genes,they think.because daddy's overweight too)

And even though some individuals and corporations may get financially rich by selling this junk to families,the bottom line is that
why? Because the future cost of treating disease--not to mention the loss of lifetime productivity--is jaw droppingly HUGE.It's enough to bankrupt nations,which is,coincidentally,what seems likely to happen in due course.No democracy has ever survived its citizens losing their health.

We could learn a lot by listening to nature on the subject of nutrition.Most animals eat raw foods vegetarian diet.Even the birds and bees have something important to teach us about nutrition:.But if you feed your children CRAP then your family tree becomes a dead stump in the dirt.

If you are a parent I urge you to make an effort to introduce your children to a diet of unprocessed,natural foods.If they have been on a sugared up diet of processed foods so far,they will of course whine about it.But your job as the parent is to give your children what's best for their health,not what they really really want because their taste buds tell them so.

Always breastfeeded new borns and dont believe the infant formula being JUST AS GOOD AS MOTHER'S MILK...!!!

Dont bring sugar or carbonated soda into your house,and dont reward kids with Junk food.that only trains them to associate pleasure with unhealthy foods,and that is a curse that could haunt them for the rest of their Adult life.




In This New year I request all the parents to take a new Resolution that they feed their children only with the nutritious food and thus help to build the healthy FUTURE GENERATION....!!!



Thursday, December 25, 2008

Eating for Balance........!!!!!!!!

Eating for Balance: Choosing Foods for an Ayurvedic Diet

According to ayurveda, every individual has unique needs for balance. Since diet is one of the most important ayurvedic tools for achieving balance, ayurvedic healers generally
design individualized diets for people they see, based on various factors such as age and gender, the doshic tendencies that need to be balanced at a given time, the strength of the body tissues and the digestive fires, and the level of ama (toxins) in the body. The place where a person lives and the season are also factors that affect dietary dos and don'ts.

Notwithstanding the individualized approach to choosing foods for balance, there are some universally applicable principles that are important to follow if you are living an
ayurvedic lifestyle:

1. Include the six tastes at every main meal
In ayurveda, foods are classified into six tastes--sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent. Ayurvedic healers recommend that you include all of these six tastes at each main meal you eat. Each taste has a balancing ability, and including some of each minimizes cravings and balances the appetite and digestion. The general North American diet tends to have too much of the sweet, sour and salty, and not enough of the bitter, pungent and astringent tastes.

A fruit-spice chutney or a spice-mix can provide a little of each of the six tastes if you are in a hurry, but it is ideal to choose foods from each category for complete, balanced nutrition. Just in the category of fresh vegetables and herbs, for example, you could choose fennel bulb or carrot for the sweet taste, fresh lemons for sour, arugula or endive for bitter, radish or white daikon or ginger root for pungent and cabbage or broccoli or cilantro for astringent. Click here for more on the six tastes.

The Amalaki Rasayana, made from the Amla fruit, offers five of the six ayurvedic tastes--all except salty.

2. Choose foods by balancing physical attributes
In ayurveda, foods are also categorized as heavy or light, dry or unctuous/liquid and warm or cool (temperature), and different qualities balance different doshas. A balanced main meal should contain some foods of each physical type. Within this overall principle, you can vary the proportions of each type based on your constitution and needs for balance, the season of the year and the place you live.

To keep Vata dosha in balance, choose more heavy, unctuous or liquid, and warm foods, and fewer dry, light or cool foods. To help balance Pitta, focus more on cool, dry and
heavy foods, and to balance Kapha, try more of light, dry and warm foods.

If you live in cooler climes, you'll want to gravitate towards warm comfort foods, and vice versa. Similarly, in winter, when Vata dosha tends to increase in most people's constitutions, almost everyone can benefit from including warm soups and nourishing dhals, fresh paneer cheese and whole milk in the diet. In the summer, plan on eating more cool, soothing foods to help keep Pitta dosha in balance.

3. Choose foods that are sattvic
A third ayurvedic classification of foods is by the effect they have on the non-physical aspects of the physiology--mind, heart, senses and spirit. Sattvic foods have an uplifting yet stabilizing influence, rajasic foods stimulate and can aggravate some aspects of the mind, heart or senses, and tamasic foods breed lethargy and are considered a deterrent to spiritual growth.

Everyone, whether actively seeking spiritual growth or not, can benefit by including some sattvic foods at every meal because they help promote mental clarity, emotional serenity and sensual balance and aid in the coordinated functioning of the body, mind, heart, senses and spirit. Almonds, rice, honey, fresh sweet fruits, mung beans and easy-to-digest, fresh seasonal vegetables and leafy greens are examples of sattvic foods. To get the full sattwa from sattvic foods, prepare and eat them whole and fresh.

4. Opt for whole, fresh, in-season, local foods
Authentic ayurvedic herbal preparations are made by processing the whole plant or the whole plant part, not by extracting active substances from the plant. Similarly, from the ayurvedic perspective, the most healthful diet consists of whole foods, eaten in as natural a state as possible, the only exception being when removing a peel or cooking helps increase digestibility and assimilation for certain types of constitutions. If the digestive fire is not strong enough, even wholesome foods can turn into ama (toxic matter) in the body.

Foods that are frozen, canned, refined so as to denude the food of its nutritive value, processed with artificial colors, flavorings, additives or preservatives, genetically altered, or grown with chemical pesticides or fertilizers are not recommended by ayurvedic healers, because such foods are lacking in chetana--living intelligence--and prana--vital life-energy--and will do more harm than good in the physiology.

For the above reasons, it's best to choose foods and produce that is locally grown or produced, foods that are in-season, and foods that are organic, natural and whole.

5. Rotate menus and experiment with a variety of foods

The sages that wrote the ancient ayurvedic texts would be horrified by our current fascination with the low-carb diet or the no-fat diet or the juice diet--from the ayurvedic perspective, any diet that is exclusive in nature is by definition incomplete in its nutritive value and ability to balance all aspects of the physiology. Eat a wide variety of foods for balanced nutrition--whole grains, lentils and pulses, vegetables, fruits, dairy, nuts, healthy oil or ghee, spices and pure water all have their roles in the balancing process.

If you find yourself eating the same dishes several times a week, or you gravitate towards the same produce or foods every time you shop, resolve now to start making your meals an adventure. Every week, try at least a few new foods or fix familiar foods in new ways, so that your taste buds and your digestion are constantly exposed to some new stimuli in addition to the familiar.

According to ayurveda, each meal should be a feast for all of your senses. When your plate reflects an appealing variety of colors, textures, flavors and aromas, your digestive juices start freely flowing in anticipation and your body, mind and heart are all fulfilled by the eating experience.

We constantly upgrade our site, so check back often for ideas for eating ayurvedically at our recipes and foods sections.

6. Include spices and herbs in your daily diet
Spices and herbs are concentrated forms of Nature's healing intelligence. They are particularly revered in ayurveda for their ability to enhance digestion and assimilation, help cleanse ama (toxins) from the body and their yogavahi property--their ability to transport the healing and nutritive value of other components of the diet to the cells, tissues and organs.

Spices, in ayurveda, are generally eaten cooked. Sauté spices in a little olive oil or ghee (clarified butter) and pour the mixture over cooked foods, or simmer spices with foods like beans or grains as they cook. Fresh herbs such as cilantro or mint are generally added at the end of the cooking process, just before serving.

Ayurveda recommends spices/herbs to stimulate the digestion before a meal, during a meal and after a meal. Eating a bit of fresh ginger and lemon about 30 minutes before a main meal helps kick-start the digestion. Eating dishes cooked with a variety of spices and herbs helps the cycle of digestion--absorption--assimilation--elimination. Chewing fennel seeds after a meal helps digestion and freshens the breath naturally as well.

Ayurvedic rasayanas such as Amalaki and Triphala offer additional ways to help nourish and cleanse the digestive system. Amalaki Rasayana helps enhance digestion, helps
balance the production of stomach acid and nourishes the body tissues. Triphala Rasayana helps tone and cleanse the digestive tract and helps nourish the different tissues.

Cooking with the Mung Bean the Ayurvedic Way

Diet and Digestion

Cooking with the Mung Bean the Ayurvedic Way

If your concept of including mung in your diet means topping off a salad with a few bean sprouts, think again. Mung beans, and their split, hulled version, mung dhal, can be used to create main dishes, salads, soups, spreads, savories, beverages and desserts. Mung beans combine well with a host of grains and flours, vegetables and greens, tart fruit, other sprouts, spices and herbs, and even rice, soy or nut milks.

Mung or moong beans (Phaseolus aureous) are small cylindrical beans with a bright green skin and yellow insides. They are eaten whole, split with skins on, split and hulled as mung dhal, or sprouted. They are used extensively in both Indian and Chinese cooking.

Ayurvedic healers consider the mung bean valuable because it is highly nutritious and delivers sustenance while being easier on the digestion that most other beans. When cooked to butter-soft consistency and combined with digestion-enhancing herbs and spices, mung beans can be digested even by the recuperating, the very old and the very young, and individuals with a weak digestive fire. Mung beans offer the astringent and sweet tastes, are cooling for the physiology, light and soft. When cooked with appropriate herbs and spices, mung beans are balancing for all the doshas.

From the modern nutrition perspective, mung beans offer protein and dietary fiber, and are a source of phytoestrogens. They also contain vitamins A, C and E, folacin, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and calcium.

Buying and Storing Mung Beans

Mung beans are available at Asian groceries, health food stores, online and even some supermarkets. When buying whole mung beans, look for whole, unbroken beans of uniform size and rich color, with unbroken skins. Store the beans in clean airtight jars in a cool, dark place. Buy no more than what will last you for about a month. Older beans take longer to cook and produce more flatulence.

If you buy your mung sprouts, look for fresh, crisp sprouts without brown stains or marks. Prepare and eat the mung sprouts as soon as you can after purchase, definitely the same day. You can also sprout mung beans at home.


Dry mung beans and dhals can contain small twigs, stones and other foreign material. Spread out the beans or dhal on a white serving dish and pick them over carefully before use. Also pick out and discard any discolored or shriveled beans.

Dry beans and dhals should be washed thoroughly in several changes of water before use. Discard any that float on top of the water.


Dried mung dhal does not generally require pre-soaking. Whole mung beans are cooked both without soaking and after soaking. Mung dhal and beans can be cooked in a pressure cooker, in a slow cooker or on the stovetop. If cooking on the stovetop, foam that builds at the top can be skimmed off and discarded. Dhals generally have the best flavor when they are slow-cooked for a long time. In all cases, cook beans until completely tender.

Combining with Other Foods

Mung beans can be combined with brown or white rice, cracked wheat or oatmeal to make a one-dish meal known as khicharee. They can also be cooked to a soupy texture with lots of water and spices. Stews and soups that combine mung beans or mung dhal with a wide variety of greens and vegetables and grains such as barley are also common. Mung dhal flour can be combined with whole wheat flour to make fresh flatbreads on a griddle.

Cook mung beans with lots of herbs and spices. Fresh ginger, basil, cilantro, rosemary, sage, thyme, parsley, curry leaves and tarragon, fresh garlic, lemon juice, and spices such as turmeric, cayenne, ajwain, cumin, coriander, garam masala, black pepper and bay leaf go wonderfully with mung dhal or mung beans.


Basic Mung Dhal

1/2 cup split hulled mung beans (mung or moong dhal)
3-4 cups water
Rock salt to taste
1 tsp - 1 tbsp ghee (clarified butter) (use less ghee for Kapha)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/8 tsp turmeric

Sort and wash the dhal. Drain. In a heavy-bottomed pot, add the washed dhal, turmeric and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil; then turn heat down to medium/low and simmer-cook until dhal is butter-soft (about 30-40 minutes). Stir occasionally to prevent sticking, and add more water as needed to maintain desired consistency. If foam forms on the surface, skim it off and discard. When cooked, add salt and stir. In a separate pan, heat ghee until melted to a clear oil. Add the cumin seeds and stir to release aroma. The cumin should turn a rich dark brown but not burn. Pour the ghee-spice mixture carefully over the dhal. Stir and serve immediately with boiled Basmati rice or other whole grain and vegetables. (In a thinner consistency, this dhal can be drunk as a nourishing soup-beat with a metal whisk to a smooth consistency and heat through).

Bitter Greens, Mung Sprouts, Avocado and Orange Salad

1 cup baby spinach leaves
1 cup mixed bitter greens (arugula, dandelion, watercress etc.)
1 cup fresh mung sprouts, cut in half
1 cup orange sections, deseeded
1/2 cup diced avocado
1 tbsp soaked walnut bits, soaked for 15 minutes in warm water
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
Rock salt to taste
Fresh cracked black pepper to taste
1 tbsp tahini
1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger

Heat one tbsp of the oil in a skillet. Toss in the spinach leaves and mung sprouts and stir briefly to wilt the spinach leaves. Remove to a bowl and cool. Add the mixed bitter greens, orange and avocado. In another bowl, briskly whisk together the lemon juice, rest of the olive oil, lemon zest, salt, pepper, ginger and tahini. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Garnish with the chopped walnuts and serve immediately.

Note: If using garlic, add to the oil in the skillet before you add the spinach. About 1/2 tsp minced garlic would be plenty.

Mung Bean/Herb Spread

1/2 cup mung dhal
2 tbsp almond butter or tahini
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp mild olive oil
1/4 tsp ground cumin
Rock salt to taste
1 tbsp lemon juice
Fresh-cracked black pepper to taste or large pinch sweet paprika
1-2 tbsps water if needed

Heat a skillet and dry-roast the mung dhal until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. Stir constantly to toast all sides and prevent burning. Grind to a coarse flour in a spice-mill. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process to a smooth, spreadable paste, adjusting the water as necessary. Tastes excellent on crisp toast or crackers, on flatbread wedges or as a dip for vegetables.

Note: If using garlic, add one medium clove, peeled, to the ingredients.

Renew yourself This Spring

Renew Yourself This Spring

Ayurvedic healers highly recommend periodic internal cleansing as a way to maintain good health and prevent disorders from taking root in the physiology. Just like you regularly flush out the plumbing system in your home or change the oil in your automobile engine, periodically helping your body flush toxins out thoroughly is a good maintenance technique that will help organs and systems stay more efficient for a longer period of time. Especially after the age of 40, when your body's own cleansing and rejuvenating capability starts slowing down, supporting it with a cleansing regime is important for ongoing health and vitality.

The Seed and Land Theory of Ayurveda

Proper digestion is crucial for health. When digestion is efficient and complete, all of the food you eat is either converted into nutrient fluids for absorption into the body, or flushed out as wastes. When the digestive process is incomplete or inefficient, partially digested food matter is left behind in the digestive system. This substance, called ama in ayurveda, becomes toxic to the physiology if allowed to stay in the body or build up over time. Ama is not only inherently toxic in itself, it also clogs the channels of the body, further disrupting the flow of digestion and leading to an escalating cycle of toxin build-up. Ama is fertile ground for infections and disorders to germinate, take root and flourish. Ama build-up is considered the first stage of imbalance in the physiology. If not addressed, disorders invariably follow.

The digestive process leaves behind toxins either when you eat foods that are not fresh, natural or suited to your constitution and digestive capability, or when you follow eating routines and practices that are not ideal. Eating processed or artificially flavored foods and foods that are grown with chemical pesticides and fertilizers can lead to toxin build-up. Drinking iced water or ice-cold beverages douses the digestive fire and causes ama to be generated. Eating heavier foods after sundown, eating a new meal before the previous one is digested, or eating when stressed or working also impact digestion.

How to tell if you have ama build-up

It is best to visit an ayurvedic healer and have him or her assess your ama levels. The following are general indications that you may have an accumulation of toxins in your physiology:

1. Your tongue has a white coating in the morning when you wake up.
2. You yawn after a main meal and just want to curl up and snooze.
3. You feel tired and lethargic all day long, even though you eat well and sleep well.
4. Your appetite is poor or you crave junk foods.
5. You feel a general lack of motivation or zest for life.
6. You feel "spaced out" and your mind is cloudy.
7. You experience abdominal bloating and gas, especially after a main meal.
8. You feel heavy and congested or constipated.
9. You have a general sense of malaise, with vague aches and pains.

If you experience three or more of the above on a regular basis, your physiology would probably benefit from a cleansing regime.

Full-fledged ayurvedic cleansing programs, called Panchakarma, are best done under the supervision of an ayurvedic physician. Harsh sudden purges are also not recommended in ayurveda. A gentle program of cleansing, done over 45-60 days, is least stressful for the physiology, easiest to follow on a regular basis, and adequate for enhancing the digestive fire to burn off simple ama accumulation.

The best time for internal cleansing

Ayurveda recommends a seasonal routine (ritucharya) as well as daily routine (dinacharya). Each season brings with it its own challenges with respect to your health and needs for balance. The time when the seasons change is the best time to do an at-home cleansing regime, to divest yourself of the earlier season's accumulation of ama and to prepare the physiology for the new season.

Spring, especially, is considered an ideal time to rejuvenate the physiology, in keeping with Nature's own calendar for rejuvenation. With the melting of the snows and the thawing of the ground, the fluids in the body also start flowing more freely, and performing an internal cleansing routine at this time accelerates the flushing of toxins from the physiology.

The "at-home" cleansing routine: diet

The don'ts:

Start by eliminating from your diet all foods that can create ama. This includes leftovers, foods with preservatives, additives or chemicals, and foods grown in an environment laced with chemical fertilizers or pesticides, and canned, frozen or processed foods.

Eliminate junk foods from your diet. Avoid heavy desserts, heavy meats and cheeses, deep-fried foods, candy and chocolate, white sugar, carbonated drinks, caffeine, alcohol and nicotine. Minimize breads made with yeast and fermented foods.

Avoid raw foods such as uncooked salads, sprouts and cold sandwiches, because raw foods are harder on the digestive system. Avoid yogurt, as it sometimes clogs the channels of the body. If you drink milk, boil it with a pinch of nutmeg for Vata, cardamom for Pitta and a slice of fresh ginger for Kapha to enhance digestibility.

Avoid iced water and cold beverages.

The dos:

Pick foods that are best for your constitution and needs for balance, as well as the strength of your digestive agni. Stick to lighter, easier-to-digest foods from the choices you do have.Our food recommendations for Vata, Pitta or Kapha balancing diets is a good starting point.

Eat whole, fresh, natural foods, organic if you can get it. Buy your produce fresh, and consume it quickly.

Eat cooked foods, warm or at room temperature.

Drink lots of warm water through the day. Accompany meals with small sips of warm water as needed. A detoxifying "tea" is even better. Coriander, cumin, fennel and ajwain (carum copticum) are digestion-enhancing spices to choose from. Here are suggestions for detoxifying herbal waters for the three doshas:

Bring two quarts of pure water to a rolling boil. Add the herbs/spices listed below, turn off heat after a couple of minutes and let steep for about 15-20 minutes. Strain and pour the water into a thermos. Drink the tea through the day, especially 15 minutes after a meal. Throw out any that remains after 6.30 pm, and make a fresh batch the next morning.

Vata: 1/2 tsp cumin seed, 1/4 tsp ajwain seed, 1/2 tsp fennel seed
Pitta: 1/2 tsp cumin seed, 1/2 tsp coriander seed, 2 fresh mint leaves
Kapha: 1/2 tsp cumin seed, 1 clove, 1-2 slices fresh ginger root

If you can find fresh Tulsi (Holy Basil), add a leaf or two to the water for all doshas. Tulsi is known for its ability to cleanse the physiology of environmental toxins.

Include lots of cleansing fruits and vegetables in your diet. Barley water or rice kanjee, made by cooking a small amount of grain with a large quantity of water (1/2 cup to 10 cups) are also wonderful cleansers of the digestive system and the urinary tract. Greens, daikon radish, bitter gourd, cabbage and celery are examples of cleansing vegetables. Cooked apples and pears are a great way to get elimination going in the morning. Prunes, pineapple, papaya and pomegranate are other fruits that aid digestion and cleansing. Herbs such as cilantro, mint, fresh ginger and lemon are also helpful for cleansing and purifying the digestive system.

Cook with digestion-enhancing, detoxifying spices such as turmeric, cumin, coriander, clove, ajwain, fenugreek, dried ginger, Chinese cinnamon and fennel. Add the turmeric to foods as they are cooking, and sauté other spices in ghee or olive oil and pour over prepared dishes for the best therapeutic benefit. Digestion-enhancing lassi, made with some of the herbs and spices mentioned in this section, is an excellent choice for a lunchtime beverage.

The "at-home" cleansing routine: lifestyle

Follow ayurvedic guidelines for proper digestion. Eat three meals a day at about the same times, eat lighter in the morning and evening than in the afternoon, and eat in a quiet, pleasant atmosphere.

Get lots of rest. Sleep is important any time of year, but especially during purification, when your body needs the quiet time to cleanse itself and recharge. Go to bed early and rise early.

Meditate everyday. Stress contributes to disrupted digestion, and meditation can help reduce stress levels.

Exercise, done everyday, is important. Exercise early in the morning. Walking is excellent exercise for all body types. Practice deep breathing to draw in oxygen and cleanse the air channels of the body. Avoid napping during the day.

The ayurvedic daily massage, called abhyanga, helps loosen toxins deeply embedded in body tissues for ease of elimination.

If there is a day spa that offers ayurvedic rejuvenation treatments in the area, treat yourself to a shirodhara--a routine where a stream of warm oil is poured steadily on the forehead for 30-45 minutes, followed by a scalp massage. The shirodhara is wonderful for calming the mind and nervous system and recharging the entire physiology.

Regular elimination is important. Empty your bowel and bladder regularly to flush the toxins that have been loosened or released from the tissues, joints and organs out of the body before they get back into circulation.

The "at-home" cleansing routine: herbal rasayanas

Triphala and Tulsi together can help cleanse the physiology of internally generated digestive ama as well as toxins drawn in from the environment through less-than-ideal air, water or food.

Triphala Rasayana helps cleanse and tone the entire digestive tract, strengthens the digestion to deter further ama formation and strengthens and purifies the liver. It can be taken by all body types. For cleansing, take 2-4 tablets of AyurBalance Triphala Rasayana with warm water about an hour before bed, for 30 days. For ongoing maintenance, take 1-2 tablets every night all year round.

The ayurvedic herb Tulsi (Holy Basil) helps balance Kapha dosha, which tends to get aggravated in the spring, and helps purify the system of spring-related ama problems as well as environmental toxins. It also helps bolster your natural immunity. Drink Tulsi-infused herbal tea once or twice a day during the Kapha season to stay balanced.

After cleansing: ongoing maintenance

After the 30 days of cleansing, you can gradually add back heavier foods and small portions of raw foods into your diet if your constitution and digestive fire permit you to have these foods usually. Continue your diet of fresh, whole, pure foods and continue to drink lots of water through the day. Get plenty of rest, moderate exercise and some relaxation every day. Take maintenance amounts of the Triphala Rasayana and add the Amalaki Rasayana after lunch each day to strengthen digestion and offer nourishment to all the body tissues.

At the next change of seasons, perform the cleansing routine again to keep ama out of the system and to support natural good health and vitality on a long-term basis.

Twelve Ways to Enhance Digestion

Ayurvedic healers consider digestion a key indicator and determinant of good health. If your digestive agnis (fires) are functioning effectively, the food you eat should get completely digested, absorbed and assimilated by your body, with the wastes regularly flushed out. An efficient digest-absorb-assimilate cycle leads to enhanced ojas. Ojas is the biochemical essence formed at the end of the chain of transformation that takes place with the raw materials we take in. Building ojas is crucial to an enhanced quality of life: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

On the other hand, imperfect digestion leaves behind a residue that ayurvedic healers call ama. Ama, if left to accumulate in the physiology, eventually turns toxic, and difficult to flush out. Ama in the physiology offers fertile soil for disorders to take root and flourish. Little wonder, then, that assessing the strength of your digestive agnis (there are 13 of them) is an important part of an ayurvedic health evaluation.

If your digestion feels sluggish, here are some simple dietary recommendations to help it function more efficiently:

1. Each morning, have a glass of warm water to which a tablespoon of lemon juice has been added. You can drink it straight, or with a touch of raw honey or turbinado sugar. Lemon juice is a purifier and cuts ama in the digestive tract.

2. Have a glass of digestive lassi at lunch. Lassi helps enhance the digestive flora without clogging the microcirculatory channels of the body. Lassi should not be taken after sundown.

3. A slice of fresh ginger with a little lemon juice is recommended by ayurvedic healers as a way to stoke the digestive fires and appetite before a main meal. If you can't eat the ginger root, try squeezing out fresh ginger juice and combine the juice with lemon juice and a little warm water. Drink about 30-60 minutes before a main meal.

4. Don't miss breakfast. Stewed fruit and cooked cereal make an easy-to-digest breakfast that will keep your digestive fire stoked through the day.

5. Cook with digestion-stimulating spices. Ayurvedic spices such as dried ginger, turmeric, cumin, coriander and ajwain not only enhance digestion, they also help flush toxins out of the body and help improve absorption and assimilation of nutrients. Foods that are harder to digest, such as lentils, should always be cooked with digestion-enhancing spices to help prevent discomfort and flatulence.

6. Replace caffeinated and carbonated beverages with herb-spice teas. A cup of fragrant fennel tea after lunch helps aid digestion. If you enjoy the taste of fennel, you can chew on a few seeds after lunch or dinner.

7. Minimize snacking between meals, as your digestive system needs a rest-and-recharge time to function efficiently at mealtimes and after. If you do feel hungry during the day in-between meals, eat fresh fruit--it's easy on the digestive system. Fruit is not recommended after sundown.

8. Soaking grains, lentils, nuts and seeds for 30-60 minutes in warm water helps make them easier to digest.

9. Eat heavier foods, such a paneer, at lunch. Your digestive fires peak around the middle of the day, and are less bright in the evening at dinnertime.

10. Avoid iced beverages, because they have the effect of dousing the digestive fires. Sip a little warm water or room temperature water with meals. Drinking warm water through the day, especially warm water spiked with digestion-enhancing spices, helps digestion as well as purification.

11. Cut down on raw foods because they are more difficult to digest. Steaming covered, or sautéing briskly can help make foods easier to digest without too much loss of nutritive value.

12. Buy fresh whole foods, and prepare and eat food fresh. According to ayurvedic healers, foods that have been sitting around and processed foods are taxing on the digestion and more likely to create ama.