By Dr Smita Naram April 2008 An ayurvedic practitioner shares the invaluable secrets of health gleaned through 22 years of experience I want to share with you the ancient secrets of eating foods that give energy, immunity and health. I have worked for 22 years on lakhs of people, and seen remarkable results from eating the right food. The wisdom came from our guru, Baba Ramdas. We saw our guru live for 124 years, strong and full of vitality through ayurvedic diet and a disciplined lifestyle. This inspired us to follow his principles. Our guru believed that the beginning of any disease or even the aging process comes from accumulation of toxins in the body. Toxins are accumulated from pollution, wrong food and a stressful lifestyle. When we eat wrongly, the food is not digested, or it produces excess doshas like vata, pitta or kapha. Undigested food remains half processed in the body, putrefies and converts into toxic mucus known as aama. Aama and excess doshas block bodily functions and aging begins. If it blocks circulation, it can cause thrombosis, high blood pressure, and arteriosclerosis. If it blocks pancreatic passages, it can cause diabetes. We have incorporated these principles of diet in our life, and that of lakhs of people around the world in countries like Europe, America, Australia, and Russia, besides India.We eat everything that is easily digested. My husband, Dr Naram, being kapha, stopped consuming wheat and milk products. He took to ayurvedic remedies, and within two to three years, his 25-year-old childhood asthma stopped completely. It is 22 years since, and to date he has never had an asthma attack. I stopped eating tomatoes, lemon, and chillies, which produce pitta. As a result, my dull dark skin was transformed to a fair glowing one. My energy levels zoomed, and I was able to increase my working hours from eight hours a day to 15. A fundamental rule is to eat food that is easy to digest. By doing this, the system is not overloaded, and the undigested food does not stay in the body. According to our Babaji, until the age of 40 the digestive system is strong, and able to digest wheat. After 40, it begins to get sluggish. Hence, the need after 40 to reduce intake of wheat, fried food and heavy red meat like pork and beef. After 55, it is practically impossible to digest wheat unless you are into running at least for 45 minutes every day, or walking four kilometres. It has been proven scientifically that such a diet after 40 can prevent high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes. The second principle is to understand who you are, and what foods suit you. For example, if you have pitta type symptoms like anger, acidity, skin eruptions, premature hair fall, greying and headaches, then you have more heat in the body. You must have cooling foods like milk, ghee, pumpkin, lauki, turai, white pumpkin, moong, rice, moong dal, cooked vegetables, rose and fennel. You should avoid spicy, sour and fermented foods. If you have kapha type of symptoms, and you suffer from mucus, cold, cough, allergies and asthma, then it is important to avoid kapha-increasing food like wheat, milk products, sweets and meat. You can have bajri, jowar, ragi, moong, moong dal, lentils, roasted chickpeas, cooked vegetables, small portion of salad, and grilled fish. If you have vata symptoms like worry, fear, sadness, less sleep, body pain, joint pains, spondylitis, weakness, tremors and dry stool, you should avoid gas-producing heavy foods like beans, chickpeas, rajma, soya products, raw food, stale food, cabbage and cauliflower, as they produce gas. In such situations, you should have rice, cooked vegetables, moong, moong dal and lentils soaked and cooked well. Soaked nuts can be used. Pulses produce gas, hence they should be soaked, pressure cooked and seasoned with hing. The third principle is to eat what nourishes your tissues, your emotions, and your immune systems. There are certain foods like white pumpkin, ghee, milk, ragi, tofu, green vegetables, lauki, almonds, pistachios and fresh juices that nourish your emotions and body tissues. In today’s stress-filled times, it is important to constantly nourish our emotional capacity. Daily wear and tear destroys millions of cells, and when these are not reproduced, ageing takes place. Hence, our food must replenish these tissues on a daily basis. Well-nourished tissues also boost the immune system. There are many possibilities without these items also. If you do not have a particular illness, it is not necessary to remain very strict. For example, I am pitta and hence, I do drink milk. However, if Dr Naram drinks milk, he immediately gets a cough. You may feel like eating aama-increasing foods like samosa, pakoda and meat, just for the sake of enjoying them. To balance the situation, for the next meal, you need to avoid heavy foods, or take only mung bean soup. My husband, Dr. Naram, loves Italian pizza. He is predominantly of kapha constitution with low agni and aama. In order to enjoy pizzas during our trips to Italy, he prepares thoroughly for about 15 days by fasting on mung bean soup before leaving. He enjoys pizzas every evening and immediately on his return to India, he puts himself on a strict fasting regimen of mung soup for three to four days to get rid of the aama, and excess weight. If anybody suffers from a serious problem, it is mandatory to follow a strict regimen. Alternatively, you can maintain your health by balancing your constitution.For substituting wheat, you can use bajri, jowar, ragi and rice. Sometimes you can mix three or four grains with a little bit of wheat, so the rotis come out soft, but the wheat is less. Milk can be substituted by rice milk, soya milk, and almond milk. A little milk in tea is okay. However, people with asthma should avoid it. Here below are some recipes you could try. I wish you very good health and a powerful future.Stuffed padwal in tangy sauceIngredientsFor stuffingSmall padwal or long padwal cut into 2-inch pieces12 pcsMoong dal¼ cupChaat masala¼ tspChilli powder¼ tspTurmerica pinchSalt¼ tspCoriander leaves chopped1 tbspFor sauceTomatoes3 nos, or kokum juice extracted from 3 kokumsWhite pumpkin½ cupOnion4 nos Beetroot juice1 tbspOil1 tbspGhee1 tbspGinger paste¼ tspGarlic paste¼ tspWater¾ cupChaat masala½ tspGaram masala½ tspChilli powder½ tspSalt¾ tspMethodFor stuffingPeel the padwal and remove the seeds. Apply a little salt inside the padwal. Cook moong dal and make a paste. Add all the masala and sauté well. Stuff the padwal with the filling and steam for ten minutes until done. Keep aside.For sauceHeat the oil and ghee together. Add chopped onion. When the onion is cooked, add chopped white pumpkin and tomatoes. If you have pitta symptoms, avoid tomatoes and use kokum extract instead. When done, add all the spices and sauté for a few minutes. Add beetroot juice and blend it to make a sauce.Heat the sauce. Add padwal and simmer for two minutes. Drizzle the padwal with the sauce and serve.ParathaIngredientsOne cup of equal measure of wheat flour, besan and rice flour.Oil2 tbspSaltto tasteCumin seeds½ tspGheeMethodPrepare dough for parathas with salt and water. Roll out the paratha and roast it on a pan with ghee.
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