Sweet Summer Juice Blend

It’s too tempting not to have a drink, or two specially in the hot days of summer! How long can you steer clear of the sweet, juicy, refreshing experience of a smoothy or a juice blend?  But you have to beware. Smoothies and juices can dilute your digestive agni within minutes, giving you the feeling of satiation but causing long-term harm. In addition,  protein powders and/or other minerals and vitamins also add an additional layer of complication. You may not feel the effects right away, but such mixtures are not ayurvedically ideal to keep a happy digestive balance. But we all could do with a glass or two of sweet summer drinks, so here is a balanced recipe that will keep all your doshas in check, rehydrate you, and soothe your heart and mind.

This recipe will make about 25-30 fluid ounces
  • 1 red apple
  • 1 green apple
  • 1 pear
  • 2-3 carrot sticks
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lime
  • 3-5 celery sticks
  • a good handful of fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2-3 chunks of fresh ginger (thumb-size)

variation: you can also replace one apple with some grapes, or blueberries if you like. However, economically speaking, such fruits are always better just eaten as is, as they tend to be a little more expensive than apples and pears, and you will need larger amounts to yield juice. If your juicer is powerful enough, you can just slice/dice your apples and orange/lime and throw into your juicer.

This recipe will pacify your pitta through the sweet juicy fruits, but keep vata and kapha in check with the lime and the ginger. You can reduce the amount of ginger if you tend to have high pitta, but must keep some to keep your agni ignited so it can digest the juice. The celery will help further alkalize and balance the sweetness of the blend. If you are sensitive to sugar, or are avoiding sugar in general, you can avoid the carrots. This drink will rehydrate, soothe, and even detox some through the cilantro. It is a perfect summer juice blend.

SVA Summer care tips

Summer is splendid – beautiful long sunny days out at the beach or in the woods as Nature displays its full glory in fruits, flowers, and vegetables. Don’t let the heat take you down. It is easy to keep yourself cool and calm with these simple tips and recommendations from the Carak Samhita Sutrasthana (verses 27-32): add sweet, cool, liquid, and unctuous foods and drinks – steer clear from salty, spicy, dry, and drying foods. Personal care, daily routine, sensory stimulation, exercise, and environment all need to be appropriately adjusted so that the body is given the opportunity to absorb the maximum cooling effect of Soma necessary to balance excess heat. Here are some SVA tips from Vaidya’s summer booklet  to keep your body cool and your mind and heart full of bliss this summer.

  • Eat more sweet juicy fruits. Somagenic fruits and vegetables like summer squashes, louki, cilantro, parsley, mint, greens, apples, pears, plums, peaches, apricots, grapes, blueberries, figs. Juicy fruits will rehydrate and nourish you in the heat.

  • Drink coconut water from a mature coconut, NOT the young green ones that abound in the stores and are popular. The young ones have a lot of Soma and can be clogging and heavy even though they taste good! The mature ones are more balanced in their ratio of Soma and Agni and will rehydrate and cool you without clogging or imbalancing your agni.
  • Wear sunglasses when going out in the sun to protect your eyes and the pitta subdosha that governs the eyes – alochak pitta. When one pitta subdosha goes off, the others will follow suit, so it is best to take measures to keep all cool and balanced.

 

 

 

 

  • Drink cool (not ice cold) spring water with a balanced pH to help replenish the evaporated moisture from the body. You can also add additional coolness by adding a drop or two of SVA Rose Nectar, Jasmine Nectar, or Sandalwood Nectar. If you more rehydration, don’t reach out for the commercial soft drinks, make your own best rehydration drink: squeeze a lime or two, add 1-2 teaspoons of raw sugar, add a pinch of Soma Salt, and 2-3 leaves of fresh mint. Carry with you in a thermos and enjoy throughout the day!

 

 

  • Sleep in air cooled apartment. In ancient days in India, people hung vetiver mats on their windows and plastered their walls with clay. The cooling property of vetiver and clay converts the hot air in the environment into cool air and circulates the cool air inside the apartment. In order to absorb more Soma, sleep outdoors in the moonlight, if possible. Position your head in the direction that receives more breeze.

 

 

  • Pearls carry a lot of lunar vibration and wearing them helps relieve heat from the body.

 

 

  • Use sandalwood and vetiver essential oil aroma. Surround yourself with flowers! Or take a stroll in a flower garden to ward off emotional and mental  heat! Walk in the moonlight, in the woods, or close to large bodies of water.

 

 

  • Apply Aloe-sandalwood lotion, garden of soma massage oil, or coconut oil all over the body. Avoid hot massage and prefer a “cool hand” massage. Bathe in sandalwood water or use Sandalwood or Vetiver soap in the shower.

 

  • During the summer season, do only mild physical exercise and avoid strenuous workouts. Walking next to a body of water or in a park is recommended. Swimming is always a good option. Yoga is good for all seasons – not hot yoga, or intense yoga, gentle, soothing, calming yoga.

 

 

  • Avoid foods rich in sour, salty, and pungent taste, these are heating to the body. Favor unctuous soothing snacks – fruits – over salty snacks. Make sure to have a glass of yoghurt drink (20% yoghurt with 80% water, add a pinch of Mum’s Masala or toasted cumin seeds) with your lunch.

  • Avoid staying up past 10 pm – specially in the summer time, when pitta goes off even more easily. Agni time of the day is from 10am-2pm in the morning and 10pm-2am in the evening. Staying up late into the night increases the  agni quality in the body and should especially be avoided in the summer.Your mornings will be very blissful if you can adopt a 9:30pm to 5:30am sleeping and rising routine.

Recipe for daily detox with Moringa leaves

 

DSC03549 copy
Spring and summer are the season for fresh Moringa leaves. Asian grocery stores carry them on a regular basis, as these are also part of the asian diet. They sell them in big bunches wrapped in plastic.  One bunch will contain many branches with plenty of leaves that can easily last you 2-3 weeks. DSC03565

Take away the amount of leaves that you need to consume for the next few days, and leave the rest on the branches, wrap again in the plastic wrapper and tightly seal to maintain optimal freshness. You can cook your leaves as a stand-alone green vegetable, this will go very well with a side of quinoa or some rotis (indian flat-breads).

Here is a tasty SVA recipe:

DSC03577 copy
Rinse your moringa leaves nicely with cool water and set aside

  • warm your pan
  • add 1 tsp Mum’s Ghee, or Organic Grapeseed oil (if you are trying to detox your fat tissue and want a lighter lipid base). Grapeseed oil is a very healthy substitute with a high smoke point and a very aromatic flavor.
  • add 1/2 tsp turmeric powderDSC03573
  • add fresh ginger or chilies – if you are not high pitta, these are very good to add to your Moringa as they will help open the channel to support Moringa in reaching deep- tissue residing toxins.
  • Next add your moringa leaves, stir so as to coat nicely with the oil and the turmeric.
  • Lower your flame to a minimum, then add some water to your cooking moringa and let it cook nice and slow to a dark green color. It is important to cook your leaves properly and not consume them raw so you get full benefit of the nutrients and do not make ama or toxins from half cooked Moringa.
  • Let your Moringa cook for 8-10 minutes.
  • DO NOT ADD SALT. You may find that Moringa is salty enough on its own due to its high nutrients’ content. You can decide after the cooking if you would like to add a pinch for your tastebuds. Remember: it is always best to minimize or completely remove salt, even Soma Salt, from your meals when you are trying to detox.

If you do not have access to fresh Moringa leaves, then you can use any of Vaidya Mishra’s formulations with Moringa. SVA Moringa powder mixtures are organic, and originate from India. The Moringa Soup Mix in addition contains spices that are balancing for all doshas, and a delicious mix to your lentils or vegetables.moringasoupmix
The Moringa powder can be added to be cooked with your vegetables at the initial stage when you are warming up the turmeric and the masalas in the oil before adding your protein and your vegetables.
Alternative, you can also use the Moringa tea during the day. It is easy to make and carry and sip on throughout the day.

Pomegranate Chutney

Now that we know a little about pomegranate, you can guess that this is not just a tasty sweet and sour chutney with zing in it, but is excellent for helping with problems of digestion, elimination, gas,PC-img1 stomach acid and/or overheating. It is also very nourishing, especially for the physical and emotional heart.

Ingredients:
2 tbsp cumin seeds, ground
Seeds separated from 7-10 large black cardamom pods, ground (if you can’t find black cardamom, then use green pods, take out the seeds and grind into powder)
2 tbsp Soma Salt
PC-img2¼ tbsp black peppercorns (or just use ground black pepper)
8 tbsp fresh pomegranate seeds in season or dried seeds if seasonally unavailable
1/8 to ¼ tsp lime juice 2-5 tsp raw sugar

Steps:
Grind the cumin seeds in a spice grinder and set aside
Grind the black peppercorns and mix in with the soma salt and set aside
Grind the cardamom seeds and set aside
Grind the pomegranate seeds in a food processor and set aside
If you are using fresh seeds and if desired, use the strainer and a spoon to separate pits from the pomegranate juice then return the juice to the processor
Add salt and ground pepper to the processor containing juice and process until well mixed
Add ground cumin and process until well mixed
Add ground cardamom and process until well mixed
Add lime juice and mix
Add 3 tbsp sugar and mix
Adjust sugar to taste and mix again and you are done!
For serving use 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon per person. If you made the chutney from dry seeds, add enough water to make a thick paste.

Roti-s: Plain and Simple!

Sometimes the simplest things in life are hardest to make. Indian flatbreads or Roti-s are made from wheat flour and water, rolled out and then baked on a cast iron skillet (tava), then made to puff over an open flame. But we have all failed miserably at this many times over. However, it can be done! Learn some simple tricks to impress your friends and family, but first and foremost yourself!

For the dough you will need:

  • Good quality fine ground whole wheat flour
  • Water

A clean rolling surface and a good rolling pin. Some extra wheat flour for sprinkling. An iron or regular skillet (not non-stick), a gas stove-top, otherwise if you have an electrical stove-top, then have a small toaster oven ready for the final puffing step. Proportions:

  • for 4 oz of wheat flour (1/2 cup) you will need 4 tablespoons water (or almost 1/4 oz). Add the water slowly and mix with your fingers until you make a smooth dough.
  • This dough will make 6-8 roti of 4-5 inches diameter.
  • It can be refrigerated 2-3 days.

Click here to watch the demonstration with Malvika on youtube.com

Pumpkin your Pie!

Ingredients:

Filling:
Carrots – 6 oz. (cooked/boiled in water)
Sweet yam – 8 oz. (cooked/boiled in water)
Soma salt – 1/2 tsp.
Raw sugar – 1  1/2 cup
Arrow root – 1 Tbsp.
Kid’s Masala no.2 – 2 tsp (may replace with a pinch of vanilla powser or omit if unavailable)
Nutmeg powder – 1/4 tsp.
Ginger powder – 1 tsp.
Baking powder – 1/2 tsp.
Shredded Almond – 4 oz.

Topping:
Heavy whipping cream – 4 oz.
Fresh paneer – 4 oz.

Pie crust:
(Please use your traditional pie crust recipe).

Method: 

3y6a0n9iCombine all ingredients, except for the pie crust and topping, in a food processor or blender until smooth.  Pour into pie crust.  Bake for 10 minutes.

Step 2:  Whisk heavy whipping cream and freshly made paneer (do not completely strain the whey out so it is softer).  Spread it on top of the baked pie.  Garnish with sliced almonds.

Method:

Your SVA Kitchen

YSK-img1This week we show you a classic recipe: homemade fresh cheese or paneer. It is so easy to make you will be surprised! And it is so delicious that you will not crave packaged aged cheeses again! Once you learn how to make the fresh paneer, you can make innumerable savory and sweet dishes out of it. This week we show you a very quick and delicious paneer dessert!

Fresh Paneer
You may make as little (1 quart) or as much (1 gallon or more) of paneer. If this is your first time, you may want to start with smaller quantities to be more comfortable. Try to get the best milk possible: raw milk (if it is available in your area) is the best; next you can have pasteurized but non-homogenized milk (this is more readily available in many states across the country). Non-homogenized milk is less processed and will have cream top. Its fat molecules are not broken down and it is easier to digest and more delicious. Last option is pasteurized homogenized milk, but try to get at least the organic kind, and avoid the “flash” pasteurized products. You will need:

  • milk
  • 1-3 fresh limes
  • a cheese cloth and a large strainer
  • f you don’t use the cheese cloth then you will need a small tea-strainer

Directions:
Bring the milk to a boil and lower the heat. Squeeze in the lime juice 1/2 a lime at a time. You want to lime juice to break/curdle the milk, so the milk solids separate from the whey. Depending on how much the lime has and how acidic it is, sometimes you will need more other times less. That’s why you take it 1/2 a lime at a time. After adding the lime mix it in with clean spoon to see if your milk is broken, if it is not, add more lime water. When you get a totally clear yellowish whey liquid (no clouding at all) then your paneer is ready to be strained. Pour it either into your cheese cloth or strain it out with your small tea strainer and store in a bowl. Depending on whether you want it dry to be able to cube it, or a little moist and crumbly, you may leave in some whey water. While it is ideal to make this fresh every time you want to consume it, it may also be refrigerated for up to 4-5 days for consumption. 

SVA Fresh Sweet Paneer Dessert
This can only be made with freshly made paneer as it is easier to digest when the protein molecule are not fully bonded and hardened yet when the paneer is still fresh and warm.
The proportions are easy. For 1 person:
2 tablespoons fresh panner
2 tsp raw unheated honey
1 pinch of organic nutmeg powder

Mix in the all the ingredients thoroughly and enjoy!

Thanksgiving Meal Misgivings!

TMM-img1Celebratory holidays are a social ritual where we come together as a group to mark an event. Most of the time they involve food. Eating is an important part of celebrating not just anniversary events but of celebrating life! In the ancient vedic shastras, eating was considered a yayga – an supreme act of purification. Consuming food with awareness can be an emotionally healing experience: the awareness of what a great gift it is to have good food to consume that will sustain our body, mind, and hearts; the awarness of how our bodies are equipped with all that it takes to break down the food and make it into our own, transforming the nutrients into our tissues, etc (“you are what you eat”!) so that we can go about our business of being in the world and spreading joy for all.
However, sometimes social rituals can have an adverse effect, specially if the menue is not designed to suit our body’s needs properly.

  • Do not delay your dinner time, the later in the evening  the less agni to properly digest your meal and the more chances of making “ama” (toxins from undigested food) and the more chances of causing imbalances resulting in disease
  • Turkey meat is an easy to digest protein, but be careful of the stuffing that can contain many kinds of dressings or ingredients that might be contradictory in nature, or not as fresh
  • Thanksgiving dessert is not what you want to top of your meal with. Dessert is considered heavy in nature as it consists of more “somagenic” ingredients (fat, sugar, flour, fruits). Specially in the Pumpkin pie case, since pumpkins are considered “abishandhi” – clogging to the circulatory channels. This will result in a feeling of heaviness and will cause more ama.
  • Finally, you may want to donate unconsumed food items instead of storing them and eating left-overs! As we know, SVA explains that 4 hours is the cut-off time for prepared meals. After 4 hours, the chemical make-up of cooked meals starts to decompose. Even if this is not yet visible to our eyes and our palates, the chemical dissolution has already started and it will not fare well if we ingest decomposing food.

Karela Tapenade Over the Top!

KTOTT-img1Karela is a very bitter vegetable that is loaded with healing properties for the human physiology as it is Tikt (bitter), Katu (pungent), Kashai (astringent – has a lot of Marut or space element). Due to these properties it helps counteract the heavy, clogging and ama-genic properties of sugar or high carb foods. But it is easier to speak about incorporating karela into our diet than actually doing it! Its bitter taste is not always desirable, even if we try to mask it one way or another. Indian culture, and specially Ayurveda, has many recipes, but here, in our SVA Kitchen, we developed a new one for you, one that has a modern twist to satisfy our western imaginations as well. This recipe came out very tasty and we know it is going to please your family and friends. You can also improvise on the presentation (you can make small triangles out of fresh rolled roti-s or flatbreads and spread the Karela Tapenade on top and garnish either with fresh cilantro or toasted powder coriander).

Karela Tapenade
4 oz Karela (weight by weight) chopped rough
1 tsp Mum’s ghee
1/2 tsp Olive Oil
1 tsp SVA Turmeric
1 Tbsp SVA Coriander seeds
1/2 tsp Soma Salt
1/ tsp Mum’s Masala
2 Green Thai chillies (optional)
1 small chunk of fresh ginger (optional)
3/4 cup water
2 limes
fresh cilantro leaves for garnish (optional)
fresh toasted and ground coriander powder (optional)

Directions:
Add the karela, the ghee, the turmeric, the coriander, the salt, the olive oil, and the water (plus the chillies and ginger if using any) in a pot and cook over slow to medium fire until the karela is fully cooked.
Turn off the heat and add the lime juice. Add the whole mixture into a blender and blend down to a smooth paste (add some more water if needed). 

In a separate pan, warm 1/2 tsp of Mum’s Ghee and add 1 tsp Mum’s Masala. After 20-30 seconds pour over the blended mixture.

Next you can choose to put your Tapenade in a plate and decorate it with suggested garnishes or you can just serve it in a bowl.

Try this after heavy sugary meals and let us know how you felt! Enjoy!

Click here to watch Malvika demonstrate the recipe for you on youtube.

Chocolate Quinoa Laddus for Valentine