Lentil Dumplings for Spring: Ayurvedic Fast-Food! – your SV Ayurveda Newsletter March 21, 2024, #10, Vol 13

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It’s officially Spring! In Ayurveda, different seasons call for different dietary and lifestyle protocols. The Springtime is a time of supporting the body naturally release toxins and reset itself. Changing, lightening up your diet to give your body a break is the best thing you can do. Some people opt for fasting – which may or may not suit your physiology. Others just omit certain items. Some people do it more religiously. In fact, if you look at different ancient cultures, you will notice that they almost all call for a period of restricted dieting/fasting in the Springtime. Different religions will have different historical narratives. Such practices bring people together, as a collectivity, in the true sense of a religion – re + ligare: to bind, bring together.

Ayurvedic Spring reset is vested in ancient science of the body and how it responds to the increased exposure to sunlight – just like Nature wakes up from its deep Winter slumber to blossom in the Spring, so do our bodies get impacted by seasonal change.

“In order for our daily diet to be balanced, it must contain a share of protein,” Vaidya Mishra used to say. In the Spring time, we may get tempted to remove “heavier” items from our diet, depleting our protein intake. During the Spring, SVA recommends continued use of either, or both, vegetarian or animal sourced protein – depending on individual needs: yogurt, paneer or fresh homemade cheese, chicken, etc. But you can change up your recipes. For example, introduce “vadi”-s into your diet.

For the SVA vegetarian diet, lentils are an additional essential daily source of vegetarian protein. Mung and masoor (red lentil)are favored, along with “kulthi” dahl – a therapeutic detox lentil.

Given that this is a limited range of options, creativity has to be teamed with necessity to create new flavors out of the same ingredients, since Ayurveda emphasizes that taste is as important as the nourishing or detoxing properties of a food item.

So let us introduce you to a North Indian vegetarian specialty item called: vadi, and pronounced “ba-ree!” The best way to define a vadi is: “lentil dumpling.” Vadi-s are a popular food item because they add a unique texture and flavor to any meal, in addition to being extremely easy and fast to prepare, and light yet highly nutritious in content.

There can be different varieties of vadi-s. Mung vadi-s, or dumplings, are the most popular. They are made exclusively from Mung dahl, perhaps with some added turmeric and salt.

Mung vadi-s are commonly available in Indian grocery stores. You should watch out for quality and beware of content though. They may contain food coloring agents, synthetic salt and flavors, pesticides, etc.

Vaidya Mishra’s great fondness of vadi-s has led him to put together SVA vadi-s. His SVA vadi-s are made from certified organic mung dahl, certified organic turmeric, and Soma Salt. And nothing else! However, in view of making the best of this recipe not just for nourishment but for ongoing nutritional detox as well, he has put together not one, but 4 kinds of vadi-s for us:

  • Mung vadi – plain: with turmeric and Soma Salt
  • Spicy Mung Vadi: with Mum’s Masala and green Thai chilies
  • Mung and Kulthi Vadi: 80% Mung and 20% Kulthi for mild nourishing detox protocols
  • Spicy Mung and Kulthi Vadi: 50% Mung with 50% Kulthi, along with Mum’s Masala, Thai chilies, as well as traces of Asafoetida and Black Salt for deeper detox.

Why Mung and Kulthi?

Kulthi has long been known and used in India as a favorite food item for disintegrating urinary stones. The basis of this popular home-remedy probably originates in the “asmari nasan” prabhava or ultimate post-digestive and post-absorption property of kulthi. The term “asmari” comes from “asm” or stone, and “ari” or enemy. Calcification appears as stone deposits in the body, a hostile unwanted presence that can cause many complications – an “asmari.” Then, “nasan,” means to eliminate or do away with. This is how kulthi is considered an “asmari nasan” and used as a home-remedy for that purpose in one’s diet.

Vaidya’s father was also very fond of this particular lentil due to its many desirable properties and overall health benefits. He taught him how to use it properly, and SVA experts have been following the kulthi protocol for detox with great success.

His father explained that it was a natural daily event to make ama or toxins from situations and diet, but that the problem would arise when that accumulation of ama was not addressed in a timely and proper manner. We have learnt and now understand that when accumulated ama is not burnt off by more agneya or metabolism enhancing food items, it will transform into amavisha – highly virulent toxins. Ama may just block channels and hinder activity; but amavisha will create inflammation and tissue imbalances. Amavisha gets circulated as highly toxic micro-molecules floating in the physiology.

We don’t only accumulate amavisha from a bad ama-genic diet or emotional and mental stress, Garavisha or xenobiotics – environmental toxins – are also highly poisonous. But we can also make toxins out of good ingredients, for example, if we overdose on indigestible calcium, or make ama of calcium, then we also create a highly toxic situation where molecules of calcium bind with molecules of amavisha and garavisha to create hardened toxic crystals.

These crystals of amavisha can be very hard to get rid of and can cause deep tissue imbalances and organ disruptions.

And this is where the great benefit of the regular consumption of kulthi comes in. Since kulthi carries the “asmari nasan prabhava” it easily disintegrates the hardening and crystallization of calcium and virulent toxic molecules.

Based on ayurvedic pharmaco-dynamics of the kulthi lentil, we understand that it unblocks the micro-circulatory channels, even when they are blocked by micro-crystals of amavisha and garavisha. In addition, incorporating kulthi dahl to your weekly diet is great for regulating weight and supporting weight loss because it creates lightness, “laghu guna,” in the body.

Vaidya and his SVA experts have been recommending the consumption of the kulthi lentil once or twice a week, however here is the problem: kulthi is hard as a rock itself! Even after soaking overnight, it may take up to 2-3 hours to cook. Almost all SVA detox diet followers have, at one point or another, complained about how time-consuming the preparation of kulthi can be. This is why Vaidya is now happy to give you his Mung and Kulthi vadi that will cook within only minutes!

For more information about the Kulthi dahl, watch Vaidya Mishra on his YouTube SVA Health Channel on Kulthi and Detox with Kulthi.

Minimize Lectin Intolerance

Here is another reason vadi-s are a great thing to adopt into your daily diet: they are easier in terms of their lectin content. Vadi-s are not pre-cooked, so when you purchase a bag of vadi-s, it is recommended that you dry toast them for a few minutes on top of your stove in a dry pan. This dry toasting reduces the levels of lectin that cause lentil intolerance in many individuals.

Dry toast your vadi-s in a dry pan just enough to see them get toasted gold/light brown and their aroma released. After this, add a little ghee, Mom’s Masala or your favorite spice mix, stir and toast for a few more minutes. At this point, you can add any vegetable of your choice, or you can just add water, to make plain a vadi dish with a clear broth that you can consume with rice, quinoa, or some bread. You can also top off by adding fresh chopped cilantro leaf, then sprinkle a few drops of olive oil.

For lectin-intolerant individuals, plain Mung Vadi-s are a great source of lentil protein: easy to digest, flavorful, and nutritious.

Probiotic Vadi-s

You can add yogurt to your vadi-s to make them even healthier. At the stage where you would add room temperature water after dry toasting, adding spices and oil. Add yoghurt and mix in. You may also garnish with fresh chopped cilantro leaves. The benefits of probiotics in your daily diet are innumerable: from weight regulation (lose or gain weight as per your body’s needs); probiotics support your brain and its neurotransmitters by supporting your gut; probiotics enhance your absorption of nutrients so you actually get nourished by what you eat; probiotics support your overall immunity; bone and teeth health; etc.

In general, plain Mung Vadi-s take 3-5 minutes to be fully toasted. As a rule, Kulthi vadi-s take about 5-10 minutes longer than that. Still beats the 2-3 hours of stove-top cooking though!

Enjoy your vadi-s!

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