MCT, Coconut, or Ghee?

“Dear Vaidya:
My students have been asking me about this relatively new product glorified as being very healthy. I’d be very grateful to get your opinion on it:
I’ve never used it myself: https://www.onnit.com/onnit-mct-oil/

Thank you!
Divya A.”

Vaidya responds:
Dear Divya,
MCT vs LCT:Screenshot 2015-08-21 15.27.19
Sometimes more is less! This new tendency to prefer oils that have high content of MCFAs (Medium Chain Fatty Acids) also known as MCT (medium chain tryglycerides) over oils that contain long-chain tryglycerides (LCT) is based on research findings. MCTs have been found to be easier on digestion and easily broken down and absorbed; more readily available in the liver and transformed into energy; stimulating for the body’s metabolism and thus supporting weight loss. Most vegetables oils contain long chain fatty acids (LCT) that get stored in your arteries or in your body as fat, slow down your metabolism, and put strain on your pancreas and digestive system. Compared to LCTs, MCTs have fewer calories per serving, roughly 8.3 calories per gram rather than the standard 9 calories per gram, according to research findings.

In contrast, coconut contains almost 2/3 MCTs, making it the queen amongst healthy vegetables oils, and yet, the new trend is to prefer MCT processed oils over coconut oil. Medium-chain triglycerides, or fatty acids, such as lauric acid, are characterized by a specific chemical structure that allows your body to absorb them readily as a whole, making them easily digestible — because your body processes them as it would carbohydrates, and they are used as a source of direct energy. Lauric acid, as a component of triglycerides, comprises about half of the fatty acid content in coconut oil, laurel oil, and palm kernel oil (not to be confused with palm oil). Otherwise, lauric acid is relatively uncommon. It is also found in human breast milk (6.2% of total fat), cow’s milk (2.9%), and goat’s milk (3.1%). The most popular MCT products have been derived from coconut oil or the palm trees ; the irony is that, however, most lose their Lauric acid content during processing. Lauric acid is prized around the world as a powerful antimicrobial agent, used in both food preservation as well as in drugs and nutraceuticals.
To beat the competition, the manufacturers of this particular brand whose link you have forwarded states that they have added lauric acid to their product, but they do not disclose their method of processing, nor what their source of lauric acid is:

Screenshot 2015-08-21 17.42.12

 

 

In addition, the MCT oil that is obtained is irreparably a processed product diminished in prana, and we do not know what actual properties it carries inside the body once it is ingested. They say they they take their cue from mother nature, but they do so to try to improve upon her creation and make a product that she should have but did not, when there is a naturally perfect product that already exists and that we could be consuming as is, namely: coconuts!

Coconuts, ayurvedically!coconut

Nature has not only made coconut oil rich with nutrients and benefits, but those nutrients are found in such a balanced proportion, along with Nature’s intelligence, that they are very easy for the human physiology to digest, for the liver to transform, and to make available to all the organs of the body. Our body’s digestive system and system organs can metabolize coconut 100%, and whatever bi-products are obtained, the body is able to easily discard them.

Ayurvedically, coconut is a perfect fruit that need not be touched in any way to be enhanced or improved upon. In this sense, manipulating or processing the coconut in order to alter the chemical ratios of long or medium fatty chains, or meddling with the natural intelligence of the coconut’s molecular make-up, is not such a good idea.  Ayurveda does give us the opportunity to process raw material in certain circumstances. For example, we can detoxify certain naturally toxic ingredients or substances in a process called “amritakaram.” But coconut is not one of those ingredients that need this processing, as its naturally somagenic content is balanced and ready to be consumed – as is. For those living in a hot climate, as well as for those with a “high pitta and high agni” digestive tendency, coconut oil is the best oil for cooking, or for drizzling over hot food – preferably not salads. So my suggestion would be to consume organic virgin coconut oil, not processed coconut oil, to keep the intelligence of its natural molecular make-up intact 100%.  But I would add some ayurvedic precautions, even to the consumption of coconut.

Caution for Coconut
On ayurvedic grounds, however, I do caution people. Perfect as coconut is, there are some situations where it should be avoided.  Of course, you can follow the basic guidelines of ayurveda for your body type, and determine whether coconut oil is good for you on a regular basis. However, in some situations, even the ayurvedic body type of high pitta high agni individuals may not be ready to consume coconut oil. For example: if the “kledak kapha” in the stomach is  aggravated.

Kledak kapha is one of the 3 subdoshas that govern digestion in the stomach. In the stomach you have “pachak pitta” cooking the food; “samana vata” churning it and moving it around to expose the food ingested to full cooking; and “kledak kapha” to moisten the food by lubricating it so that it gets cooked and not burnt by pachak pitta! Kledak kapha also helps to maintain the stomach environment in balance by pacifying pachak pitta, and it keeps pachak agni, the digestive fire, under control as well, so it does not burn down the stomach, even or specially so in the absence of food.

If somebody’s kledak kapha is high, then the pachak pitta, the fuel of the digestive fire, becomes sluggish – too much soma moistens and puts out the fire, because the gap, the sandhi, where the cooking takes place, is inundated, and the pachak agni goes low. Think of this in terms of a burner, or ghee lamp wick, which transforms the liquid ghee, in this case pacha pitta, into the flame. When kledak kapha is high, the digestive flame, pacha agni also known as jatharagni, goes low. Then we get an overall digestive situation called: “mandagni,” or low flame. This is when people feel that their digestion is slow, or metabolism is low. In this case, people will still be able to digest the coconut oil, but not 100%. Then what happens?
Ayurveda says that if you digest 99%, and even one percent remains undigested, or semi digested, then you make toxic residue, called “ama.” Toxins settling in the tissues, or organs, or different parts of the body, dampen the metabolic rate and create a friendly environment for bacterial growth. When ama gets to sit in the physiology, it may also develop into a more aggressive type of toxic build-up, called “amavisha.” In the long run if left un-addressed, amavisha creates inflammation that can bring about any chronic disease.

Ghee – for one and all!
So ideally, high pitta and high agni individuals who experience sharp hunger at all times of the year and are able to to process and metabolize food fully without getting a feeling of being bloated, or gas, are the one ones who can enjoy the full benefits of food prepared with coconut oil. As for the rest of us, who may not have that fiery metabolic system, ghee is the best alternative.
The Charak Samhita describes ghee as “snehuttamam” – the best fat for human consumption. Ayurveda explains that in contrast to coconut oil which is high in soma and can therefore be hard to metabolize unless one has high pitta and high agni metabolism, ghee strikes the perfect balance between soma and agni. This is particularly the case when we consumes ghee made the traditional way, from butter that was made from raw cream turned into yoghurt, and not straight from cream/fat. My SVA Mum’s ghee is made from butter that has gone through the fermentation process or the culturing process where live bacteria are involved. Even though after the final cooking step the bacteria are no longer alive, their initial presence endows the fat molecules with agni; in addition, the churning of the yogurt in order to extract the butter, that friction of the churning process also provides more agni. Finally, when that butter is cooked, further agni or fire is infused into it. 600_Triphala_Ghee_1.5_oz__06149.1405391159.1280.1280
In this sense, ghee is the best fat for high pitta and low agni individuals, because this fiery energy helps to clear the “wick” of the digestive process. Ghee has a very high burning point and it is therefore ideal for cooking spices in it – cooking on higher heat, since ghee won’t burn as easily and quickly – allowing for the full potency of spices and herbs to unfold into the fat medium and be transported deeper into the bodily tissues. In addition, ghee carries all the properties that coconut does: it lubricates the brain, the cellular system, nourishes the joints, nurtures the skin. Ghee is even recommended for people who have “mandagni” or low agni (high pitta low agni). When cooked with the proper metabolism enhancing spices, ghee becomes the ideal fat for those with slow metabolism.
In India, in areas where tropical temperatures presides (specially in south India such as in kerala, some parts of Tamil Nadu), or in countries such as Malasia, Indonesia, where extreme hot weather conditions dominate, coconut oil is used exclusively. However, according to Ayurveda, it is not recommended to use coconut oil for long term, specially in cold climates. In countries where the climate varies seasonally, it is possible to use coconut oil in the hotter summer months and then switch back to ghee in the remaining months of the year.
So for your students who ask you whether or not to initiate the use of MCT oils, tell them they should avoid consuming processed fats, not matter what the promises of modern scientific findings, and favor coconut oil in its natural state instead. And then add that you know of something even better than coconut: ghee! You can teach them how to make their own traditional ghee, or show them the SVA ghee. You can also educate them about my herbalized ghee, the SVA Maha Saraswati Ghee, that contains a very powerful herb, jyotishmati (Celastrus paniculatus), that boosts and supports brain functioning and health, not to mention the health endowing properties of ghee itself. Maha Saraswati ghee can be melted to be used on toast, in your cup of tea, or in your sandwiches! Let’s fuse the ayurvedic wisdom of the ages with our modern lifestyles to accomplish the great health we all deserve to carry out joyful lives!

 
References
1. Drugs.com: Lauric Acid
AOCS Lipid Library: Palm Kernel and Coconut (Lauric) Oils
NYU Langone Medical Center: Medium-Chain Triglycerides
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: The Facts About Coconut Oil — What Is It All About?

Metabolism: Effects of Dietary Medium-Chain Triglyceride on Weight Loss and Insulin Sensitivity in a Group of Moderately Overweight Free-Living Type 2 Diabetic Chinese Subjects
Nutrition Review: Medium Chain Triglyderides: Beneficial Effects on Energy, Atherosclerosis and Aging
ChooseMyPlate.gov: How Much Is My Allowance for Oils?
2. Know Your Fats, by Mary Enig, Ph.D, Bethesda Press. p. 259
See more at: http://healthimpactnews.com/2014/mct-oil-vs-coconut-oil-the-truth-exposed/#sthash.pZmZsW0N.dpuf

What’s in your Salt?

Thousands of years ago the Vedic Rishis (enlightened sages or seers of ancient India), from which all Ayurvedic knowledge and wisdom was derived, identified and confirmed the existence of six tastes. Lavana, or salty taste is an important one, very commonly used, but the least understood. It contains a unique combination of both soma and agni, or in SVA terms, its properties are primarily nurturing (soma) and transformation (agni).  Rock Salt
According to the SVA or Shakha Vansiya Ayurveda lineage, the entire universe, nature, as well as our physiology thrives on prana, our life force.  Prana’s three components; soma, agni, and marut are vibrational energies that occur in our natural environment.  Soma is characterized as nurturing energy that carries lunar energy vibrations.  Soma provides our bodies with stability, aids in lubrication, and supports optimum absorption of what we eat and drink.  Agni aides in the transformation process including digestions (of both food and emotions), and carries the vibrational energies of the sun.  Marut is associated with the air and space elements, and supports all movement in nature.
Ayurveda places great importance on the six rasas or the six tastes as they have a profound effect on the way we digest our food as well as how they affect our internal organs.  Balancing the six tastes in our diets is a key principle for optimum health and wellness.  The six rasa / tastes are:
Sweet – madhur
Sour – amla
Salty – lavana
Pungent – katu
Bitter  – tikta
Astringent – kashaya
The salty (lavana) taste encompasses all foods that have a healthy salty taste to them.  Today, salt often refers only to sodium chloride (NaCl.), yet salt is so much more than that.  Based partly on observing the qualities of the salty taste, the Vedic Rishis understood that in addition to improving the flavor of foods, healthy and clean salt aids digestion and circulation, lubricates the stomach lining, enhances absorption, and helps open up blocked channels.  The rishis also recognized that in excess or with improper use, the salty taste will cause imbalances.  The rishis observed that salt exhibits the gunas or qualities of heaviness (guru), unctuousness (snaihika), and warmth (ushna).

Benefits of proper salt usage:
The Charak Samhita, the main Ayurvedic text and sutras of holistic medicine contains the laws of nature and guiding medical principles.  This life manual provides us with beautiful verses of the actions of the salty taste on our body including:

Effects of Too Much Salt Use:
The Charak Samhita as documented by the vedic rishis also provides us with awareness about the misuse or overuse of salt.  The following table lists complications and health problems that may be caused by excess or misuse of the salty taste.

Screenshot 2015-01-20 10.00.48
What is Soma Salt?

Soma salt is a cooling rock salt, as the name “soma” suggests.  Soma salt is a high grade salt extracted from the Himalayas in the historic land of Sindh.  Soma salt undergoes a proprietary purification process, a technique that has been passed down in the Shakha Vansiya Ayurvedic lineage.  Salt that originate from the Himalayas develop as large rock and cluster deposits that contain agni (heating) minerals such as lead, sulphur, zinc, cadmium etc.  The SVA salt purification process removes the agni metals and minerals producing an end result that is balanced, cooling and nurturing.  Organic materials are used during the cleaning process, and no anti-caking agents or free-flowing agents are added.
In comparison to many other edible salts that are heating in nature, Soma salt is cooling as it carries lunar (cooling) soma intelligence thus providing a more nurturing effect on the body.   Soma salt provides a more subtle salty taste, which draws out the flavor in foods without dominating them.
The Charak Samhita lists eight edible and beneficial kinds of salt coming from the Himalayas.  It names the best among them as Soma Lavan, or Soma salt.  This cooling variety of salt is said to give numerous benefits.  Soma salt is described in Chapter 27, Verse 300 as: rochanam (tasty), deepanam (increasing the digestive fire, which supports all seven tissues), vrishyam (supporting shukra dhatu, or reproductive tissue), chakchushya (supporting the longevity of the eyes by cooling the liver), avidahi cha (not creating a digestive imbalance due to excess heating quality, and not causing retention of toxins as other salts do), tridoshagnam (pacifying all three doshas and having a somewhat sweet taste), lavanottamam (the best of all salts). soma_saltb__76389__68336.1340580089.1280.1280
Soma salt also contains very little iodine.  Iodine is a chemical element essential for the production of thyroid hormones that regular growth and metabolism.   There is often a misconception that salt should be fortified with iodine to support the body.  However, there are many foods that are naturally high in Iodine such as; dried seaweed, fish, potato peel, milk, shrimp, turkey, navy beans, and eggs.  These natural sources are more bioavailable, which means the iodine can be absorbed and used by the body more intelligently without the risk of overdose or deficiency.    NOTE: Please consult your Physician if you are low in iodine or have an iodine-related disease.
Soma salt also contains very little sodium chloride, whereas most table salt is over 95% sodium chloride.  Sodium chloride has a heating effect on the body, which may cause various doshic imbalances.
A Salt Mineral Analysis: SVA vs. Standard Himalayan Salt:
Below is a spectral analysis of SVA Soma salt, which has gone through a purification process to remove heating minerals and metals, compared to a typical Himalayan salt.
The results below show the content per 100 g of each product.

Screenshot 2015-01-20 10.00.58

As the chart above indicates, Soma Salt has less Sodium and more potassium which are highly desirable results. On the other hand, it is lower in calcium, magnesium, zinc, and copper, as these elements are lost during the aluminum purification process – research has confirmed that aluminum is a highly toxic element unfit for human consumption.
Using Soma Salt:
Below are just a few ways to use Soma salt.
Cooking:  Sauté Soma salt with other spices in ghee before adding your vegetables or protein.  Mix Soma salt with Mum”s Masala, lime juice and some olive oil for a delicious dip or drizzle on salad as a healthy dressing.
Baking:  Soma salt enhances the taste of sugar and aids in the proper absorption of the sweet taste.  Please do not use Soma salt with milk or cream.
Sprinkling on food:  Simply sprinkle Soma salt to taste over your food.
Improve appetite:  Sprinkle a little Soma salt on a slice of ginger, add a squeeze of lime and eat.  This will help un-cloud the kledaka kapha subdosha and increase the appetite.
Addressing salt cravings:  Sprinkle a little Soma salt on a slice of lime and suck on it.  Note: this should not follow a tequila shot!
Addressing dehydration:  There are a number of SVA rehydration drink recipes to balance doshas and support the digestion system.  Rehydration drink recipes can be found at: http://www.chandika.com/downloads/SVA-Summer-Protocol_Vaidya-Mishra_Aug2010.pdf

Recipes using Soma Salt:

The SVA Cooking team has prepared a multitude of tasty recipes using Soma salt.  Happy browsing and cooking! 
http://www.vaidyamishra.com/pages/Videos.html  
 http://www.chandika.com/pages/Recipes.html

Customer Testimonials:
There are thousands of happy users of Soma salt and here are a few of their testimonials:
Food Enhanced with Soma Salt (Posted on chandika.com by Mary McCoy on 23rd Oct 2009) “Soma salt has a ‘softer’ quality compared to other salts, so there isn’t any sharp edge. Food flavors seem to be enhanced from the inside making them taste fuller, more nourishing and more like the natural ingedient itself. That it helps calm my pitta is an extra bonus.
Great salt! (Posted on chandika.com by Laura – NYC on 2nd Sep 2009): “I have a high pitta constitution that tends to throw off my vata dosha which then makes me crave more salt then that throws off my pitta dosha more and so on! Soma Salt has been a life saver in this sense. It satisfies my vata without aggravating my pitta and putting me in an endless loop of one dosha aggravating the next. Plus I do not retain any toxins with this salt, being a woman, cellulite can be an issue for me! Thank you Vaidya for an amazing product and all the knowledge to help heal us!”
Delicious! (Posted on chandika.com by Greg – WI on 2nd Sep 2009): “Tastes really great. Salty taste but no biting sharpness. lovely after effect feeling. Thanks.”
and some more recent ones:

soma_salt__84355_thumb
“I got used to Soma Salt but ran out one day and by the time I got it back I had to use regular table salt. My chronic problems (joint and ankle pain) came back immediately, and I knew it was the salt because I had not changed anything else in my diet or routine. Now I never run out of it!” (SR – SoCal)

“I started to use Soma Salt because I liked its taste, not to sharp yet salty enough. But with time I noticed how it made me feel lighter. Vaidya explains that my body likes to retain water and we know salt retains water. Having Soma Salt has been a boon for me, as I could now consume my salt without running the risk of feeling heavy, bloated, and gaining weight. I love this salt.” Melanie K. (CA)

“While on a trip I had taken precautions to minimize and avoid the use of regular table salt, requesting fresh meals to be made without salt whenever possible. However, on a couple of occasions I had to submit and eat what was available. My body had an immediate response to the regular table salt. My feet became swollen and painful. The doctors could not see/understand anything. After a diet with regular Soma Salt everything is back to normal again. This salt is magical. More people should know about it…”
Raymond M., Canada

References:
Charak Samhita

Iodine Excess and Hyperthyroidism.   Elio Roti and Ettore Degli Uberti and. Thyroid. May 2001, 11(5): 493-500. doi:10.1089/105072501300176453. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11396708

Linus Pauling Institute, Micronutrient information Center. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/minerals/iodine/

Fresenius Journal  of Analytical Chemistry. Trace Elements — Analytical Methods. Iodine in different food articles and standard reference materials. M. Dermelj, Z. Šlejkovec, A. R. Byrne, P. Stegnar, V. Stibilj and M. Rossbach. http://www.springerlink.com/content/n4645956642x7357/

European Journal of Endocrinology. Correction of iodine deficiency: benefits and possible side effects. http://www.eje.org/content/132/5/542.short

Nutrition Reviews: Too Much Versus Too Little: The Implications of Current Iodine Intake in the United States. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1753-4887.1999.tb06940.x/abstract

Chemical Analysis of Natural Himalayan Pink Rock Salt. http://www.saltnews.com/chemical-analysis-natural-himalayan-pink-salt/

Holiday Health Hazards and How to Avert Them – with SVA Tips, Recipes, and much more!

 

Let’s face it – the holidays can be mentally and emotionally stressful! In addition to our ongoing daily professional or familial obligations, we may find ourselves carried away by the whirlwind of back-to-back parties; endless shopping lists; painfully crowded malls and supermarkets; under-the-gun baking, cleaning and entertaining; family obligations and traditions that may involve challenging emotional settings. So it’s very easy to lose sight of ourselves and get caught in dizzying activity, compromising our own health. By the time it’s finally time to celebrate, you’re probably already exhausted having tried to make things perfect for everybody, but your diet is off, your can’t seem to get a full night’s sleep, and you are mentally tense, emotionally fragile – in a word: you’re a wreck! True, you may not be able to change how things are going to unfold and how stressful they are going to be, but you can manage how you are going to go through and respond to the stress.

 

Do you know what happens in your body when you get stressed? Your brain and body release specific chemical toxins, such as cortisol, that create metabolic imbalances that trigger inflammatory conditions. Stress compromises your body’s acid-alkaline balance, bringing down your immunity and making you prone to ill-health, weight-gain, depression, and more. Did you know that you can correct your body’s response to stress? This involves more than a mind-over-matter trick – when stress is at its peak, it’s hard to stop and regroup no matter what you tell yourself to do. However, with Ayurveda, and specifically SV Ayurveda, we learn that there are herbs and ingredients that can naturally boost our bliss, or “correct” our behavior by increasing the “happy chemicals” in our brain: serotonin; dopamine; endorphins. With Ayurveda, you can also help curb those undue holiday errings of the senses: the overeating; the hang-overs; unruly sleep, etc.

How can SV Ayurveda help us address the typical holiday hazards?

Emotionally Down?: it’s unsettling how holidays can magnify pain. They will highlight everything that may have recently changed in your lives — a divorce, a death in the family, estranged family members, etc. If you are missing someone special this holiday season, if someone close to you has recently died or you can’t be with loved ones, first thing is to tell yourself it’s ok to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry and express your feelings, to give yourself the space to work through your emotions instead of suppressing them. You should not force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season! But do not dwell on the sadness longer than you need to. Acknowledge it and release it. But isn’t that the tricky part?! How do you release sadness?

If you are feeling sad it means your sadhak pitta is off and needs to be balanced. You can  cool off and balance your sadhak pitta by eating seasonal sweet juicy fruits – apples and pears are great this time of year. In addition, add more protein your diet, cooked with a nice pitta pacifying masala.

Herb-wise, add Ashoka Transdermal cream or roll-on your tala-hridiya  marma points. You can also do the full Samadhi Set protocol 3-5 times a day.

Add Ashoka and Brahmi Nectar drops: 3 drops of each to a glass of water.

Drink “Bliss and Bliss tea”

Drink “Vaidya’s Cup!” Treat yourself with Chyawanprash, – it’s the best tridoshic dessert you can have and 1 tsp will be worth 10 slices of cake or 5 chocolate bars!

 

Listen to or chant the Heart Lotus Mantra.

Don’t skip or delay meals.

Use pitta masala. Use the soothing aroma essential oils of Rose, Neroli, Jasmine, and Sandalwood.

Add the non-alcoholic Celebration Nectar Drops to your celebrations! Formulated by Vaidya Mishra 3 years ago, the nectar drop “celebration drink” is a hit with SVA clients. You can add 5-10 drops to your glass of water during lunch or dinner.

Top of your meals with a cup of “Vaidya’s Cup.” You will be surprised by the shift in your mood. “Vaidya’s Cup” will boost the serotonin and the dopamine to enhance your bliss. You can have 3-5 cups a day.

Mentally stressed and Physical Drained? During the holiday season, obligations and errands run us down. Due to mental and physical over-activity prana and vyana vata go out of balance, leaving us feeling frazzled, unable to settle down, and constantly haunted by the feeling of “always more to do!”

Take a breather: literally take a few minutes to step out of a scene to sit down and breath. Do a quick alternate nostril pranayam exercise to regulate the flow of prana and keep things even in your Ida and Pingala channels. Clear your mind and restore inner calm by shifting your thoughts to the big picture.

If you are caught in the middle of frenzy, spray 4-5 squirts of Stress-Free Spray, breath, and relax. This water base formulations has been helping countless individuals since Vaidya Mishra launched it this year.

Drink Soma Nidra Tea: this rich blend will calm your mind and sooth your sadhak pitta as well.  

Apply Soma Nidra Roll-on on your wrists, cervical area, and inhale the aroma.

At night, before the big day, or after the party is over, take a bath with the SVA “Relax and Detox Bath Pouches.”

Do a self-mssage with Vata Oil with Vit D and Magnesium – alternately you can treat yourself to a massage parlor, take your oil with you and ask them to use it on you for a richer relaxing experience.

Add Mucuna capsules to your dietary regimen (For Him for men, For Her for women)

Reclaim your vibrant energy with Chyawanprash: 1 tsp morning before or after breakfast, and 1 tsp after lunch daily.

Try to do at least 10-15 minutes of yoga or a brisk walk daily.  

Could not Stop Eating? Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all by abandoning your healthy habits, knowing full well that overindulging will only add to your stress and guilt. But it’s easier said than done, right? Here’s the trick: by consuming food that contains all 6 tastes – sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, astringent, you maximize your chance of not getting carried away by temptation. Food that carries all 6 tastes helps us maintain psychological and mental balance – Ayurveda is very clear on this. But science also finds that chilies or the pungent taste, for example, release the endorphins already present in our brains; cumin, which is astringent, releases serotonin; black pepper increases oxygenation calming us down and taking away anxiety. When you eat a meal that contains all 6 possible tastes, the coordination between your stomach, brain, and heart is optimal, minimizing your craving for sweets or larger portions. This means that your pitta dosha stays cool and composed, then your emotions don’t go off. Meals that contain all 6 tastes are tridoshic. Eating all 6 tastes in each meal will help you not abandon healthy habits when you need them most.

No time to cook? Sprinkle Mum’s Masala on your meal – it’s balanced and tridoshic and delicious, giving you all possible 6 tastes.

Add chutneys to your meals – cilantro chutney and/or the Tamarind and Amla preserve, which will give you satiation by enhancing digestion and absorption of food.

In case you overeat and feel bloated, try the Pro-Pachak drops  – 5 drops in a glass of 8oz of water. Drink this after lunch and dinner to support digestion and absorption.

Make and carry a mixture of dry toasted 80% fennel seeds and 20 % ajwain seeds. Chew 1/2 tsp after each meal.

Overdosed on Sugar?: during the holidays it is inevitable not to overdose on sugar. It may be that one time of the time where we allow ourselves to go for it! And it’s great to reward ourselves from time to time… But here’s what you can do to help metabolize that sugar you ate so that after the holidays your immunity is not compromised, and in order to avoid sugar-induced fatigue and post-celebratory depression:

make a tea with 16oz water: add 2 pinches of Gymnema, 2 pinches Indian kino, 2 pinches of Jamun seeds, a tiny cinnamon stick, boil 5-10 minutes, filter and sip. This tea will enhance your sugar metabolism, by converting the sugar molecules into energy.

*Caution: don’t drink this tea if you have not eaten sugar (or consumed carbs), because it will otherwise drive your blood glucose levels low. Do not drink this tea before eating sweets, only AFTER eating sweets, otherwise you will not enjoy the sweet taste.

Can’t Sleep? When our days are overly active, prana vata goes high, and it becomes hard for the mind to unwind and settles down at the end of the day, unable to induce deep restorative sleep. What can help?

Massage with warm Vata oil with Vit D and Magnesium will help balance all of vata dosha.

Take a warm bath with the  “Relax and Detox Bath Pouches,”

Have a cup of Soma Nidra tea, or use the Soma Nidra oral spray, and Soma Nidra roll-on on the back of the neck and the shoulders.

Go to bed with “happy thoughts” – if your day was a mixed bag of events, let go of the ill-fitted episodes, as they were inevitable anyways, and linger on the brighter moments. You will be surprised to see how a conscious choice to prefer the positive over the negative will shift your mood and ease in blissful sleep.

In the end, holidays may be more stressful than fun, but the good thing is it’s predictable! You know it is going to happen, you see it coming, but also when it’s going to end, so you can do something about it. This year,you can be pro-active about it, and with SVA, you have a wide array of ayurvedic tips and stress-survival strategies, along with calming and mood-brightening formulations and recipes.

Happy Holidays!