Embracing a chemical-free life with Natural Cleaners

Let’s do a small quiz before you start reading this blog, shall we? It’s very simple – just try to answer the following questions taking as much time as you need.

How many cleaning products do you use in your home? (including your personal care products)
Can you list at least 10 of them? Can you think of more?

Alright, hope you took a minute to pause and actually answer the questions above. A typical urban household today, as you would have realized if you had answered the questions, uses anywhere from 15 – 20 different cleaning and personal care products in their lifestyles. This could range from floor cleaners, dish wash, detergents, fabric softeners, naphthalene balls, bathroom cleaners, glass cleaners, shoe polish, wood polish…to face powders, body creams, moisturizers, nail polish, hair colors, deodorants…the list can literally go on and on. We have come to “depend” so much on these items that life can become unimaginable if you are forced to go without them for a few days.

But what we don’t realize is that many of these products contain synthetic chemical ingredients which are not as harmless as they claim (yes, even some of the so-called “organic or natural brands” you may know of). To understand this better, the next time you go shopping, make sure to spend a few more extra minutes to go through the ingredients list of EVERY product that you buy. I guarantee you will be surprised if not shocked – you may not even know why some of the ingredients are required!!

So these chemicals, apart from being non-essentials, can cause great harm as well including being hormone imbalancers, migraine triggers, carcinogens, skin allergens, endocrine disruptors (meaning fertility reducers/disease causers!) and so on and so forth.

Let’s back to one more quick quiz.

Imagine not having your favorite detergent to wash your clothes – can you still keep them clean and smelling fresh?
Suppose you run out of your bathroom cleaners and cant go out for a week – would you still spend as much time in the bathroom as you might otherwise?

Well, of course, you can 🙂 Just that you need to find out how our grandparents used to do it a few decades back – it’s as simple as that. And the best part of it? It was totally natural, chemical-free and eco-friendly – as good for us as it was for all the living beings around us. No side effects, no diseases and completely harmless. Sounds fantastic, right? Then why not try to adopt such a lifestyle yourself? Why not shift to chemical-free life and give yourself, your children, your family and all the other beings around a safe and natural environment to live in?

Let us take the first step today. Let’s look at the humble Soapnut that grows right in our backyard (not literally, unless you happen to live just outside a forest – which would be awesome actually!) and see how it can help us move to a natural and chemical-free lifestyle.

Soapnuts – your Natural Cleaner to the rescue

Soapnut, also called Reetha /Boondikottai /Kumkudukaya /Antuvalakay, can be one of your most useful and go-to natural ingredients in your household cleaning mission. Growing abundantly in the Himalayas (and Nepal) and South India, it is easy enough to source these days given the increase in interest around chemical-free living.

Soapnuts can really replace most, if not all, chemicals at your home, especially if used in combination with Bio Enzymes (we will see how to make that in another post). Let us now quickly see how you can use these magic super cleaners for your everyday household cleaning requirements along with few other questions you may have on this nut.

1. What exactly are Soapnuts?
They are the fruits of the Sapindus tree (Sap meaning Soap in Latin and Indus referring to their native India). There are multiple species/sub-species of this tree. In India itself, there are two different species/sub-species that produce two different looking fruits.

2. How are they useful in cleaning?
Soapnuts have a high amount of “surfactants” (the chemical compound good at removing dirt) in the form of naturally occurring saponins in their fruit pulp. If you are familiar with the structure of soaps, you will know that a soap compound has two ends – one tail end that repels water (and attracts dirt) and one head end that attracts water (making them water soluble). Soapnuts have these compounds naturally. So it is this property of them that makes them great for removing dirt. Plus, they are all natural to boot – meaning they decompose back into the soil quickly leaving minimal environmental impact unlike chemicals produced in laboratories such as detergents and shampoos.

3. How do Soapnuts look?

A freshly harvested Soapnut – Observe how they are clumped up

Two different types of Soapnuts found in India (after drying) – the one on right is the South Indian variety and the one on my left hand is the Himalayan variety

4. Is there a difference between the quality/effectiveness of these two varieties?
In my experience, absolutely not. The Himalayan ones look better and are bigger and are more appealing to our senses. The South Indian ones don’t look so neat but they pack quite a punch in their cleaning abilities. While the Himalayan ones are bit costly this side of the Vindhyas (considering they have to be transported so far from their origin), the South Indian ones are available at a bit lesser price here making them economically more feasible. Also, the South Indian ones are easier to soak and smash – the Himalayan ones take a bit longer to get soaked.

5. Why should I use Soapnuts and why not my detergents?
Not a good question, if you are still asking! Your detergents and most other cleaning products that you have at home are made of synthetic chemical compounds that have a high amount of toxins along with all the good things they promise you that gives them the cleaning power you need (and let’s not forget the wonderful oh-so-clean fragrance). These synthetic compounds, in addition to being harmful to you personally in terms of the ill-health and side effects they cause, are also damaging to the environment and the water bodies and the living beings present in the water bodies. Some of these toxins could be formaldehyde, diethanolamine, alkyl benzene sulfonates, ethylene oxide, Sodium hypochlorite, 1-4-dioxane, Benzoxazolyl, Phosphates and so on and so forth. Really, you don’t need to kill a lake full of fishes to get the dirt-free clothes or home you desire. When there is an all natural alternate way, which is also harmless to our fellow living things (not to mention to us as well), why not adopt that method? Soapnuts are the wonderful things God created to give you this option.

6. Okay, great! But how do I use Soapnuts???
That’s an easy one. There are so many different ways you can use Soapnuts depending on the amount of time and energy you have to spend on your cleaning mission. Here are a few ways to use Soapnuts:

Option 1: – Using Soapnuts as-is – The easiest and quickest way

  • Take about 10-12 whole Soapnuts (can be deseeded or with seeds; this measurement is for 6-8 kgs of clothes)
  • Put them in an old sock and tie the mouth of the socks tightly such that no Soapnuts can escape
  • Simple throw in this sock along with your wash load and run the machine on full soak cycle. Pls put it along with the clothes and not in the place provided for detergents. It’s not a problem if the sock stays till the drying cycle is complete.
  • Optionally, please add 100 ml of Bio Enzyme for disinfecting and softening the fabrics. Especially, when you have a lot of whites, Bio Enzyme is good to include.
  • After removing the clothes, remove the sock with the Soapnuts as well and keep it out to dry.
  • You can use it for one more time before opening up the sock and discarding the used Soapnuts. The Soapnut peels can be thrown into your compost bin while you can save the seeds for making seed bombs, seed jewelry or other activities or simply throw them into an empty plot. Alternatively, you can use the Soapnut peels to wash your vessels as well.
  • Please note that when using Soapnuts, you should not overload your machine. Also, when you have really dirty clothes, please pre-soak the Soapnut sock in hot/warm water for 15 minutes and then add the tea of Soapnut along with the Soapnut sock into the machine.

Option 2: – Soapnuts Liquid (works better than the whole pods at times so try both before you decide which one works for you)

  • Take about a 250-500 grams of Soapnuts. Soak it in 1 litre water for a few hours. You can also use Soapnut powder in the place of Soapnuts and follow the same procedure.
  • Heat up the water for 10-15 minutes till the water turns completely dark and the Soapnuts release all their surfactants. You may also simply pressure cook it for one whistle.
  • After the solution cools down, smash the Soapnuts in hand and ensure all the juices are extracted
  • Let it sit overnight
  • Next day morning, filter out all the solids. The resulting liquid is your All natural cleaning liquid which can be used as a floor cleaner, laundry liquid detergent, bathroom cleaner, tile cleaner, dish wash, etc, etc.
  • As we have boiled it, you will need to use it up within a week otherwise the solution may start smelling/fermenting.  Or  you can simply refrigerate it and use it as and when you need it. You may also prepare a large batch and freeze it. Alternatively, you can use Bio Enzyme and water to soak the Soapnuts instead of boiling them, keep it for a week, filter and use the liquid (it will have a really long shelf life as Bio Enzyme will act as a preservative so there would be no need to refrigerate).
  • For about 6 kgs of laundry, you will need 150-200 ml of Soapnut liquid. For one bucket of water to mop your house, you can use 50-100 ml of the liquid. Work with different quantities and see what works best for you.
  • The filtered out pulp can be used once or twice more to extract more Soapnut liquid. Once completely used up, they go to your compost bin.
Option 3: – Soapnut powder
  • Buy Soapnut powder. It’s not very easy to powder them yourself at home so pls don’t try.
  • Take about 2-3 spoons of Soapnut powder for about 6-8 kgs of laundry. Put the powder inside a thick cotton cloth/bag (NOT SOCKS) and tie the mouth tightly
  • Simple throw in this sock along with your wash load and run the machine on full soak cycle. Pls put it along with the clothes and not in the place provided for detergent. It’s not a problem if the sock stays till the drying cycle is complete.
  • Optionally, please add 100 ml of Bio Enzyme for disinfecting and softening the fabrics. Especially, when you have a lot of whites, Bio Enzyme is good to include.
  • After removing the clothes, remove the sock with the Soapnuts and discard the Soapnut powder into your compost bin.
  • Beware of the cloth bag coming apart and the powder spreading across all your clothes. It’s extremely difficult to clean up.
  • Also, the powder MAY dull your whites over time. If that happens, you can wash the Whites in hot water and Vinegar/Bio Enzyme.

Soapnuts also make a great hair wash along with Shikakai and other ingredients. You can explore many more recipes on the net to discover the various other uses of Soapnuts.

7. Okay, I am a convert! What else should I know about this wonder nut?
Cool, that’s awesome. I am happy! Here are a few things I can think of:

  1. Always try to buy that year’s harvest for more effectiveness
  2. Store them airtight and dry.
  3. If you find the Soapnuts you have bought are still too fresh and sticky, please ensure you sundry them well for 2 – 3 days. Otherwise, they will tend to catch fungus/green mold and the whole thing will get ruined quickly.
  4. If you are a power user of Soapnuts, you will end up with a lot of Soapnut seeds. You can put them in your compost bin – so save them for your children to make seed bombs or to play with. Or you can string them into a mala and use them to cleanse your aura (don’t ask me more details on that as am yet to find out more!)
  5. You can reuse the grey water from your floor wash/laundry/dish wash after using Soapnuts as it is all natural and will not harm your plants.
  6. Soapnuts also make great pest control. So instead of using synthetic soap in your pest control measures for your plants where you are required to emulsify neem oil, you can use Soapnuts and neem oil. Just a Soapnut water soak once a week will also help you keep out mosquitoes and other insects from your lawns and gardens.

Hope the above information helps you and you are able to make the switch to a chemical-free life as I have!

Author: Vaijayanthi

Vaijayanthi is a freelance business writer and full-time gardener. She coaches people on adopting a chemical-free lifestyle through her initiative called the Kaustubam for Sustainable Living Practices. She also conducts various physical workshops and training sessions on sustainable living and Gardening for children in Bengaluru through the Chinnara Kaithota.

Jowar Instant sweet panniyaram

Ingrediets :

Jowar flour – 1/4 cup
Jaggery powder – 1/4 cup
Cinnamon powder – pinch
Salt – pinch
Banana – 1
Grated coconut – little

Method :

Take jaggery and water in a pan and cook on stove top.. Once all the jaggery is melted remove it from and cool it for a while.

Take jowar flour, grated coconut, cinnamon powder, salt in a bowl. Then add mashed banana and mix well. Then strain the jaggery liquid and pour to the jowar banana mixture and mix well.

Heat a panniyaram pan add ghee and pour the batter. Cook well both sides and remove.

Can make dosa too with the same batter.

Author: Saranya

I’m HomeMaker and a mother of 1 year old baby girl. I have 6 yrs of IT experience with Accenture and IGATE and currently taken break to take care of my little one.

I have an interest towards home made ancient recipes which is very healthy for kids and adults and hence started preparing all those at home and thought of sharing the same with all parents.

Fireless Cooking Session with Maran G and Laughter Therapy

Fireless Cooking Session with Maran G and Laughter Therapy – Workshop at Bangalore on 22 July 2017

Participants of the workshop

The fifth-year anniversary celebration of the Swarnaprashna Parenting Community, which happened in June with over 40-50 parents and their family and children, was a one of a kind meeting of like-minded parents who share a common vision for health and spirituality alike. One of the super hit sessions at this celebration was the session of Dr. Maran G, who is a raw food activist and a firm proponent of Naturopathy. All of us were so bowled over by his enthusiasm and his super helpful attitude towards knowledge sharing, that it is but inevitable that we will all demand for a repeat (this time, more detailed!) session with Dr. Maran.

So, with the stars aligning, we were fortunate enough to enjoy two wonderful sessions with Dr. Maran in the last month – one in Chennai (organized by parent Priya) and one in Bangalore – which happened this past Saturday. I was part of the session at Bangalore and feel honored to share the knowledge gained at the session which Dr. Maran so gracefully shared with us all. But before we dive in straight to the learning, let me write a bit about Dr. Maran.

Dr. Maran getting ready to wow the audience

Maran G or Maranji as we liked to call him, is what you might call a food and health revolutionary. Hailing from Tamilnadu, Dr. Maran, who must be about 60 or so years old, has been tirelessly working the last 20 years (or perhaps even more) with a single motive to help families avoid expensive medical costs and realize that they can cure themselves of all diseases with a simple belief that Food is Medicine and Medicine is Food. A very humble soul and a great orator, Dr. Maran, who is a Naturopathy doctor, also runs a small all natural food restaurant at Sivakasi. One of the notable achievements of this restaurant is that they don’t use any of the five whites (Sugar, Salt, Maida, Milk and White Rice/Wheat) – and yet, over 250-300 people regularly visit this restaurant every single day in search of healthy and safe food. Dr. Maran regularly travels across South India to talk about healthy food habits and healthy lifestyle practices to lead a healthy and happy life. For all his wonderful knowledge and status, he might be one of the most humble men you might ever meet. The world certainly needs more of his kind.

As you might have guessed, any time we spend with such a person is bound to be filled with so much learning and so much realization of the simple truths about life. So it was the session that happened in Bangalore. Dr. Maran spent about 5-6 hours addressing all of us non-stop with not a single pause or break – that itself can be the proof of how the right food and lifestyle habits can help someone face all the demands of a day without breaking a single sweat! Dr. Maran, nonetheless to say, is a man who practices what he preaches and is an inspiration to all of us – if we can be half of what he is at that age, I am sure that will be a great achievement given the rush and mindlessness that we live in.

Participants listening attentively

As I sit now and try to pen down what I learnt this weekend, my mind simply boggles at the task before me! Every single second of the session was so useful and so full of information, that it would be impossible for me to capture every single one of it here without being confusing or overwhelming. So I will try to share the essence of what I learnt (given that I have about 15 pages of hurriedly scribbled notes to decipher). I am going to write it down as we covered it during the session without putting my own wrapper or inference around it though I will try to bracket it into categories wherever possible so that it is easy for you to read and remember. If you are unclear about what a certain point might mean, do comment and I will see if I can recall and try to elaborate it out for you.

Before the day’s session began, as has become our usual practice, Velu did a guided meditation for all parents gathered around. Few peaceful moments where we were called into recognize our own consciousness and its power to go far and beyond our immediate comprehension. By the end of this meditation, all of were feeling so centered and calm – just the right mindset to receive the downpour of wisdom all of us got from Dr. Maran! One of Dr. Maran associates, Mr. Mukesh Jain, who is a laughter and yoga therapist, joined us soon after to kick start the day with a quick laughter session that will set the trend for the day – a fun and jovial mood to break the seriousness and magnitude of the topic at hand. And then, it was time for Dr. Maran (many thanks to Parent and healer Anand who helped translate).

Meditation session in progress
Bhastrika Pranayama – one of the most easy ways to cleanse your lungs and detox

So, without further ado, here are some of the pearls of wisdom shared by Dr. Maran:

The Basics:

  1. The basic premise is that we are what we eat. One must understand that Food is Medicine and Medicine is Food. So, if we want a healthy body, all we need to do is look at our food habits.
  2. All causes of diseases and the many symptoms of the many diseases are just one – which is Morbid Toxin Accumulation in the body. So what are these toxins? It can be the polluted Air we breathe, the contaminated water we take OR it can be the bad food we consume – that is all.
  3. With that understanding, it will be easy to know that if all diseases are a result of one root cause, however different the disease or its symptoms are, all of them can be dealt with the same treatment – i.e. Complete Detoxification and a return to healthy food habits and lifestyle giving the body time and energy to heal itself.
  4. While Modern Medicine has been a great life saver (in the case of emergency surgeries, accidents and such), it has not been very kind to humans in its very quick recommendations for synthetic-chemical based medicines (more toxins to the already toxic loaded body!), operations and unnecessary amputations and eviscerations. So before one turns to this option, one must firmly look at one’s own lifestyle and food habits and identify the root cause of the disease instead of asking for quick-fixes from the Doctors of modern medicine.
  5. So how can we avoid toxin accumulation due to food? How can Food be medicine? How can our food habits help us live a healthy life and help our body heal itself? The answer is very simple – It is just about consuming food straight from the greatest kitchen in the world, without any secondary processing. That’s right, the greatest kitchen in the world is that of Mother Nature’s and the best kind of food is the one that comes straight from her – raw and clean of any contamination (including pesticides, fertilizers, etc.)
  6. One must understand and go back to our elementary school lessons that all of us have forgotten – Cooking takes away the essential nutrients in our food. Cooking is an unnecessary wastage of energy. Cooking is not required for a man to consume food. The early man might very well have been a fruitarian and if he could have in that harsh environment, we very well can be now.
  7. But given that we have got used to eating cooked food in the past few generations, how can we go back to this basic healthy way of living? Where do we start? Simple – Just switch 30% of your food intake to raw and clean – that should be more than enough to see you through. This roughly translates to a minimum of ONE COMPLETE raw meal (consisting of fruits, vegetables and plain juices/milk extracted from millets/grams/grains) per day.
  8. It doesn’t, however, stop at only food. We must also look at our overall lifestyle and make sure it is healthy. For instance, our good food habits must be complemented by good eating habits – i.e. for instance, giving complete attention to what we eat, biting each morsel minimum twenty or times till all the saliva is mixed with it (which is what helps digestion – as digestion starts right from mouth and not just in stomach as we believe).
  9. Physical Exercise is also mandatory as is cultivating a good mind.
  10. Finally, you can reverse most if not all diseases if you are totally willing to commit to a raw and clean food habit. Dr. Maran has cured many a people with his simple diet plans and lifestyle modification recommendations.
Our wholesome food getting ready – helped by kids!

What we must remember and most importantly practice:

  1. Replace the five whites mandatorily. Sugar can be replaced by Jaggery or Plam Sugar. Salt can be replaced by Sea/Rock Salt or Himalayan Pink Salt. Maida and White Rice can be replaced with traditional millet or unpolished rice varieties. Milk can be replaced with Milk alternatives such as Coconut Milk or Sprout’s Milk.
  2. In addition to nutrients, Cooking takes away the natural taste of the food as well which is why we need to add extra spices to dishes. If we get used to eating raw for a minimum one week, our taste buds will stop asking for “spicy stuff”. So start by consuming at least one raw meal a day. Every meal must begin with fruits or raw vegetables (30-60 minutes before the meal itself).
  3. Consume plenty of water. Look at detox waters to help detoxify and restore body balance.
  4. Water must also be consumed like solid food. Sip by sip mixed well with saliva.
  5. Practice Bhastrika Pranayama to detox your lungs and handle pollution in the air we breathe in.
  6. Assimilation and Elimination must happen smoothly for the body to function well. Pay attention to both these processes.
  7. Chew completely to ensure food is mixed well with Saliva. Saliva is the one that helps in digestion and it is also an insulin balancer if you will.
  8. Never control body urges including the urge to urinate and defecate. One must defecate at least twice a day. This will automatically get streamlined if one switches to natural/raw food at least once a day.
  9. Eat only when hungry and never go by the clock. Eat slowly and without distractions such as TV or mobile. Try not to talk as well while eating. Pay complete attention to what you are eating.
  10. Physical exercise and body activity is a must for healthy living. One must walk barefoot at least for half an hour a day outdoors. If not possible, at least walk in the shape of eight inside the house.
  11. Get up before sunrise. Do “Angapradikshina” and super brain yoga to keep your digestive system and nervous system active and healthy.
  12. Be childlike and cultivate a happy mindset.
  13. Dressing is also important for a healthy body – avoid tight and clingy dresses made out of unnatural fibers such as polyester and such.
  14. Help others and derive mental satisfaction. This, in turn, will help you reach a feeling of satiation and happiness.
  15. Never have a physical relationship with your partner within 3 hours of eating. All the blood will be re-directed to the physical act and food will turn to toxins. The best time, thus recommended by our elders probably keeping this in mind, is in the early morning well away from the last meal of the deal.
  16. Never eat after 7 pm.
  17. Practice Oil Bathing regularly without fail. If your lifestyle doesn’t allow it, at least do oil pulling.
  18. Have seasonal fruits. Consume desi (non-hybrid only) and organic fruits only as much as possible. For all other food, wash with salt and lemon to get rid of chemicals as much as possible before consuming.
  19. Don’t consume too much water just after a meal. Give at least 30-60 minutes gap. You may consume Detox water if you feel thirsty during this time.
  20. Finally, practice fasting as well to complement your healthy food habits.
A complete meal of the day – totally fireless cooking (all raw and natural)

Recipes:

So, all of us might have the same questions in our mind the minute we hear we must switch to at least 30% raw food in a day- how can we survive without any spices and simply eat just fruits and raw vegetables every single day? Well, it need not be that way. We can definitely create some wonderful recipes with spices such as dhania, jeera, and pepper and create some lip-smacking raw recipes. Do lookout for the English translated publications of Dr. Maran’s recipe books. For now, here are a few recipes Dr. Maran shared during the meet (he shared some more as well – but I haven’t been able to blog them all). We also had the great fun of eating all of these items (and more) prepared by Maranji’s assistant/cook Mr. Ramesh (who was helped by many parents as well including Divya, Nandhini and others).

Here are some of these items/recipes:

A healthy alternative to Cow’s Milk and Morning drinks:

  1. Curry Leaves Kheer
  2. Carrot/Beetroot Kheer
  3. Greens Kheer
  4. Sprout’s Milk

A healthy Starter/Snack:

  1. Sweet and Raw Ladies Finger Starter (or alternate with Snake Gourd)
  2. Raw Ground nut / Till Laddu Snack
  3. Sprout Salad
Sweet and Raw Ladies Finger Starter
Sprout Salad

Main Course:

  1. Mix Vegetable Kootu (or stew)
  2. Gourd Salad
  3. Lemon Aval (Flattened Poha) Rice
  4. Sweet Aval (Flattened Poha) Rice (Flattened Poha)
  5. Coconut Chutney
  6. Ridge Gourd Chutney
  7. Curd Aval
Mixed Veg Salad
Sweet Avalakki
Ridge Gourd Chutney
Lemon Avalakki
Kootu
Curd rice (avalakki)

Desserts:

  1. Aval Payasam
  2. Stuffed Snake Gourd Sweet Treats/Cutlets
Aval Payasam
Stuffed Snake Gourd Sweet/Cutlet
Never knew Snake Gourd can be so yummy eaten raw (Of course the Jaggery filling helped 😛 )

Other Accompaniments:

  1. Beetroot Pickles
  2. Ginger Pickles
  3. Detox Waters
Beetroot Pickles

What I have shared is probably just 50% of what Maranji shared or even lesser. I hope you get a chance to attend his session yourself and get to learn as we all did this time.

Before I wrap up, I must also thank Mr. Mukesh Jain – who spent well over an hour making us all laugh – the only thing we didn’t do was ROFL (rolling on the floor laughing). We did everything else laughing – yoga, exercise, talking, moving, dancing, the formation of an energy circle….and what not. My god, Mr. Mukesh never let his smile or laugh dim even for a single second – such was his commitment to giving us all a memorable day of laughter. As they say, a day without laughter is a day wasted. Though it will by no means be a day wasted, Mr. Mukesh’s child-like enthusiasm in engaging all of us left us all grinning ear-to-ear well after the day was over.

As an ending note, let me express my gratitude to Dr. Maran, Mr. Ramesh, Mr. Mukesh Jain, Velu, Mani, many parents and volunteers who made this event happen (Devika, Divya, Nandhini, many more I am sure ). God bless them with a happy, healthy life!

Author: Vaijayanthi

Vaijayanthi is a freelance business writer and full-time gardener. She coaches people on adopting a chemical-free lifestyle through her initiative called the Kaustubam for Sustainable Living Practices. She also conducts various physical workshops and training sessions on sustainable living and Gardening for children in Bengaluru through the Chinnara Kaithota.

Detox Waters

One of the traditional views of Naturopathy considers all diseases as nothing but a result of morbid toxin accumulation in the body. So by removing these toxins (detoxification), you can regain good health is the belief (provided one also follows the other things required for good health including cultivating a sound mind and physical exercise).

To help in this detoxification, you can prepare a few Detox Waters that can help you maintain good health every day. There are specific Detox Waters depending upon the disease you suffer from. Or, you can just alternate between each of these Detox Waters one day a week and cover all the days and stay detoxed! Don’t over do it though. Listen to your body and follow its wisdom.

Types of Detox Waters:

  1. Jeera Water
  2. Amla Water
  3. Nannari Water
  4. Rose Water
  5. Methi Water
  6. Lotus Water
  7. Dhania Water

How to prepare and use the Detox Water:

  1. If it’s Jeera/Methi/Dhania – take 1 spoon. If it is Amla, take one fruit (grate it). If it is Nannari or Rose petals, take a handful. If it is Lotus, take one full medium sized flower (along with stem, petals, etc.)
  2. Soak the base component overnight in 250 ml of water, preferably in a copper vessel.
  3. Boil the above mixture the next day morning till the water reduces to half.
  4. Take off the flame and filter out the solids.
  5. Dilute the leftover concentrated liquid to 1 or 1.5 liters.
  6. Sip throughout the day (or as long as it lasts) ensuring it mixes well with your saliva before you swallow.

Benefits of Detox Water:

  1. Jeera Water helps aid weight loss and also increases the body metabolism. Also, helps in addressing digestive issues
  2. Amla Water helps address blood-related problems.
  3. Nannari Water is good at healing urinary issues and balancing pitta in the body
  4. Rose Water (typically red desi varieties are preferred) helps in reducing acidity and is great for skin problems, balancing pitta, body/mouth adour, and Blood Pressure
  5. Methi Water is good for helping with diabetes, hair fall, and women’s problems such as white discharge
  6. Lotus/Dhania Water is very very good for balancing blood pressure (both high and low blood pressure).

If you’d like, you can also add the juice of one lemon to the diluted detox water for more flavor.

Author: Vaijayanthi

Vaijayanthi is a freelance business writer and full-time gardener. She coaches people on adopting a chemical-free lifestyle through her initiative called the Kaustubam for Sustainable Living Practices. She also conducts various physical workshops and training sessions on sustainable living and Gardening for children in Bengaluru through the Chinnara Kaithota.

Sweet and Raw Ladies Finger Starters

Have you ever thought of using Ladies Finger as a starter except in the form of Bhendi Fry? How about if we give you a recipe for a sweet and RAW Ladies Finger starter that you will not only eat happily but will even look for a second serving? Here, take a look at this super simple and super delicious recipe for Ladies Finder Starter.

Sweet and Raw Ladies Finger Starter

 

Ingredients:

  1. Quarter Kilo Ladies Finger
  2. 2-3 Lemons (adjust according to taste)
  3. 5-6 spoons of Jaggery powder (adjust according to taste)
  4. Juice of 1 or 2 medium size Ginger pieces

Method:

  1. Wash the Ladies Finger well and pat dry.
  2. Slit them sideways partially (not fully; the Ladies Finger should not come apart and should stay intact). Ensure there are no worms.
  3. Combine the juice of lemons, Ginger and Jaggery Powder and mix until the Jaggery is dissolved completely. You may add a bit of water to get a smooth syrupy consistency.
  4. Now, soak the slit Ladies Finger in this syrup for up to 3 hours.
  5. Your Sweet and Raw Ladies Finger Starter is now ready to be served.

Few Health Benefits:

  1. Ladies Fingers are a great source of natural Iodine and can be a wonderful natural remedy to deal with Thyroid problems.
  2. The combination of Lemon and Ginger juice helps make the raw Ladies Finger easier to consume as-is without cooking/frying. This helps ensure all the nutritional properties of Ladies Finger are kept intact.

It’s enough if one person has 2-3 of these starters every day to get all the health benefits.

You can also replace the Ladies Finger with Snake Gourd and make Sweet and Raw Snake Gourd starter. Come on now, give it a try!

Author: Vaijayanthi

Vaijayanthi is a freelance business writer and full-time gardener. She coaches people on adopting a chemical-free lifestyle through her initiative called the Kaustubam for Sustainable Living Practices. She also conducts various physical workshops and training sessions on sustainable living and Gardening for children in Bengaluru through the Chinnara Kaithota.

Sprouts Milk (Vegan Milk)- Great alternative to Cow’s Milk

If you have been looking for a good alternative to Cow’s milk (either due to health reasons, cruelty reasons or any other reasons), you have many choices today – including Almond Milk, Soy Milk, Rice Milk, Hemp Milk, Coconut Milk and Sprouts Milk. While the first five may be commercially available off the shelf in super markets, they can also prove to be a bit economically unviable for everyday use. In such a case, do not worry!

Here’s a wonderful alternative to these Vegan Milk options which is also very very healthy – and what’s more – you can make five different variations of this milk as well! Yes, I am talking about Sprout’s Milk. Let’s quickly look at how to make this milk before we look at the benefits of this milk.

How to make Sprout’s Milk:

  1. Take any one millet/gram of your choice from the ones listed above – Finger Millet or Pearl Millet or Foxtail Millet Or Horsegram or Whole Greengram.
  2. Wash it once, remove any impurities/stones and then soak it for 5 – 6 hours (or overnight). You need not wait till the sprouts fully appear but if you want to do so, there’s no harm either. This recipe looks at how we can prepare Sprout’s milk fresh every day with just five minutes of work the previous night.
  3. Once the millet/gram is soaked sufficiently (and just about starting to sprout if you let it longer than 6 hours), put it in a blender with some water and grind it nicely.
  4. Filter out the liquid with a fine mesh. This is your thick Sprout’s Milk.
  5. Add equal quantity of hot water to this extracted thick Sprout’s Milk.
  6. Add Jaggery and Elaichi to give it sweetness and flavor and consume as an alternative to regular milk.

Why Sprouts Milk:

  1. As you know, millets and grams pack quite a punch of nutrients and are considered super foods.
  2. They are also cheaper compared to any other type of vegan milk including Almond Milk.
  3. They also help you replace the so called commercial health drinks which in reality may not have much nutrition at all.

Do give this recipe a try and let us know how it worked for you. Perhaps, you can even combine one or two millets and extract mixed Sprout’s Milk.

Author: Vaijayanthi

Vaijayanthi is a freelance business writer and full-time gardener. She coaches people on adopting a chemical-free lifestyle through her initiative called the Kaustubam for Sustainable Living Practices. She also conducts various physical workshops and training sessions on sustainable living and Gardening for children in Bengaluru through the Chinnara Kaithota.

Greens Kheer – A healthy morning drink

In the previous two posts, we saw three wonderful recipes for a healthy morning drink (Curry Leaves Kheer, Carrot OR Beetroot Kheer). We can also replace the curry leaves/carrot/beetroot with Greens such as Ponnagannai (Alternanthera/ Matsyakshi/ Honganne/ Ponnaganti koora) or Karisalankanni (Bhringaraj). Both these greens (healing herbs actually) are fantastic for eyesight and skin health.

By alternating between these five different recipes, one can ensure a healthy, balanced nutrition is provided to the family throughout the week. What’s more, these recipes also be a great alternative to cow’s milk being Vegan recipes.

Here are also a few tips that can help you adapt these recipes quickly into your lifestyle:

  1. If you or your child prefers a hot drink in the morning, you can simply use medium hot/warm water to prepare the juice. Do not boil it, however.
  2. You may also grind the Coconut separately and extract the Coconut milk and then add it to the other ingredients while grinding. That way, you can get the Coconut fiber separately – which you can use in your regular cooking for chutneys, sabjis, sambar, etc.
  3. You can also try doing it with few other vegetables (or maybe even fruits). The fun lies in experimenting with a taste and consistency you will fall in love with (or rather your children will come to love!).
  4. You may also try adding a bit of water to get a more liquid consistency. You may need to increase the Jaggery though.
  5. You can also replace Jaggery/Country Sugar with Palm Sugar and get the additional benefits of Palm Sugar
  6. The consistent use of Coriander and Ginger in all the recipes ensures good digestion power.

Additionally, these recipes should take you just about 3-5 minutes to prepare provided you have all ingredients handy. This is much lesser than the time taken to boil milk and prepare your health drink/coffee/tea. So that’s time saved in the kitchen which you can use elsewhere!

If you have a variation of this kheer which you think will work great, please do try and share your feedback with us. We would love to try it as well!

Author: Vaijayanthi

Vaijayanthi is a freelance business writer and full-time gardener. She coaches people on adopting a chemical-free lifestyle through her initiative called the Kaustubam for Sustainable Living Practices. She also conducts various physical workshops and training sessions on sustainable living and Gardening for children in Bengaluru through the Chinnara Kaithota.

Carrot/Beetroot Kheer – A healthy morning drink

Carrot/Beetroot Kheer

Ingredients:

  1. One Carrot OR Beetroot
  2. 2 -3 medium size pieces of Coconut (Or a bit less than half a crown)
  3. 5 – 6 spoons of powdered Jaggery/Country Sugar (Depending on how sweet you want it)
  4. A bunch of Coriander Leaves
  5. A piece or two of Ginger
  6. 4-5 Elachi
Carrot Kheer (Skip the curry leaves shown in the picture)

Method:

  1. In a blender or mixie, grind all the ingredients listed together
  2. For children, filter the liquid and separate the fiber out
  3. For adults, you may consume the juice as-is with the fiber if possible else you may filter the fiber out as well. Feed the pulp to your plants/compost.
  4. Your super healthy Curry leaves kheer is ready. Pour into a re-usable glass and enjoy the innumerable health benefits.

Few Health Benefits:

  1. Carrot is extremely good for eyesight and skin.
  2. Beetroot is good for Iron and Magnesium and helps increase Haemoglobin in Blood.
  3. Both Carrot and Beetroot helps increase immune power and are a good source of vitamins and minerals.

Author: Vaijayanthi

Vaijayanthi is a freelance business writer and full-time gardener. She coaches people on adopting a chemical-free lifestyle through her initiative called the Kaustubam for Sustainable Living Practices. She also conducts various physical workshops and training sessions on sustainable living and Gardening for children in Bengaluru through the Chinnara Kaithota.

Curry Leaves Kheer – A healthy morning drink

Curry Leaves Kheer

Ingredients:

  1. Two handsful of Curry Leaves
  2. 2 -3 medium size pieces of Coconut (Or a bit less than half a crown)
  3. 5 – 6 spoons of powdered Jaggery/Country Sugar (Depending on how sweet you want it)
  4. A bunch of Coriander Leaves
  5. A piece or two of Ginger
  6. 4-5 Elachi
Curry Leaves Kheer (you may additionally add a carrot or beetroot piece as well)

Method:

  1. In a blender or mixie, grind all the ingredients listed together
  2. For children, filter the liquid and separate the fiber out
  3. For adults, you may consume the juice as-is with the fiber if possible else you may filter the fiber out as well. Feed the pulp to your plants/compost.
  4. Your super healthy Curry leaves kheer is ready. Pour into a re-usable glass and enjoy the innumerable health benefits.

Few Health Benefits:

  1. Extremely good for your hair and scalp; Promotes hair growth and controls hair fall
  2. Helps increase digestive power and heals stomach ulcers
  3. Good for dealing with women health related problems
  4. The Kheer is also a complete nutritionally balanced drink – Curry leaves provide Iron, Magnesium, and Calcium, Jaggery provides Carbohydrates and Iron, Coriander helps balance the heat generated by Iron (compensating excess pitta), and Coconut acts a natural source of rich Protein, and Ginger helps increase digestive power.

 

Author: Vaijayanthi

Vaijayanthi is a freelance business writer and full-time gardener. She coaches people on adopting a chemical-free lifestyle through her initiative called the Kaustubam for Sustainable Living Practices. She also conducts various physical workshops and training sessions on sustainable living and Gardening for children in Bengaluru through the Chinnara Kaithota.

Watermelon Granita

Watermelon Granita:
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Ingredients

Watermelon – deseeded and cut into slices
Lemon juice – 1 to 2 tbsp
Sweetener – honey/sugar (not required if watermelon is sweet enough)
Mint leaves – 8 to 10 leaves

Method

In a blender, crush together all the above ingredients into a slush consistency ( use pulse option, don’t make into juice consistency). Freeze in a closed container for 3 hrs. Take it out and crumble using a fork. Again freeze till serving time. While serving, take it out and serve immediately.