Incompatible Foods and Allergies

A proper food combination is vital for our health and overall well-being. According to Ayurveda, incompatible foods or Viruddha Ahara is a strong reason for many systemic disorders. Allergy is one of the toxic or side effects of consuming incompatible foods. However, the allergic reaction may not be evident in everyone on every occasion. There are many factors involved in the development of such reactions. But, it continues for a lifetime once you get affected.

Food as Medicine:

Before we dwell on the wrong food combinations, it is essential to understand how the different food combinations work. Because each food item is unique in terms of taste, potency and energy, when different food materials are used together, their effects can be additive, synergistic, or antagonistic.

Additive: Food combination leads to the sum of the effects of individual food component

Synergistic: Food combination leads to a larger effect than expected

Antagonistic: Food Combination leads to a smaller effect than expected.

Toxic: Food combination leads to toxic effects

Wrong Food Combinations:

Honey and Ghee (in equal quantity)

Cooked food with fruits

Milk with fruits

Curd with fruits (Mango Lassi or Smoothies??)

Milk products with greens (Palak Paneer)

Milk with sour, salt, astringent and bitter taste

Green leaf and ginger / dried ginger

Tender coconut water with cooked food

Water or hot water during the meal

Fermented rice with sesame oil

Black gram with sesame oil

Black gram with radish

Black nightshade with pepper / honey / palm jaggery

Millets with milk

Radish with milk/banana

Beans with fruits

Lemon with curds/milk

Milk is incompatible with bananas, cherries, melons, sour fruits and yogurt  ( Think before taking milkshakes )

Home Remedies

Here is a compilation of affordable and accessible home remedies that will help combat Allergies

Take 2 pinches pepper powder + 4 pinches of turmeric powder mixed with ghee

Dosage: Once a day – early morning on an empty stomach

Take 2 cloves of Roasted garlic + 3 pinches of pepper powder with honey

Dosage: Before breakfast

 Haridrakandam is one of the effective and trusted remedies for allergies

Dosage:  1 tsp daily

Panchakarma, the classic Ayurvedic detoxification treatment, also works wonders to remove allergy.

Let your journey for impeccable health begin today with compatible foods!!!

Paruthi Paal – Cotton Seed Milk

Recipe Card

A traditional refreshing drink from the land of Tamilnadu. This is referred to as a ” Triple Nutrient Drink” which is rich in protein, fat and fiber. Try this energy drink at your home and share your experiences

BENEFITS OF COTTON SEED MILK

  • Rich in Protein, fat and fiber
  • Best for cold and cough
  • Helps to regulate menstrual cycle
  • Best for breastfeeding moms
  • Heals stomach ulcer
  • Helps to prevent PCOS

Cotton seed milk and coconut milk are the main ingredients in this recipe. A portion of rice flour is added to smoothen the consistency (can use any traditional rice flour/miller flour). This is one of the best alternative for cow milk (vegan milk).

ADI KUMMAYAM

ADI KUMMAYAM

A Traditional Recipe for Aadi Season

Adi kummayam is traditional authentic recipe made in Aadi masam specifically on Tuesdays and Fridays Due to the onset of monsoons, It is an excellent recipe to balance the vata, Strengthen the bones, joints and backbone in our body. It is a nutrition recipe to strengthen the uterus for girls who hit puberty, pregnant ladies and women in their postpartum phase. Adi kummayam is a perfect recipe during this lockdown for protein consumption.It helps in curing constipation.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Whole moong or yellow moong 1/4 cup.
  • Matta rice or Blackrice 1 cup.
  • Whole urad dal or white urad 1/4 cup.
  • Palm jaggery.
  • Elaichi.
  • Cashew chopped.
  • Kismiss soaked and drained.
  • Sesame coldpressed oil 1 whole cup.
  • Desi ghee 1/2 cup.

METHOD:

Dry roast moong dal, urad dal and rice until they turn brown. Keep it aside and let it cool down. Grind to fine powder and sieve if required. In iron kadai, make palm jaggrey syrup to required consistency. Add ghee, Sesame oil and Elaichi to the jaggery mixture.

Keep stirring well by adding sieved flour slowly until the kummayam flour dissolves well with no lumps. Top it with chopped cashew and kismiss. Grease the steel plate with ghee. As the whole concoction gathers together, pour it in the steel plate and let it semi dry. Cut to pieces and serve. Enjoy the tasty Adi kummayam recipe!

About the Author:

A Parententrepreneur ,wisdom seeker, Ms.Lakshmi Bharadwaj is very well known, old parent from HLP Community. She has been a very active member in promoting ancient wisdom our parenting community from past few years and has many articles and blogs to her credit. She beileves that path to Spirituality is through our body.

Your body is your sanctum. Maintain with divinity – Lakshmi Bharadwaj

Navara Rice Balls

A Women’s health booster
  • Navara rice balls is a power packed energy builder is good for girls who hit puberty
  • It is used to boost milk secretion and regain strength for postpartum moms.
  • It can also be used for children with low weight and to cure back pain.
  • The Rice balls can be used for Menstruation Panic Attacks.

Ingredients:

  • Navara Rice Soaked and Sprouted
  • Red Rice
  • Ajwain
  • Garden Cress
  • Fenugreek Sprouted
  • Horse gram Sprouted
  • Dill seeds
  • Dried Ginger
  • Black Sesame Seeds
  • Cumin
  • Cardamom
  • Dry Coconut
  • Melted Jaggery

Method:

Roast all the above ingredients until golden brown and it emits a nice aroma. Make appropriate consistency of jaggery and add it to the roasted ingredients along with the grated coconut and sesame seeds.

Stir well until no lumps are formed. Add a little bit of desi ghee and roll it into balls. It can be stored for a week. Make sure to keep it moisture free.

About the Author:

A Parententrepreneur ,wisdom seeker, Ms.Lakshmi Bharadwaj is very well known, old parent from HLP Community. She has been a very active member in promoting ancient wisdom our parenting community from past few years and has many articles and blogs to her credit. She beileves that path to Spirituality is through our body.

Your body is your sanctum. Maintain with divinity – Lakshmi Bharadwaj

Author: Lakshmi Bharadwaj

Lakshmi Bharadwaj, known as OJAS in whatsapp group, is a home-maker and mother of three lovely kids. She comes with a rich tradition that follows home-remedies, which makes her a passionate towards ancient knowledge in Ayurveda naturopathy and herbs. She is one of the sincere and senior member of swarnaprashana watsapp parenting community. She has been constantly guiding new parents and with her continuous selfless efforts on various social and educative platforms. She is a small startup entrepreneur made it a step ahead in collaborating O&S HERBALS with BALAMRIT and MILKMASLA which stood to her expectations with her efforts. In 2015, She was the Parent of the month for her exceptional guidance in home-remedies to many parents in our whatsapp community.

World Banana Day

Want to know more about the fruit that The Nagas cultivated and the Buddhists ate, 1000’s of years ago?

Want to know why bananas are called a fruit of the Wise men?

Bananas are undervalued by us here in India, but to the rest of the world, it holds a lot of importance. The scientific name for banana is Musa sapientum, which means “fruit of the wise men.” Since today is World Banana day, we wanted to share some of the amazing facts you should know about Bananas. Bananas are a rare example of fruit which has three genes from one of its parents, Musa acuminata. It confers the ability to produce fruit without the need for seeds. The word, Bana is of African origin, which means finger. The word was introduced by salves that were brought to the Americas from Africa. In India, it is called plantain. With the help of Alexander the Great, the fruits traveled to Europe and Spain. Later a Spanish missionary brought the fruit to America. 

In a document, which is from 400 B.C, quoted in Sanskrit literature, which in the south was known as Sangam literature states that bananas were the only fruit permitted to Buddhists in those days. Furthermore, bananas were cultivated by ancient South Indian people who are once called Nagas. 

Bananas originated in Southeast Asia, it was said to be the world’s most consumed food, in the previous times. It is one of the most common fruits all over the world. Not to mention it has twice the amount of nutrition than what can be obtained from an apple. Plus it doesn’t require any specific fertilizer or maintenance except water. Yes, water is the main source to cultivate Banana. Thus said, Banana will grow in all types of climate. It is one of a few fruits which is available throughout the year. No auspicius function or puja is complete without full grown banana plant. Banana plant is treated as god, cow in india.

Banana is one divine plant, that has various used to mother nature and mankind. Right from its root to flower, everything is a healing property. Eg. The roots has a micro-organisms, which can purity the impure or contimanited water. That is why in olden days, you will find Banana trees in backyard. where waste water of the house is directed to it, and the water is filtured and send into ground. Whats an amazing ecofriendly fore sight our ancestors had!

Type of Bananas in India – Originally more than 100 nati varieties of Banana were available in India however after the green revolution, most fo the nati varieties of banana weren destroyed and only a few varieties are now currently available. Below is the list of Nati Variety Bananas as follows:

Best time to Eat Banana

Sevvalai (red banana) – which is more nutritious, cultivated in 10 months. Anyone can eat. Especially good for Newly married couples. It helps in weight gain.
Mondham Palam (thoothukudi, Nagercoil belt) – King of Banana. Highest nutrition in a single banana than other nati banana varieties. For babies start from 2+ years old, they can give. Rich in fiber and easy digestion.
Nenthram Palam (Kerala) – Its a must take for Babies (2+) and those for neuro problems and constipation. In Kerala, the semi ripens fruit will be prepared as Kanji and given to infants to gain more weight. Must eat for all ages. The famous chips of kerala is made from this.
Matti Palam (North TN) – Rich in fiber and very rare to get.
Yelaki palam (krishnagiri, karnataka) – Very tasty, good for digestion.
Naatu vaalai – Very rare to get.
Then (honey) vaalai – Rich in fiber, reduces constipation.
Poo vaalai – Not recommended due to high sugar content. One of the oldest variety.
Rasthali – Very tasty with a good aroma.
Malai vaalai – Only produce in Hill stations. Rich in Nutrition and good for weight gain.
Sirumalai – A rare variety grows only in Sirumalai. Very tasty and rich in fiber. The famous Siddha Build Temple, Palani’s Panchamritham is made from this fruit, whic hhas various preservative and curative property.
Karpooravalli – Very tasty and easily grown in many parts of South TN. Good for constipation and digestion.

It is recommended to eat on an empty stomach to get more benefits. Or else need to at least eat 1 hr before food or after 2hrs of food. You can also take tea time in the evening. Must avoid eating before sleep. Avoid eating Hybrid bananas. 

Make sure the banana contains Seeds while you are eating. Eat daily one banana and stay healthy.

AMAZING BUT TRUE THINGS YOU CAN DO WITH BANANA PEELS (AND BANANAS)

  • Thanks to its oil, rubbing the inside of a banana peel on a mosquito bite (or another bug bite) or on poison ivy will help keep it from itching and getting inflamed.
  • If you rub the inside of a banana peel on a scrape or burn, it will help the pain go away, keep the swelling down, and keep the wound from getting infected.
  • If you rub the inside of a small piece of the banana peel on a wart every night (or tape a piece of peel over the wart), the potassium in the peel can make the wart disappear in one to two weeks.
  • If you tape a banana peel over a splinter, the enzymes help the splinter work its way out of your skin (and also heal the wound).

Author: Velu Jayaprakash

Velu Jayaprakash is a social entrepreneur, product manager, techy, photographer, meditator, father of two angels, ancient wisdom seeker, holistic adviser and Soul coach. You can reach him at velu.jayaprakash AT gmail DOT com

HOLISTIC APPROACH TO BABY’S TEETHING PHASE

Teething also termed as dentition is a phase for babies that is painful. Indian Ayurved Acharya Scholar Vagbhatta quotes in his ancient script Asthanga Sangraha that during teething, the child may suffer from various disorders like diarrhoea, fever, headache, thirst, vertigo, inflammation of eyes, vomiting, respiratory troubles and skin disorders. 

SIGNS OF TEETHING:

Just like every baby is unique, so are their teething symptoms. But largely babies tend to start biting anything they get their hands upon including mother’s breasts while feeding to show their early signs of teething. Babies get itching sensation in their gums before the tooth erupts, hence they seem cranky. It is said that babies experience almost the same pain in teething phase as women experience during their labor.

Below are some effective and ancient remedies that can be incorporated in the routine of the baby during teething

GARDENIA GUMMIFERA HERB:


This is also called Gummy Gardenia in English. Nadihingu in Sanskrit, Dikamali/ Dikemali in Hindi & Marathi, Bikke/Bukke in Kannada.
It is a magical herb for most disorders caused due to teething in babies and also good medicine for postpartum women.
HOW TO USE:
This herb is available in most ayurvedic shops in powder form usually called as Dikamali powder which is dark green in colour and has distinct aroma.
1. Take some powder (1 small teaspoon of it) and mix mother’s milk if baby is less than 6 months or clean drinking water (for 6+ months) to make thick paste like consistency. Rub this paste onto the gums of baby in similar way how we brush our teeth with fingers. Initially some babies may reject the flavour of the herb, but the good news is they will soon learn to like the taste of it.
2. Massage various joints of the baby using this powder. Age old women claim that teething pain in babies is equal to the labor pain of mother! Most of the joints of babies ache during this phase along. To heal this, take some dry powder of the herb and massage onto the temple side area of the head, joint under the knee, joint of the arm and ankles of the feet. The massage has to be gentle but firm.
The above massage can be done twice daily or just once depending on the severity of teething issues.

TLISMI MOTI

Tlismi Moti

Tlismi moti is made up of 5 metals that helps to harmonize energy around oral cavity and face. Hence this is usually tied around the neck of the baby using traditional black thread to ensure painless or less itchy teething phase. It is absolutely safe and effective remedy than the commercially available teethers made up of silicon/plastic/polished wood. Though there are some unpolished neem wood teethers available in the market, but the cost is definitely huge for each piece.
HOW TO USE:
Tlismi moti is available in local markets, ensure you buy a genuine one. Take two such motis to have full effect and slip it in a thin black thread (this is usually included from the buyer) and tie around the neck of the baby usually a little below the neck near to the chest cavity.

HOME REMEDY FOR DIARRHOEA DUE TO TEETHING:
Often watery poop is caused due to teething in babies . If you have baby who is experiencing watery poops and you can also see teeth coming out of their gum, then below remedy  provides relief. This remedy is for baby older than 8 months only.
If diarrhoea is mild to moderate:
1. Take a ripe Bael fruit (refer pic), remove peel, boil it in water till half quantity.
Dosage: 2 teaspoonfuls 6 hourly.

Ripe Bael fruit

If diarrhoea is severe: Take unripe Bael fruit (refer pic), remove peel, take 10 g+coriander powder 10g+dry ginger powder 10 g boil it in 400 ml water till it reduces to 100 ml

Dosage: 2 teaspoonfuls 6 hourly

Unripe Bael fruit

Bael fruit is also known as Golden apple/stone apple/ wood apple. It is used as go to remedy ranging from digestive issues to respiratory problems. It is consumed in juice form in hottest of summers in India.

While teething is temporary phase for baby ensure to give her/him full attention so they don’t bite inedible things, sooth them emotionally by singing a song, taking for a stroll in the park or just cuddling them. Above all breastfeed as often as baby demands, it compliments the above remedies and keeps their immune system strong.
If the symptoms of diarrhoea, vomiting, appetite loss continues inspite of the home remedies, please consult doctor immediately.

Wishing parents healthy teething phase for babies.

Author: Rakhi Kashyap

Once was a normal human whose life was sanctified and purified by the entry of two tiny souls blessed by God. As a result of this, ardent follower and encourager of Ayurveda, Slokas to evoke bhakti and healing, ancient wisdom, traditional cooking and Sanskrit.

Sustainable pregnancy for healthy and happy progeny – Part 1


Congratulations on deciding to nurture a new life within you.  It is a blessing to let God create and sustain a soul that will soon become your lifeline. While we speak so much about sustainable living, farming, gardening, recycling plastic etc, why no one ever talks about Sustainable pregnancy that enables and empowers parents-to-be with right knowledge, guidance and support that is beyond supplements, blood tests, scans and injections? Isn’t this the most wonderful and cherished part of couple’s life? Sustainable pregnancy not only makes them tide through this phase healthily, but also ensures they bring into this world healthy, happy babies. The next generation with good immunity, mind and spiritual inclination is all that our world needs right now.

Pre pregnancy care: Before you decide to embark on pregnancy journey, consider body and mind detox, essential lifestyle changes and listening to body. While all creatures have ability to reproduce, humans have been blessed with knowledge and thus we must responsibly care, nurture and develop the young life inside the womb and safely bring them into our world. To enable this, our body and mind must be free from  all kinds of toxins, wasteful and destructive things.

Body detox for healthy pregnancy: Ayurvedic panchakarma is one of the ancient, proven and effective way to dispel toxins (Ama) from the body.    Invest time in searching for an experienced Ayurvedic Vaidya who does panchakarma, prepares his own medicine, oils and also provides specific diet based on your body type during this phase. Any panchakarma done without proper diet doesn’t dispel all toxins and thus is waste of efforts. Please be aware of some panchakarma centres that don’t do the process under doctor’s guidance and diet. It is best to get panchakarma done for both (mother to be and father to be) a minimum of 6 months before conception.

Another important point is if you have had a miscarriage or medical termination of pregnancy, do wait for atleast a year for next conception. This time gap ensures body adequate rest and also remaining waste blood goes through menstrual cycle for a year.

Mind detox for healthy pregnancy: Just as Panchakarma frees body from toxins, meditation, gratitude and forgiveness frees mind from toxins. Everyday dedicating 20 mins of time to meditate, thanking the Universe, praying with devotion to beget a good baby and practicing forgiveness does relieve mind of all fearful thoughts we usually get in pregnancy.  Let go of all the grudge, revengeful thoughts, various fears, too much of overconfidence and ego out of the mind by simple meditation, pranayama and chanting and listening to Vedic mantras like Garbha Sanskar, Vishnu Sahasranama. Sudoku, Mandala design colouring, knitting, drawing are some of stress busting activities during pregnancy.

Listen to body:  If your body asks for a good exercise, practice yoga atleast for 30 mins daily, if it needs rest, food, water, simply do so. Don’t go overboard with mental and physical work in the name of being active and do not control the natural urges of the body, let it go out as it is a part of removing unwanted substances from the body.  Striking the right balance between work and rest is the key that is achieved by listening to your body.

Essential lifestyle changes to be made daily for optimum health: In our various blogs, WhatsApp groups, we always stress upon lifestyle corrections and habits to be done in our daily lives to benefit long lasting good health.

  1. Avoid/stop all 5 whites – White rice (replace with traditional, naturally grown rice, sometimes millets, no wheat), White flour/Maida (replace with Jowar flour, traditional rice flour, Millet flour), White sugar (replace with jaggery, honey, palm sugar), White milk (replace with Ragi milk, almond milk, desi cow humped milk that can be consumed as medicine if advised by Ayurvedic doctor), White table salt (replace with Himalayan pink rocksalt).
  2. Let us throw out all plastic, aluminium, non-stick cookware that can lead to various diseases and replace with mud, iron, bronze, copper, glass or steel cookwares.
  3. Oil bath twice a week with gingelly (sesame oil) is such an important and amazing way to ensure restful sleep and calm mind.
  4. Replace any kind of refined oil to cold stone pressed or woodchurned oils.
  5. It is also needless to say that naturally and locally grown food is best to health and environment.

Why is above process  important before embarking on pregnancy journey?  In our generation of bad health, sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits, digital addiction etc, we often forget to take care of ourselves, so how will we beget a healthy progeny? There is no gain without pain. Our efforts in the right direction will definitely yield good results. If the above process seems time consuming and expensive, then let’s wonder about how taking care of an unhealthy mother and baby seem? Isn’t it disheartening to see anyone suffer out of ignorance. It is time we spread the light of right knowledge.

Stay healthy and keep tuned to our next part that will cover pregnancy trimester wise nutrition through food, secret recipes, natural remedies and much more.

Author: Rakhi Kashyap

Once was a normal human whose life was sanctified and purified by the entry of two tiny souls blessed by God. As a result of this, ardent follower and encourager of Ayurveda, Slokas to evoke bhakti and healing, ancient wisdom, traditional cooking and Sanskrit.

Traditional Foods for Improving Nutrition and Food Security!

“A seed is small but rich with possibility, like love, which is as humble as it is powerful.” —Pir Zia Inayat-Khan from “The Seed of Love”

Sacred Seeds
Artistic Display of Native Seeds- Cereal Grains, Millets and Pulses. Picture taken in a recent Seed Festival by Sustainable Livelihood Institute, Auroville

A recent FAO survey shows that less than 60-70yrs ago our ancestors consumed 150 types of foods, the current scenario is appalling to know that our diet has just 2 types of foods- Rice and Wheat.

Here are some questions for you to ponder-

  1. As a consumer, what is your contribution in reversing environment and health deteriorating factor?
  2. What are the benefits of adopting to traditional lifestyle/ traditional foods?
  3. Can preserving Heirloom/Traditional seeds be the solution to global food security?

I had an opportunity to attend ‘2nd Auroville Seed Festival‘ which happened in August 2018 at Bharat Nivas in “Auroville”. The Seed Festival hosted by Sustainable Livelihood Institue (SLI)-Auroville, is a celebration of traditional seed varieties, local farming communities and holistic agricultural practises. The event showcased over 350 traditional varieties. The event also showcased talks by several experts such as Environmentalist & Agriculture Scientist Mr.Pamayan, Mr.Ananthoo of OFM & Tula, seed saving expert Mr.Nel Jayaraman as well as leading Auroville-based farmers and seed savers including Krishna Mckenzie of Solitude Farm.

Seed Festival by Sustainable Livelihood Institute
Seed Festival-2018 in Auroville

Some excerpts from the Seed Festival event-

From the words of Pamayan ji– According to Tamil Sangam Literature the geographical landscapes are: Kurunji (Mountains), Mullai (Forests), Marudham (Agri Areas, Plains, Valleys), Neydhal (Seashore) and Palai (Desert, Parched Wasteland).

Quoting the words of a great Tamil poet and philosopher Thriuvalluvar–(Thirukural- Tamil to English Couplet 742): “maNinheerum maNNum malaiyum aNinhizhaR kaadum udaiya tharaN”.  English Transalation- The wealth of a country is not in its forts/buildings, but in its crystal clear water, an open space, a hill, and shade of beauteous thick forests (Mix of 7 types of crops) where the sunlight does not touch the ground thereby turning the soil into fertile land full of life.

Dating back to before 2000yrs, our forefathers practised Nature based farming in Kurunji landscapes; much importance was given to increase the organic matter in soil by adopting to no-ploughing & no-tilling farming , 7 crop farming (Mix of indigenous trees, small trees, shrubs, herbs, similar to Permaculture). Using manure from farm animals and composting the manure to increase the soil fertility were predominantly a custom in Mullai (Forests) landscapes. Rice & Fish cultivation was traditionally practised in Neydhal (seashore) landscapes. Rain Water harvesting techniques and installing Grand Annicut or Stone Barrier in running rivers/streams were implemented in Fresh Water Ecosystem or Marudham landscapes. Ancient Tamilians used 33 types of man-made structures for water harvesting and saving purposes, they were considered experts in building Stone Barrier structures. It is said that there were approximately 40,000 lakes in Tamil Nadu, and out of which 99.9% have vanished in the name of development- Bus Depots, government buildings, offices, etc..

Why did we loose our ancient Farming Techniques & Heirloom Seeds?

Genetic diversity of agricultural crops has reduced at alarming levels which has de-stablised fragile environment Eco-systems. Our ancient and local knowledge of land has been slowly destroyed or conveniently bought-away from us by wealthy corporations and government policies for economic gain. The reasons for wiping out the heirloom seeds and cropping techniques is to capture the highly profitable food market. Through a recent FAO survey, it is shown that less than 60-70yrs ago our ancestors consumed 150 types of foods, the current scenario is appalling to know that our diet has just 2 types of food- Rice and Wheat. How is that possible? You visit any supermarket, you see arrays of shelves with varieties of food items stacked in them, how on earth its just 2 types of food? Sadly, the answer is a yes! The main ingredient used in the manufacture of majority of foods are bi-products of rice and wheat.

The intake of traditional foods, naturally grown foods and wild foods (forest foods) has reduced, but we consume mono-agriculture based foods, industrial foods, fake foods, fast foods, GMO(genetically modified) foods, due to which we suffer from Low immunity and non-communicable (life-style) diseases like diabetes, kidney failure, thyroid, BP, heart disease, cancer, etc. have increased globally.

From the words of Ananthoo Ji– Only one GM crop is officially approved in India which is GM Cotton. However, an alarming report says that over 55 types of foods consumed in India are Genetically Modified. This is due to the imports (wheat, soya, etc) and manufactured foods of foreign origin which reaches our plates without proper health safety parameters from the government.

Traditional Foods for Food Security
A Clipping from a newspaper article.

Traditional foods are the only answer to boost our bodies natural immunity. A monopoly situation has been formulated by the greedy corporations to capture the food market profits by creating a difficulty to access our land based traditional and indigenous foods thereby reducing its consumption and health awareness to the public. Media and Advertisements play a lead role to confuse and favor public choices, especially children become the innocent victims, adults equally. Eg. paste with salt in it, manufactured drink claims to contain all the proteins and vitamins for a child’s growth, processed soya milk, pasteurized Milk, Pepsi ads by famous Sports person/ Actors, Breakfast cereals for weight loss, and the list goes on.

Monopoly through Fertilizer lobby, Industrial Seeds Lobby, GMO Crops:

Fertilizer lobby and Industrial Seeds Lobby is another culprit against Traditional foods. According to the Seeds Act, 1966., it is illegal to sell seeds by an individual farmer, only exchange is allowed. Yes, a farmer may feed the country and its people, may produce the seeds, but not sell ” Seeds”.  When seeds are under siege by laws and large corporations (Monsanto, Bayer) the farmer loses his/her heirloom (open-pollinated) seeds and traditional farming systems to high costing seeds hybrid and GMO seeds. Engineered seeds are those that cannot produce fertile seeds which can be sown again and these seeds require expensive, environmental and health damaging chemical fertilizers (glyphosphate) for very crop cycle. GMO crops are known to contaminate and damage generations of heirloom seeds. Large corporations will start removing the heirloom seeds from the hands of the farmer and establish or monopolize the seed market, thereby pushing the farmer to higher debts and suicide. Example, the GM cotton seed from Monsonta are bought and cultivated by 95% of the cotton growers accross India. Ironically, our country’s National Flag which has to be made to specifications set by our ancestors, including a particular size, measurement, a place to make the flag, and using natural fiber cloth Khadi; is now made by using GM Cotton.

Agrarian Economy, Seed Freedom and Seed Sovereignty:

A country’s economics is in its agrarian economy. We are in a state of seed emergency and the Agrarian economy lies in seed protection, seed freedom and seed sovereignty. Currently, 95% of GM cotton is dominating the Indian market, if a similar situation arises to Rice, Wheat or any other Vegetable crops, then the seed companies will dictate the food market by means of regulating and restricting seed availability to farmers. In not so far future, the seed corporations might refuse to sell seeds for farming activities in our land and instead we will be forced to establish expensive import links by growing food crops in 3rd world regions.

The Great Seed piracy takes control of the seeds of farmers and facilitates seed monopolies, seed regulations through laws, germ plasm (ex-situ), genomic mapping and gene editing through biotechnology and intellectual property rights backed by large corporations. Food security can only be achieved through seed protection. For instance, A traditional Rice variety- Thooyamalli, which has been domesticated through 2000yrs of perfection, and handed down through many generations which has seen many seasonal changes, pests, diseases and climate cycles, has to be revived through continuous growing (in-situ) of the crop and there by preservation of the seed is achieved. What happened to Rice variety IR8, a product of Green Revolution? It is does not exist now. Such is the situation of new age seeds which is released every year by means of biotechnology. Traditional farming practices and indigenous seeds are a valuable cultural heritage and indicators of biodiversity.

There is a local saying which translates to “When a siddhar dies, 100 herbs might risk becoming weeds”, it so happens because of lack knowledge to identify a weed which may as well be a health benefiting herb.

Significance of Re-adopting to Traditional fooDS:

Planting seeds of change in our decisions towards sustainable food choices is the only way forward. Ancestral food celebrates and honors our land and our ties to Mother Earth; indigenous foods are high in nutritional quality and is significant to promote good health outcomes, a means to alleviate poverty and malnutrition, prevents chronic life-style diseases like- Diabetes, Hormonal Imbalances, BP, Cancer, etc.

Significance of Seed Festivals:

Show your support to protect and promote traditional seed crops diversity by attending your neighborhood Seed Festivals. Seed Festivals are a movement, a culmination of passionate people committed to reviving heirloom seeds & traditional foods including Rice, Millets, indigenous foods; and is a way to bring public awareness to the economic and health importance of ancient food systems.

seeds balls
Hands on demonstration for kids to make Seed Balls. “Seed balls” or “Seed bombs” are mixtures of clay, compost and a seed. The mixture is rolled into a ball shape and left to dry for aerial seeding.  Masanobu Fukuoka popularized this ancient method of agriculture, where-by the seeds are thrown or dropped on land for aerial reforestation.

Celebration of Native Seeds
Bi-products of Oil seeds

Palm Leaf Products
Palm Leaf Products Displayed in Seed Festival.

Native Seeds Display
Native Seeds Display for Kitchen Gardening Enthusiasts

Solutions don’t care how the problem started.

Together we can be the Change- Lets Save Traditional seeds by consuming indigenous and local foods, else the future of our food, mother earth and its inhabitants are bleak.

Thank you Velu Anna for the opportunity!

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 initiative The Happy Child.

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.