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hong kong ayurveda

Ayurevda View on Headaches

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Ayurevda View on Headaches

Headaches can be Managed with Ayurveda 


Headaches according to Ayurveda can indicate certain imbalances of the nervous system. Ever suffered from tension headaches, migraines, and sinus headaches? All of these correlate to a specific dosha accumulation in the body. Usually, pain is associated with vata dosha, but further investigation is needed to understand what other doshas are are play, either pitta or kapha in the mix of the headache. Sometimes certain doshas can mask symptoms of another, so it can get tricky to determine what to do. 


Migraines are specific to pitta-vata, Hot pitta becomes burning, searing pain, there can even be light sensitivity. Often these types het worse by heat and working on computers or smartphones. These headaches are indicative of digestive disorders, exposure to environmental toxins and stress, anger, frustration and moodiness. 


Sinus headaches are all kapha. Kapha accumulates in the head , congestion is a definite sign of the cause. Many people fell dull and heaviness sin the head surrounding the sinus area. This headache comes with symptoms of sluggish slow digestion, accumulated digestive toxins , overeating, addiction to sweet foods, cold foods etc. Also is one doesn’t exercise adequately,, this stagnation can cause headaches.

Tension headaches are vata dominant, and are aggravated by cold, fast moving vata. The pain feels like you have a headband wrapped around your head cutting off circulation, the pain is sharp and fluctuates. Causes of these headaches are definitely stress, multitasking and non routine based activities. If one eats and sleeps sporadically this will also set off the headaches. Also, eyestrain from computers or electronics can trigger these types of headaches. 


The root cause of all types of headaches comes from imbalanced digestion, thus embarking on a cleanse or simple kitchari fast can help eradicate the accumulated toxins of the doshas in the body that are contributing to the headache. Once the cleanse has been completed, a purgation can remove these excess doshas. I like to use Avipathi Choornam to help with evacuation of toxins through the anus. Chronic stress or fight or flight can also be a contributor to headaches. There are some Ayurvedic diet and lifestyles principles which can erridacte the root causes of headaches, like following an appropriate ‘dinacharya’ daily and nightly routine. Examples include rising early, doing abhyanga ‘daily self massage’ and following various principles that can help remove toxins. To be honest, daily routine is a very powerful medicine.


To embark on resting your gut, or starting with cleanse, contact us here. I wish you all the health and wellbeing in your life,. 


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Kaayasekam or Pizhichil

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Kaayasekam or Pizhichil

Kaayasekam

Today I had a wonderful treatment called Kaayasekam on my full body. The therapists warm some therapeutic oil and do a rhythmic pouring of this oil all over my body. The oil was mainly ‘murivena’, a very good herb for pain management and inflammation. Also used for certain cases of arthritis etc. During the treatment I felt love, warmth and grace. It was really such a luxurious and calming feeling. Apparently this treatment enhances nerve conductivity and circulation and the strengthening of joints. Slipping and sliding on the table is part of it; the feeling during the treatment was of love being poured all over my body. What an amazing feeling of warmth and security. 

This treatment, feels like it would pacify my already over active vata. After the treatment, I felt tired and somewhat drained. Being pretty active usually, I have learnt to slow down and allow the therapy to work its magic on me. Even though I really wanted to do some form of light exercise today, I opted for the passive approach of resting. Lets see if this approach pays off. Hopefully it will help to alleviate some of the stomach issues that I am having. 

Part of  rejuvenation therapy for Ayurveda, one must really figure out which dosha is accumulating, which dhatus or tissues are affected, and whether Agni is high or stagnant. This indicates health. If Agni is strong, usually disease can burn itself out or purify itself, even if dhatu Agnis are high, the metabolic waste can be purged out, BUT if it’s not, AMA, or undigested food particles accumulate in the gut, spread through the blood, and accumulate deep within the tissues. This sticky mass, can be thick and hard to eliminate. Thus Ayurveda uses thick substances, similar to that of Ama, to remove it. 


The next treatment that I am doing is Choorna Pinda Sweda, which is one of powdered bolice applied to skin via transmission of heat and just a tad of oil for enabling  herbs to transmit to the skin. The idea of the powder is known as ‘Lekana’ which pacifies and is administered before any oil therapy. ‘Lekhana means reducing, reducing tissue mass, or reduction of toxic accumulation. I guess the best way to explain this is catabolic vs anabolic. The reason behind this is because oil or anything nourishing or building can aggravate accumulation of Ama, and m are matters worse. 

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Smokers - Vaping or Dhumapana

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Smokers - Vaping or Dhumapana

There is an ancient method of smoking known as Dhumapana, which is actually an Ayurevdic Treatment known to clear the lungs of excess Kapha. The utilization of herbs such as bishop's weed, turmeric and cloves are said to be a good thing to inhale. But Ayurvedic smoking is different from modern day smoking. It is carried out for head and neck disorders as well as emotional disturbances and mental issues. 

Indications:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Migraine headache
  • Headache
  • Oral infections, gingivitis
  • Nasal polyps
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Sleeplessness
  • Ear infections
  • Bad breath

Sometimes burning is done with a wick and patients inhale through nose and out through mouth. However, there its a product out there known as Nirdosh Herbal Filter Dhoompan (Hand made cigs that you can smoke to give up or kick the actual habit of smoking). I tested them and they taste herbal and like cow dung! But they've completely put me off smoking nicotine and tobacco.

Mostly in our culture we hear of vaping noways to remove the side effects of smoking or burning herbs. There must be discretion for smoking though.

Here at LTF, we are selling these herbal cigs if you want to quit smoking. Being an ex smoker myself  I tried everything from acupuncture to hypnosis and all sorts. These really help with the habit, as mostly the breathing in and out is what is important. 

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In the Clear

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In the Clear

In the Clear / Clean & Clear

Methods and means for clearing the lungs the Ayurvedic way

 

Respiratory problems can be the result of a poor diet, bad posture, lack of exercise or even deep emotional trauma. But most commonly, they occur at the crux of the seasons, when cold turns to hot, or dry becomes humid and vice-versa, we well as when pollution levels are high.

 

The respiratory system carries prana (life force) and oxygen to the lungs. As such, it is one of the body’s most important systems. It is therefore key that any issues relating to it are addressed. As ever, it is always best not simply to treat the symptoms but to seek out the cause and address that. 

 

Individuals who identify with the kapha dosha, or who are kapha-dominant, can be the most susceptible to the kind of imbalances that result in respiratory issues. These usually surface in the form of excess mucus, which is produced in the stomach and accumulates in the lungs. This depository of mucus can cause colds, congestion, coughing, phlegm, swelling and water retention or stagnation in the respiratory tract of kaphas. Those with vata or pitta doshas are not immune to respiratory issues, but their symptoms will usually present themselves as asthmatic (vata) or infectious (pitta). 

 

The excess mucus that the body produces when its dosha is out of balance is usually indicative of low agni, or digestive fire. It is therefore important to stoke that digestive fire. The most obvious way to do this is through diet.

 

As would be expected, a sluggish digestive fire does not need heavy, dense foods. These weigh the system down, so it’s best to avoid foods such as meat, cheese and anything fatty or fried. Eliminating dairy can also be beneficial. Fire your digestive system up by adding warming spices to your meals – ginger, cloves, cardamom and black pepper are particularly good options, and sip hot water with lemon and honey throughout the day. Consider the time of day you are eating and try and start and end it with lighter meals, making lunch the largest meal of the day. It goes without saying that eating and drinking to excess will be detrimental to regaining balance in your dosha.

 

Diet is not the only thing that can fire up you digestive system. An active lifestyle can work wonders, particularly for those with a more sluggish kapha dosha. Warming the body through sport can help to liquefy any accumulated mucus, bringing it back into the digestive tract where it is more easily eliminated. Exercise also usually involves an increase your breathing rate – cardio is particularly beneficial – and this gets your lungs going and will improve their functionality.

 

To speed the process along and to aid recovery, there are some specific Ayuervedic supplements that help with clearing the lungs of mucus. Nasya oil is often used to lubricate the nasal passages to ease breathing when there is congestion. Consider using a neti pot to help remove mucus and any pollutants from these passages and to cleanse and refresh them.

 

Many of these healing means focus on the body. But it’s also worth thinking about the mind. Meditation is an excellent way to practice mindfulness. As it involves regulating breathing patterns, it can be beneficial to those suffering from respiratory problems, too. Extend your meditation into a yogic practice where you link breath with motion; this will help nourish your lungs. Yoga can also improve flexibility in the areas that surround the lungs, allowing them more space to do their job, while yogic breathing revitalizes prana in the body to support them.

 

Making yoga, meditation or some form of exercise a regular part of your daily routine and looking after your diet are not only beneficial to healthy lung function but can bring many other benefits to body and mind. They not only help to stave off the imbalances that result in respiratory problems, but will help to maintain balance in the body and serve as a preventative measure for a wealth of other health issues.

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Healing Garam Chai

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Healing Garam Chai

Here is the best recipe for a healing and soothing garam chai. Chai tea is delicious and the spices combat the mucus forming qualities of cows milk. drink this whenever your digestion needs a pep up. 

GARAM CHAI RECIPE

Serves 4

Time: 15 minutes

 

Doshic Effect Vata < Pitta > Kapha <

 

Materials:

  • medium saucepan
  • fine mesh strainer
  • spoon
  • ginger grater

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cup organic milk **
  • 3 Tbsp. red Rooibos tea (or you can use black tea from India)
  • 1/5 inch cube of fresh ginger root, chopped or grated (you can use dry ginger powder 1 tsp.) 
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • tsp cardamom seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick (broken)
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds
  • 7 peppercorns
  • 7 whole cloves
  • honey to taste

What to Do:

Boil water in sauce pan, add spices and turn heat to low. Add the tea and boil for 8 minutes.

Add the milk and cook additional 2 minutes.

Strain the tea, and wait until it is slightly cooler before adding the honey.

** You can use other types of milk such as cashews, coconut or almond. Make sure you don’t over boil these as they tend to curdle. 

 

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Detoxing - The Scoop

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Detoxing - The Scoop

So I have taken on the challenge of the 3 day cleanse from none other than Punch Detox. This cleanse states that it helps remove toxins from the system. 

There are many signs of toxicity and usually when I feel myself coming down with a flu I usually get right to fasting, as this can really facilitate healing from a much greater level. I actually had gastro last week in Singapore and so I decided to give my body a full overhaul by doing the Punch Detox challenge. Since I have fasted before, I did level 2, which is awesome because it doesn’t have high amounts of sugar and sweetness common to other fasts. I can honestly say that Day 1 wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Although I had only a slight headache, I expected this because this is what I suffered from the first time I ever did a cleanse, and at that time I was in caffeine withdrawal mode, which is horrible!!!There are many detox symptoms which can run rampant if the diet is still loaded with sugar, caffeine and processed foods such as cookies and chips and I highly recommend that you ween off these foods close to a week or two before you fast, it will ease symptoms. 

In Ayurvedic medicine, such extreme juice cleansing is not really recommended for Vata types, although Pitta and Kapha types can benefit from it. Kapha will benefit the most from juice cleansing. Vata types can still do cleansing via a Kichari Cleanse, as this is ledd harsh for them and can still cleanse the entire body. Kichari is known as the food of the God’s because civilisations were sustained solely on beans and rice, not only does it nourish the body completely, but it allows the body to reach homeostasis. The beans are the split yellow kinds called dhal, more specifically mung dhal, which causes the least amount of disruption for the Vata type. As Vata experiences the most gas, the split beans can be cooked with kombu.

The truth is that detoxing or cleansing is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. Just look at all the religions across the board, lent, ramadan, navratari etc. Mostly we get out of the way and let our body’s do all the work for us. By giving a much needed break to our digestion, the body can then get to work on removing toxins from the deeper layers of our being. This is why you see common detox symptoms such as headaches, sluggishness dry mouth, runny nose, irritability or anger, weakness, cravings, nausea, constipation or diarrhoea, and gas. By allowing our body to do the work, we can naturally and safely achieve homeostasis and remove unwanted cravings. Some people feel an intense amount of energy whilst fasting as the energy that usually goes into digesting is now available. I know of some Vata types that have fasted and felt high or spacey. It really all depends on your Ayurvedic constitution. 

The Punch Detox is a great way to reboot your system, as you don’t feel like you are starving your body. The juices are fair and not too sweet. The best part about day 1 was the gasPUNCHO, as it felt heavy enough to be like a soup. 

There are many different ways that you can fast , water fasts, juice fasts and mono fasts. With water fasting you only take water for a length of time. I would not recommend this unless you have experience fasting. The juice fasting is one of the most popular ways because you are still flooding your body with optimal nutrition so your energy levels can remain high. With mono fasting you are still eating solids but you eat the same thing to prevent the body from breaking down many different kind of foods, this is another way to cleanse and can be adapted for Vata types in Ayurveda. Hence Kichari. 

Now on Day 2, my headache has stopped and my tongue is slightly coated, a common symptoms of detoxing. I’m really looking forward to seeing the result after day 3. 

For doing a complete Kichari cleanse, please visit ready made meals section here. 

Until day 3!!!

 

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Vegan Catering Hong Kong

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Vegan Catering Hong Kong

Love True Food was happy to be participating in a casual networking event for Health & Wellness practitioners a Alive Wellness. 

We made a range of vegetarian canapés;

Tandoori Cauliflower Mini Burgers
Vol au Vent Hummus Cucumber Cups
South Indian Doklas with Coconut Chutney
Thai Veggie Wraps - with Sweet Chilli Sauce
Mini Sweet Tarts

We are so pleased the event was a success and look forward to catering more vegan markets here in Hong Kong. Please do not hesitate to contact us here, or get some of our yummy frozen foods at i-Detox in Central. 

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Why I am SO OVER Quinoa, Refined Oils, Gluten Free Fads and Low Fat Crap!

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Why I am SO OVER Quinoa, Refined Oils, Gluten Free Fads and Low Fat Crap!

I was exposed to Quinoa over 9 years ago In New York, where quinoa was marketed as a high protein and amazing health grain, and above all gluten free. In fact it still is marketed like that!!! During that time I was able to introduce it into my diet with much ease. It was easy to cook, tasted good, and ‘wow’ , the amazing health benefits seemed too good to be true. Well that’s what I thought anyway. Whilst doing a total ‘western, superfoods overhaul’, I noticed my health was deteriorating in New York. I became fat, pimply, exhausted and angry all the time! On one hand I was learning about all these ‘so called’ healthy superfoods and on the other was suffering from a range of health and emotional disturbances. This didn’t quite add up. 

The more I ignored the traditional ancient wisdom I had learnt as a child,  the more I suffered. I delved deep into health and Ayurveda, and have been studying it for a good 9 years. Always learning more. Having a rich Indian heritage to fall back on I looked at traditional foods and saw that they were all-health nourishing. This is not based on journals or experiments, but on my own experience. The proof was in the pudding; my ancestors survived and flourished and I was determined to survive and flourish too. I began eating full fat oils like ghee and coconut oil. I began introducing ‘kitchari’ back into my diet (an ancient rice and lentil dish), I began incorporating pickled and fermented foods back into my diet, and guess what. I dropped all the weight and my moods were uplifted. (from eating more fatty foods.) It is so funny that now I do the opposite to what is marketed! 

Coming back to Hong Kong I’ve seen all these fads take shape, the newest ‘Gluten Free’ fad, which by no means is bad, but only really necessary if you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance. As an Ayurvedic Nutritional Therapist and Chef, I never put anyone on gluten free diet, unless they have celiac disease or gluten intolerance in one shape or another. The reason for this is because there are a lot of 'non-nutrient compounds', which are essential for the body that you fall short on when you avoid gluten. Yes I understand that our modern day wheat has GMO written all over it, but what about ancient grains like spelt, which can be just as delicious and organic and non modified? 

Now I’m not saying that everyone should load up on the cookies, cakes and biscuits, but what I am saying is that a preventative approach to health is far more sustainable than going with the latest health crazes of marketing. Eating foods enriched with vitamins, mineral etc. is worse than consuming the whole food as it comes from nature in its purest and most assimilable form. Taking out healthy fat and replacing it with skim or low fat versions is not how my ancestors lived, and it is not how I am going to live either. They flourished! 

In Hong Kong I see people searching for quinoa, California almonds and other superfoods which are not even indigenous to Hong Kong, China. Yes I understand that some Chinese crops are ridden with toxins and heavy metals, but at least consider the benefits of eating local or even regional. For example quinoa has been cultivated in the Andean region for over 7,000 years and was considered sacred by the Inca Empire. As the demand for quinoa continues to grow in western markets it robs the local farmers deserving consumption of their grain as they switch to more western based diets for higher profit. As the price increases for quinoa it is consumed less and less in Bolivia. Not to mention the thousands of miles it takes to reach our supermarket shelves. People, wake up, we have rice and millet!! Why do we as a culture seem to think that everything can be fixed by robbing another nations crops! Also, why do we suffer from the ‘grass is greener on the other side’ syndrome! It really upsets me when people think the grass is greener, when they have so much abundance and nutrition right at their doorstep! Eating local and seasonal can really be a preventative health approach, protect the environment and also help nations economically thrive. 

Mis-guided health advise is a form of harassment, end of. Food and health advise should be reasonable, sustainable and be based on actual experience rather than tested on lab rats! You don’t necessarily need to buy some products to make you healthy. True health is unique and can be achieved through a determination to listen to what our thriving ancestors have told us. But most importantly to what your body is telling you. 

The truth is that refined food items are highly toxic, even if they are marketed as being the most healthy food in the world. Trust me, a newer food will come along very soon. Yesterday its was Vitamin D today it is algae! Lets take Ghee for example (clarified butter). Ghee the golden liquid is so healthy and beautiful, yet at one point in time people in India were avoiding it and going for more refined clear vegetable oils or western versions of olive oils and canola. What happened? The hydrogenation of the refined oils made these oils far worse and less nourishing and our bodies have told us so. Also robbing India's natural resource of ancient wisdom. But we choose to ignore our bodies! The word refine makes people think that the item is better, but it is removing everything good in the item. 

So, after my rant I conclude that ‘Ancient Food Wisdom’ is worth preserving, and if you are lucky enough like myself to have access to the rich and abundant wisdom, delve deep and know that true health is your birthright!

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Kicharee Cleansing

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Kicharee Cleansing

Cleansing the Ancient Way: Kichari 

Kichari (pronounced kich-ah-ree) is known as a staple food originating from India, and combines mung lentils with basmati rice. These two ingredients being the most digestible of the group, mung beans in particular are considered the most digestible of all its cousins. The word defines ‘mess’, meaning porridge. It is a warm dish, as digestion is in fact a warm process, and is packed with optimal protein and nutrition for nourishment of all the cells and ‘dhatus’ (tissues, in Ayurveda there are 7) of the body. 

The type of cleanse is compared to that of a mono diet, which helps the body reach homeostasis in its quest for optimal balance. From day 1 to 3, you may notice the boredom of the diet may urge you to cheat, however, by day 4, you’ll feel a slight and noticeable difference in your energy levels as the digestive system is given a much needed break. The journey of cleansing is not so extreme, it adds value to removing unwanted toxins without the negative effects of a total juice fast. However, leading up to any cleansing, one must try to avoid, animal products, even dairy and cheese, caffeine is a tough one but necessary, otherwise the body may go into major healing crisis with caffeine withdrawals. Sugar is another story, and if you remove refined sugar before partaking in this cleanse it can drastically help the removal of toxins and it has a less harsh effect on the healing. Gluten can be avoided as well.

So give the cleanse a try and see for yourself how beneficial fasting is. This coupled with a yoga and cleansing program can help city dwellers to reach a state of inner peace and calm without spending top dollar on health products or vacation spas or retreats. 

 

Happy Cleansing. Below is a recipe to help you along the way; 

 

Kitchari- Serves 4

Ingredients: 

  • 3 ⅓ cups (800ml) water
  • ⅓ cup (80ml) split mung beans
  • ⅓ cup (80ml) red lentils
  • ⅓ cup (80ml) basmati rice
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 12 curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon crushed fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 5 pepper corns
  • Step 3
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • ½ medium zucchini, chopped
  • 2 kale leaves, thinly sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon rock salt
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ⅓ cup (80ml) chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ lemon
  • ¼ lime

 

Procedure:

Bring water to a boil in a medium pot. Add mung beans, lentils, rice, turmeric, curry leaves, and fresh ginger. Once it is boiling again, reduce heat and simmer. In the meantime, grind cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and pepper corns in a coffee grinder. Add 1 teaspoon of the spice mix to the kitchari.

Add carrots, zucchini, kale, and salt. Cook uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes until the lentils are tender and the mixture resembles a thick porridge. Stir occasionally. Add more water if necessary.

Heat ghee in a skillet. Add . teaspoon cumin seeds and fry for 30 seconds. Add rest of the ground spices from step 2, then immediately add a little bit of the kitchari to prevent burning and stir well. Add the spice fry to the kitchari and stir.

Garnish with fresh lemon and lime juice and cilantro.

Variation: Add fresh chili peppers and fresh ginger in step 4 for a spicier version.

 

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