Dadima ke gharelu nushke/old wine in a new bottle 0
Once upon a time... There was an advertisement that showed the baby crying incessantly.
The grandmother asks the child’s mother the reason for the baby to cry and tells her to give
gripe water with this famous dialogue...
“Main Bhi toh tujhe vo hi deti thi jab tu choti thi”
This ad became such a hit in every household that the products started selling like hot cakes. During our times, we were given carom seeds (ajwain) tea to drink, it used to be a natural painkiller, relieves gas and bloating. (I take it even now) Taking a look back, when I was nursing my baby. I was a new mother, learning the tricks of the trade. Loads of advice, tips given by my granny really helped me pass this phase.This article explores many such home remedies given by the grandmothers throughout the world - some conventional and others non-conventional.
Garlic for cold
A homemade cough syrup followed by many grandmothers in the Dominican republic. A boiled concoction of garlic, onion and honey, a tsp to be taken daily. It is a great decongestant, prevents throat irritation and suppresses cough (of course, along with the bad breath which automatically creates social distancing)
In India, the most common is tulsi leaves, its juice is mixed with honey and given to infants having a cold and cough. Another sure shot medicine is the kadha - a bitter spicy herbal tea made from spices like ginger, pepper, clove, cinnamon, carom seeds that has the reputation of killing germs of all kinds. Just close your nose and gulp down the kadha in one shot. It not only releases the sputum but also gives a good night's sleep.
Lettuce for a good night’s sleep
The grandma’s of Puerto Rico had a unique way to induce sleep in hyperactive kids. Boil lettuce leaves in the water, strain, add a bit of sugar, let the kids drink it warm. Lettuce contains a phytonutrient called lactucarium, which is said to induce sleep. Meanwhile we in India grew up drinking the traditional recipe of turmeric latte/haldi ka doodh containing milk, turmeric, black pepper, sugar/jaggery to be consumed warm. Post that anyone could hear you snoring away to glory!!!
Rice for ear pain
An age-old remedy for getting relief from the ear pain which used to frequent in childhood was raw rice. Take a heapfull of raw rice in socks, heat it over a stove top and place over the infected ear. In the times where hot compress was not available, heated rice was used to give relief and bring down the inflammation.
Another ‘upai’ was to crush garlic pods, cover them with cotton and place them in each ear. The fumes from the crushed garlic had the ability to kill the germs and bring relief from the pain. Many of these dadima ke nuskhe still work. The pharmaceutical company has taken these age-old formulas to prepare cough syrups, cough drops, and antacids medicines.
During the time where access to medical care and medicine was limited and costly. Grandmas would look for foods and herbs in their own gardens and pantries that contained healing properties to fight off illnesses..
Thanks to them, we developed natural immunity against the common infections unlike the generation now, who pops a pill for every small ache and pain. It is required to bring back the age-old remedies for better health and immunity in today’s time where covid has brought back the emphasis on one's health.
Traditional Dining Practices Leads To Weight Loss 0
ONCE UPON A TIME I was invited to a naming ceremony for my grandmother’s friend’s daughter. I was very young at that time and excited to wear a beautiful dress and adorn myself with flowers and jewellery. I was even more excited at the prospect of a wide spread of sweets, snacks, varieties of rice preparations etc served over a banana leaf.
The only thing I dreaded was sitting down on the floor cross legged!
It's been just a couple of minutes of sitting cross legged that i felt that there was no feeling in my right leg at all. I just wanted to stretch my leg when I saw a glimpse of my granny giving me a stern eye. This made me fold my legs again and sit straight :)
All that practice paid off and even now I sit on the floor cross legged to have my meals although we do have a dining table and chairs (I can manage to sit like that for an hour now).
But why punish myself this way?
Well, there is a scientific basis to sitting cross legged on the floor. Did you know, this traditional way of dining can teach you to eat mindfully and help you to lose weight.
In an age when there were no dining tables, everyone sat on floor while having food and very few suffered from lifestyle diseases that have become so rampant in our times
According to the experts, sitting on the ﬂoor strengthens the lumbar region of the body. Digestive juices are secreted in the stomach, which gets ready for processing the food.
It is more of a blessing than a punishment…
Science supports tradition
Many research articles have been published in international journals about the benefits of our traditional dining practices.
Sitting on the floor and eating also makes you mindful of the amount of food that you are eating. Sitting cross legged stimulates the vagus nerve to send signals to the brain about the feeling of fullness which prevents you from overeating. This in turn can help in weight loss.
The digestion process is also better at preventing gastric issues or bloating.
So it is ok to chuck the dining set and use the floor (saves money too!)
To eat is a necessity but to eat intelligently is an art - La Rochefoucauld
Once Upon A Time 0
India is a land of diverse cultures and traditions. Right from conception to old age, various rituals and beliefs were defined by our ancestors. Many of these traditional beliefs do seem to have a scientific backing and hence it makes sense to follow them even now!
There are a few forgotten costumes followed by our ancestors Once Upon A Time. Let us go through that memory lane and have a look at one such important custom…
The term Annaprashan is a Sanskrit word, which literally translates to "grain initiation."
In simple language, it means your baby’s first feeding or first rice-eating ceremony.
A custom where the infant is given its first solid food, is celebrated with fervour and joy in many parts of India, more common during our grandmother’s era and slowly losing shine in our present generation.
A ceremony where the families and friends get together. The child is made to dress in bright-colored traditional dress with jewellery. A pujari/priest is invited to perform the ritual. Loads of offerings like fruits, snacks are given to the God. The whole atmosphere is filled with excitement, laughter and blessings are bestowed to the child.
Ayurveda supports Anna Prashan
As per Ayurveda, Fruit juices should be given to the child from sixth month onwards, which are a source of vitamins especially vitamin C (phal-prashan). 8 months onwards, he should be given light and wholesome food (anna-prashan). By offering phalprashan and annaprashan ceremony at this time with breast milk, we can reduce the deficiency of related essential vitamins and prevent any growth deficit.
And so does Modern Nutrition
Similar to phal/annaprashan introduction in Ayurveda, the same principle is followed in Paediatric Nutrition today called Weaning. Breast milk is deficient in iron, vitamin A, D, K and calcium, thus it makes sense to start with solid foods after 6 months of breastfeeding. Starting Weaning does not imply discontinuation of breastfeeding, in fact; weaning compliments mother’s milk.
Does your grandmother preach the same?
Grandmothers are the encyclopaedia of food consumed during pregnancy to the kinds of nutrition an infant requires. They never consulted any expert on this, her own experience of raising not less than a dozen kids have resulted in a plethora of knowledge which the current generation can make use of.
The whole idea about Annaprasan is to expose the child to a wide variety of foods which will help him in proper growth and development. Secondly it also helps to make a child grow up to be non-fussy and open to try different flavours and varieties.
If we ignore their advice, we are staring at a future of a fussy child behind whom a mom is running around with a bowl of food or showing videos on the mobile to distract the kid.This paves the way for an adult who works while eating or eats while working making him an ideal person inviting various diseases!
So what's your story?
Marrying Ayurveda to Modern day Diets 0
Marrying Ayurveda to Modern day Diets
There is no denying that currently we are on a roller coster ride full of new diets and fads. These include diets of cleanse, superfoods, clean eating, detox and the list can go on. What we forget is that Indian Ayurveda had known and practised this science generations ago and there is a vast treasure of knowledge what we have had all along. Ayurveda, an age-old Indian science, has secrets to clean, healthy lives that don't need you to spend excessively on every new health fad, and can be accessed through one's everyday kitchen.
Ayurveda talks about elements our body is build of air, water, fire, ether and earth and the misbalances these elements get into - the doshas - Vata, Pitha and Kapha! The key is to eliminate or reduce the dosha and achieve a state of harmony. All foods many not suit us despite being inherently healthy and safe to consume. So how to do we really figure whats good for us.
There are two simple choices in front of us. We go to a Ayurvedic practitioner and get our dosa checked and go as per recommended diets for the same. Or better still start listening to our bodies. Is the red rice we just had, actually made us feel lighter or heavier. How did we emotionally feel after consuming a particular food group at the time of the day. If we felt lighter, energetic, happy. We can listen to our internal gut system.
Going on a diet should not be a mind game but mindful eating would actually lead us to the bliss we are looking from a healthier body…..
Ghee – The Ultimate Elixir! 0
As a child – I was not interested in food. My mother even today talks about the efforts it took to get me to have a meal (and she relishes telling the stories to my son who laps it up all with glee!). My bête noire was the plain dal, rice and ghee. In our family, it was just what the name suggests – plain boiled tuvar (arhar) dal, rice and ghee. This would be mashed up to and it was supposed to be the ultimate in nutrition. I could never eat it, but sometimes I would close my eyes and get a whiff of homemade ghee and manage a few mouthfuls. My fascination with ghee continues to this day. The aroma of freshly made ghee can stimulate your appetite and whet your taste buds.
When I started living alone and had to cook for myself – I stopped using ghee. My mother would faithfully send me a bottle of homemade ghee – but that would just sit pretty for c’mon – who doesn’t know that ghee is bad for you? It is fattening, it increases cholesterol, it is for grandmothers! This was not just my opinion, but most people around believed it. Dalda (otherwise known as Vanaspati ghee) was supposed to be healthier and relatively cheaper, if I remember right. The urban Indian kitchen was flooded with Palm oil, Canola oil, Sunflower oil and so on and ghee was relegated to the back of the larder. Despite the reduction in consumption, the incidence of life style diseases was rising. Quite a conundrum, isn’t it?
When I was pregnant, my mother took over my nutrition and insisted that I have a teaspoon if ghee with every meal. She said that it would be good for my baby and I will thank her later! She paid no heed to my protests about ghee making me fat. To my chagrin, the doctors also agreed with her. I was seeing a wonderful Ayurvedic practitioner at that time who explained the benefits of ghee.
What is ghee?
When you simmer homemade (or store bought) unsalted butter for a few minutes, preferably in a thick bottomed pan, you will get a goldenish brown liquid – the kitchen will have a tantalizing aroma! The liquid will have some blackish impurities that need to be strained out. The result is fresh homemade ghee! Ghee dates back thousands of years and ancient Hindus have long used it for cooking, medicinal value and of course for various rituals. Traditionally, ghee was made from cow’s milk.
Ghee does not have lactose or casein – thus making it suitable even for the lactose intolerant. It is rich in short- chain and medium-chain fatty acids, hence is actually good for the health of your heart!
Top Benefits of Ghee
I can see the speculative looks right now! Yes, you read right! Ghee is good for weight loss! Ghee is rich in medium short chain fatty acids and this helps in increasing the metabolism. Rashi Chowdhary, a Dubai based Nutrionist and a regular columnist with Friday magazine is a major advocate of having a teaspoon of organic, pure ghee on an empty stomach. She says that this kick starts the metabolism. (it is implied that you need to have a balanced diet too!)
A healthy gut means a healthy you! Ghee is rich in butyric acid. Butryic acid is needed to eliminate toxins and other fats from the digestive tract. The body does produce its own butyric acid, but ghee aids the process! Ghee also increases the gastric acid which means saying bye-bye to constipation!
We live in the golden age of auto immune diseases.. every second city dweller has some condition related to this – which also means increased inflammation levels in the body. If you have tried Ayurveda, you would have had experience in having medicines that are either or need to be laced with ghee. Ayurveda believes that ghee reduces the leukotriene secretion and prostaglandin – reduces acidity and brings down the overall inflammation levels. High inflammation levels are linked to Alzheimer’s, Cancer, Heart problems, Arthritis etc. Ghee aids in the cure and management of so many health conditions
Healthy cooking Medium
Ghee has a high smoke point – that means that heating ghee does not spoil it. It does not release free radicals like most cooking oils at a high temperature. Cooking and frying in ghee is healthier.
Ghee is rich in Vitamins A, D, E & K2 These vitamins are essential for a healthy body. The lack of Vitamin D leads to multiple health issues. Our ancestors knew this and hence increased the consumption of ghee during the winter months – ghee is needed for strong bones and glowing skin!
As mentioned earlier – ghee is generally safe for people who are lactose intolerant.
Choosing the right brand
It is best to make ghee at home using age old methods. But it may not always be possible. I cannot make it in Dubai as I do not have access to good quality raw milk. The next best choice is to buy good quality organic ghee. Traditionally ghee from cow’s milk is considered healthier. Read the labels on the packet- it should clearly state that it is made from cow’s milk. There should typically not be any trans-fat mentioned
Ghee is healthy! Include it in your daily diet. Add it your rotis, rice, dosas, idlis, kichadis… or just have it plain!
- Pallavi Gupta
- Tags: Ghee