Authors Posts by Nahid Ameen

Nahid Ameen

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Grain Free, Oil Free Chickpea Flour Flatbread or Chickpea Roti or Chila
Serves 5
A delicious Grain-Free option for those who are gluten or grain free
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup chickpea flour
  2. ½ cup cassava flour or tapioca flour
  3. Celtic Sea Salt, to taste
  4. 1 tablespoon soy or rice based yogurt
  5. 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast (optional)
  6. ½ teaspoon of garam masala
  7. ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  8. A pinch of cayenne pepper
  9. 1 cup water
Instructions
  1. In a stainless steel bowl add all of the dried ingredients and mix well.
  2. Add soy or rice milk and mix it with the dried ingredients.
  3. Slowly incorporate room temperature water by whisking the ingredients.
  4. Ensure the batter is not too thick. Add more water if you want thinner consistency.
  5. Heat the ceramic non-stick pan and using a ladle pour the batter on the pan. Turn the handle of the pan to make the batter round.
  6. Cook each side for 3-4 minutes or until they are cooked.
  7. This batter should make 12-14 flatbread.
Notes
  1. Adjust water to ensure lighter consistency of the batter
  2. Adjust salt as needed as when using nutritional yeast.
Utensil
  1. Gotham Steel 9.5-Inch Non-Stick Titanium Frying Pan – for no oil cooking
Conscious Health http://conscioushealth.net/

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This blog is focused on Iron – one of the most important mineral for the body. We will be discussing the Top 12 Vegetarian sources of Iron to combat iron deficiency. Additionally we will discuss the what foods contain iron, what are benefits of iron, deficiency symptoms and my iron favourite supplements.

Ayurvedic texts discuss the health benefits and the attributes of “Loha” or “Iron”.

Name in Ayurveda: Loha or Lauha

Quality: Dry, rough, heavy and hard.

Taste: Bitter, sweet and astringent

Energy: Cooling

Iron is a nutrient that is necessary to build proteins for red blood cells. Dietary iron comes from both non-vegetarian and vegetarian sources. There are two forms of iron – non-heme and heme iron.

Grains and vegetables contain non-heme iron and animal foods contains both heme and non-heme iron. Heme iron is absorbed fast into the small intestine (duodenum). Interestingly heme iron accounts for the least amount of iron coming from a dietary source but heme iron is most bio available form available to the body. Unfortunately non-heme iron is absorbed slowly in the body. Non heme iron is activated by the stomach acid into more absorbable form.

Iron is an extremely important mineral as iron goes to hemoglobin (which is a part of red blood cells), to myoglobin (of muscles), to bone marrow or the liver for storage.

Interactions with other Nutrients:

  • Vitamin A and C increases iron absorption from the intestine. Ascorbic acid and citric acid chelates iron and therefore makes it more available.
  • Copper is needed for iron absorption, iron metabolism and forming red blood cells.

Increasing Iron Absorption:

  • Bitter herbs or spices that increase stomach acid can increase iron absorption in the stomach. Especially from vegetarian sources of iron.
  • Dietary intake of foods rich in Vitamin A and C is important for iron absorption.
  • Plant sources of iron are dependent on the soil content of iron. If the soil is poor in minerals, so will the foods grown in them.
  • Cooking utensils or cookware’s, food preparation methods and various cooking techniques can assist with iron absorption from vegetarian foods. Soaking and sprouting grains, lentils, nuts and seeds, using cast iron cookware, fermentation process and cooking leafy green uncovered have huge impact in iron absorption.

Dietary Sources of Iron:

  1. Animal meat and organs
  2. Leafy greens such as, spinach, Swiss chard, collard greens etc.
  3. Vegetables such as, green peas, brussel sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, beets, tomatoes, fennel etc.
  4. Grains and lentils
  5. Beans – soy bean, navy beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans etc.
  6. Spices and herbs such as, turmeric, cumin, cloves, curry leaves, basil, oregano, thyme etc.
  7. Dairy products such as yogurt.
  8. Sea vegetables
  9. Supplements
  10. Iron fortified foods

Note: Plant sources contain only non-heme iron accounts for 90% of dietary iron, unfortunately only ~3-17% is of non-heme iron absorbed in the body. Heme iron or animal flesh contains 40% heme and 60% non-heme iron and accounts for 10-15% of dietary iron. However 70% of heme iron is absorbed in the body.

What Iron does in the Body?

  1. Hemoglobin formation in the red blood cells and bone marrow (with the help of copper)
  2. Iron enhances oxygen transport and storage
  3. Formation of myoglobin that carries oxygen to the muscles.
  4. Iron is present in all muscle tissues therefore lack of iron weakens the muscle tone and elasticity.
  5. Assists in cognitive development
  6. Hormone synthesis and supports menstrual flow
  7. Regulates body temperature
  8. Helps in enzymes for energy production. In Ayurvedic texts it is written that iron provides strength.
  9. Immune functions
  10. Assists in protein metabolism
  11. Antioxidant activity
  12. DNA synthesis
  13. Supports collagen production
  14. Iron in the hemoglobin molecule also helps carry carbon dioxide back to the lungs for removal.
  15. Iron is involved in the synthesis of anumber of essential neurotransmitters like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.
  16. Ayurveda states that Iron is really good for vision health.
  17. In Ayurveda iron is considered important for sexual stamina.
  18. It also pacifies kidney inflammation.
  19. Ayurveda text also states good supply of iron can assist in recovering from rheumatoid arthritis.

blood-builder

 

Deficiency Symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Low stamina
  • Pale skin
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Headaches
  • Canker sores
  • Difficulty in concentrating and focusing
  • Low immunity

Reasons for Deficiency:

  • Low HCl or low stomach acid in the body.
  • Phytic acid, oxalic acid, polyphenols and phosphates found in food can decrease non-heme iron absorption.
  • Iron and zinc compete for absorption in the body. Therefore high intake of zinc can make the body iron deficient.
  • High calcium intake can lower iron absorption. For example milk is high in calcium but low in iron.
  • Tannins in coffee and tea also reduce iron absorption.
  • Oxalic acid binds with iron therefore inhibits iron absorption. Oxalic acids are present in spinach, kale, beets, nuts, chocolate, tea etc.
  • Excessive menstruation in women due to uterine fibroid.
  • Conditions like hemorrhoids, ulcers or other bleeding disorders.
  • Parasite in the body.
  • Blood donation.
  • After giving birth.

Disease Formation due to Low Iron:

  • Anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Excessive menstrual flow (menorrhagia)
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Hemorrhoids

 flora-vit

Top 12 Vegetarian Food Sources to Combat Iron Deficiency

Over the years working at many Health Food Stores and learning about how companies are creating products (supplements) that are suitable for vegetarians has taught me a few things about getting iron from plant sources.

As mentioned about foods that contain high Vitamin A and C can help increase iron absorption. Therefore choosing foods that has both the above vitamins as well as iron is crucial for vegetarians. Or adding Vitamin A and C rich foods with iron rich foods can also combat any deficiency problems.

Ayurvedic or Nutritious way of making food supports iron absorption from foods. Eating fermented foods such as sourdough, idli and dosa where the grains and lentils are soaked and fermented assists with iron absorption. Fermented foods contain lactic acid that is beneficial for iron absorption. Cooking leafy greens uncovered and in a cast iron pan will also make iron available from these foods. Ayurveda also recommended eating husked grains and lentils for iron absorption. Adding Vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables such as lemon, lime, green chilies and tomatoes when eating lentils, beans and pea is important for iron absorption.

My top favourite iron rich foods from vegetarian sources are –

Curry Leaves:  Curry leaves are a rich source of iron and folic acid. Curry leaves naturally contain both vitamin A and C which can increase iron absorption. The vitamin and mineral composition if this herb makes it a perfect food for hair growth, skin health and helps keep anaemia at bay. South Indian cuisine adds curry leaves to many of their foods. The

Cilantro Leaves:  Like curry leaves cilantro leaves are also high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Iron. Therefore beneficial to combat iron deficiency. Cilantro stems and roots are also highly beneficial as they are dense in nutrients. My raisin chutney recipe has many favourable ingredients to overcome iron deficiency. The recipe is shared with the members of Ayurvedic Culinary Program members in module 1.

Parsley Leaves: Similar to curry leaves and cilantro leaves, parsley too contain iron, Vitamin A and C. This herbs is a major detoxifier and supports the kidney functions.

Moringa Leaves: Popularly known as drumstick, moringa is valued for nutrient density.  Studies have shown that Moringa leaf has exceptionally high iron content. 100g (3.5oz) of beef liver contains about 10 mg iron, pork liver about 10-20 mg and moringa leaf contains 28 gram of iron per 100 gram. Therefore moringa leaf is used to treat malnourishment in many third world countries. Moringa is very popular in South India, Bangladesh and Sri Lankan cuisine. Both the leaves and the stems (also known as drumstick) is used in many dishes.

Beets: Both beet root and beet greens are amazing for nutrition. Beet greens contains Vitamin A, C, copper as well as Iron. Therefore it becomes a great source of absorbent iron.

 Tomatoes:  Tomatoes contain Vitamin A, C, iron and copper – all of the favourable nutrients for iron absorption. Sun dried tomatoes contain the most bio available form of iron. 100 grams of sun dried tomatoes contain approximately 9 mg of iron. When sun dried not available I like to add skinned and deseeded tomatoes to my curry’s and salad’s.

 Pomegranate: Dietary intake of pomegranate including the seeds and the skin is extremely beneficial for health. Pomegranate contains iron, protein as well fiber. Many cultures instinctively love adding pomegranate to their diet to combat iron deficiency anemia.  

 Apricot: Apricots are rich in Vitamin A, C, Copper and Iron – therefore it is an ideal food for iron absorption.  Dried apricots are the best way to have iron all year round and they are rich sources of fiber.

 Blackstrap Molasses: Blackstrap molasses is another rich source non-heme iron. A tablespoon of this food provides approximately 3.5 mg of iron which is approximately 19 percent of the daily recommended amount of iron for adults. Black strap molasses is sometimes taken in conjunction with Kefir to combat various health conditions.

 Amaranth: Grains such as amaranth, quinoa and rye are all great sources of iron. Half cup of amaranth contains approximately 9 mg of iron. Ensure grains are presoaked in water or sprouted before consumption to reduce phytic acid.

 Mung Beans: All lentils and beans contain phytic acid which may inhibit the absorption of iron. Therefore presoaking them for couple hours to overnight can ensure elimination of this phytic acid. Young green mung beans contain 16% of the daily value of the iron consumption needed for adult women.

 Soybeans: Soybean, tofu and tempeh are great sources of non-heme iron. One cup of cooked soy bean contains approximately 8 mg of iron, four ounces of tofu contains 6.4 mg and eight ounces of tempeh contains 4.5 mg of iron.  Soybean or soybean derivatives (tofu and tempeh) are considered superfoods that are high in protein, fiber and micro nutrients. However, consider only non-GMO soybeans or certified organic soybean to avoid GMO. Women with estrogen dominance also reduce intake of soybeans.

 My Top 3 Iron Supplements

 In Canada I feel that the following the one of the best formula’s for iron supplementation. You must ask your primary health care practitioner for the right one for you.

  1. Floravit by Salus
  2. Thorne Research – Citramins with Copper and Iron
  3. Blood Builder by Mega Food

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This is my new found early morning love! Almond milk mocha with chai spice. This is my own chai spice blend available at Conscious Health website. I also make my own homemade almond milk. The ones that are store bought does not taste as good and contains tapioca starch, calcium carbonate, potassium citrate, lecithin and natural flavour. I would rather take 5 minutes and make my own. Especially since I own a Vitamix. I also add other amazing ingredients to my almond milk. Soon I will share this recipe too.

I am sharing the benefits of the ingredients below before I share my recipe. Please do not add coffee and make it your own hot chocolate if you are avoiding caffeine.

Cacao: This world renowned food in its original form is healthy and nutrient dense. In its raw form cacao is rich in antioxidants and minerals such as, magnesium, chromium, iron, zinc, copper. It has amazing heart health benefits, aids weight loss and depression. Cacao is a bitter substance that can help fight blood sugar imbalances. Cacao is an excellent source of anti-depressant phenethylamine (PEA) molecule. 

Almond Milk: This dairy free milk option is prepared from almonds. Almonds are lower in fat compared to dairy, but high in energy. 1 cup of almond milk has 40 calories, calcium and potassium. Almonds contains Vitamin E, B2, Proteins, and Good fats. It contains minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc.

Chai Spice Blend: Conscious Health Chai Spice blend contain cinnamon, cardamom, clove, bay leaf and ginger. All of these spices have superior health benefit properties. Together they improve circulation, reduces body pain and aches and strengthens the immune system.

Links to shop for the ingredients:

Cacao

Medjool Dates

Organic Instant Coffee

Coconut Oil

Chai Spice Blend

Just try this recipe!!

My Homemade Almond Milk Hot Mocha
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup almond milk (I make mine at home)
  2. 1 cup spring water or filtered water
  3. 1 tablespoon raw cacao nibs
  4. 1 teaspoon organic instant coffee
  5. 2 dates
  6. ½ teaspoon vanilla
  7. ¼ teaspoon chai spice mix
  8. 1 teaspoon of extra virgin coconut oil
  9. pinch of sea salt
Instructions
  1. Freshly grind the raw cacao.
  2. In a high speed blender add all of the above ingredients but the coconut oil.
  3. Pour into a cup and stir in the coconut oil.
Conscious Health http://conscioushealth.net/

Ayurvedic Twist to Date Based Protein Balls or Energy Balls

Today I am sharing an Ayurvedic twist to a Western quick-fix recipe for weight loss, energy boost and high protein. This recipe will give you a blast of nutrient supply that is rich in protein, fiber and good dietary fats. This is your usual date based protein balls or protein bites that you will find different variations in many blogs. This recipe is special due to three interesting ingredients I have added – Ayurvedic spices such as cardamom, cinnamon and ginger, rose water to add flavour as well as cooling effect and lastly raisins from which grape seed extract is derived.

The recipes is amazing to promote bone density, strengthen heart health, loose weight (in combination with a healthy diet), improve mood, reduce depression, balance hormone and provide energy.

The rest of the ingredients are very commonly used in other protein balls or energy balls such as fiber rich flax and chia seeds, coconut and cacao nibs or cocoa nibs.

Dates: Dates are amazing source of natural sugar, fiber and minerals such as potassium, calcium and zinc.

Munakka Raisin: Contains iron, calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese and selenium. Extremely beneficial for weight loss, acidity and bone health.

Almonds: High in biotin, Vitamin E, manganese, copper, Vitamin B2, molybdenum and magnesium. They are rich source of dietary fat and fiber has benefits for brain, vision and heart health. Amazing for weight loss.

Hemp Seeds: Contains good fats that promote heart health as well as protein that contains 20 amino acids. Hemp seeds are rich in fiber, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. It is also rich in Vitamin A, D, E, B2, B3 and B6.

Dried Coconut: Contains manganese, potassium, copper, selenium and calcium all amazing for bone and blood health.

Flaxseeds: A high fiber seed that also rich in protein. Nutrients present in flaxseeds are B1, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium. Assist in weight loss.

Chia seeds: Like flaxseeds chia is also rich in dietary fiber, fats and proteins. It contains calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. Chia seeds are beneficial in type 2 diabetes, heart health and improves performance in sports.

Cacao Nibs: Rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, magnesium, potassium and iron. Assists with hormonal mood swings and depression.

Matcha Green Tea: Boosts memory, metabolism, weight loss, and increase endurance. Assist in cancer prevention and contains many anti-aging properties

Rosewater: Natural anti-inflammatory, powerful mood enhancer and has a cooling effect.

Ayurvedic Protein Balls for Weight Loss
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Ingredients
  1. Medjool Dates – 1 cup (deseeded and presoaked in water)
  2. Munaka Raisins – 1 tablespoon (keep the seed and presoak in water)
  3. Almonds – ¼ cup (presoaked) or use ¼ cup of almond meal
  4. Hemp seeds – 1 tablespoon (keep 1 teaspoon from this away for garnish)
  5. Dried coconut – 1 tablespoon
  6. Cardamom, ground – ½ teaspoon
  7. Cinnamon, ground – ½ teaspoon
  8. Ginger, ground – ¼ teaspoon
  9. Nutmeg, ground – a pinch
  10. Flaxseeds, whole – 1 tablespoon
  11. Black chia seeds, whole – 1 tablespoon
  12. Cacao or cocoa nibs, raw – 2 tablespoon
  13. Coconut oil, cold pressed – 1 tablespoon or as needed
  14. Match green tea, powder – 2 teaspoon
  15. Rosewater – 1 tablespoon
Instructions
  1. Presoak dates, raisins and almonds separately in water overnight or in hot water for an hour.
  2. Dry the almonds and keep the skin on.
  3. Mix flax, chia, almonds, hemp and coconut together and grind them in a spice or coffee grinder. Note this can be made in a larger batch to use later when making more date protein balls.
  4. Coat your hands and the chopper container with coconut oil.
  5. Deseed the dates, add raisins and use a chopper to make them into a paste.
  6. Put this mixer in a large bowl and add the flax mixture.
  7. Use your hands to mix everything together.
  8. Add the spices, 1 teaspoon of the matcha green tea and rose water in the mixture.
  9. Using the palm of your hands make small balls with the mixture. Ensure palm was coated with coconut oil.
  10. Garnish with rest of the matcha green tea and hemp.
Notes
  1. Make the balls small size (up to 20 grams each)
  2. Eat no more than 2 a day to reduce sugar cravings.
  3. Add peanut or almond butter instead of almonds when using it after workout.
  4. Use black raisins if munakka is not available.
Conscious Health http://conscioushealth.net/

Homemade Curry Paste – Anti-Inflammatory and Hormone Balancing

This recipe is full of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties as well as anti-microbial properties. Those who have IBD or IBS – should avoid onion and garlic. Read my previous blog for more information.

I am using raw turmeric for the first time (inspired from a Malaysian dish).

Galangal and lime leaf are used in Malaysian and Indonesian cuisines. However I love the flavor’s therefore using it to give the curry a twist. 

This recipe also promotes metabolism and can aid weight loss. However. combined with a healthy eating habit.

Homemade Curry Paste – Anti-Inflammatory and Hormone Balancing
A delicious all purpose curry recipe for health and wellbeing
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Ingredients
  1. Red onion – 1 large
  2. Ginger – 2 inch
  3. Garlic – 4-5 cloves
  4. Turmeric, fresh – 1 inch
  5. Galangal, fresh – ½ inch
  6. Curry leaves – 10
  7. Lemongrass – 1 stick
  8. Cilantro leaves – ½ bunch
  9. Green chilies – 4
  10. Lime leaf, fresh – 2 (thinly sliced)
  11. Tomatoes – 4 large (slit bottom, put in boil water for 5 minutes and skin)
  12. Himalayan rock salt – 1 teaspoon
  13. Dried fenugreek leaves – 1 teaspoon
  14. Bragg organic sea kelp delight – 1 teaspoon
  15. Homemade garam masala – 2 teaspoon
  16. Water – ¼ cup
Instructions
  1. Peel and roughly chop (big chunks) the onion and garlic cloves.
  2. Peel and roughly chop lemongrass, turmeric, galangal and ginger.
  3. Take stem out of the green chilies and cut in half.
  4. Core and skin steamed tomatoes. Deseed if you have swelling, kidney stones or joint inflammation.
  5. Wash and clean the cilantro leaves.
  6. In a pot add water and all of the fresh ingredients – onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, galangal, lemongrass, green chilies, cilantro leaves and stems and tomatoes.
  7. Cook for 15-20 minutes. Let it cool for an hour.
  8. Add the lime leaves, dried fenugreek leaves, salt, sea kelp and homemade garam masala.
  9. Blitz in a high speed blender.
  10. Store in a glass jar for up to 2 weeks in a fridge.
  11. Use in curries, soups and stir fries.
Conscious Health http://conscioushealth.net/

Health and Beauty Benefits of Pomegranate – Fruit, Seed, Peel and Oil

Pomegranate has legendary use for health benefits in many cultures. In Indian subcontinent it is believed that this miracle fruit can take care of 100 health conditions and current data on pomegranate is showing it does have an impact on 105 diseases (Dr. Mercola). Ayurveda states that pomegranate can balance all three doshas. Depending on the taste of the fruit, if the fruit is too sour it will increase Pitta Dosha. However, eating the whole fruit with the seeds and external application of the peel and oil has shown amazing health and beauty benefits.

Botanical Name: Punica granatum

Taste: Sweet, sour and astringent

Action on Doshas: VPK (Sweet fruit balances tridosha, sour fruit can increase Pitta and may slightly increase Vata)

Energetics: Neutral

Post Digestive Effect or Potency: Sweet and sometimes sour

Qualities: Light and oily

Parts Used: Fruit, seeds, flowers and peel. Pomegranate oil is extracted from pomegranate seed.

Organs: Heart and Reproductive Health

Nutrients:

Pomegranate fruit is rich in fiber, protein and many other nutrients.

Vitamins: Vitamin A, E, B5, B6, folate, pyridoxine, niacin, Vitamin C, Vitamin K

Minerals: Calcium, copper, iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, manganese and zinc.

Other Constituents: 

Fruit: ascorbic-acid, boric-acid, chlorogenic-acid, citric-acid, malic-acid, palmitic-acid, polyphenols, tannin and Punicalagins.

Seed: linoleic-acid, oleic-acid and punicic acid (seed oil)

Peel: Punicalagins

Polyphenols in Pomegranate: ellagic acid, caffeic acid and luteolin.

Herbal Actions: Alterative, anthelmintic, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, astringent, aphrodisiac, cardiac, hemo-static, immuno-stimulant, refrigerant, skin tonic, stomachic, and vermifuge.

How to use as Food: Juice the whole  pomegranate with the seeds. Make chutney, jam or raw with yogurt. Pomegranate is also used as tea. Many herbal teas formulas contain pomegranate. Pomegranate molasses is an extremely healthy sweetener that can contribute towards weight loss. Ensure not to take it with dairy.

Buy Pomegranate Molasses from Amazon.ca if you are in Canada.

 

Best time to consume: Fruits are best consumed in the morning or before 4 pm.

Quantity: Eat no more than 80 – 100 gram in a day.

How to use in Body Care: Fruit peel can be used as face mask, tooth/gum care and hair care. Seed oil can be applied on skin.

Caution:

Drinking pomegranate concentrate or juice (even if it is pure and without added sugar) can cause acidity or can contribute towards weight gain. So always drink with the seeds.

Contraindications:

  1. Do not use is you have chronic or severe constipation. Although pomegranate is known also to relieve constipation but during a chronic situation maybe best to avoid.

Fruit and Seed Benefits:

To eat it is best to derive juice from the pomegranate fruit at home without discarding the seeds. The juice alone does not provide the benefits described below therefore adding the seeds is much more beneficial. Using a high speed blender make a smoothie of the pomegranate fruit. Or eat the whole fruit alone or with yogurt.

  1. Ayurveda uses pomegranate to reduce fever in the body. It was found effective using in influenza.
  2. Pomegranate is used in Ayurveda to reduce excessive thirst and burning sensation in the throat and GI tract.
  3. Pomegranate has a strong impact on our cardiac health such as atherosclerosis, blood pressure (lowers BP), reduces artery clogging plaque, and reduces cholesterol.
  4. Pomegranate can be taken by those who have blood sugar imbalances or diabetes as the fruit contains fiber, protein and many nutrients. Take 50-80 grams of the fruit with seeds.
  5. Pomegranate can be taken during periods or monthly cycle to reduce PMS symptoms and cramps. Usually sour fruits are not good take during monthly cycle however pomegranate due to its nutrient content has a very positive impact on women during their periods. Pomegranate along with raw cacao or cocoa nibs is amazing during the cycle to reduce anxiety, cramps and restlessness 
  6. Pomegranate naturally contains estrogen which has a strong impact on depression. Sweet and ripe pineapple or papaya with small amount of pomegranate can reduce depression during periods in women.
  7. Pomegranate contains iron that boosts hemoglobin levels. Therefore, pomegranate also assists those suffering from anemia. Pomegranate also purifies and increases blood count therefore relieves many symptoms of anemia individuals.
  8. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect shows great results for people with bone health issues such as osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Take pomegranate for any joint or bone pain.
  9. The anti-inflammatory effect also has positive impact on digestive and gut health. It promotes weight loss when takes as a whole fruit. The fiber in the seeds has shown to increase friendly gut bacteria in the body.
  10. Ayurveda states that pomegranate is a light food which is why it digests easily in the body and supply nutrition to the body more easily. It is a useful fruit when suffering from diarrhea, dysentery, dyspepsia, IBS, heartburn, acidity and ulcerative colitis (ensure fruit is sweet not sour). For IBS, heartburn and acidity take pomegranate with yogurt which will have a cooling effect on the body.
  11. Pomegranate can be used for people suffering from anorexia as it can improve taste and appetite.
  12. Pomegranate is known to boost memory as it increase blood flow and circulation in the body.
  13. Pomegranate also cleanses oral and dental area. It fights cavity and gingivitis.
  14. Pomegranate as an aphrodisiac can improve fertility in women as it contains folic acid. Pomegranate is also known to reduce erectile dysfunction in men and improve sperm quality and count.
  15. The anti-carcinogenic properties in pomegranate fruit and seed show incredible benefits for people suffering from prostate cancer.
  16. Pomegranate also has strong anti-bacterial and anti-fungal effect which makes it amazing tool to fight against infections and inflammation in the body.
  17. The fruit also helps increase blood flow to the lungs.
  18. Like beet root, pomegranate also is rich in dietary nitrates which have shown to enhance performance in athletes.
  19. The nutrients and antioxidant properties in pomegranate can assist the body to resist cellular damage caused by environmental pollutants. This fruit can be made into a paste for external face application.
  20. Pomegranate paste made from the fruit along with the seeds can be used as a mask to tighten breasts in females.
  21. The whole fruit is consumed on its own it reduces swelling and water retention. Hence assists in weight loss.
  22. When taken in combination with apples or pears it increases the metabolic rate and promotes weight loss. One can also take with yogurt in the morning for the same reason.
  23. Pomegranate extracts can also be used as natural antibiotic when in need of antibiotic.
  24. The Vitamin A content in pomegranate fruit makes it anti-aging and amazing for skin.

Pomegranate Seed Oil:

Pomegranate seeds are collected and pressed to extract pomegranate seed oil. Cold pressed and organic pomegranate seed oil is ideal for skin care.

  1. The oil is rich in punicic acid (polyunsaturated fatty acid) that has shown positive effect in breast and skin cancer.
  2. The pomegranate seed oil also promotes collagen production and helps with skin repairing.
  3. The ellagic acid in pomegranate seed oil is also considered anti-aging and has shown to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
  4. Pomegranate seed oil is a natural moisturizer that nourishes the skin, makes skin smooth, promotes even skin tone, skin elasticity and increase firmness of the skin.
  5. The red color in the pomegranate seed oil shows its richness in bioflavonoids. This is a protective gear for the skin from sun damage or sunburn.
  6. The pomegranate seed oil is also known to promote cell renewal and protect from dryness and pre-mature aging.
  7. Pomegranate seed oil also is effective against acne, dry-irritated skin, itchy skin, eczema and psoriasis.
  8. Pomegranate also assists in smoothing chapped lips.
  9. This oil is also known for its immune boosting properties when taken internally (has to be cold pressed and food grade).
  10. External application for muscle aches and pain is also known as well as its ability to reduce swelling.

Pomegranate Peel:

After peeling the pomegranate instead of discarding the peel, keep it for skin and hair care use. Dehydrate the peel and grind it into a fine powder to store for longer time. This powder can be used topically and externally for health benefits. The peel can also be used raw and made into a pomegranate peel mask.

  1. When used as a mask (raw or dried) pomegranate peel fights skin infections such as acne, boils, pimples, rashes and cellulite’s. This is due to its antioxidant and anti-bacterial effect.
  2. The anti-aging effect and the high Vitamin C content of the peel also reduce wrinkles and fine line. The peel also promotes skin cell growth and reduces the chance of age spots. The raw peel can be used as a mask for even skin tone and reducing age spots.
  3. Pomegranate peel naturally hydrates the skin (natural moisturizer), balances the skin’s pH and protects the skin from environmental pollutants and chemical toxins. Mixed with yogurt, pomegranate peel powder can be used as a face mask. This mask will increase the natural glow of the skin.
  4. Applying the mask prior to going out of a hot, sunny day can prevent the skin from sun damage
  5. Pomegranate peel powder mixed with egg white can be used as a scrub that reduces black heads, white heads and removes dead skin.
  6. The peel is also used in hair masks to remove dandruff and prevent hair loss. Mix the peel powder with almond oil and massage in the scalp. Keep the mask on for an hour and wash away with a gentle toxin free hair conditioner.
  7. Pomegranate tea can be used to prevent osteoporosis (loss in bone density) and joint pain in women who are going through menopause.
  8. Pomegranate peel can be used for cleaning the teeth. prevent cavity, toothache, bleeding gum and bad breath.
  9. Pomegranate peel tea can be used to sore throat, sinusitis and cough.
  10. The peel made into tea can be a great detoxifying agent.
  11. The tea is effective in lowering cholesterol and strengthens the heart health. Ellagic acid in pomegranate has shown to reduce the thickness of clogged artery walls and to lower blood pressure.
  12. The tannins present in the peel tighten the lining of the intestine. Therefore it stops many bleeding conditions such as piles, hemorrhoids or bloody diarrhea.

How do you like to eat pomegranate? Is it easily available where you live? Please share your experience with me and ask me relevant questions with regards to Pomegranate. Share your health or beauty recipe with us.

Note: I am a Holistic Nutritionist who is passionate about food, herbs, spices and oils The information shared above is not intended to treat or cure any diseases. For serious disease or health condition please ask advice from you primary health care practitioner.

Today I want to share some of my favourite All Natural, Home Made, Food & Floral Based Face Mask Recipes. I have two recipes that are used as face mask, face scrub or all natural home-made exfoliate. Rest of them are freshly made facemask which has to be used soon as they are made from fresh ingredients.  Please read my previous blog to learn more about various ingredients you can use for skin care,  Top 12 DIY Ingredients used in Ayurveda and Natural Beauty Care for the Skin. Some recipes have essential oils, however you can avoid that completely if you do not have excess to pure and unadulterated essential oils. Check out my blog on How to get Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils. For safety please note that when using essential oils do not apply the masks too close to your eyes.

Herbal Powder Mix: To Exfoliate Naturally

Ingredients:

  • ½ Tbsp. Chickpea flour
  • ½ Tbsp. Rhassoul Clay (Moroccan)
  • 1 tsp. Fenugreek Seed
  • 1 tsp. Rosemary Leaf (Dried)
  • 1 tsp. Dried Calendula or Marigold Flower
  • ¼ tsp. of Neem Leaf Powder
  • 4-5 drops of Lavender Essential Oils

Directions:

  1. Put fenugreek seeds, rosemary leaf and calendula leaf in a blender and grind them to fine powder.
  2. Place them in a bowl and add rest of the ingredients to mix well.
  3. Put this mixture is a glass jar, preferably amber glass jar. Please stay away from plastic.
  4. Add the lavender essential oil and shake the jar. Close lid tightly and store in a dark cool place.
  5. Use to exfoliate after applying a fresh face mask made from fruits or vegetables or add in a fresh face mask.
  6. This can be good for 6 months. Please note that no moisture can get in the jar. Use only dry spoon to take powder out.

Moisturizing Face Mask for Dry Skin

Ingredients:

  • ½ Tbsp. Organic Yogurt (full fat) **
  • 1/4 tsp. of Sandalwood Powder
  • 2 drops of Pure Sandalwood Essential Oil (optional)
  • 1 tsp. of the pre-made Herbal Powder Mix

Directions:

  1. In a glass or ceramic bowl mix all of the above ingredients.
  2. Add a few drops of water if you feel the mixture is too dry.
  3. Apply of face and leave it for 5-8 minutes.
  4. Take a wet hemp cloth or cotton cloth to gentle wipe away.
  5. Use witch hazel or rose water as a toner after this. Do not wipe away the toner. Leave it on the skin to let it dry naturally.

* Use coconut yogurt or avocado instead of yogurt if you are Vegan or have dairy allergy.

Note: Use only 100% pure, unadulterated essential oils.

Antioxidant Rich and Anti-Microbial Turmeric Face Mask:

Avoid for Pitta skin conditions.

Ingredients:

  • ½ Tbsp. Organic Yogurt (full fat) *
  • ½ Tbsp. Raw Local Unpasteurized Honey **
  • 1 tsp. of Turmeric Powder
  • 2 drops of Moringa Oil (Optional)
  • 1 drop of Tea Tree Essential Oil (Optional)
  • 1 tsp. of the pre-made Herbal Mix Powder

Directions:

Options 1

  1. In a glass or ceramic bowl mix all of the above ingredients with the herbal powder mix.
  2. Add a few drops of water if you feel the mixture is too dry.
  3. Apply of face and leave it for 5-8 minutes.
  4. Take a wet hemp cloth or cotton cloth to gentle wipe away.
  5. Use witch hazel or rose water as a toner after this. Do not wipe away the toner. Leave it on the skin to let it dry naturally.

Option 2

  1. In a glass or ceramic bowl mix all of the above ingredients.
  2. Add a few drops of water if you feel the mixture is too dry.
  3. Apply on face and leave it for 5-8 minutes.
  4. Once the mask is ready to remove, use the herbal mix powder on the face and exfoliate. The powder is dry so you need to rub it to remove the mask as well as exfoliate.
  5. Take a wet hemp cloth or cotton cloth to gentle wipe away.
  6. Use witch hazel or rose water as a toner after this. Do not wipe away the toner. Leave it on the skin to let it dry naturally.

* Use coconut yogurt or avocado instead of yogurt if you are Vegan or have dairy allergy.

** Avoid honey if you are Vegan or have Pitta imbalances.

Note: Use only 100% pure, unadulterated essential oils.

Be Gorgeous Flower Mask (Anti-Wrinkle)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Hibiscus Flower
  • 1 Marigold Flower
  • 1 Rose Flower
  • ¼ of a medium sized Cucumber
  • 1 drop of Rose Otto Essential Oil (optional)

Directions:

  1. Take the petals and stems (hibiscus) of the flowers and leave the green parts.
  2. Make a paste or pure in a blender, adding the cucumber.
  3. Apply fresh mask for 10-15 minutes or until dry.
  4. Remove mask using an exfoliator.

Nourishing Green Face Mask:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. of grated Cucumber
  • 10 Curry Leaves
  • 2 Fresh Amla, Deseeded (When in season 0r available)
  • 5 Fresh Mint Leaves
  • ¼ of a Lime, including the peel
  • 1-2 drops of Lavender Essential Oil

Directions:

  1. Wash and clean all the leaves.
  2. Deseed amla and lime. Keep skin for both.
  3. Peel cucumber and cut into smaller chucks.
  4. Use a high speed blender, chopper or a mixer to blend all the fresh ingredients.
  5. Apply mask on the face and let it dry.
  6. Take a wet hemp cloth or cotton cloth to gentle wipe away.
  7. Use witch hazel or rose water as a toner after this. Do not wipe away the toner. Leave it on the skin to let it dry naturally.

The Essential Four: Anti Aging, Rich in Vitamin C

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 cubes of cut ripe Papaya
  • 1/4 of an Orange
  • A few sliced of carrots, cut in round
  • 1 fresh Marigold Flower

Directions:

  1. Peel and de-seed papaya ad orange.
  2. Get all the ingredients together and make a paste in a blender or chopper.
  3. Apply the fresh mask on the face, neck and if possible at the back of the neck.
  4. Once the mask dries, remove with the Herbal Mix Powder.

Nutrient Rich Exfoliate:

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. of Adzuki Beans
  • 2 Tbsp. of Rolled Oats
  • 2 Tbsp. of Chickpea Flour
  • 1 Tbsp. of Barley Flour
  • 1 tsp. of Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp, of Moringa Powder

Directions:

  1. Take all ingredients but the turmeric and moringa powder.
  2. Use a spice grinder to crush all the grains and beans.
  3. Pour the mixer in a bowl.
  4. Add turmeric and moringa powder.
  5. Store in a glass jar.
  6. Use 1 tsp. of the powder with aloe vera and rub gently of the face to exfoliate.
  7. Clean face with a wet cloth and use rose water to tone the skin.

Since this is more of a recipe sharing blog, I have not written about the benefits of the ingredients. You will find about the ingredients in my previous blog  Top 12 DIY Ingredients used in Ayurveda and Natural Beauty Care for the Skin

Try the recipes at home and let me know what you think. What worked for you what did not. Do not stop making the recipe if you do not have access to essential oils. They are part of the recipe but not absolutely mandatory.

 

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Today’s hot topic is – Top 15 DIY Ayurvedic and Natural Hair Care Ingredients

I am so excited to share this blog with you and i hope you enjoy reading this. 

Diet, low thyroid, high stress, auto immune condition environmental pollution, chemicals in commercial hair products and generally imbalanced Pitta or Vata dosha may lead to thinning, damaged and greying hair. Excessive consumption of caffeinated and high sugar beverages also contribute towards hair loss. We also tend to forget “oil” is food for hair health however we use shampoos more regularly which could lead dryer hair. Stress and anxiety may lead to hormonal imbalance which induce hair fall. In Ayurveda since hair fall or damaged hair is mostly due to Pitta dosha imbalance therefore many cooling oil and herbs are used in oils to make the best Ayurvedic herbal hair oil. Ayurveda also promotes herbs that are good for memory, intellect and overall brain health for hair health. Lightly warming these herbal oils before applying is highly encouraged.

Conscious Health’s Herbal Hair Mask is a great add on that can condition, nourish and moisturize your hair and scalp. There also Henna a natural herb that colours the grey hair for those who have dark hair.

Let’s learn more about Top 15 DIY Ayurvedic and Natural Hair Care Ingredients. They include herbs, oils, flowers, nut oils and fruits.

  1. Almond Oil: In South Asia one of the most popular oil for hair is almond oil (popularly known as “Badam Ka Tel” in India). Almond oilcontains various nutrients for hair such as Omega-3 fatty acids, phospholipids, vitamin E and magnesium. Almond oil nourishes, moisturizes and strengthens hair. Due to the nutrient density it is optimal for treating hair loss (or controlling hair fall) and treating damaged hair. However note that almond oil does not increase hair volume but may increase hair length and shine, reduce split ends, eliminate dandruff and reduce scalp/skin inflammation.

 

  1. Aloe Vera: There are only a few natural ingredients that are known to assist with hair growth and Aloe Vera is one of them along with castor oil, fenugreek seeds and cedarwood essential oil. Aloe vera contains vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12 andfolic acid. It’s also rich in minerals like calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, selenium and Aloe is a natural moisturizer that reduces dryness and dandruff (by removing the dead cells), maintains the pH balance of the scalp, detangles curly hair and conditions the hair (great for oily hair). Aloe Vera is rich in antioxidants and contains anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties which make it ideal of a treating Pitta condition such as hair fall. Aloe Vera can be used as a pre shampooing treatment – apply aloe vera gel on the scalp 15 minutes before shower.

 

  1. Brahmi: A superior Ayurvedic gem – Brahmi is used in Ayurveda for nourishment and to prevent hair loss. Head massaging using Brahmi oil increases blood circulation in the scalp and makes the roots of the hair stronger. Brahmi oil is used to treat dry, flaky scalp and dandruff. Brahmi used as a powder in a mask or oil can reduce pre mature greying, hair loss, promotes hair density, shine and treats scalp irritation.

 

  1. Castor Oil: Castor oil is an age old remedy to prevent hair loss or assist with hair regrowth. This is because castor oil has the ability to improve circulation and increase blood flow. It contains anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. The anti-fungal properties in castor oil are Ricin and Ricinoleic acid which nourishes the hair. Castor oil is one of the few natural ingredients that stimulates hair growth, combats spilt ends, moisturizes hair and scalp, adds lustre and shine, prevents frequent hair fall or breakage, thickens hair, makes it grow longer fast and fights against dryness and dandruff. Castor oils contain omega 9 essential fatty acids, vitamin E, oleic acid, enzymes and minerals which makes it an amazing herbal remedy. Using cold-pressed, unrefined and extra virgin castor oil is best for hair health.

 

  1. Coconut Oil: I have growth up using coconut oil for my hair! My mother always said, “Oils are food for hair.” Coconut oil is best for Pitta dosha individuals as this is cooling oil that is also rich in vitamin E and K, lauric acid and minerals. Coconut oil contains anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties and is rich in antioxidant. Coconut oil supports hair growth (length of hair), fights with dryness, dandruff, scalp infections and fungus, protects the hair from sun damage, as well as adds shine and lustre.

 

  1. False Daisy (Bhringraj): Another Ayurvedic herb for hair is Bhringraj used in many popular hair oils. It is an amazing remedy for pre-mature greying. Bhringraj is used for controlling hair loss, encouraging new hair growth, strengthening the hair follicles, fights dandruff, improve hair colour and texture. It also improves sleep and it fights against skin allergies. Bhringraj can be used as hair oil or powdered Bhringraj can be used in hair masks.

 

  1. Fenugreek (Methi): Methi or fenugreek is a well-kept secret as a natural medicine for hair growth. Fenugreek or methi prevents hair fall, promotes hair growth, eliminates dandruff and soothe dry and itchy scalp. Methi contains protein, Vitamin C, iron, potassium and lecithin – all of which are good for strong hair follicles, improves hair growth and makes the hair lustrous. Conscious Health’s Hair Mask contains fenugreek seeds. Best to purchase organic, cold pressed and extra virgin coconut oil for hair, skin or cooking.

 

  1. Hibiscus Flower: This is one amazing flower for hair health whether used fresh or dried. Hibiscus contains high vitamin C and A, iron and has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties. Making herbal hair masks with hibiscus flower paste or hibiscus infused oil can take care of hair loss, dandruff, improves hair shine, condition’s hair and promote hair regrowth (length and thickness). Note that both flower and leaves can be used to make a paste for a hair mask but flower may contain a little more nutrient. Add fenugreek (methi) or yogurt in the same paste for a health hair mask to combat dandruff. Hibiscus is also known to stop pre mature greying hair.

 

  1. Holy Basil (Tulsi): Tulsi contains many vitamins and minerals, notably vitamin A, K, C, folate, copper, iron, calcium and manganese. Tulsi also is an adaptogenic herb that contains high antioxidant properties such as flavonoids. It improves circulation and increase blood flow. Tulsi takes care of dry, brittle and damaged hair, combats dry, itchy scalp, pre mature greying, strengthens hair and promotes hair growth. Conscious Health’s Herbal Hair Mask also contains Tulsi. Apply fresh Tulsi leaf juice and add it to a hair pack/mask or dried powdered leaves mixed with yogurt for a hair mask.

 

  1. Indian Gooseberry (Amla): One of the most popular herbs in Ayurveda is an amazing tonic for the hair. Amla can be juiced or dried Amla can be used in a hair mask. Amla oil is extremely popular in India or South East Asian countries as hair oil. Amla contains an array of vitamins (notably vitamin), minerals and antioxidants. Amla can prevent hair loss, greying hair, combats dry scalp, dandruff, strengthens hair follicles and increase circulation which promotes hair growth. Amla contain anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial properties and has a cooling effect (suitable for Pitta dosha). Amla oil relieves scalp irritation and infections. The high nutrient content in Amla increases shine and lustre as well as conditions and nourishes the hair.

 

  1. Indian Spikenard (Jatamansi): Jatamansi is an Ayurvedic herb that has the ability to calm the nerves and the mind which is required for strong hair follicles and preventing hair loss. Add Jatamansi in powdered form for hair masks. Jatamansi also promotes relaxing and blissful sleep. Jatamansi is also known to prevent pre mature greying. Jatamansi oil is available in Ayurvedic stores in almond oil base which makes it a great product for hair care.

 

  1. Curry Leaves: In Ayurvedic medicine curry leaves infused oil is very popular for hair re growth (new hair growth) as well as promotes strong, shiny, thick and fast hair growth. It also reduces hair fall which makes it a wonder herb for thick and luscious hair. Curry leaves conditions the hair, reduces scalp infections, stops pre mature greying and has anti-bacterial affect. High in antioxidants such as vitamin A, C, E, folic acid and minerals such as iron, curry leaves are truly nourishing for hair.

 

  1. Ritha or Reetha: South East Asians use Ritha as a natural shampoo, cleanser and conditioner. Ritha helps prevent hair fall, adds volume and shine. Ritha also fights against dandruff and dried scalp. Using Ritha is like using a chemical free shampoo. Ritha contains anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties which help to fight against head lice. Ritha is available dry or powdered. Ritha with amla and shikakai (100 gram of each of the herb) can be boiled in two liter of water. Boil until half the water is remained. Strain and this water can be used as shampoo. For dark hair, make a paste with water and equal parts of henna and Ritha.

 

  1. Shikakai: Shikakai has several benefits which are specifically targeted for hair health; therefore Shikakai (Indian word) literally means “fruit for the hair”. Shikakai is used for cleansing the hair, promoting hair growth, preventing dandruff and strengthening hair follicles. Typically dried and powdered shikakai is mixed with water to make a paste and applied on the scalp and hair, to use as a conditioner. Shikakai has a low pH level therefore when using it to cleanse the hair it does not damage the hair or strip the hair from its natural oils. Shikakai is also used as a detangler.

 

  1. Neem: Best used as oil, neem oil is the best remedy to combat dandruff, dryness and lice (anti-microbial properties). Neem oil prevents hair loss and promotes hair growth. Add powdered neem, tulsi and amla to combat dry hair and eliminate dandruff problems.

A bonus ingredient I must mention for hair that is Apple Cider Vinegar.

Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar has many known benefits for hair and scalp treatment. Many people use apple cider to rinse their hair for stronger and shiner hair. Apple cider vinegar is used prevent breakage, split ends, stimulate hair growth, reduce frizz, detangle and to cleanse the hair. There are many natural shampoo, hair rinse or hair mask recipes that uses apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar that contains the natural culture (also known as the mother) is the best to use. If you live in Canada or USA, you can use Bragg’s apple cider vinegar. It has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal properties and acetic acid that helps to balance the pH level of our scalp.

8 hair issues and top 3-5 herbs for them. I hope this chart is helpful

Cleansing Shikakai Ritha/Reetha Neem Apple Cider  
Strengthening Bhringraj Brahmi Fenugreek    
Hair Growth Aloe Vera Castor Oil Bhringraj Fenugreek Curry Leaves
Conditioner Shikakai Aloe Vera Hibiscus Yogurt  
Dandruff Fighting Neem Coconut Oil Castor Oil Brahmi  
Nourishment Almond Oil Castor Oil Aloe Vera Brahmi Fenugreek
Stops Greying Brahmi Bhringraj Tulsi Curry Leaves Jatamansi
Memory & Sleep Bhringraj Brahmi Almond Oil    

Check out Conscious Health’s Hair Mask in the herbal product category under shop. 

Herbal Hair Mask

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I completed my Nutrition program and started my journey in Ayurveda almost immediately. Ayurveda is not in favour of eating raw foods as a sole diet for many reasons. I was unaware of this and went to a health retreat for 30 days were I solely lived on a Raw Vegan diet. Unfortunately for me the diet did not suit me and i was ill for quite sometime.  I do believe though this diet will have a different impact on different individuals. I enjoyed the Raw Vegan diet and learned amazing recipes from an exceptionally creative raw chef. However I do not recommend my clients to go on a Raw-Vegan diet as that is not m path.

I was Vegan and Gluten Free for 45 days and saw much more benefit to that – as I am a Kapha Dosha individual than a Raw Vegan diet.

A few things before i share this recipe. This is an absolute FAVOURITE in my home. My hubby adores this meal. I am sharing an adaptation of the recipe that I learned from both Meghan Telpnar (a Nutritionist from the same school I graduated from) and the retreat I went to. The Cilantro Pesto is definitely from one of Meghan’s recipe that she gave out when she came for a live cooking demo with Wholefoods Market.

About Kelp Noodles:

A few varieties of Kelp Noodles are available in the market now. I was introduced to Sea Tangle Kelp Noodles in 2009 and loved my meal! Kelp noodles are made from nutrient rich kelp, a sea vegetable high in nutrients, yet low in calories. This kelp noodles are naturally free of carbs, gluten, soy, sugar, cholesterol and fat. This is suitable for people who are following Ketogenic Diet, Low Carb Diet, Raw-Vegan and/or Vegan lifestyle. This recipe is amazing for those aiming for a weight loss goal.

This brand adds Sodium Alginate which is a natural polysaccharide product extracted from brown seaweed. This seaweed grows in cold water regions. It is soluble in cold and hot water with strong agitation and can thicken and bind. FDA has approved Sodium Alginate as a safe natural preservative and it has been used in Antacid products.

Delicious Raw Noodles - Zucchini and Kelp Noodles with Cilantro Pesto Sauce

The neutral taste of kelp noodles allow for a variety of uses including salads, stir-fries, hot broths, and casseroles, while their healthful content provides a rich source of trace minerals specially iodine, which kelp is well known for. Kelp Noodles a one-of-a-kind healthful and tasty alternative to pasta and rice noodles. Best of all, no cooking is required. Just rinse and add the noodles to any dish and they are ready to eat!

Ayurvedic Tips When Eating Raw Foods:

I recommend eating this either for Lunch or dinner. This raw recipe is extremely high in Vitamins and Minerals. If you have water retention or swelling it is better to consume during the day when the thyroid gland is active. As per Ayurveda raw food and raw juices must be consumed during the day when the sun is up and the body’s digestive power is at its peak. However when I tested this recipe for dinner it worked for me as the sauce or the pesto used for the recipe has powerful metabolizer such as garlic and ginger.

Note that I also do not agree with adding lemon or lime juice to cold foods and consuming it. Especially painful for those who are Pitta dosha and have citric acid allergy. Lime and lemon juice have amazing health benefit however only when taken with hot food or water. This i am mentioning for those who frequently drink lemon or lime with cold water. Lemon/lime is needed for protein absorption therefore using it with dals, high protein vegetables, nuts and seeds is ideal when the food is warm. This recipe may not be the same without lime or lemon juice – therefore those who are Pitta dosha or have citric acid allergy – please avoid or substitute with another fruit.

 

Delicious Raw Noodles - Zucchini and Kelp Noodles with Cilantro Pesto Sauce
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Noodles
  1. 2 small Zucchini, spiral cut
  2. 1 bag of Kelp Noodles
  3. [You can also spiral cut carrots, cucumber or sweet potatoes but I do not like too many ingredients in my raw noodle as I find it hard to digest)
Pesto
  1. 1 bunch Cilantro including stems
  2. 1 bunch baby Spinach
  3. 1 inch organic Ginger root
  4. 1 clove of Garlic (optional)
  5. 1.5 Tbsp. of Olive or Sesame Seed Oil
  6. 2 Tbsp. of Tamari Sauce/Coconut Amino/Bragg's Amino
  7. 2 tsp. of Raw Honey (preferably local)
  8. 1/2 tsp. of Cayenne Pepper
  9. 1/2 Lemon, juiced
Garinish
  1. 1-2 tsp. of Dulse flakes
  2. 1 tsp. of roasted Sunflower or Pumpkin Seeds
  3. 2 tsp. Olive Oil
Equipment
  1. Spiralizer
  2. High Speed Blender such as Vitamix, Blendec or Breville
Instructions
  1. Wash, peel and cut all the ingredients as needed.
  2. Get ready with all the required ingredients.
  3. Empty the Kelp noodles and give it a light wash under cold water. Put in a bowl and with a pair of scissors cut them into smaller length. It will be easy to eat.
  4. Use the spiralizer and cut the Zucchini. If you are adding cucumber or carrots you can get them all ready.
  5. Using the high blender put all the ingredients for the pesto together (add little water if needed) and make a smooth pesto sauce. When sauce is made transfer it is a suitable bowl.
  6. Serve the noodles in a plate or bowl and add olive oil, sunflower/pumpkin seeds, and dulse flakes and mix well.
  7. Serve the pesto sauce and noodles in separate bowl or else the noodles get too mushy.
  8. Enjoy it fresh.
Adapted from Meghan Telpnar from a handout provided in Live Cooking Demo
Adapted from Meghan Telpnar from a handout provided in Live Cooking Demo
Conscious Health http://conscioushealth.net/
From where to buy the INGREDIENTS?

Delicious Raw Noodles - Zucchini and Kelp Noodles with Cilantro Pesto Sauce

Top 12 DIY Ingredients used in Ayurveda and Natural Beauty Care for the Skin

When I think of skin or beauty care using Ayurvedic techniques I think about the following 12 ingredients that I use myself and have seen results. I am currently taking a mini course and interacting with friends/family back in Bangladesh to unlock a few more secrets. If you are in Canada or USA please check out the Turmeric Facial Scrub that I make. You can check the review before purchasing this product online and I will ship the product to you. You can also check out the homemade hair mask and herbal toothpowder recipes from my previous blogs.

The Top 12 DIY Ayurvedic and Natural Beauty Care Ingredients for the Skin – are easily available in your kitchen, your local grocery store or some even in your garden. Most of them are globally available in dried or whole form. Neem and Tulsi are mostly available dry in many countries.

I will be explaining why the 12 ingredients are essential for skin care and how or when to use them. I will share more recipes in future blogs.

  1. Neem: A super herb that is bitter and has amazing benefit on the skin. Neem is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial. Neem can be found in various forms – whole fresh leaves, dried leaves/tea, neem juice, neem powder, neem oil and neem water. Neem is an effective remedy against blackheads, whiteheads, acne, scars, pigmentation and large pores. Neem is amazing for strong hair and fights against dandruff and dry scalp. Use branches from the neem tree as a natural toothbrush and neem powder as a natural tooth powder. Neem water can be used as a facial toner and neem oil can be used for dry skin especially for eczema. Neem oil is also used for nail fungus, ringworm and athlete’s foot. Neem juice or tea or capsule can work internally to purify and cleanse the blood. Neem also has anti-aging benefits. You can make a face mask using neem powder and turmeric with yogurt, honey or aloe vera to achieve a glowing skin. Neem is an amazing deodorizer therefore I have used it in my Herbal Deodorant product.
  1. Turmeric: Another top super herb that is globally known and available in fresh or dried form. Fresh turmeric is less heating and therefore great for making herbal teas or light juicing diluted with water. Dried turmeric can be heating for Pitta individuals and is best taken cooked with food or milk/yogurt. Turmeric reduces inflammation, clears acne, pimples rosacea, eczema, promotes fairness of the skin, reduces wrinkles/skin pigmentation, removes dead skin and is anti-aging. Turmeric is high in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. Some also claim that turmeric is amazing in reducing unwanted facial hair. Check out my blog for a coconut oil and turmeric facemask recipe I usually purchase organic turmeric for any such recipes but ensure I use a pinch or small amount of turmeric for face masks or scrubs.
  1. Tulsi or Holy Basil: Tulsi is an amazing natural beauty product as well as being one of the best medicinal herbs. Tulsi is available fresh, dried (tea), powder and capsule form. Tulsi is rich in antioxidant and contains antibacterial, antiviral, adaptogenic, antiseptic and immune enhancing properties.Tulsi or Holy Basil is known as one of the “elixirs of life.” Tulsi leaf juice and powder can prevent spreading of acne and pimples, tightens skin pores, relieves skin irritation or rashes, reduce stretch marks, scars, anti-aging, reduces skin inflammation and increases glow of the skin. Tulsi is also known reduce the chances of skin infection and ringworms. In South Asian countries making a paste or poultice with Tulsi leaves for wounds, cuts and burns is very common. Drink Tulsi tea for glowing skin, use Tulsi powder in face or hair mask and take Tulsi capsule to reduce stress and anxiety which also has a negative impact on skin.
  1. Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera plant is kept in many homes globally as the benefits of Aloe is nearly endless. It is also popularly known as the “plant of immortality.”The inner fillet or aloe gel has number of skin benefits such as prevention of aging, natural skin moisturizer, reduction of acne, pimples and dark spots, prevention from sunburn, reduction of stretch marks and combating insect bites. Aloe vera nourishes the skin from inside out. Therefore intake of aloe juice is just as much beneficial as using it externally. My mother takes aloe juice nearly every day and encourages keeping an aloe plant at home. Like neem leaves, aloe also purifies the body and aids the liver. Aloe also helps with mild cuts, insect bites, poison ivy and eczema.
  1. Chickpea Flour: Also known as gram flour or besan is extremely popular as a natural beauty care product in South Asian countries. It works as one of the best exfoliator for skin. Chickpea flour brightens the skin (increases fairness) of face, arms and neck area, reduces oiliness, and reduces tan (sun tan), fight acne and pimples as well as known to reduce unwanted facial hair along with turmeric. Buy organic chickpea flour (if possible) to use on the skin. The Conscious Health Turmeric Face Scrub contains chickpea flour as the base. After applying this product on the face, arm or neck, let it dry and then brush it off with your finger like any other exfoliator. You can also try using ripe papaya, turmeric and chickpea as a face mask. Chickpea is known for removing dry skin. Chickpea flour or besan mixed with turmeric and neem can reduce scars from acne, fight dry/flaky skin as well as oily skin (add yogurt for oily skin) and reduce blemishes.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
  2. Multani Mitti (Fuller’s Earth): Multani mittiis popularly used in South Asian countries as an antiseptic as well as a beautifying ingredient to reduce skin issues and attain radiant, blemish-free skin. Women have used Multani mitti to clean, exfoliate and nourish their skin as well as to reduce acne, pimples, remove excess sebum/oil from skin, reduce dark circle, brighten skin, reduce tanning, pigmentation, prevent sunburn, treat rashes, insect bites, and to keep blackheads, whiteheads away. The active ingredients in Multani Mitti can effectively absorb excess skin oil, dirt, and dead skin, leaving the skin soft. I mix it with aloe vera, rose water, milk, yogurt or glycerin and apply it on my face as a mask.  
  1. Milk: Milk, preferably raw or organic milk is a natural cleanser as well as a moisturizer that softens the skin. Milk contains many nutrients and protein that is crucial for supple skin. Milk contains AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) which helps to slow down aging. Combined with oatmeal and honey, milk can be used as a facial mask. Milk can lighten blemishes, dark spots, brighten the skin, reduce pore size, reduces acne scars, fine lines and wrinkles. Many use dried milk powder in their bath to make the skin soft and supple. Add 1 or 2 drops of Jasmine or Rose essential oil or even rose water to make a luxurious bath for yourself.
  1. Yogurt: Yogurt, especially organic, unflavoured and high in active cultures (probiotics) is an amazing skin exfoliator and a moisturizer. Like milk, yogurt also contains AHA that helps to keep a soft and smooth skin. Yogurt contains B vitamins, Zinc, Calcium, Protein, Lactic Acid (AHA) and probiotics that makes it a nutrient dense ingredient for skin care. Yogurt assists with maintaining smaller pores, brighter skin, reduce acne, fine lines and wrinkles. The B vitamins in the yogurt can help with skin regeneration and fade out blemishes, dark circles, and sun damage and reduce skin infections. Mixed with chickpea and honey, yogurt makes one of the best homemade face masks.                                                                                                                                                                                                                
  2. Rose Water: Amazing addition to DIY homemade beauty recipes for skin, rose water is the best remedy for Pitta skin types or those who suffer from any skin inflammation. It reduces redness, Rosacea, acne, dermatitis and eczema. It is cooling and maintains the pH balance of the skin, therefore assists those who suffer from irritated skin. Rose water contains anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties and is rich in antioxidants. It is a great cleanser and due to its astringent properties it is also a great toner. Rose water aids in removing excess oil/sebum, dead skins, reduces skin of aging, puffiness in the eyes, impurities, and dirt accumulated in clogged pores. The aroma from rose water can uplift mood. Rose water is a natural make up remover. Antioxidants in rose water reduce wrinkles, tighten the skin and promote regeneration of skin tissues.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
  3. Papaya: A favourite in my family – papaya is rich in enzymes (papain) and protein (Arginine) that is absolutely amazing for the skin. Papaya is used as a face mask for increase in fairness of the skin and/or reduce tanning. Papaya is known for its anti-aging properties and promotes skin repair, exfoliation and hydration. Papaya repairs damaged skin (especially due to pollution, smoke, chemicals and excessive fried foods), skin pigmentation and removes dead skin. It is rich in antioxidants such as Vitamin A and C and minerals such as iron, potassium, copper, phosphorus, manganese, calcium and magnesium. Ripe papaya is a great moisturizer and can be used in scars, wounds, and minor burns. Paste made from ripe papaya can be used as a facemask.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
  4. Almond Oil: Organic, cold pressed and extra virgin almond oil is a great skin food. However look for the sweet almond oil as it comes from the edible almonds. Almond oil contains generous amount of fatty acids (oleic and linoleic acid), Vitamin A, D, E and B, protein and essential minerals such as zinc. Almond oil has been used in various anti-aging products for its ability to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, it also eases irritation and skin inflammation, prevents dry, flaky skin, preserves skin glow and makes skin soft and smooth. It is used to remove dark circles, dead skin, and impurities. Almond oil is perfect for using as a base for eczema, psoriasis cream and lip balms (as it treats chapped lips). Like rosewater, almond oil also helps as a natural make up remover.                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
  5. Honey: Honey is the Universe’s gift for the skin. Honey contains anti-aging, antioxidant, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties. Honey is rich in protein and various nutrients. Honey is a natural moisturizer and cleanser for the skin. It has the ability to absorb and retain moisture. Honey natural protects the skin from sun damage, supports skin regeneration, improves skin complexion, makes skin smooth, prevents dry skin, and reduces the chances of acne. Honey can absorb dirt, dead skin and other impurities from the skin pores. Honey is used as face masks, facial scrubs and in lip balms. In Ayurveda honey is used along with ghee to treat wounds and burns. It is said that Amla (Ayurvedic rejuvenating herb) with honey is a powerful treatment for various skin conditions. My mother in law makes a facemask using Manuka honey for her glowing skin.

Coming up:  Top 15 DIY Ingredients used in Ayurveda and Natural Hair Care 

Let me know if you have used any of the above ingredients. How you have used them? And if you have any questions about Natural skin care. 

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