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Authors Posts by Nahid Ameen

Nahid Ameen


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Suitable for Vata and Kapha Dosha (VK)

After being away from Bangladesh for more than 4 years now, I miss my mother, my best friend and the aromatic kitchens of my aunts. When I was growing up we only had one fast food joint called “Swiss Bakery” (later there were fast food places in every nock and corner). It was very near my home on Bailey Road, where the sophisticated shoppers would come for Saree’s (An outfit that all married Bangali women would wear), to look for the best in Bangali literature in a book shop named “Tobuo Boi Porun” (Still Keep of Reading Books) and to watch latest show at the theatre. Swiss Bakery was at the heart of Baily Road where they sold chicken sandwiches, beef pies, chicken in pastry, and sweets. It was rather a gourmet affair at the time. I feel silly today for craving all the baked goods from Swiss Bakery. Although they were good, but what I miss today if a good meal cooked by my mother or my aunts. Sometimes I can tell whose cooking it is by smelling the food.

When you enter their house around lunch or dinner time, the aromas you will smell from their kitchen is unforgettable. Both my mother and my aunts did their own grocery shopping from the local market also known as Bazaar. Sometimes the hawkers would come around our house shouting (rather rhythmically) out the names of the vegetables that they were carrying. The LUXURY! And the entertaining part of it all was when you get to see them bargain. Ah…well, let’s not go there and reveal family secrets. Once shopping was done the preparation of spices, vegetables, fish or chicken would begin. You can hear the chatting in the kitchen, the sound of grinding, pounding. slicing, sizzling and stirring of the spoon in a “karai” (pot). Best of all, the cooking aroma from the kitchen towards the end would sometimes giveaway what would be for lunch or dinner.

One aroma that I always remember fondly is that of a Panch Phoron that literally means Five Spices or five flavours. This is a rare treat only when you visit a Bangali home. Although is may does resemble a spice mixture used in South Indian or Sri Lankan cooking when they temper their lentil soups or dals. Pach Phoron is a delicate blend of five spices – cumin, mustard seeds, fennel. fenugreek and nigella seeds. Every Bangali make their own and keep it in their kitchen to prepare tempering for lentil soups, make “shada torkari” (assorted white vegetables – because no other spice will be used), and to make a simple vegetable dish. You can make a single vegetable taste like flavour bursting in your mouth by simple adding the Panch Phoron. The array of vegetables that can be used to go with Panch Phoron are eggplants, spinach, yam, bitter gourd, bottle gourd, beans etc. – just to begin with. You can add it to mangoes to make flavourful chutney.

The best thing about Panch Phoron is – it does not need to be grinded. It is one of a kind spice mix that is a blend of five whole spices.

Panch Phoron Blend:

  • 1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. of whole cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp. of whole fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp. of nigella seeds
  • ½ tbsp. of black mustard seeds
  • ½ tbsp. of fenugreek seeds

Panch phoron is super easy to make, because all you do is mix all the five ingredients in a bowl and store it in a jar, untoasted. Keep it in a cool place that is away from heat and light. Wow! It is that easy. That means no cooking, grinding or toasting required.

When to use Panch Phoron in cooking:

  1. You can use Panch Phoron at the beginning of cooking vegetables, so the flavours of the spices are coated very well with the vegetables.
  2. Or you can “temper” Panch Phoron in cooking oil separately and add the hot spice into a dal or soup. Tempering in a method where you fry spices in a separate pan and add the hot spices on top of the cooked food. It is also popularly known as “tarka” in South East Asia.

How to use Panch Phoron in cooking:

  1. In a karai or pan heat 2 tsp. of mustard oil or ghee until it reaches a smoking point.
  2. Add 1 tsp. of the five spices and lower the heat to avoid burning and sputtering of the seeds.
  3. Once you smell the flavours turn of the heat and add it to you cooked dal or lentil soup.
  4.  Or once the aroma of the spices are released sauté your favourite vegetables in the pot with the spices in them.

Tips: When you are using Panch Phoron for dal as a tarka, add minced garlic, 1-2 bay leaves or 4-5 curry leaves to make the tarka extra delicious. YUM!!

Names of the spices in Bangla:

Cumin seeds – Jeera

Fennel seeds – Mouri (sauf in Hindi)

Fenugreek – Methi

Nigella seeds – Kalojeera (Kalonji in Hindi)

Mustard seeds – Shorisha (Sarso in Hindi)

You will find all these spices in any Indian or South East Asian grocery store. You can also fine pre-packaged Panch Phoron. Because they are all whole spices, you can easily afford to buy it as a spice blend.

Benefits of the Spices in Panch Phoron:

Cumin (VPK): It is a cooling spice and is known as the “seeds of good digestion.” Cumin enhances absorption, supports digestion and metabolism without overheating the system. It is a good source of iron and manganese. IMG_2544

Fennel (VPK): A cooling spice that gently stimulates the digestive fire or HCl, without creating body heat. An excellent source of vitamin C, it is also a very good of dietary fiber, potassium, manganese, folate, and molybdenum.

Fenugreek (VK): Support fat metabolism, increase break milk in mothers with newly born babies.

Mustard Seeds (VK): It contains selenium and omega-3 fatty acids. It is an excellent source of iron, zinc, magnesium, manganese, calcium, phosphorus, niacin, protein and dietary fiber. It is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties.

Nigella Seeds (VK): Balances the hormonal system, adds a unique flavor, and balances the subdosas of the colon and stomach.

I find this is the most commonly used spice in our kitchen. My husband’s new found love of Panch Phoron is so much that I often run out of it. Panch Phoron not only adds a different dimension in your cooking but also sweetens the cooking oil when you are frying it. Note the all the spices in the blend are seeds.

I feel that this spice blend is mostly suitable for Vata, and Kapha dosha. I tried to make it Tri doshi by reducing the amounts of mustard and fenugreek. I have lowered the proportion of the fenugreek because it is bitter and mustard because it is pungent.

I promise to share one great recipes using Panch Phoron in my upcoming blog posts.

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I am getting nostalgic in my kitchen here at Conscious Health. It is like aromatherapy in the room with the freshly toasted spices on a heated pan. When the exotic spices from South East Asia expelled their aroma, I was instantly transported in my mother’s kitchen. My mother, all my aunts, my best friend’s mothers and my own grandmother have their own version of this rather larger than life spice mix, known as Garam Masala. In Bangladesh we call it Gorom Moshola. Both mean the same – Mixed hot spices.

If you love South East Asian food or you are thinking in your head to attempt for the first time a deep, dark and delicious curry recipe, then I urge you to make your own IMG_2537Garam Masala. I assure you that you will know the difference when you make it from scratch and add it your dish versus buying it pre-packaged. Not an ounce of adventure is hiding it that packaged garam masala. One of my aunts was extremely particular about the spices that went into her mix and the exact quantity of them. I used to ask her to make me a bottle when she made hers. So if you know someone who has a special Garam Masala recipe, something that was handed from the generation past, please ask them to make you a bottle. You may have to bribe them, of course an ethical bribe. Anything for a

As a teenager I spent many hours in their kitchens – all my aunts, my grandmother and my best friends mothers. I had a strong bonding with all of them. So guess what? When it came to sharing recipe, most of them did not hesitate. So here it is – my most favourite Garam Masala recipe that is aromatic, hot (as in sexy), rich, deep and ummm…head spinningly delicious.bottle of homemade and fresh Garam Masala.  And if they give you the recipe – oh my, you are in for a treat. You can now enter into your own culinary adventure to India, Bangladesh or Pakistan, from the convenience of your kitchen.

Garam Masala Recipe:

Serving: Makes one small jar


  • 2 tsp. of whole cumin seeds
  • 4 tsp. of whole coriander seeds
  • 2 pods of green cardamom seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. of black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. of whole cloves
  • 1 mace skin
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon powder


  • Measure all spices and keep them in a bowl, except for the cinnamon powder.
  • In a pan heat all the whole spices for 2-3 minutes.
  • After spices are toasted, turn the heat off and let them cool.
  • Add all the spices into a spice grinder and include the cinnamon.
  • Alternatively use a mortar and pestle. (I make all my cooking class students do this!)
  • Once spice is blended, run it through a sieve.
  • Store the freshly ground homemade Garam Masala in a glass bottle.


Garam Masala

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If you love doing yoga or you are curious about self-healing, then Ayurveda is perfect for you. I will explain very simply what Ayurveda is and how it can benefit you and your family members. As you read this blog, you will go deeper into a trance of knowledge, taste the rich flavour of this medicinal practice and learn all about the magical powers of spices, herbs and food. You will see nature unveil some juicy and enticing stories from its womb about what it produces for mankind. All this and more without any spells, witches, portions or political conspiracies. Ayurveda will share with you some secrets of self-care, cleansing, self-healing and living in blissful state of being. It will nurture you, nourish you and provide you salvation. It shares gems of knowledge about human health, nature and our connection to the universe. It shares fairy tale like stories of healing, energy and strength. Without Ayurveda there is no magic, or no fun in healing.

My introduction with Ayurveda:

It is said that Ayurveda is 5,000 year old ancient healing science. The word “Ayu” means “life” and “veda” means “knowledge”. Ayurveda teaches us the knowledge of life and health. 5,000 years ago the world map did not look the same as today. My country was not yet separated from India. Hence I consider Ayurveda as my own heritage as well.

Growing up in Bangladesh I learned many “home remedies” from my mother. She always had an answer for digestive discomfort or hormonal imbalances. She was not a nutritionist or an Ayurveda expert, however she knew what spices, herbs and foods to use to alleviate ailments that were due to an imbalanced body. She taught me to eat papaya to improve my digestion and regulate my menstrual cycle. She taught me how to clean and cook food in a way that will provide maximum nutrition and what spices to use for glowing skin. This is how I learned about Ayurveda at the beginning. Ayurveda offers an amazing balance between the art and the science of living.

Being aware of your body-type:

In the magical world of Ayurveda, the ancient healers related our body profile with nature. The “panch-mahabhutas” or the “5 elements” that are present in this universe are earth, water, fire, wind and space. Our body too, represents and holds these five elements and from these five elements Ayurveda finds its theory of 3 body types or dosha types for each human being. All of us have these 5 elements present inside the body, however some of us may have one element more and the other elements less. This finding of which elements within you is dominating, explains very easily what your dosha is.

The three body types are known as Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

Vata is a subtle energy that represents movement, and movement is possible when there is space to move. Thus Vata holds the nature of wind and space elements. A well balanced Vata person has a quick mind, loves to move around, shows flexibility and creativity. It is hard for Vata types to stay in one place either physically or mentally. An imbalanced Vata person may experience fear, anxiety and nervousness. Like the air and the space, Vata people have cold, dry, light and mobile quality within themselves. If you are a Vata person than eat warm foods and spices, do warm oil massage to keep warm and combat dry skin, and avoid eating cold, raw and frozen foods

Pitta is a subtle energy the represents heat and metabolism. It showcases the very nature of fire and water. It governs the body’s digestion, absorption, metabolism and temperature. A well balanced Pitta person is blessed with good digestive system, strong appetite, intelligence and sound sleep. An imbalanced Pitta person can get easily agitated, become aggressive and lean towards hatred, jealousy and anger. Like the fire and the water, Pitta people have hot, oily, sharp, and mobile qualities in them. If you are a Pitta dominated person then avoid excessive heat, limit salt intake, avoid spicy, fried foods and reduce citrus fruits during summer.

Kapha, represents our bodily structure with bones, muscles and tendons. It also provides the glue that holds our cells together. You guessed it right – Kapha is the earth and the water energy. Kapha qualities are dense, heavy, slow, cold and soft – just like water and earth. A well balanced Kapha person is loving, caring, calm, forgiving and shares a lot with others. However, an imbalanced Kapha person is lethargic, possessive, greedy and envious. If you are dominated by the Kapha than follow a disciplined life, avoid cold and oily foods, get plenty of exercise and keep warm.

Wow! Now you have a whole new vocabulary. This is just the beginning of your learning about Ayurveda.

Medicinal power of foods

Shhh..!! Don’t discuss this with Medical Doctors who thinks food has nothing to do with healing. Write down all these secrets in a notebook and leave it for the generation to come before the pharmaceuticals companies patent the herbs and spices. Or maybe the big corporations will take away all your memories of how to prepare good meals by offering your packaged, processed, canned and bottled foods, in the name of convenience.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Understanding the power of food for healing is very simple. You just have to learn how to observe, taste and understand foods that you consume from nature. Ayurveda talks about food and diet as a healing medium. If focuses on the shape, color, taste and reaction after eating the food to understand what it can do for us. For example, when you crack open a walnut from its shell, it looks like the shape of the brain! And guess what it is packed with Omega 3 that is amazing for your brain health. Almonds and bilberries have the shape of the eyes or eyeballs and they are indeed good for your vision, and saffron strands looks like semen and is indeed good for the reproductive organs. Black, blue and purple foods are rich is minerals such as zinc, potassium etc. Spicy and pungent flavour foods improves our metabolism and bitter tasting foods purifies the blood.

Now you can start looking at your fruits, vegetables, spices and herbs differently. Bite into them, taste them and savour them in your mouth. When you have one food at a time you will appreciate nature more and understand its healing power of foods.

Combo Body-type

Only a small percentage of people are purely Vata, Pitta or Kapha. When do learn more about yourself and start being aware of your body and mind more, you will understand that each of us possesses a proportion of all three doshas. Some of us are share two dosha traits and some all three. In my own case two doshas – Kapha and Vata, combines to determined my physical appearance and personality.

Way of preparing foods

Ayurveda prefers cooked food versus raw food, especially for Kapha and Vata dosha. They often experience cold body temperature and therefore it is recommended to eat warm foods for both these dosha’s.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Previously people used to consume ripened fruits and mature vegetables. However in today’s date fruits and vegetables are picked quite early before they get enough sun light. Therefore, to include the fire element in our meals it is recommended to eat cooked foods.

Raw foods are great and are full of enzymes but they are hard to digest. When you cook the vegetables down the fibres softens down and is then easy to digest. Raw foods that were grown closer to the ground or inside the ground may also contain parasites. Therefore you must wash and clean you produce properly. Adding spices such as garlic, ginger, black pepper, and long pepper will also reduce the chances of parasite.

Adding spices and herbs

We are now on my favourite topic, spices!! I use them in everything that I consume – juices, smoothies, teas, main meals and even desserts. No meal is complete in my house without spices. In my kitchen I possibly have 45-50 different spices and dried herbs. I just love cooking with them. I also make my own spice blends such as garam masala (Staple in South Asian cuisine), curry powder (commercial spice blend mostly in Western countries), Dukkah (sesame spice blend), chat masala (Pakistani & Indian spice blend) and paanch phoron (5 spice mix – a Bengal spice blend).

Now there is something you must know. If you apply heat to these spices, they release their essential oils and all of them have medicinal values. This is why I toast my spices before I make my spice blends. Some of the major Ayurvedic spices are turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, ginger, black pepper and coriander seeds. All of these spices are suitable for all three dosha’s. (Black pepper in excess may aggravate Pitta)

See this chart below to enter into the world of magical wonderland of spices and herbs

Spice Benefits
Turmeric Anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, anti-viral. Great for glowing skin and weight loss.
Cumin Supports digestion
Coriander Seeds Supports kidney and urinary tract
Cinnamon Balancing blood sugar and improving circulation
Cardamom Assists in liver detoxification. Eases tension and stress related digestive problems.
Ginger Improves circulation, soothes throat and alleviates nausea.
Black Pepper Antioxidant. Enhances bioavailability of vitamins and minerals from other foods.

To conclude I want to say that Ayurveda teaches us to apply common sense when looking at nature and ourselves. As you learn more about Ayurveda you will know how simple and easy healthy living is. It is so simple that people in this industrial and informational era finds it hard to believe. Start with basics by introducing real, wholesome and unprocessed foods from nature. Look, taste and understand them, take a little time in cooking for you and your family.

Wait for my next blog and I will simplify how you can choose the foods when you are imbalanced and heal fast.


It’s not what you think!…okay, may be a little. I will be talking about picking chickweed. What weed??

Chickweed, also known as starweed, is a cooling and alkalizing herb.

My walk at High Park, Toronto this past weekend inspired my new kitchen creations at home. I leaned all about Herbal Medicine and Edible Weeds from my Herbal teacher Susan Elliotson. She owns an amazing property at Caledon, Ontario where she teaches students Herbal Pharmacy courses. Learning from Susan made me fall in love with herbs and edible greens. I also met Karen Stephenson at Susan’s place who is a wild edible enthusiast. Karen is all about wild foraging, and incorporating edible wild foods or weeds into her diet. When invited for the “wild edible walk in the park” this weekend I just couldn’t resist! Simply put she knows her local weeds that nature offers for free! I have long been waiting for Chickweed to make a Grilled Cheese Sandwich and Chickweed Pesto! Upon my request Karen brought me a bag full of chickweed for me to play with in my kitchen.

You can rely on many weeds for food and medicine. Chickweed is no different. Chickweed can be found settled nicely into local landscape and is among the most popular herbal remedies today. It is an annual plant that grows in many locations in Ontario. It is an easy to grow plant that grows in a unique intertwined manner. 1 If you are interested in harvesting your own Chickweed check with your local park or local native plant societies or your backyard. Just make sure no herbicide or pesticide was sprayed around that area and it is not near the highways (lots of pollution). There are many books on how to pick wild foods that you can check out.

Before I talk about what I did with my “bag of Chickweed”, I want to share a little bit more about Chickweed and the benefits of this amazing wild edible! 

About Chickweed:

Stellaria media or Chickweed is sweet and mildly bitter in taste. It is mild enough to be eaten safely, raw in your salad. Stellaria is Chickweed’s genus name that means “star.” The tiny white star like flowers of the plant is responsible for its name. Chickweed if known to be found anywhere in the world, where there is moist and cultivated soil.2 Instead of trying to figure out how to get rid of this weed from your backyard add it to your diet for its nutritional and healing properties.

Parts of the Chickweed Plant used:

Leaves: Chickweed leaves can be used for salads, pesto sauce, sandwiches, soups and stews.

Stems: The stems from Chickweed can be used for soups and stews.

Flowers: Chickweed also produces edible flower parts that can be used in salads and soups.

Medicinal Benefits of Chickweeds:

Chickweed is well known for its emollient (plants that are used externally to soften and soothe) and demulcent (plants that relieves irritation) properties. It is a major herb for relieving skin irritation and eye inflammation, kidney and liver disorders.

5 Benefits of Chickweed:

  1.  Beneficial for the Skin: Chickweed makes excellent poultice for skin irritation such as rashes and itchiness. I have personally used Chickweed Salve to conquer itchy skin when I had hives. It is also used to treat eczema, psoriasis, boils and nettle stings.
  2.  Weed for Weight Loss: Chickweed has diuretic and laxative property therefore it reduces water retention and assists with constipation – both assisting in weight loss. However unlike pharmaceutical diuretics it will not rob the body of minerals.  As a demulcent Chickweed is said to soothe hunger pangs and relives minor irritation in the digestive tract.3
  3.  Nutrition: Chickweed is packed with nutritional substances. It is an excellent source of Vitamin A, all the B Vitamins, Vitamin C and Vitamin D. Crucial minerals such as copper, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, selenium, sodium, silica and zinc. It is high in chlorophyll and also contains omega-6 fatty acids, protein, carotenoids, coumarins and bio-flavonoid.4 Saponins in the Chickweed, like soap, emulsify and increase the permeability of cellular membranes. This increases our body’s ability to absorb nutrients, especially minerals.5 The saponins also break down the fat cells.
  4.  Thyroid: Chickweed also nourishes and regulates thyroid functions. Thus have an effect on our metabolism.
  5.  The saponins in chickweed exert an anti-inflammatory action similar to cortisone but much milder and without the harmful side effects.6 The saponins can also break down unwanted formations in the body such as benign tumors, cysts, accumulated mucus in the digestive tract or the respiratory system etc.7

 Chickweed & Cheese Sandwich


  • 2 slices of sprouted bread
  • Butter for the breads
  • Couple of slices of mozzarella cheese or any cheese you like
  • ¼ cup of Chickweed
  • Half of a lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp. of ground cumin
  •  Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tsp. of sesame seed oil


  • In a small pan add oil and stir in the chickweed. IMG_2389
  • Add lemon juice, salt, pepper and cumin.
  • Cook for 3-4 minutes and turn off the heat.
  • Toast the bread slices and butter it up.
  • Add the cheese slices and sprinkle black pepper on it.
  • In the same pan you cooked the chickweed, lightly fry the cheese for a minute.
  • On the toast, put the melted cheese and the chickweed on top.
  • Butter the other slice of bread and make a sandwich.







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Last night I made my favourite kale salad recipe and thought I should share it with you. I used the very popular dinosaur kale, also known as the black cabbage, to prepare my salad. This is an exciting leafy green that has varieties [different types of kale leaves] and provides us with a lot of nutrition. You must get organic and fresh kale. Kale grows well into winter, therefore easy to find in Canada.

Preparing kale for optimal health benefits:

Thyroid Health:
Kale belongs to the Cruciferous or Brassica family. When eaten raw cruciferous vegetables are known to suppress thyroid function for those who are suffering from low thyroid function, mainly because they contain goitrogens. Goitrogens interfere with iodine uptake and, in that way, also interfere with production of thyroid hormones. However if you steam the kale you can negate this affect. Contrary to popular belief cruciferous vegetables are not “goitrogenic” food that will cause goitor just because you eat them. In fact if you are a healthy person it will not interfere with your thyroid function.

Heart Health:
Another reason to steam or cook kale is that it can provide cholesterol lowering benefits. The fiber related components in kale bind together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they are steamed. When this binding process takes place, it is easier for the bile acids to be excreted which then results in lowering cholesterol.

Losing the Parasite:
Leafy greens before they are picked are – perfect breeding ground for a microscopic parasite to lay eggs. Make sure when you are eating raw kale it is thoroughly cleaned and washed to remove any pathogens that may still be there. Lightly steaming may help lose the parasite. I add lots of lemon or lime juice and garlic to my raw kale to negate this factor.

Preventing Cancer:
Research is now showing that kale can lower the risk of five different types of cancer – bladder, breast, colon, ovary and prostate. Isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from glucosinolates in kale play a primary role in achieving these risk-lowering benefits. The ITCs can also help detox our body at a genetic level.

Nutritional affect of Kale:
According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman [author of Eat Right America], kale scores highest [along with collard greens and few others] in his nutrient dense food chart.

Kale contains high amount of Vitamin K and A. It also contains significant amount of Vitamin C, beta carotene and manganese.

Flavonoids are naturally occurring plant pigments that make fruits and vegetables beneficial for our health. They have antioxidants, anti-histamine, anti-microbial, memory and mood enhancing properties. Kale also provides us with at least 45 different flavonoids, including kaempferol and quercetin. Many of the flavonoids in kale are also now known to have anti-inflammatory compounds.

Building block of Omega 3:
Kale also provides us with a significant amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the basic building block for all omega-3 fats. Omega 3 is known to reduce inflammation.

Kale contains both soluble and insoluble fiber that is crucial for our colon health.


Dino Kale Salad:

1 bunch organic dinosaur kale
½ garlic clove
¼ tsp. of sea salt
2-3 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup of lemon juice, freshly squeezed
½ an avocado
½ a tomato
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
Pinch of red chili flakes
Black pepper to taste


• Cut off the stems [1/4 inch from the end] and chop kale leaves roughly. Put the leaves in a salad bowl.
• In another small bowl mix olive oil, garlic, red chili flakes and shallots.
• Squeeze half a lemon to get the juice and pour it on the kale leaves.
• Massage the juice on the leaves and let it sit for 5 minutes.
• Chop avocado and tomato.
• Add the avocado and tomato to the kale leaves and mix well.
• Pour in the olive oil mixture, salt and pepper to the salad bowl.
• You can enjoy this leafy green salad on it’s own or with a main. It is a plate cleanser!


Miso and Curly Kale Soup:


5 kale leaves, thinly sliced or chiffonade
4 -5 cups of water
2 tbsp. of dark miso (and a cup of water)
5-6 shiitake mushroom, sliced
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, grated
2 scallions, finely chopped
1 tsp. of cumin powder
1 tbsp. of coconut oil or ghee

1/4 cup organic tofu, cubed (optional)


• In a bowl add miso paste and a cup of water to make a thin paste of miso.
• In a pot add coconut oil/ghee, ginger and shallots. Saute for 3-4 minutes.
• Pour in the rest of the water and bring to boil.
• Lower the heat after it starts to boil. Pour in the miso paste into the soup pot and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
• Add shiitake mushroom, kale and cumin powder in to the pot.
• Bring to a boil once more and lower heat to simmer the soup for 2 minutes.
• Add the scallions at the end.
Note: You can add tofu, tempeh or seaweed to this recipe.


Ginger, turmeric, cardamom and galangal all belong to zingiberaceae or the ginger family. Zingiberaceae, are a family of flowering plants consisting of aromatic perennial herbs with rhizomes. Rhizomes are knobby underground stems that have pungent and flavorful flesh.

5 benefits of spices from the ginger family


In Ayurveda Ginger is known as the “Universal Medicine” and is consumed as a spice and medicine.  It is well known for its usage in digestive and respiratory diseases.

  1. Ginger relieves nausea and vomiting. Therefore it is extremely useful for pregnant women.
  2. It also relieves inflammation and pain experienced in Arthritis.
  3. It can kindle the digestive fire [stimulating HCl] and improve digestion.
  4. Ginger improves circulation in our body and keeps us warm.
  5. It is good remedy for common cold, cough and flu.

You can find high quality ginger powder in the Conscious Health Shop.


Fresh root of turmeric looks like a skinny version of ginger. Turmeric is known to heal the “whole person” and it is good for all three dosha’s [body type].

  1. Turmeric helps digestion, maintains intestinal flora (beneficial bacteria’s), and reduces gas.
  2. Turmeric can be used as an antiseptic for small cuts, wounds and burns.
  3. It helps reduce anxiety and stress.
  4. It purifies the blood, and improves formation of new blood tissue.
  5. Turmeric is well known for its use as a skin tonic.

You can find high quality turmeric powder in the Conscious Health Shop.


Cardamoms are the dried fruits of the perennial herbs. There are two types of cardamom available in the market: green and the black cardamom. It is the third most expensive spice in the world after saffron and vanilla.

  1. Cardamom acts as an expectorant that opens up and cleans congestion in lungs and throat, allowing us to breathe freely.
  2. It also improves circulation and increases blood flow.
  3. Cardamom is one of the safest digestive stimulants. helps relieve intestinal gas and bloating while encouraging good digestion.
  4. Drinking coffee is stressful to the adrenal gland. Therefore adding ginger and cardamom to the coffee will neutralize this effect.
  5. Cardamom can be used for bad breath and gum disorders.

You can find premium cardamom powder in the Conscious Health Shop.

Ginger & Turmeric Pickle Recipe:


1/4 cup of fresh organic ginger, sliced

1/4 cup of fresh organic turmeric, sliced

1 cup of extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp. of Hingvastak

1 tsp. of black mustard seeds

1/2 tsp. of chili powder

2 tsp. of salt

Juice of a  of a lemon


1. Slice ginger and turmeric without removing the skin. [if using organic source)

2. Heat some oil in the pan and add the spices. When the mustard seeds start to pop, turn the burner off. Add the spice mixture with the ginger and turmeric.

3. In a glass jar put the ginger, turmeric, rest of the oil, salt and lemon juice.

4. This can be stored for 2-3 months.

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Khichari or Khichadi is a one pot wonder that is made by mixing rice and lentil together. This meal, originated in Bangladesh, is eaten as a comfort food in Southeast Asian countries. Growing up in Bangladesh, khichari was a monsoon favourite for luncheon. My mother used to make Khichari on a rainy day and served it with fried eggplant or fish (particularly Hilsha Fish}.

Khichari also can be prepared like a porridge with cooked vegetables for the sick. That is exactly how my grandfather liked it! This particular meal has been used not only to nourish babies, elderly and the sick but also we cook it for family dinners and picnics. The spice combinations, choice of lentil and the texture of khichari varied in recipes depending on each occasion or situation.

This combination [see recipe] of flavour in Khichari is warming to the body, easy to digest, cleansing, strengthening and immune building. In this blog I will explain how to pick your ingredients for Khichari and share a flavourful recipe with you. Remember we are focusing on the detoxifying effect of khichari.  In Ayurveda, khichari is used to help cleanse, detoxify and restore balance.


The Rice:IMG_1749

I use organic long grain white rice as oppose to organic brown rice because when the husk is removed from the rice it makes it easier to digest the grain. During the cleansing period our metabolism is slower therefore it is better to choose the white rice. The long grain white rice also has a lower glycemic index that short grain rice. Therefore the khichari becomes suitable for Kapha body type. I purchase organic, non GMO basmati rice for my khichari from a health food store or specialty grocery store. If you are in USA or Canada try the “365 Organic White Basmati Rice” from Wholefoods Market. Or go to a bulk section of a specialty grocery store to find the rice that is unbleached and/or unpolished.

The Lentil:

The reason khichari recipes in Ayurveda prefer split mung beans [moong dahl] because unlike other legumes and lentils, mung beans do not produce much intestinal gas. Therefore the recipes become suitable for Vata body type. Mung beans are known to help cleanse the liver, remove built up toxins and assist in weight loss. Mung Beans are a good source for dietary fiber, protein, Vitamin C, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Potassium.


If you are using Ghee, you must look for organic ghee for your khichari. Please do not buy ghee from any store and consume it without knowing how it was prepared. You will find pure organic homemade ghee on my website.

In Ayurveda Ghee is known to be a digestive tonic that helps improve absorption and assimilation of nutrients. Ghee improves memory, lubricates connective tissue, improves the quality and quantity of the semen and makes the body flexible. Ghee is suitable for all three doshas, specifically Pitta and Vata. People who have gallbladder disturbances, high cholesterol, weight gain and toxic overload should be cautious with ghee.

Spices and Herbs:

5 basic spices and 1 herb you must add to your Khichari

Cardamom Seeds: Seeds stimulate appetite, aid digestion and eliminate flatulence. This spice is also used for detoxification.

Cloves: Improves digestion, anti-microbial and used as oral anti-septic.

Cumin Seeds: Great source of iron and stimulates the pancreatic enzymes.

Ginger: This pungent flavor spice is Tri-doshic. However, pitta individuals should use it in moderation. It improves digestion, absorption and assimilation of food. Ginger improves circulation and helps with congestion.

Turmeric: Bitter and Astringent in taste it is used as anti-inflammatory and decongestant

Cilantro Leaves: Is a sweet, astringent and cooling herb. It balances all doshas.  It is good for kindling gastric fire, for nausea, fever, cough and quenching thirst. This is a herb that is great for kidney support and heavy metal detox.

For Cleanse:

If you are a true foodie and you get intimidated by fasting or detoxification than doing mono diet on khichari for 3-5 days maybe ideal for you. Add a little ghee and chopped cilantro or parsley leaves with your khichari will further assist in detoxification. Please drink plenty of water during “khichari fast”.

People who are trying to do a fast with fresh vegetable juices or green smoothies can also try eating khichari for proper blood sugar balance while detoxifying.


The Tri-doshic Khichari Recipe:

Recipe Guidelines: Overnight soaking of the grain and lentil will help to digest the nutrients the most effective way.



  • 2 cups of mung beans
  • 1 cup of basmati rice
  • 2 tsp. of grated ginger, freshly grated
  • 1 tsp. of cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. of black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. of turmeric powder
  • 2 whole green cardamoms
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves
  • ½ tsp. of coriander powder
  • 4 cups of water
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ a bunch of cilantro leaves, freshly chopped


  1. Wash split yellow mung beans (dal) and rice together until water runs clear.
  2. Soak overnight in a bowl and cover the bowl.
  3. Rinse water from the rice and lentil and prepare it for cooking.
  4. Heat a large pot on medium heat and then add ghee and all the spices (except for cilantro leaves, bay leaf and salt) and roast for a minute or two. This roasting will release the essential oils from the spices into the ghee.
  5. Add mung beans and rice and stir again.
  6. Add water and bay leaves and bring to a boil.
  7. Boil for 10 minutes.
  8. Turn heat to low, cover pot and continue to cook until dal and rice become soft (about 15-20 minutes).
  9. Add salt to taste.
  10. Add the chopped cilantro leaves before serving.

Note: All the powdered spices and organic ghee is available at Conscious Health under “shop.” These are freshly ground spices powders without any added colours, additives or preservatives. Whole spices such as the black mustard seeds, cloves, cumin seeds, cardamoms and bay leaf are available in any Indian grocery store.



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I love my top superfoods and I talk about them on my website openly. Today is the day I talk about the “BEST Superfood” in the world. This is the one that I take for my vision and my brain health. I was reminded about this superfood at a class I was taking. The intructor pM Provided us with a challenge about survival. In this survival game one of the foods available was the Marine Phytoplankton. I instantly smiled because I knew how to solve  the “food” problem and survive!

I came home and opened my super foods cabinet and took the tiny dark bottle. I used the dropper and squirted 5 drops of it in warm water and drank it happily, knowing that it is one of the most powerful and essential foods on earth, Marine Phytoplankton.

According to NASA research, it is responsible for producing up to 90% of the Earth’s oxygen… (Compare this to a mature tree which only creates enough oxygen for two human beings). Its main “job” is to turn inorganic raw material (like seawater, minerals, sunlight and CO2) into over 100’s of living edible, organic nutrients…(This includes vitamins, bio available minerals, all amino acids, essential fatty acids, carotenoids and more!).1

Marine phytoplankton is an algae micro-organism from the ocean. It produces and stores large quantities of chlorophyll via photosynthesis.2

This well rounded and high concentrated food is rich in vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and protein. Eating or ingesting it provides the body with a jolt of energy and nourishment. It is one of nature’s first food, therefore it is easy for the body to absorb the nutrients from it.

  • Marine Phytoplankton is a great source of vegetarian EPA and DHA. Which means it contains long chain Omega-3 essential fatty acids, vitamin A, beta carotene and astaxanthin to make your eyes and brain work at their best. Study shows that astaxanthin is  550 times more potent than Vitamin E, and 40 times more potent than beta-carotene in quenching singlet oxygen free radicals.3 
  • It also has 19 amino acids, magnesium, and ionic minerals.
  • It has the exact nutrients for your body to produce glutathione, an important antioxidant. Glutathione is essential for cell protection, anti aging, boosting immune system and reducing  the chances of cancer in the body. It also helps your body to produce the energy it needs for efficient DNA repair, stem cell and growth hormone production.
  • Marine Phytoplankton also contains chlorophyll to help detox your body of heavy metals and toxins.
  • It has immune-boosting glycogen that helps regulate white blood cells and reduces inflammation.

This product is created and developed for daily usage [Oceans’s Alive brand]. Imagine one product that can enhance brain function, give you more clarity, supply you with abundance of energy. increase your antioxidant supply – thereby decrease frequency of illnesses, provide detoxification support, improve circulation, provide vision upport and improve heart function! …..WOW!

Find the best quality of Marine Phytoplankton before you consume it. Only a few companies and scientists know exactly how to stabilize fresh harvested marine phytoplankton, maintaining the precious life energy in each cell. I highly recommend Ocean’s Alive Marine Phytoplankton. It has also been approved by Mike Adams at Natural

I believe and always tell my clients for any nutritional supplement do not expect an overnight miracle. Your health did not deteriorate overnight therefore it will not heal overnight. Give this at least about 6-8 weeks to see a difference.

If you are in the USA or Canada you can purchase this item from my Amazon website.



Its holiday time in Canada and Thanksgiving is one of the most fun holidays that Canadian’s celebrate. The Thanksgiving dinner table will reunite friends, family and neighbours! A big dinner with Turkey, pumpkin pies, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauces are laid on the table!

I thought I will entertain the health enthusiasts so that they don’t feel left out. I have been teaching Ayurvedic Cooking [which is the traditional Indian style cooking] that focuses on health and longevity. Ayurvedic cooking focuses on individual body type and balancing health using spices, herbs and foods that are perfect for each body type [Vata, Pitta & Kapha]. You can learn more about Body Type when you read my article in Naturally Savvy.

You want to indulge in delicious tasting foods with your family and friends but you don’t want to come out of the dinner feeling sluggish, heavy and sleepy. If you love being healthy you would want to go on a diet after a few days! Instead why not focus on a few dishes that are nutritious, delicious and aids digestion?

There are many Indian/Ayurvedic spices available that speeds up metabolism, eliminate gas, reduce bloating and assists the digestive process. The key is to use them in your cooking. You can also be “Extra Smart” and get your body ready for a heavy meal by kindling the digestive fire or the HCl in your stomach.

In order to satisfy your taste buds and your body/mind you must incorporate 6 tastes or rasa in your meal. They are sweet, sour, salty, pungent [hot], bitter and astringent. When you have all these tastes present in a meal it will balance the Vata, Pitta and Kapha body type. Sweet can be the dessert in the menu, salty can be any dish made with salt, sour tasting foods are cranberry or tamarind, greens can be the bitters and wine/cider/raw greens are your astringent tasting foods.

Before you begin with your Thanksgiving meal, stimulate the digestive fire or HCl by eating a 1-inch piece of fresh ginger with a few drops of lemon juice and a few pinches of salt on it. This starts to activate the salivary glands, producing the necessary enzymes so that the nutrients in the food are easily absorbed by the body. Drink a glass of warm water before you start your dinner. This will reduce the possibility of overeating.

Recipe 1: Oven Roasted Spicy Sweet Potato


4 cups of sweet potato, cubed or squared

2 tbsp. ghee

a pinch of ground cayenne pepper

½ tsp. of ground turmeric

1 tsp. of freshly ground cumin seeds

1 tsp. of garam masala

sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

4-6 fresh curry leaves

¼ of a bunch of fresh cilantro leaves


a. In a bowl place the sweet potatoes and add ghee, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, garam masala, curry leaves, sea salt and black pepper.

b. Mix the sweet potatoes in such a way so the spices and ghee are coated evenly.

c. Lay them on a baking sheet.

d. Place in a pre-heated oven and cook for 20 minutes.

e. After 20 minutes check the potatoes and turn them the other side.

f. Roast for another 10 minutes until potatoes are soft.

g. Chop the cilantro leaves and garish the potatoes with these leaves.

Sweet Potato: Great source of beta carotene and vitamin A. It has antioxidant that reduces the impact of heavy metal and is anti-inflammatory.

Turmeric: One of the best Ayurvedic kitchen healer. Turmeric assists with digestion, maintains the intestinal flora, reduces gas, reduces inflammation and is used like a natural antibiotic.

Cumin: Great for all body types. You can use it for any digestive issues. Cumin also improves the mineral absorption in the intestine.

Ghee: Stimulates digestion and boosts the immune system. Use in moderation if your body type is Kapha.

Recipe 2: Cranberry Apple Sauce [Sour]:

Basic tips for making this recipe:

a. Soak the raisin for an hour before the preparation

b. Peel the orange skin and thinly slice them.

c. Dry roast the clove, cardamom and nutmeg. Grind the spices using a coffee grinder. Put the spice mixture is a small bottle or container the night before


2 ½ cups of organic cranberry

4 cups of grated Apple

¼ tsp. of raisins [soaked for an hour]

¼ tsp. of Goji Berries [soaked for an hour]

1 ½ tbsp. of balsamic vinegar

¼ tsp. of grated orange peel [optional]

½ tsp. of grated ginger

1 ½ cups of coconut sugar/sucanut

2 sticks of Ceylon cinnamon [or regular cinnamon]

1tsp. of cumin seeds

4 whole cloves

3-4 green cardamom

1 tbsp. Butter Oil [Ghee] or Sunflower oil [cold processed]

Water as needed


• Wash the cranberries and apples. Grate apple and keep these two ingredients ready.

• In a pan heat the ghee or oil. Add ginger, cinnamon and cumin seeds fry them for 2-3 minutes. Then add the cranberries and apple.

• Add rest of the grounded spices to the sauce – cardamom, and clove.

• Stir the cranberries and grated apples until they are coated with the oils and spices thoroughly.

• Add the thinly sliced orange peel and then the balsamic vinegar in the pan.

• Add water as needed. Bring to boil and simmer the ingredients, stirring frequently. Once it is simmering, add the coconut sugar, goji berries and raisins.

• When sauce is almost cooked, reduce the heat and keep in cover in low heat for 5 minutes. Let the sauce cool down and then serve.

Cranberry: Rich is Vitamin C and fiber. Cranberry contains a beneficial sugar/carbohydrate called D-Mannose that supports urinary tract health. The phytonutrients in the cranberries have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory power.

Ginger: It improves digestion, absorption and assimilation of food. Ginger improves circulation and helps with congestion.

Cinnamon: Balances blood sugar, improves circulation and helps to reduce congestion.

Recipe 3: Digestive Lassi


There are many recipes for Lassi. The following one is good for warding off gas and bloating:

1 cup room temperature water

3 cups of buttermilk

1 pinch ground ginger

1 pinch ground cumin

1 pinch ground coriander

1 pinch of hing or asafortida

1 pinch salt


Blend for one minute. Drink after

Buttermilk: Aids digestive problems. It is high in vitamin B 12, potassium, calcium and phosphorus.


The most remarkable, magical and exotic treasures from around the world are sitting in your kitchen pantry or growing in your garden right now!

In addition to their delicious taste, spices and herbs can greatly increase the health benefits of your meals. They also help with digestion and assimilation. Some spices and herbs are anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal and some contain powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. There are also those that help stabilize blood sugar, reduce pain, regulate women’s cycle, burns fat and works like an aphrodisiac – just to begin with.

To bring the most out of them, cook them with your food or sauté them in ghee or cold processed oils and add them to your meals. For best assimilation of the benefits of therapeutic spices, eat them cooked, instead of sprinkling raw spices over foods. Ayurvedic spices such as turmeric, cumin, coriander, saffron, cinnamon and cardamom offer rich and varied aroma and flavor besides helping to balance different body constitution and enhancing the metabolism. They can transform simple dishes into feasts for all your senses, providing fulfillment and contentment from meals.

In the past kitchen spices were used in every household and many knew how to heal themselves using common spices and herbs in teas or infusions. Everyday ailments and minor injuries did not wait for medical attention. Think about it maybe there was someone if you family who made you the ginger, honey and lemon tea, or a chicken soup or soft Khichadi [rice and lentil mish mash]. Let’s revive the disappearing kitchen tradition and bring out the best herbs and spices for healing. Some of these herbs and spices have already made it to a Health Food Stores! Cinnamon. Ginger, Garlic, Turmeric , Cayenne, Basil, Sage and Thyme is often seen at the health food stores. Indeed the kitchen is where you are likely to find your first aid kit elements.

“No matter what ailment we suffer from, we can always do something ourselves to enhance our well-being.” – Hedley and Shaw.

Before I tell you the values of these spices and herbs note that the kitchen healers are by definition safe, otherwise we wouldn’t purchase them in the first place! However it is the amount/quantity that you can take in will make it either medicine or poison. Always remember they are not intended to be taken in large dosages. Please use them intelligently or ask someone who knows more about them. Be specifically careful when giving it to children and elderly because they need it is lesser amount.

Another tip I have for you is know your Dosha or specific body constitution. Once you figure out your Dosha you will know which spices and herbs are best for you. This way you can derive maximum benefit from the spices and herbs. Google a Dosha Test or Quiz and find out your body type! I will mention in this blog which kitchen healers are most beneficial for specific dosha [Vata, Pitta and Kapha] and which are suitable for all Doshas.

Let us start with the humble spices sitting in our kitchen pantry.

Turmeric: Fresh turmeric is a root looks like a ginger. The inside of the turmeric is bright yellow-orange. This pigment is called “curcumin” which is the active ingredient of this super spice. I actually own a book that is solely on turmeric and lists many benefits of this spice. Good news is this spice is suitable for all three doshas! Turmeric is pungent and bitter therefore is pacifies Kapha and Vata. It is also astringent and therefore it is also good for Pitta dosha. Benefits are listed below

Anti-inflammatory: therefore helps in reducing pain and inflammation.

Anti-septic: I use it for minor cuts, burns and bruises. I directly apply the turmeric on the wound.

Memory: Most effective is slowing down Alzheimer’s disease because is decreases inflammation and oxidation of the brain.

Highly effective against diseases like irritable bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s, and arthritis.

It helps with digestion, maintains the intestinal flora and reduces gas.

Turmeric also improves liver function, lowers homocysteine and prevents heart disease.

It is also known and researched for its anti-cancer properties.

Used in Asian countries to make skin look beautiful. It has also been used for boils, rashes, acne and other skin disorders.

Supports bile production to break down fats for optimal cholesterol level.

It also helps to reduces stress and anxiety.

Turmeric has high anti-oxidant properties and works as well as Vitamin C and E.

For maximum benefit heat 1 cup of milk [you can use nut mylk too if allergic to dairy] and add 1 tsp. of organic or homemade ground turmeric. I am being specific about the source because it will have zero filler mixed into it. Also try to add it in your soups, salad dressings, tea, curry and even eggs. Turmeric absorbs well in our when it is combined with black pepper.

Cinnamon: In Ayurveda it is mentioned that cinnamon is sweet, pungent, bitter and heating. It decreases Vata and Kapha but aggravates Pitta if taken in excess. This spice said to have highest anti-oxidant properties. Benefits of this spice are listed below:

Cinnamon helps stabilize blood sugar making it effective for those who suffer from diabetes.

It also helps lower cholesterol and triglycerides levels.

It can help reduce belly fat. Therefore it has incredible benefit for people with excess weight.

Cinnamon also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, and helps relieve pain and stiffness in muscles and joints, including arthritis.

Cinnamon has a positive effect on brain function, and smelling cinnamon, or chewing cinnamon flavored gum, can possibly help improve memory and attention.

It also reduces inflammation in blood vessels that leads to atherosclerosis and heart disease, as well as having antifungal and antibacterial properties

Cinnamon can also be used for common cold, congestion and cough.

For maximum benefit drink cinnamon tea. Boil water and add 6-7 cinnamon sticks. Let it cool and drink it. Add it to your oatmeal or healthy baking recipes. Or you can add cinnamon in smoothies, yogurt or in your coffee.

Cloves: It is a pungent and heating spice therefore it increases Pitta but pacifies Kapha and Vata. Clove is anti-microbial and it used in many “Parasite Cleanse” kits. Clove is also known for its highest levels of antioxidant.

The oil in cloves kills bacteria and is very effective when applied to scrapes, cuts, fungal infections, itchy rashes, bites, burns, or bruises. Cloves also help digestive problems like gas, indigestion, nausea and vomiting. A drop of clove essential is effective cleaning even ink stains.

Clove is best known for its ability to relieve tooth and gum pain.

Holy Basil or Tulsi: Holy basil is known as “The Incomparable One”, “The Mother Medicine of Nature”, and “The Queen of Herbs”. I have personally used holy basil for stress reduction and lowering blood sugar. It is a great source of Vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, potassium, beta carotene and Vitamin C. It is a powerful antioxidant that prevents from free radical damage. Below are the health benefits of Tulsi

Tulsi is an adaptogenic herb and used to reduce stress and anxiety

Tulsi will boost immunity and increase vitality

Supports us through the cold and winter month.

Promotes healthy metabolism

Enhances stamina

Known for promoting longevity

Protects us from radiation

Tulsi is especially effective in supporting the heart, blood vessels, liver and lungs and also regulates blood pressure and blood sugar.” Dr. Ralph Miller, former Director of Research for the Canadian Dept. of Health and Welfare.

Tulsi/Holy Basil is also an effective anti-inflammatory herb with extraordinary healing benefits that work for arthritis, allergies, and inflammatory bowel conditions, to name a just a few. In addition, basil helps kill harmful bacteria that cause food poisoning including: Listeria, Staph, and E. coli.


The way of Ayurvedic Herbs – Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa and Micheal Tierra

Ayurvedic Cooking – Dr. Vasant Lad and Usha Lad

Kitchen Medicine – Julie Bruton-Seal and Matthew Seal

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