wellness, health

Fortify your immune system

The importance of boosting your immune power is being stressed like never before in this time of COVID19.

Long before a pandemic claimed the world and even before scientists in the western world discovered the benefits of curcumin in turmeric, there was a practice of building up the immune system existent in Ayurveda.

The malayalam month of ‘Karkkidam’ (starting in the middle of July- August 16th) is one of the coolest months (not to be confused with the slang connotation but rather the temperature). As a predominantly agricultural state, Keralities used to view this as the time to rejuvenate their physical self because the monsoon prevented said activities. The unrelenting rains meant the people suffered rheumatic diseases, digestive difficulties and were thus susceptible to other illnesses. Fasting, informed food choices and consuming ‘karkkida kanji’ was recommended along with spiritual reconnection.

Herbs and plants used in karkkida kanji

Traditional knowledge about the goodness of consuming certain foods during changing seasons has been passed down through generations. ‘Karkkida kanji’ is a nourishing meal that boosts immune power and is prepared using a unique combination of herbs, spices, and grains. It is had for three or seven consecutive days( a meal per day) and is considered effective in counteracting rheumatic pains and increasing energy and stamina. An aunt of mine has recently shared a recipe for the kanji Nimmy&Paul

The kanji being prepared

The medicinal value of many herbs, plants and seeds are ingrained in most of us and are wonderfully effective home remedies. Water boiled with cumin seeds help relieve gas and bloating. A glass of water blended with a piece of ash gourd eases bowel movement (helpful info here!). Oo, and barley water alleviates an UTI.

Food helps sustain our physical self. Watching what we eat and also when we eat has a great impact on our immune systems.

Did you know that spices, herbs, honey, rock salt and even lamb forms part of Ayurvedic medicine? What are the local/cultural practises that you have unknowingly adopted as home remedies?


Dosa batter, err banter

We had dosa for breakfast today, which got me thinking. I was never a dosa-lover when I was a kid but my son will stand and go through atleast three even before it gets from the tawa to the plate

Served with its accompaniments; sambar and coconut chutney, this traditional south Indian breakfast is as healthy as a breakfast/light snack/dinner can get (I may be biased here and I’m leaving idli for another day).

The paper roast with accompaniments

Food preferences have changed for me over the years and today I relish a ghee-laden paper roast ,(the waistline can watch its self), with sambar and any kind of chutney. If I feel the kids need an extra shot of protein with that, I just crack an egg on top and swirl it about, adding a pinch of salt and pepper. Grated cheese between the folds of a wafer-thin dosa, drizzled with ghee is soooo divine. Scientific studies have proved ghee is important for the brain to function well! (This is me not being cheeky😁)

There have been countless fails, in the intial years of cooking, trying to get the batter right: there was the unrisen one, the funny-tasting one , the watery one…the list goes on. I definitely learnt what not to do when making the batter.

My dosa crisping up! The ghee will follow!

But if you are a gastronome like me (wink), this is a dish you must try for its robustness, its completeness and the feeling of contentment only a good, healthy meal can give.