P: (02) 6684 6090
JOIN OUR 14,000 FOLLOWERS
By Nadia Marshall
Yoghurt has been promoted for years as an incredibly healthy food. So now we buy it by the tub-full to dollop on our cereal, to eat in between meals, as snacks for our kids and as an alternative dessert to icecream. Is yoghurt delicious? Absolutely! Is it super healthy for us? Not necessarily. According to Ayurveda, yoghurt is actually quite heavy and difficult to digest so can have a dulling effect on our Agni....and it has the particular quality of being congesting to the bowels and the channels. Not so good.
And these qualities refer to real yoghurt - you know, plain yoghurt that has two ingredients - milk and live cultures. The 'yoghurt' that the large majority of us buy these days is even more difficult to digest and even more congesting to the channels because it is so highly processed. Next time you're at the supermarket, check out some of the big name yoghurts and how many ingredients they contain - it is rarely 2 and more like 13-15 including thickeners, mineral salts, gelatin, flavours, sweeteners, acidity regulators, preservatives and colours... to name a few!
Yoghurt is also commonly mixed with fresh fruit or eaten with fresh fruit which, from an Ayurvedic perspective isn't a good idea either. Why? Well, the yoghurt is heavy and difficult to digest while the fruit is light and super easy to digest. So, when they are eaten together, the fruit stays in the stomach for too long while the yoghurt is digesting and as a result, it overcooks - it ferments. Yoghurt is already a fermented product so the combined effect is a overcooked, fermented, congesting pile of gloop. Or so I imagine.
But the good news is, there are two super delicious, easy ways to eat yoghurt that actually help to promote good digestion and make the most out of the good bacteria that it contains. They both involve using good quality, real yoghurt (we recommend Paris Creek Biodynamic Yoghurt) and turning it into buttermilk. Here they are...
1) Buttermilk Lassi
1 glass water
3 tbsp biodynamic plain yoghurt
a pinch black pepper
Mix all ingredients together and whizz with a stick blender (or in a blender) for several minutes until froth forms on the top.
This simple, delicious drink should be sipped with a meal, particularly lunch or dinner, to aid digestion. It acts as an appetiser, cleanses the digestive tract and is very useful in any case of loose bowels, indigestion, mal-absorption, IBS, colitis, piles and anaemia! And... you can easily adjust the seasoning to suit the season or how you are feeling. For example, if it is really hot, you can drop the black pepper and add cardamom, some rose water and a little sugar instead to make a cooling lassi. It is amazing how good this drink feels in your belly!
2) Buttermilk Curry
2 tsp ghee
5 curry leaves
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
1/4 tsp asafoetida/hing
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups buttermilk substitute
1 tbsp besan flour or moong flour, sifted
1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
On low heat, heat up the ghee and fry off the curry leaves and mustard seeds until they are popping. Add the cumin seeds followed by the fresh ginger, turmeric and hing/asafoetida. Now, add the buttermilk (which is prepared in exactly the same way as the lassi above - 2 cups water, 6tbsp yoghurt whizzed up with a stick blender) to the pan and turn up the heat to medium-high. Add the sifted flour and use a whisk to mix it into the buttermilk, ensuring there are no lumps. Heat until just off the boil – it should thicken a little at this stage (if you would like a thicker curry, add more flour). Turn off the heat. Allow to cool a little then add the coriander. Serve with basmati rice and some steamed veggies on the side. Also tasty served with kicharee.
Once you've mastered this one (which doesn't take long!), you'll eat it all the time. It makes a delicious, super quick dinner... nice and light.
So there you have it... the two best ways to eat yoghurt to help balance your Agni and reduce the production and accumulation of Ama. If you try these out, let me know how you go!!
Agni - the digestive fire.
Ama or Aama - undigested food waste, toxins.
Ojas- the foundation of our immune system and longevity.
Dhatus - the tissues of the body.
Srotas - the channels of the body.
Vata - the air/ether
intelligence in the body.
Pitta- the fire/water
intelligence in the body.
Kapha- the water/earth intelligence in the body.
Sattva- the quality of purity, intelligence, peace and love.
Rajas- the quality of
turbulence and activity.
Tamas- the quality of
dullness, darkness and inertia.
Rasa - the taste of a food (Sweet, Sour, Salty, Pungent, Bitter, Astringent)
Virya - second level of digestion (either Heating or Cooling)
Vipaka - third level of digestion, the deep taste of a food (can be Sweet, Sour or Pungent)
Prabhav - the 'special effect' of a food or herb/spice
Rasa - also the name for plasma tissue
Rakta - blood tissue
Mamsa - muscle tissue
Meda - fat tissue
Asthi - bone tissue
Majja - nerve & bone marrow tissue
Shukra - sexual reproductive tissue