The golden rays of evening Sun was scintillating an Orphic Ataraxia on the streets of Vallikkavu, a little fisher man village in South Western Peninsula of India. My mother and me were walking through the narrow street around the Goddess’s Temple. The Temple had magnanimous stone structures of architectural marvel that echoed stories of Timeless Devotion and Wisdom.
The surrounding was revelling in the rhythms of Sound. The bells and chants from the temple echoed in harmony to the conversations of village labourers walking home.The joyous chatter of children playing around synched in tune with the people bustling through this vibrant local market of vegetables and flowers. The bird chirped, cows mooed and crows cawed in unison with the swishing wind and rattling leaves.The bicycle bells tinkled to jingling bangles and anklets. Amidst all the flavours of evenings colours and rhythms of sound, the evening possessed an all encompassing Calmness and Serenity. We took each step, enjoying being submerged in the beauty of the moment.
As we were walking past our milk man’s house, his wife came to the entrance for a small talk. After the chat, my mother offered her some fruits we had bought from the market earlier. She joyously accepted them, asked us to wait for a moment and ran back to her house. She returned with an earthen pot of fresh curd and gave it to me. I was overjoyed to receive a pot of my favourite of foods.My mother thanked her and continued walking holding my hands.
Unable to resist the delicious smell, I eagerly asked:”Amma, can I have the curd for dinner today?”.She smiled to my question and then replied: “ No dear, there are some rules you need to follow while using curd.” I looked up in dismay: “Rules? I thought that eating good food was the only rule for me”. She laughed and replied: “There is a saying- Eat your food like medicine, else you will end up eating medicine as food. There are guidelines for collecting, preparing, timings and consuming food ingredients. We become healthy by following these principles while eating food. We may suffer from diseases if we disregard these regulations. So, there is Possibility of being Healthy or Ill with our choices about Food.”
Though I haven’t understood the depth of her lines, I nodded in amusement. My mother spoke about curd till we reached our home. Since then till today, I have Implemented her wisdom on curd in my life.
A decade later I went to do my bachelors of Medicine in Ayurveda. One day my professor delivered a scientific lecture on characteristics of curd. I felt elated and grateful for two reasons. This magnanimous Science of Ayurvedic Nutrition and my Mother, who skilfully blended a child’s curiosity to a potential habit. Later, I became a daily witness of the evidence based appreciation of this Ancient Science after being a physician for nearly a decade.
Beyond chemical components and calories, Every food ingredient possess 5 characteristics. Taste, Attribute, Potency, Bio transformation and Specific Actions. The knowledge of these qualities help us become Mindful Consumers of Food. The Holistic Awareness of Preparation, Combination, Quantity, Quality, Time and Consumption of Food makes a person Champion of Health.
The breakers of Nazaré, the Surfers Paradise in Portugal woke me up from the trail of Thoughts.As the Setting Sun whispers farewell to the shoreline and rejoin the Horizon, i walked up to the car being convinced that Mindful Nutrition has the possibilities to bring Enormous Freedom from Illness.
SECRETS OF CURD:
Curd is known by the name Dadhi in Ayurveda. Dahi and Thairu are the vernacular names in India. Dadhi is made by curdling hot milk with curd itself. In America, Curd is prepared by curdling milk with an acidic ingredient like lemon juice.
Yogurt/ Yoghurt is made by fermenting milk with specific bacterial strains (Lactobacillus bulgaris and Streptococcus thermophilus). Kefir is made by culturing kefir grains to cold milk. The lacto fermented curd(dadhi) after straining is considered as the best source of proteins and probiotics. Yet there are some interesting facts about Curd/Yogurt/Kefir.
- Curd is SOUR in taste and after digestion.
- Water absorbent, creates constipation.
- HEAVY for digestion.
- HOT in potency.
- Increase Fat and Tissue Strength.
- The wholesome Curd when consumed in excess causes blood inflammation disorders, Gastrointestinal disorders,Respiratory disorders,Dermatology problems, Cardiac diseases, obesity and Odema.
- The same Curd, when consumed within the guidelines is used as a remedy In Anorexia, Rhinitis, Fever and Diarrhoea. In my Practice, Many disorders like allergies, Acid reflux, obesity, recurrent cold, Neurodermitis and more have been successfully controlled by restricting the intake of curd/ yogurt/ kefir.
Here are the guidelines to remember while using Curd/Yogurt/kefir:
- Never eat Curd/ Yogurt/ Kefir at Night.
- Never Heat Curd/Kefir/Yogurt. Avoid using recipes that uses heating of yogurt.
- Restrict using Curd/Yogurt during Spring, Summer and Autumn.
- Curd/ Yogurt is not recommended for daily intake.
- Use Curd/Yogurt only during lunch.
- While consuming Curd/ Yogurt – use Green gram soup, Indian Gooseberry, Ghee, Sugar candy or Honey alongside.
- There are four stages of Formation of Curd. The semi formed, Sweet, Sour and Extreme Sour. Avoid intake of semi formed thick Curd, Sweet Curd/ Yogurt,Artificial flavoured Yogurt and Extreme Sour Curd/Yogurt.
- Fresh Medium Sour Curd/ Yogurt from whole fat milk can be chosen for occasional intake.
- Choose regular intake of Fresh/ homemade of buttermilk at lunch over Curd.
- Rasalam is a healthy and delicious recipe that can be consumed instead of Lassi.
- Avoid Combining Sour fruits and Sweet fruits with Yogurt/Curd.
- Avoid combining yogurt/curd/ kefir with Meat,Fish and Egg,Leafy Greens and Raw salads.
Home made Curd (Recipe):
- Take 100 ml of Cow milk(Organic,Full fat) in a steel/earthen pot.
- Bring to boil in medium flame.
- When the milk starts to boil, reduce the flame and continue boiling for 5 minutes more.
- Stir continuously with a wooden/steel spoon while boiling.
- Turn off the flame and Allow the milk to cool to room temperature(36-43 degree Celsius). Let the milk be comfortably warm to touch.
- Add 2 Teaspoon of Sour yogurt/curd(Room temperature, full fat, Organic ) in a porcelain jar/glass jar.
- Add the boiled and cooled milk in to jar. Stir well. Secure the lid. Advised to do during evenings.
- Keep it in a room with 30+ degree Celsius room temperature or near the room heater. Do not use microwave or oven.
- During the Next day morning, check the sourness of curd. If the curd looks set with medium sourness, it is ready to be used. This curd has to be used to prepare more quantity of curd, by adding to warm cooked milk and curdling.
- Freshly made curd can be stored in steel/clay/porcelain pot with closed lid in refrigerator for upto 3 days for culture. Consume curd before it turns too sour, during which a fresh curd needs to be prepared from the same culture.
- Take 200ml home made fresh curd in a pot.
- Add 100ml of water. Stir well.
- Add 1-4 teaspoons of organic sugar candy or jaggery.
- Add 3 pinches each of black pepper powder, dry ginger powder, cumin powder, cinnamon powder, cardamom powder and 1 small bay leaf with 2 crushed cloves. Add salt to taste. Mix well. The delicious rasalam is ready for lunch.
- Take 100ml of home made curd in a blender jar.
- Add 300ml of still water at room temperature.
- Add crushed 10 curry leaves/ mint leaves/ coriander leaves.
- Add 1/2 Teaspoon of crushed fresh ginger, 1 pinch cumin powder,3 pinches of black pepper powder and rock salt.
- Blend for 5-7 seconds. Remove the top creamy or frothy layer with a spoon. Transfer to a glass and drink fresh.
- If time permits, churning out the creamy layer can be done instead of blending.