I find the modern yogi or yoga teacher more drawn to living foods Ayurveda than traditional Ayurveda. Scarce resources exist on a raw foods approach to Ayurveda, due to a industry-wide belief that living foods are hard to digest. Yet, yogis around the world are proving otherwise, and I’m one of them. In an effort to let you know the basic tools, I’m giving you the low down on sprouting trays, superfoods suppliers, and, of course, enema bags.
Before we begin, a word on investment. You might (hopefully!) put money into a health savings account or a Roth ira. As we explore investing in tools and nutrients you might not think your body and mental health worthy of such investment. If you’re committed to nutrifying yourself I’m not sure you can make a better investment.
If you’re integrating more living foods and wondering about appliances I’d first invest in a high-powered blender over a juicer. Admittedly, juicing is better for deep detoxing than blended foods (due to all nutrients no fiber). However, a blender will give you a zillion options for making smoothies, raw soups, raw sauces, raw treats and raw dressings. I made chocolate almond cookies the other day for my non-cleansing friends. I love my blender and use it a few times a day. Vitamix and Blendtec make the rockstar blenders. Investment range: $350-450.
Vita-Mix Commercial Model with Variable Speed Knob #1002
Now, if you want a blender, but you also want to be able to juice, get a nut milk bag. Get one anyway for making fresh nut milks (like almond milk or hemp milk). The nut milks from the store are pasteurized for shelf life and therefore dead food.
These Amazing Nut Milk & Sprout Bags will also help you make vegetable juice from your blender. Simply add your veggies with a little water. Blend. Put nut milk in a big bowl. Pour veggie mix into bag. Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze the living daylights out and you’ll be left with a little fiber to compost.
On the topic of juicers take into account costs/benefits:
- quality – cold press (single or twin gear) masticating juicers vs. centrifugal juicers
A high priced juicer renders higher quality juice (less oxidation which breaks down enzymes and nutrients), better extraction, and is usually more time consuming to clean. Below is the Breville Juice Fountain. It’s inexpensive ($>200), very fast to use (centrifugal) and quick to clean. The downside is that the wire filter wears out, it doesn’t extract as much juice as a masticating jucier . I sometimes squeeze the remainder through a nut milk bag. For those who want a rundown of the various technology to extract liquid from plants: go here.
Omega sells both masticating and centrifugal juicers with excellent reviews. Champion is the oldest masticating juicer. Excellent juice extraction comes at the expense of time. An added bonus is the ease of making sprouted grain breads and masticating other foods for fun enzyme-rich raw treats.
I’m asked about enema bags surprisingly often. Call me old fashioned, but I like this simple hang from a hook gravity release enema bag. I use if for water-based enemas only. Otherwise, for an oil enema I use a $2 fleet enema kit from the drugstore. The Fleet kits only hold 8-12 oz. of liquid, which is perfect for injecting warm herbal oil into your anus. (Say that 10 times fast). Click on the one below to purchase for about $20.
Back to the front end of things, on the sprouting front I like these trays for maximum volume. If you’re sprouting just for yourself, you might be fine with a line up of glass quart jars like your grandmother used. If you’re a modern nutrient hound, having these trays give you the volume for you and yours to enjoy a cup of sprouts a day (way more nutrients than an apple a day!).
EasyGreen Large Trays, 3-pack (15″ x 13″, self-draining)
On the topic of nutrients, I’m included recommendations for favorite superfoods. We use spirulina to balance Vata with salty taste. I add it to smoothies for the protein content. If I add spirulina and hemp seed, a smoothie will easily get me from dawn until lunch. Seaweeds pacify Vata, and cause Pitta to increase heat and Kapha to retain moisture.
I also love Nori for wrapping other veggies, my sprouts, and living nut sauces in. You can buy them in big packs of 100 for about $35 from Raw Food World. That’s the equivalent of a nice bottle of tequila which you almost never buy because you’re losing the hankering for toxins.
Mother energy abouts in the root plant from the Andes known as Maca. High in a zillion amino acids (building blocks of protein), micronutrients, protein, macronutrients, alkaloids, B vitamins, fiber, fatty acids, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, I don’t have enough room to tell you about it. Nativa Naturals is an awesome source.
Pomegranate is easy to use in this form. Considered a tridoshic tonic, pomegranate is particularly useful for Kaphas due to it’s astringent nature. It’s cooling for Pitta, and nutrifying for Vata (but if you’re vata mix in some maca too for the fatty nutrifying effects). Adding these powders to leafy green and fresh fruit smoothies makes coffee feel ridiculous.
Lastly, because I save the best for last, is raw Cacao. High in manganese this “food of the Gods” is an excellent transition tool for those moving from stimulants (caffeine, cooked chocolate, black tea) into a living foods. Sourcing raw cacao you’ll feel like an ancient Mexican – savoring cacao in it’s nutrient-rich natural state instead of destroying it with cooking, sugar, and milk.
Check out David Wolfe’s, “Naked Chocolate: The Astounding Truth About the World’s Greatest Food”, raw chocolate has many high-quality nutrients such as manganese, vitamin C, and omega 6 fatty acids. Raw cacao also contains powerful antioxidants along with a significant amount of chromium, which balances blood sugar levels. Raw cacao also contains neurotransmitter modulating agents that act as natural antidepressants. “They allow our neurotransmitters like serotonin to remain in our bloodstream longer that usual. This makes us younger,” explains Wolfe. Definitely a stimulant aphrodiasic by Ayurvedic standards, raw cacao will increase all 3 doshas in excess…. but not nearly as much as it’s cooked counterpart. Experiment with raw cacao… but not after 2 pm as the stimulant effects may inhibit deep sleep.
Some of my favorite online sources for nutrients not found in my yard or greenhouse or local market: