Garam Masala: Wish you a Warm 2017

fullsizerender-1There is something very special about cooking with a powdered spice blend that has been whipped up with your own hands. Pure, unadulterated, organic spices gently roasted until fragrant and then powdered in a coffee grinder are rocking my world these days. Over the holidays, I created a spice blend that has been adding flavor and goodness to several homemade vegetable, bean and lentil dishes.

Garam Masala, a staple in Indian cooking, literally means warm spice and is comprised of several spices. Rather than adding spiciness like chili peppers do, this blend brings deep flavorful warmth to dishes. Added at the end of cooking a dish, I think of Garam Masala as a blessing, the final flourish that ties up loose ends and brings the dish together for a pleasing, wholesome completion. While good Garam Masala is widely available in stores, it has been my heartfelt desire to DIY and nail this blend. Given its grand role in Indian cooking, making the blend was immensely satisfying for me.

Most store-bought Garam Masala blends have ample amounts of cinnamon and nutmeg. You may want include them if you love the spices, but I have eliminated them in this particular version. Eliminating the cinnamon and nutmeg makes this blend suitable for a wider variety of dishes.

To make my version of Garam Masala, you will need.

  • Coriander Seeds: 3 Tablespoons
  • Cumin Seeds: 2 tablespoons
  • Fenugreek Seeds: 2 Teaspoons
  • Fennel Seeds: 1 Tablespoon
  • Black Pepper: 1 Tablespoon
  • Cloves: 1 Teaspoon
  • Cardamom pods: 1 Teaspoon
  • Star Anise: 1

Gently roast the spices in a heavy bottomed pan until fragrant and grind into a coarse powder in a coffee grinder. Store in an airtight container.

In addition to being delightfully flavorful, the spices in this blend are massively healing. Coriander seeds decrease inflammation and prevent food poisoning. Cumin seeds promote the secretion of pancreatic enzymes and improve immune function. With their maple syrup like flavor fenugreek seeds not only add taste and aroma, but they also contain an amino acid called 4-hydroxy- isoleucine that improves insulin sensitivity. Fennel seeds promote digestion and contain several essential oil components that have antioxidant and carminative properties. Black pepper stimulates the production of hydrochloric acid and improves digestion. Cloves, according to traditional Chinese medicine, “warm the middle burner”. Ayurveda deems them supreme for internal warming and therefore, metabolism and digestion. Cardamom contains high amounts of volatile oils that are responsible for its pleasant taste and antioxidant properties. Traditional healers consider it warming to the body and stimulating to the mind. Star Anise is a beautiful spice. Rich in shikimik acid (Tamiflu contains this ingredient), star anise keeps flu and other infections at bay.

In Greek mythology cardamom is associated with a feeling of ‘grateful warmth’. That pretty much describes the feeling behind the creation of this spice blend. I wish you grateful, gracious graceful warmth in the New Year. May the gentle warmth of the spice blend nourish you for all of 2017.


  • Axe: Why you need more Coriander in your Life
  • The World’s Healthiest Foods: Cumin Seeds
  • Medical Medium: Fenugreek Tea
  • Nutrition and You: The Health Benefits of Fennel Seeds
  • Acupuncture Today: Cloves
  • Maharishi Ayurveda: Clove
  • Herbal Greece: Cardamom Mythology
  • Superhuman Coach: Star Anise

Satya, Chitta, and Ananda

All of my favorite health and wellness bloggers were making delightfully wholesome round sweets such as truffles and macaroons for the holidays and I decided that it was time for me to make a handcrafted contribution to the spherically sweet corner of the culinary universe. It was a given that the confectionary(s) had to be gluten-free, dairy-free and nut-free. The ingredients and sweeteners making up the treats had to be nourishing and wholesome. And what is the point in creating ‘treats’ if they are not delicious? They had to serenade the tongue. But that was not all, I was looking for something ineffable quality that would make them achingly good.

I had been reading “Women who Run with the Wolves’ by Clarissa Pinkola Estes and was re-introduced to the word numinous in it. I had encountered the concept of numinous earlier in Carl Jung’s writings. Numinous, in Jung’s writings refers to extraordinary and awe-inspiring moments of awareness. Modern dictionaries define numinous as a reverential quality, a quality that encompasses divinity. Although I’m relatively new to the concept of numinous and don’t understand it completely (perhaps, because it is beyond logical understanding), I’m awed enough that it stays in my consciousness. The word itself has a palpable vibration that stirs me in a way that is not easily describable.

The Laddoos

The laddoos were inspired by the word numinous.

Satya, Chitta and Ananda were born. Sat-Chitt-Ananda is a compound Sanskrit word and a yogic concept that refers to the presence of divinity in all of us. Our essential or true nature is Satya, Chitta and Ananada. Satya means absolute or truth, chitta is consciousness and ananda is bliss.

Just like Jung’s concept of Self refers to the unchanging and god-image part of the psyche, Sat-Chitt-Ananda refers to our true nature that is already transcendent and divine. We don’t have to improve or embellish anything, instead we just have to meet that part of our Self that is already whole.

Inspired by these concepts, the laddoos are not created to remedy or cure any sickness, they are intended to put you in touch with your essential nature, that is already divine and whole.

The Nitty Gritty

Oats and sesame seeds were going to be the core ingredients for all the treats. Oats (gluten-free) are calming, soothing, anti-inflammatory and rich in Vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 boosts levels of serotonin in the body and creates a feeling of peacefulness and well-being. Sesame seeds are a powerhouse of essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, copper, manganese and zinc. The seeds also contain beneficial fibers called lignans that induce cholesterol reduction and protect the liver. In addition, Yogic scriptures praise sesame seeds for their ability to absorb and emit high amounts of Sattva (a calm, steady and peaceful state) frequency.

I powdered gluten-free oats into a fine powder in a Vitamix dry grinder and used organic tahini for all of the recipes. I don’t have exact quantities for the ingredients as this was a very intuitive (and magical) exercise for me, but I’m sharing all the ingredients and the method I used here.



  • Gluten-free rolled oats powdered fine in a high speed blender
  • Organic Tahini
  • Sunflower Seed Butter
  • Sweetened Organic Montomorency Cherries
  • Madre Labs Cococeps (combination of raw cacoa, reishi and cordyceps mushrooms)

The sunflower seed butter and Montomorency cherries used were already sweetened, so I did not use additional sweeteners in this recipe. Montomorency cherries are packed with antioxidants and their bright red color adds a lovely hue to this treat. Raw cacoa, in addition to its deliciousness, is a powerful heart opener. In Chinese medicine, medicinal mushrooms such as cordyceps and reishi are said to promote Shen (spiritual radiance). The sea-salt in the sunflower seed butter and the natural bitterness of the mushrooms suggest an alchemical return to Satya.



  • Gluten-free rolled oats powdered fine in a high speed blender
  • Organic Tahini
  • Ashitaba
  • Ashwagandha
  • Bella/Gur/Jaggery as the sweetener
  • Cardamom

Bella or Jaggery, the honest country cousin of white sugar, used in this recipe is chockfull of minerals and has a complex and a nuanced sweetness. A rich source of vitamin B6 and B 12, Ashitaba, is known to be a vegan blood builder. In traditional Chinese medicine it is prescribed both for boosting the immune system, and for nourishing the ‘heart-mind’. Cardamom is calming and acts like a catalyst for all the other herbs. Ashwagandha is known as an elixir of life in Ayurvedic medicine and encourages a calm internal state of awareness and Chitta.



  • Gluten-free rolled oats powdered fine in a high speed blender
  • Organic Tahini
  • Sun Potion’s Anandamide
  • Dates
  • Maple Syrup
  • Vanilla

Sun Potion’s Anandamide has a abundance of herbs and spices in it such as Mucuna Puriens, reishi mushrooms, astralagus, suma, turmeric, rose, cinnamon, etc that promote a surge of happiness as soon as it is ingested. Dates are a great source of iron and are a dream to combine into any dessert recipe. Maple syrup, with its woody buttery flavor and reminiscence of lush green forests, sweetly sweetens the laddoo. Vanilla, though rarely used for medicinal purposes these days, is an aromatic well-being inducing agent. Together these ingredients take you towards bliss or ananda.


Process all the ingredients in a food processor or blender until they are well-combined into a cookie dough like consistency. Roll into small laddooos.

What’s Left to Say?

These recipes, rather than being absolute, are conceptual. Throughout history, alchemists and magicians have shared the ingredients of, but never the exact amounts of the ingredients of their potions. Keeping in line with this tradition, my recipes are intended to be catalysts to make your own magic. Hope that these spark an idea to create your own laddoos. Here is to meeting your Sat-Chitta-Ananda state in 2016. May your new-year be filled with numinous moments.

Five Reasons you Should Eat Ghee

The Sanskrit word for Ghee is Grhita, which means flowing luminosity, radiance and clarity. Take one look at a cup of freshly made warm ghee, and you will know that the ancients were right on their money. Ghee is the filtered golden liquid oil that is leftover when you gently heat butter until all the moisture and milk solids are removed from it. The resulting golden liquid is pure delight. It is delicious, nourishing and wholesome beyond compare. Here are five reasons why you should add ghee to your diet, pronto.

An Excellent Source of Vitamin A and Vitamin D and Vitamin K2

A spoonful of ghee contains a good amount of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, D, E and K2, especially if the ghee is made from milk produced by grass fed cows. Vitamin K2 is as important as vitamin D when it comes to bone and skeletal health and heart health and grass fed ghee is an excellent source of vitamin K2. Also, ghee also contains a fatty acid called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is a wonderful weight loss promoter in addition to slowing down certain forms of cancer and heart disease.

A Butyric Acid Dynamo

Meet Clostridium butyricum, a friendly gut microbe that lives deep down in your small and large intestines. If the name of these teeny tiny creatures sounds important, that is because they are – they are important for the production of a short chain fatty acid called butyric acid, which is in turn responsible for healthy digestion by promoting optimal gut mucosa, by blocking the growth of toxic bacteria in the gut and by maintaining electrolyte balance in the intestinal tract.

So what does ghee have to do with this microbe? Ghee is a natural and concentrated source of butyric acid and it helps in maintaining an optimal environment for these microbes to thrive and produce more butyric acid in turn! Essentially, ghee is both a butyric acid containing as well as a butyric acid producing food. Butyric acid is the prime energy source for your colon cells and super significant for digestive health, but its benefits are even more wide reaching in the body. It reduces inflammation, promotes thermogenesis, improves metabolism and increases insulin sensitivity.

Has a High Smoke Point

A high smoke point is a good thing when it comes to cooking, and ghee has a higher smoke point than many cooking oils. World’s Healthiest Foods estimates ghee’s smoke point between 400˚-500˚F (204˚-260˚C), as compared to butter’s 325˚-375˚F (163˚-191˚C). Smoke point is the point at which fats and oils begin to visibly smoke when heated to high temperatures. At their smoke point fats begin to disintegrate and form free radicals that are considered carcinogenic. So ghee, due to its stability is a dream to sauté, fry and cook with!

Two Words: Sensory Delight!

Whether it is its rich golden hue, or its nutty flavor, or its tempting aroma, ghee is a lovely fat, eating it is sheer pleasure and it invokes strong emotions! Food writers and chefs have a tendency to wax lyrical about it. Here is what some of them have to say about ghee.

Ratna Rajaiah, an Indian health food columnist writes, “Shut your eyes and imagine the unmistakable irresistible fragrance of food cooked in ghee wafting out of your kitchen!”

Susan Jane White, an Irish nutrition writer, declares, “Seriously. I want to smell like hot ghee for the rest of my life!”

Chef Carrie Nahabedian of Michelin-starred restaurant in Chicago called Naha says, “With a rich, nutty flavor, it’s delicious on everything from lobster to Brussels sprouts.”

Rujuta Diwekar, nutritionist to Bollywood stars asserts, “Above all, nothing can compare with the taste of fresh hot ghee on dal, chawal or garam rotis—or even sautéed mushrooms.”

Deborah Madison, chef of Greens restaurant in San Francisco says, casino online “The flavor of this organic ghee (referring to Ancient Organics ghee) is so deep and rich with caramel overtones, that it transforms the simplest things, from a baked potato to a bowl of polenta.”

Ghee is a High Vibration Food

Our present day nutritional sciences are heavily based on the physical dimensions of food. However, there is much to food beyond the realm of calories, vitamins, minerals and fatty acids. Whether we are aware of it or not, what we eat has an effect on our subtle, subliminal bodies.

The Bhagvad Gita first classified foods that promote the purity and vitality of not just the body, but also the soul as satvik. According to Ayurveda, foods that bring forth the qualities of equanimity, peace, purity and joy are considered satvik. These foods are known to increase ojas or an inner radiance. Eating these foods result in the body and mind vibrating at a high vibration, which in turns results in bliss

Ghee is considered supreme among all satvik foods. The Bhagvad Gita simply states that ghee is God. While I’m not aware of the exact frequency in Hertz measure for ghee, I’m pretty sure that it is pretty high. I don’t have to make a case for ghee, it makes a case for itself. Its high vibration is palpable.

To Sum it Up 

Thousands of years ago, in the Vedic times, ghee was considered a symbol of purity and was used both as a food and in spiritual rituals such as lighting lamps and for fueling sacrificial fires. Not much has changed since then; ghee is still a divine aid that has great power to heal. We continually interact with the foods we eat, and in turn those foods exert a huge influence who we are and who we become. An ancient food, as old as the human race itself, ghee reminds us of the divine grace that permeates everyday life. So, make sure that you “interact” with it frequently, as it is not just a nourishing food, but also, sacred sustenance.


  • Elephant Journal; Why our Bodies Love Butter and Ghee
  • Ratna Rajaiah; How the Banana Goes to Heaven
  • Deanna Minnich; Chakra Foods for Optimum Health
  • Andreas Moritz; Timeless Secrets for health and Rejuvenation
  • Susan Jane White; Gheelicious Stuff
  • Outlook India; In Praise of Ghee
  • Facebook; Ancient Organics
  • World’s Healthiest Foods; What are the advantages and disadvantages of butter and ghee when it comes to cooking?

Curcumin, the Active Compound in Turmeric and its Potential to Heal PTSD Symptoms

There is yet another feather in turmeric’s heavily decorated healing potential cap. Along with Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, Crohn’s disease, depression, heart disease and mesothelioma, brand new, not yet published research reports that curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, helps relieve symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In a study done in the Psychology Department of Hunter College, researchers reported that curcumin weakened the creation of fear memories after a traumatic event. In a press release Glen Schafe, a professor of psychology and the lead researcher of the study said that when rats were fed a curcumin-enriched diet they were less traumatized by memories of fear.

In addition, according to Dr. Schafe, curcumin not only inhibited fear memories that were newly acquired, but also memories of fear that had been reactivated. He said, “We also showed that rats with a pre-existing fear memory can lose that memory when it is recalled while they are eating a curcumin-enriched diet.” The researchers concluded that while this study was by no means definitive, it had, “important clinical implications for the treatment of disorders such as PTSD that are characterized by unusually strong and persistently reactivated fear memories.”

Turmeric: The Sacred Golden Goddess

Turmeric has long been revered in traditional Indian medicine and culture. Dr. David Frawely, founder and director of the American online casino Institute for Vedic Studies in Santa Fe, New Mexico says, “If I had only one single herb to depend upon for  all possible health and dietary needs, I would without much hesitation choose  the Indian spice Turmeric. There is little it cannot do in the realm of healing and much that no other herb is able to accomplish.” 

It may be an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cholesterol, anticancer and anti- fill in the blank any other disease in the research world, but for most Indians and people of many other Asian cultures it is the most beloved spice in their kitchen. It is also the most important, the most holy, the most gorgeous and the most healing one in their kitchen cabinets. A symbol of purity, fertility and prosperity, turmeric is a part of prayer and wedding rituals. In fact the Sanskrit names for the Goddess and for the spice are the same! Such is the communion and fellowship between nature’s most beautiful spice and the divine feminine that the names Kanchani and Gauri in Sanskrit are names for both, turmeric and goddess Parvati.

So inextricably is the spice tied with Indian food and culture, that we use clinical amounts of it in our everyday life. We buy it by the pound, we use it for prayer, we use it instead of Neosporin to heal cuts and burns (Band-aids in India come built-in with turmeric), we use it as a beautifying agent and we use it liberally in our cooking.

A lasting (at least until now) consequence of a traumatic event, PTSD is often characterized by reliving thoughts and memories of the event that caused the trauma. That turmeric (curcumin) is responsible for selective blocking, erasing or reframing memories of PTSD that no longer serve, is a matter for marveling. The ancients who declared the spice holy, did not have access to research labs or funds to conduct elaborate studies, but they intuitively knew that the spice had such astonishing abilities to heal that it was a blessing, that it was divine. They knew that the spice aligned us with a higher consciousness and allowed our innate and intense healing potential to surface when we cooked with it. These days, labs all over the world are busy proving that our ancients were right. Now that makes for some divine news, doesn’t it?


  • Neuropsychopharmacology; A Diet Enriched With Curcumin ImpairsNewly Acquired and Reactivated Fear Memories
  • Medical Daily; Curcumin, Compound In Turmeric, Found To Impair Fear Memories And Ease PTSD Symptoms
  • Ratna Rajaiah; How the Banana Goes to Heaven
  • The Healthier Life; Revisiting the Benefits of Turmeric

Greens 101: Debonair Dandelion

When people think of dandelions, they think of bright yellow flowers ruining a pristine lawn. Ella Wheeler Wilcox must have had the dandelion plant in mind when she said, “Every weed is but an unloved flower”. Not only is the glistening yellow flower of the plant gorgeous, but also the roots and leaves of the dandelion plant are brimming with phenomenal healing prowess. If eating kale makes you feel virtuous, munching (or juicing) on dandelion greens will leave you in a blissed out state of leafy liberation. Here are three reasons why you should make dandelion greens a part of your diet, ASAP.

Le Pissenlit

The contemporary French name for the dandelion is pissenlit, literally meaning ‘piss-in-the-bed’. If you think that the name has to do something with the green”s diuretic abilities, you are absolutely right. Herbalists and folk medicine healers have long prescribed dandelion greens as a diuretic for liver problems such as jaundice and cirrhosis and for high blood pressure. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine confirmed that the dandelion fresh leaf “increases the frequency and excretion ratio of fluids in healthy human subjects.” Whether it is the dreaded PMS bloat or I ate too many salty foods bloat, dandelion greens will help you get rid of all the extra fluids and have you looking svelte in no time.

Fantastic Nutrition

Vitamin K is the new Vitamin D. We all know that Vitamin K helps with blood clotting, but emerging studies suggest that along with Vitamin D, the fat-soluble vitamin builds bone and remineralizes teeth. You can essentially heal a cavity in your tooth with the help of these two vitamins! As if that were not enough, it best online casino also helps prevent neuron damage in the brain and it may prevent certain cancers. Dandelion greens contain a whopping 535 percent of the RDA of Vitamin K! In addition, the greens also contain significant amounts of vitamin A, C and B6, thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, iron, potassium and manganese and zinc.

Delectably Bitter

DandelionI find that there is something inherently truthful about a bitter green. It helps me pay attention to what I’m eating. Have you noticed how easy it is polish off an industrial sized bag of potato chips? You can consume unbelievable amounts of salty or sweet foods without being mindful, but try doing that with bitter foods. Each bite, bites back. You pay attention, you focus and you slide into that angelic zone of mindful eating.

Paradoxically, bitterness increases the delectableness of food. Use fresh dandelion leaves in salads or add them to your morning green smoothies. Sautee the leaves with fat and add them to your vegetable, grain or egg scrambles. Not only will they make these foods more digestible (bitters stimulate digestion and increase bile production), but they also will add a touch of intensity and sophistication to your everyday dining. You can Michelin Star yourself.


  • The Imponderabilia of Actual Life; Pissenlit and Dandelions
  • Goodreads; Elle Wheelar Wilcox
  • Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine; The Diuretic Effect in Human Subjects of an Extract of Taraxacum officinale Folium over a Single Day
  • Dr. Mercola; What are Dandelion Greens Good for?
  • University of Maryland Medical Center; Dandelion
  • Featured Image Credit; Graphics Fairy


Friday Five: November 28th, 2014

Today I”m pleased as punch to bring you a Friday Five guest post written by a precious friend from architecture college days. Reshma Rao Beeranthbail lives in Dubai, runs marathons, practices yoga and pursues minimalism. She also takes extraordinary pictures.  Her photographs, especially her people portraits, are bold and evocative. I have walked around for hours with a lump in my throat after viewing some of them. I hope that you enjoy reading these five inspirational thoughts and ideas from her world.


Rolling Stone magazine described their music thus:A Balkan accordionist, a Burundi drummer, an American slide guitarist, and a British rock star walk into a bar. High-octane folk-pop ensues.“

I haven’t felt so much excitement for a rock band in decades! The Kongos are a talented South African band based in Phoenix, AZ. The 4 brothers have been in the music scene since 2007 but were recently signed by Epic Records. They have charmed audiences everywhere with their distinctive style, strong rhythm and catchy tunes. When was the last time you heard the rich sounds of an accordion in a rock band?! Some of their musical influences include Coldplay, The Beatles, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (Yes!), Paul Simon, and Pink Floyd. I have enjoyed every track in their ‘Lunatic’ album. These guys are the real deal and will go places! Check them out!


Isn’t it wonderful when your biggest weakness happens to be one of nature’s greatest gifts? It’s affordable, perfectly legal and available without prescription. Packed with antioxidants and happy chemicals, it offers many health benefits. If someone refutes these lofty claims, I don’t want to know. I love dark chocolate!

Among popular brands, my recent discovery has been Lindt Excellence Roasted Sesame. The chocolate bar, according to the product description is, “a perfectly balanced blend of intensely dark chocolate and delicate pieces of roasted sesame seeds. The nutty earthiness of the seeds enhances the roasted character of the cocoa, while the crunchy texture creates the ultimate taste sensation.” I couldn’t have said it better!  What makes it exceptional however is the caramelized sesame. It tastes just like sesame ladoos! It’s more “Indian” than any chocolate I’ve had.

Om Advantage

Phil Jackson put the Knicks through mindfulness training. Yoga was the secret sauce of the 2014 Super Bowl champions, the Seattle Seahawks. In her new book, Arianna Huffington draws on latest scientific research to show the transformative effects of meditation and mindfulness. Mindfulness has finally gone mainstream. I’ve been practicing yoga for 2 years and it has made all the difference in the world. The most basic of poses require adjustments of stance, balance and breathing, and the intricacies can take a lifetime to master. But the benefits even for a beginner are immense. The smooth movements are synchronized with conscious breathing. I can’t grunt or fight or beat myself up because the only way to get deeper into a pose is to relax into it. Yoga (and Pilates too) is my insurance against other hard workouts I put my body through. My ego sulks next to my flip-flops in the far corner of the room. There’s no place for it in yoga. In that little space on the yoga mat, I tune in to my body and mind without judgment. I’m still a work in progress but I know that in yoga I have found an ally.

Road to Somedayville

I created my first ‘Life List’ about 5 years ago. It’s a categorized, color-coded (don’t judge me!), itemized list of all the things I wish to do in my lifetime. The list is a nudge to anchor my dreams instead of letting them drift aimlessly towards Somedayville.

Over the past year, my family has practiced “Attitude of Gratitude” every night. It’s not a wishful prayer. Rather, we quietly reflect upon all the things, big and small, that we’re thankful for. It’s a nice way to put the day to rest.  It occurred to me that perhaps, some Enterprise free data recovery software Management and Big free data recovery software Enterprise free data recovery software Management (EDM) is an important process for understand- ing and controlling the economics of data in your enterprise or organization. of our best experiences are not always what we plan diligently for, but those that magically happen. I wouldn’t have dreamed of drifting in a hot air balloon in Cappadocia, Turkey in my wildest dreams. But there I was last April, marveling the surreal landscape and spectacular views at sunrise.

So, I revisited my list and added in all the beautiful “Shoulda been on my life list” moments that had already gone by. I wish I had the discipline to keep a daily journal, but a ‘Gratitude Life List’ is the next best thing. It maps my past, plots my current path, and holds a compass to guide my way ahead. It’s a happy place that holds so much gratitude and promise.

Letting Go

Earlier this year, I was intrigued by the idea of becoming a minimalist after chancing upon a blog challenging readers to live with 100 items or less. 100 things seemed too extreme, but it was the beginning of my journey towards minimalism. I cleared our house and our life of “stuff”; stuff that carry so much weight and drag us down. I had held on to things long after they’d lost their value or purpose. Interestingly, my minimalist path permeated into other aspects of my life. I reevaluated everything with a critical eye. My physical space, digital world, time commitments, relationships, and even my mind, the biggest hoarder of them all! The “stuff” had to go. Purge, delete, cleanse! Imagine a clogged drain finally unplugged. That feeling of sudden “Whoosh!” made my spirits soar! I could feel the lightness of being.

In the declutter process, I found my old Minolta film camera in a box under my bed. Its previous owner was a WWII veteran who belonged to my Photography club. When he passed away, his family wanted his prized possession to go to a good home. During our move, I had forgotten all about this metallic camera with its intricate hand-embroidered strap and shiny buttons. This camera with many untold stories in its wear and tear finally found its rightful place in my living room. I’m going to treasure it.

Letting go was never about giving up. It was about creating abundance for what I truly love, value and cherish.


Image Credit: Reshma Beeranthbail Photography

Friday Five: November 21st, 2014

Today, I’m delighted and thrilled to bring you our very first Friday Five guest post! Written by my dear friend, Seema Ramakrishna, this post is a personal exploration on the ideas and thoughts that are presently resonating with her. Seema is a mother to one, friend to many, a ball of passion and energy, and Head of Interiors of the well-known Brigade Group in Bangalore, India.

Morning Reflections
I particularly love that window of time, every single day, between 8 am and 8-30 am when I coordinate what I should wear. It is absolutely “ME” time. To choose from a wardrobe that houses a collection of clothes across 20 odd years, is no easy task. Surprisingly though, it does seem easy. Because I don”t care much for what might be the current trend or what impact my appearance would have on others.

I strongly recommend that every person should spend some time assessing oneself in front of the mirror. The mind will behold all that the soul has to bare. And voila! You will know exactly what you need to wear to lift the spirits. Wear makeup if you must but also wear the right amount of the right attitude!
Armed with all of the above, I for one, walk out of my home with a spring in my step, ready to face the world.

Indian Mantra
There is this tried and tested Indian way of handling difficult situations and that is to simply place the problem on the back burner. Father Time is the wholesome ingredient that resolves the concern on hand. Anger or any other negatively strong emotion is best managed by putting off a reaction on an immediate basis and paving the way for a response instead, all in good time.
It took me this long to realize this home truth but it sure works.

Sole mate – Size Matters!
The size of my feet has faced the brunt of many digs. One such was while I was getting a pedicure done, the therapist squealed with amusement that I have such tiny feet and I retorted with a, “What may thus be the discount?” And so when there are those freak moments that I chance upon the right fitting pair of shoes, the necessary measure of adrenalin pumps in and it becomes my coveted asset.
Sole searching is also very good for my soul!

Eat, Sleep, Live
My grandmother ate all that she fancied and lived all of her 83 years. She had casino online diabetes, high BP and what not but that did not deter her from indulging in food. The key to keeping her metabolism in check was to eat in moderation and at regular intervals and take her medication religiously. She took a nap every afternoon and slept well at night. Every meal, every chore was by the clock. She read novels before she went to bed. I have inherited her culinary skills on a willing note and her lack of height on an unwilling note. Am at that bend of the road when my metabolism is slowing down and nevertheless, I need to inherit her ways on a compulsory note.

Annual Pilgrimage
I work hard and I party hard. It is driven by external forces and I go with the flow, striving hard to meet work and home deliverables, as life would have it. And then comes that time of the year when I fall off the face of the earth for two weeks. I prefer to travel alone to seek peace in being with myself, on my terms. I always return home feeling a better person. Am sure my folks think so too in addition to thinking that I truly am a sweet person since I bring back a whole lot of chocolates local to the region of visit!

A trip like this reinforces me for what seems like a lifetime but it lasts exactly a year. And off I go, wanting to be with myself year after year. A pilgrimage of sorts to revive the mind, body and soul.


Savory Turmeric Beverage/Soup

Turmeric (the powdered kind) has always held a special spot in my spice cabinet and recently fresh turmeric root also has been getting some serious veneration in my kitchen. Containing ostentatious amounts of anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and immune building compounds, the spice recently graced the pages of the prestigious Wall Street Journal. Dubbed ‘snow day superfood’ by the journal, turmeric makes a great addition to your spice cabinet (if it is not already in there) for the upcoming winter season. Whether you are almost sick, already sick or far from sick drinking a cup (or two) of a beverage laced with the spice is an excellent idea. If you are sick, it will make you well and if you are well, it will make you thrive.

Delicious and warming, turmeric milk is an age-old Ayurvedic and home remedy to cure the chills. It is usually sweetened with sugar or honey, but I wanted to try making a savory version incorporating both powdered and fresh turmeric root and other warming spices such as ginger, cumin and black pepper. You can have it in a cup and call it a beverage or have it in a bowl call it a soup. Your wish.

Here is what you will need.

  • A cup of unsweetened almond or coconut milk
  • ½  teaspoon of turmeric
  • ½ inch slice of fresh turmeric root cut into small pieces
  • ½ inch slice of fresh ginger root cut into small pieces
  • Black peppercorns
  • Roasted cumin powder (Just toast a few cumin seeds in a pan and grind into a fine powder)
  • Salt to taste (I used Himalayan casino online salt)
  • Steamed vegetables (optional)
  • A dab of coconut oil or pastured butter (optional)

Here is how you will make it.

  • Warm a cup of almond, hemp or coconut milk on the stove-top.
  • Add half a teaspoon of turmeric to the milk and stir till the turmeric is completely dissolved. At this point the milk in the saucepan will look bright yellow. Bring the milk to a gentle boil and turn off the stove.
  • Crush 4 peppercorns in a mortar and pestle and add to the milk. Black pepper is said to increase the bio-availability of turmeric. Skip this step if you are making the turmeric milk for a child or for a person with a severe cough.
  • Pour the milk (with turmeric) into a cup or a bowl and add the fresh and powdered spices. Add salt to taste
  • Add steamed vegetables, herbs, and a pat of coconut oil or pastured butter if you want to turn the beverage into something more substantial.

Drink this hard-core turmeric beverage to rock the Winter of 2014! The flu or any other virus will have nothing on you.


Wall Street Journal; Snow Day Superfood

Planta Medicine; Influence of Piperine on the Pharmacokinetics of Curcumin in Animals and Human Volunteers

Friday Five: November 14th, 2014

I’m back with the Friday Five feature for this month. Here are five thoughts/ideas/things that are bringing joy and delight into my life. I had written about the possibility of including guest posts for this feature and it looks like it is going to happen. Stay tuned for exciting guest posts next Friday onwards!

Fresh Turmeric Root

The fresh turmeric root was an impulse buy. I have seen it sit next to fresh ginger root in grocery stores for years, but have ignored it thinking that powdered turmeric was all that I needed in my kitchen. Turmeric powder is good, but fresh turmeric root is extraordinary. The fresh version has a subtle taste, a slight peppery tang to it, but it would be remiss of me to call it turmeric lite. It is the creator of the powder after all. I have been julienning it, grating it and juicing it (in a garlic press) into my dishes, and my-oh-my, it adds glorious color, flavor and magic every single time. Just around the time I started buying fresh turmeric root, I had a scary-very-apt-for-Halloween cut on my finger. The few people who were allowed to peek under the band-aid said that it needed multiple stitches. Six weeks later, there are no signs whatsoever of the once upon a time cut. Our ancients were so certain of turmeric’s healing prowess, that they named the root, Kanchani, or the golden goddess in Sanskrit. You can also bring the goddess home today to heal your wounds, external or internal.

Medjool Dates

Deep brown in color with a caramel like flavor, medjool dates are embodiments of nature’s sweetness. Brimming with nutrients like vitamin A, B, potassium and iron, they make an energizing snack all by themselves or they make an excellent substitute for sugar. I have been using them to sweeten smoothies, truffles and puddings. Something magical happens when bananas, coconut milk and a touch of cardamom meet these dates in the blender. It is like they go on an awesome date (sorry, I could not resist) or something.


It is that cold time of the year and if you are worried about plunging into Seasonal Affective Disorder, embrace Hygge. What is Hygge? It is a Danish word and it is hard to translate it into English. It is the reason why the Danes are considered the happiest people on earth despite long, dark and dreary winters. Describing the concept, Helen Dyrbye in the Xenophobe’s Guide to the Danes says that,

“It is the art of creating intimacy: a sense of comradeship, conviviality and contentment rolled into one.”

Simply put, it is the driving away of darkness and coldness through the luminosity and warmth of you and those around you. It is your everyday Deepavali or Christmas. Hygge is both a ceremony involving cozy candle light dinners as well as a feeling. So what will you do today to bring Hygge into your life?

Nag Champa Incense

Each stick weighs a gram and burns for one whole hour. Each stick is a special blend of resins, flower essences, herbs and natural sandalwood oil. Each stick is hand rolled. The scent is gentle, earthy and lingering, and is resonating with me, big time. I burn one stick every day; it wraps and cradles me with light, love and Hygge.

Maria Popova’s Literary Jukebox 

It is a Brain Pickings project where quotes are imaginatively, reflectively and thematically matched with songs. When asked about the inspiration behind the project, Maria said,

“I have music on practically all the time and spend an inordinate portion of my waking hours reading, so it’s unsurprising that this synesthetic quality would manifest itself [for me] most powerfully in the relationship between literature and music.”

I have been spending an inordinate amount of time on this site. Here is one of my favorites, time seems to expand with this Proust with Murdoch pairing.


  • California College of Ayurveda; Turmeric: The Golden Goddess
  • Dr. Mercola; What are Dates Good For?
  • Mother Nature Network; How ‘hygge’ can Help you Get Through Winter
  • Library Journal; Q & A; Maria Popova on Literary Jukebox


A scene from The Good Road, a film that I watched last weekend at a local film festival, was so evocative that it filled me with a visceral longing. What does one of the main characters in the film, a truck driver, do when he is at a difficult crossroads, both physically and emotionally? He perches on top a granite milestone, next to a never-ending highway, amidst an arid landscape, in a squat position and ponders.

Watching him squat on the milestone with ease left me with a yearning to feel that comfortable in my body again. I remember squatting with ease when I was a child to examine exciting objects on the floor or to play with sand on the beach. I squatted in malasana or the garland pose in my yoga classes. I also squatted regularly during my pregnancies in preparation for labor and birth. And then somewhere along the way, I stopped doing yoga, forgot about squats for years until I watched this film last Friday. It triggered a muscle memory of efficacy and familiarity with the squat position that I once possessed.

The benefits of squats are many. Touted as a complete workout in one single movement by fitness trainers and enthusiasts, the movement builds muscle not just in best online casino the lower half of the body, but deep down in the core and the upper half of the body too. Squats create an anabolic environment in the body that promotes the release of the human growth hormone, which in turn builds strength in the entire body. Just as it builds strength, the movement also improves flexibility in the joints, especially in the knees and the lower back. In addition, research studies link squats with increased athletic performance, specifically in the areas of jumping higher and running faster.

In its yogic version or malasana, the squat is considered grounding and centering. An ideal prenatal exercise, it helps stretch the ankles and feet and open up the hips, groin and inner thighs. This pose is useful for decreasing tension from the lower back and also relieving lower back pain. It is said that practicing the pose regularly, improves balance, coordination and concentration. In addition it helps with digestion and elimination. In fact, malasana is considered supreme for metabolism and digestion.

That got me thinking. On a daily basis, we digest so much more than the food we eat. We digest and metabolize the books we read, the music we hear, the air we breathe, the sights we see and the emotions we feel. Is that what that truck driver in the film was doing? Did the squat on the milestone help him metabolize the difficult circumstances around him? Is squatting elemental to the human condition? Without spoiling the film for you (just in case you decide to watch it), I’ll say that he decided to do the right thing. He decided to choose light over darkness.

Life poses big and difficult questions, and sometimes getting into a pose can help us process them. These days you will find me squatting or at least trying to squat with childlike glee. I have examined the contents of all the lower cabinets in my kitchen in the squat position (with support). I’m also brushing my teeth in the squat position.  At least for me, the benefit of squatting is squatting itself, it is a reward in itself. It is deeply satisfying in and of itself. Strength, musculature, elasticity, balance, increased mobility, concentration, enhanced digestion and a better metabolism are just bonus.


  • Dr. Mercola; Squats: 8 Reasons to do this Misunderstood Exercise
  • Mark’s Daily Apple; Why Squatting Is So Important (plus Tips on How to Do It Right)
  • Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research; Concurrent strength and endurance training effects on running economy in master endurance runners.
  • Love my Yoga; Squat Pose
  • Image Credit: