12 culinary herbs… a free lecture

12 culinary herbs… a free lecture

Come join us on March 15th for 12 Culinary Herbs You Can’t Live Without, a casual and engaging evening with author and veteran practitioner Todd Caldecott. During this free lecture, Todd will introduce you to twelve important culinary herbs that everyone should know, providing a detailed review of their nutritional and phytochemical properties, as well as their culinary and medicinal uses. In this class, you will learn:

  • how to cook with these 12 herbs
  • what foods they go best with
  • how to prepare and use them as a medicine.

Date: March 15th, 2016
Time: 6pm PST

There is limited space available for this lecture, so register now!


Parvati’s delight

Parvati’s delight

The following recipe is taken from the book, Food As Medicine:

This sweet is named after the goddess of beauty and desire, a voluptuous Indian Aphrodite wedded to her Lord Shiva, himself represented by a giant lingam, or phallus. As the name suggests, this is meant to be an aphrodisiac food, but is also just a very pleasant dessert, perhaps with a little red wine after dinner for an intimate moment. The recipe has endless variations, depending on your desire.


  • 6 oz. (squares) of unsweetened chocolate
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 2-3 tbsp. maca powder
  • 2 tbsp. clarified butter
  • 2 tbsp. ashwagandha powder, finely sieved
  • 2 tbsp. shatavari (tien men dong), finely sieved
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon powder, finely sieved
  • 1 tsp. cardamom powder, finely sieved
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg powder, finely sieved
  • 1 tsp. clove powder, finely sieved
  • 1 tsp. black pepper powder, finely sieved
  • rice or coconut flour, as needed

Melt chocolate and clarified butter together. Add powders of maca, ashwagandha, shatavari, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, clove and black pepper. Mix into the chocolate/ghee combination and simmer over a low heat for 10 minutes. Cool in pan until warm. Pour over honey in a separate bowl and mix well. Add tahini and mix into a dough, adding in a little rice or coconut flour if it seems too wet. Roll into half-inch sized balls and place on a plate in the freezer to cool. When it’s ready, roll the balls in some icing sugar, cocoa powder or licorice root powder. Keep cool, and enjoy. Dose is 2-4 chocolates, or more, depending on your plans for the evening…”

The graduated diet

The graduated diet

The graduated diet, or sansarjana krama, is an approach to eating recommended by Ayurveda when digestion is weak, in the presence of ama, or while undergoing powerful cleansing therapies called pancha karma. Using the analogy of building the fire, the graduated diet is like the kindling used to start and stoke the digestive fire, feeding it small amounts of food given in increasingly larger amounts over a period of three to seven days, until proper digestion is established.

The first food given on the first day of the graduated diet is a thin rice soup called peya. This is prepared by cooking basmati or partially-milled red rice in eight times its volume of water of water until it is a soft, thin porridge. To speed up the cooking process, a flaked rice called ‘pauwa’ is sometimes used instead, because it cooks up very quickly. Peya is the easiest of all the foods to digest. For weak patients with dryness and mucosal sensitivity, moistening cereals such as oats can be used instead.

If the peya is properly digested, a thicker rice porridge called vilepi can be introduced next, prepared by cooking rice in four times its volume of water. If this is well digested, the next meal is yusha or kitchari. Traditionally, there are two types of kitchari: the first called akrita yusha prepared without spices and salt; and the second type called krita yusha, which is prepared spices and salt, and eaten with fermented vegetables. Following this, the last meal during the graduated diet is a meat soup called mansa rasa (‘meat juice’), prepared by stewing meat for several hours, and skimming off any fat before serving. At this stage, proper digestion should be re-established, and a normal diet can followed, but with an emphasis on soups and stews, prepared with herbs and spices to augment digestion.

The graduated diet is traditionally implemented over a period of three to seven days, beginning with peya and ending with mansa rasa, depending on whether regimen required is mild, medium or strong. The following table illustrates how the graduated diet can be implemented over a period of three to seven days:

Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 10.40.37 PM

In some cases it is recommended that the patient continues eating kitchari or a modified version of this dish for several weeks as part of a sustained detoxification program. Although not necessarily an optimal source of nutrients, kitchari does provide sufficient protein, fat and carbohydrate to maintain the body in a good state of health. One variation is to add steamed vegetables to help with detoxification and supply the body with additional nutrients. This forms a solid basis for a vegetarian diet, along with dairy products such as boiled milk, yogurt, and ghee.