Sunday, February 3, 2008

Dr. Manthena is very well known among local Telugu people!

We had been attending local Indian cultural events such as Diwali celebrations and Republic Day celebrations. Thanks to TAGB, BigHelp, and NE Tamil Sangam for giving us such opportunities, we are able to experience first hand how serious and sincere people are when it comes to their and their family’s health. We are going to these events and setting up a “Manthena’s Natural Living” table. We are giving out a flyer that talks about who Dr. Manthena Raju is, the kind of service he is doing to thousands in Andhra, what the method is and the website and blog information etc. The response is tremendous. So many people stop by and discuss concerns and what not. Most amazing of all, a great lot of the people either heard about Dr. Raju or have read his books. Some are already following him, and some are hesitant to follow and are going to revisit it now!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Before You Start This Method

If you have any serious health issues, please discuss your desire to start using this method with your doctor. Dr. Raju says people with heart issues, kidney problems, liver problems, glaucoma etc should not use the water therapy and must discuss with their doctors before they make any life style changes. Please be sure to read our disclaimer.

Please make sure you understand the method sufficiently well before you start implementing it. Make sure you understand the water cycle, when and how to drink how much etc before you start it.

What is this method

This method is not something that sprang out of thin air. It is just a reminder of our age-old traditions aimed at taking good care of our bodies. For example, take drinking a liter or so water first thing in the morning on empty stomach. Dr. Raju quotes the ancient ayurvedic literature Charaka Samhita, "one should drink eight 'dosellu' water as soon as waking up", a "dosedu" is a cup made by joining both palms together.

Dr. Raju's method is not just about eating uncooked foods or natural ingredients. It is aiming at a much higher level and about “how to live” in a way that helps us achieve “total body health.” It focuses on how you care for your body in a given day; why the amount and manner in which we consume our water is not able to cleanse our body; what to eat and when; how to make sure what we put in our mouths whether it is water or food is used to generate energy for the body as opposed to spend 75% of it in digesting it; and most importantly how to make sure we eliminate the waste produced regularly. His method deals with making our internal system healthy so that we live longer and healthy and feel good about ourselves every single day.

As Winston Churchill said, “All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in single words: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope”, Dr. Raju's method is simple. Making simple changes in our life style, we are going to make a huge difference in our lives and lead us to complete health! To put in one sentence, the method is about realizing the fact that our body is two thirds water and one third matter and hence we should start giving importance to providing our bodies with water at right times and eat at right times.

In his book Health is Happiness, Dr. Raju describes the Dharmas (Duties) of the body as Dharma of Water, Dharma of Food, Dharma of Exercise, Dharma of Rest and Dharma of Excretion. We can talk about each Dharma and its nuances and importance for hours but again to put it all in one sentence – observing Dharma of Water and Dharma of Food and other Dharmas in order to achieve the Dharma of Excretion (disposing of our bodily wastes) is our end goal, resulting in a total health.

If you are someone who has any chronic illnesses or someone who does not have any major health issues (come on, don't you at least have constipation or gastric troubles?) and wants to remain so, you should read on and start taking control of your health and life. If you are someone who eats healthy almost always but is not satisfied with the results, you will find answers as to why in Dr. Raju's explanation. Even though you may not find recipes to suit your food style here (I included mainly Southern Indian recipes), you can learn the water and food requirements here and using that knowledge figure out how to make “your” recipes healthier. There are testimonials from hundreds of followers in Dr. Raju's books who claim they cured themselves of diabetes, blood pressure, asthma, severe constipation, headaches, sleeplessness, indigestion, overweight, joint pains etc and no longer use any form of medicines!

Who is Dr. Raju


Dr. Raju is the great soul set out to educate people like me and you the importance of water to our bodies and the body's need for nutrition to keep it healthy.

After experiencing the power of natural life early on in his life, he was in and out of it several times, bringing back the health issues each time. Eating uncookied foods and "boiled vegetables" alone was not working! He decided to explore and figure out to cook our day to day foods, "healthily", eliminating ingredients and methods that are harmful to our bodies, and hence retaining the nutrition. This he hopes will help people to learn to eat healthy "in their homes", not just when they are sick and in "nature cure hospitals".

What are the Dharmas of the Body

In his book Health is Happiness, Dr. Raju describes the Dharmas (Duties) of the body as Dharma of Water, Dharma of Food, Dharma of Exercise, Dharma of Rest and Dharma of Excretion. We can talk about each Dharma and its nuances and importance for hours but to put it all in one sentence – observing Dharma of Water and Dharma of Food and other Dharmas in order to achieve the Dharma of Excretion (disposing of our bodily wastes) resulting in a total health, is my favorite way of putting it.

Dharma of Water: Why we need Water

(1) Our body is two-thirds water and one-third matter, and hence water is more important to our bodies, than food (which is what we are doing now).

(2) What happens at the cell level if we consume less water:
            Intra-cellular fluid is drawn into extra-cellular fluid. Cells lose water and salts such as sodium and potassium.
            Cells hence contract and this affects their chemical reaction
            Cells cannot convert the food consumed into energy

(3) What happens to the body when we consume less water:
            Constipation because the digested and undigested food cannot move easily
            Dry skin, dry eyes, dry mouth etc
            Waste cannot be purged out completely and will accumulate in the body
            Wastes such as dead cells etc cannot get purged and hence remain in the body and harden
            When water level in the body is reduced, most important electrolytes are also lost
            Body reabsorbs water from the large intestines. This results in the recirculation of "dirty water" polluted with bad bacteria from the stools in the body - resulting in bad odors, skin diseases etc

(4) What happens to kidneys when less water is consumed:
            Kidneys still must do the same amount of filtering of blood. There is no change in the blood flow to kidneys
            Water percentage in the filtered blood by kidneys is reduced.
            Hence, after the blood is filtered, less urine is produced
            Urea, uric acid, creatine, phosphates, waste material-containing nitrogen hence accumulate in blood
            Unless urine is discharged these waste material are not purged out. Since less urine is produced, the waste material accumulates in the kidneys

(5) Many doctors say 2 to 2.5 liters of water is what we need per day. This is because our body discards that much water through our breathing, sweat, urine and feces in a day. Applying the rule input should be equal to output rule, this fits. But this is not sufficient amount for us unless we are living like saints, eating uncooked foods with all the natural water intact, not getting upset and excited in our day to day lives etc. Because we are mainly eating cooked foods containing too much salt, oil, sugar, spices and other such ingredients which require us to drink more water to purge the waste.

(6) Signs that the body is in need of more water:
            Dark colored urine
            Smell in urine
            Burning during peeing
            Dry skin
            Dry eyes
            Thirst – unfortunately the only sign we react to.

(7) Hence Dr. Raju, upon extensive experimenation, says we need to consume 4-6 liters of water, systematically.
            Hydrate body
            This will purge waste from our body
            Eliminate constipation
            Eliminate bad odors, bad breath, help with skin issues etc
            Help eliminate our respiratory issues by eliminating dehydration
            Help the glands and internal organs function properly
            Eliminate indigestion by aiding the production of digestive acids
            Eliminate gastric troubles by washing out the excessive digestive acids

Dharma of Water: How much and When

(1) First thing in the morning we start the day by following the “dharma of excretion”. The body which observed the “dharma of rest” the night before while you were sleeping, has produced waste from food digested, dead cells, toxins etc and we need to excrete this before we move on for the day.

(2) Drink 1 to 1.5 liters of water with the empty stomach and empty your bowels. A woman of small stature like me can drink a liter and an average or bigger man can drink up to 1.5 liters. You should drink this water before coffee or tea as consuming these would divert the nervous system from the excretion process started last night, and signal them to start the digestion process and hence interfering with the elimination process. In the beginning, you might have difficulty drinking water on empty stomach. If so, you can mix some lemon juice to the water, though it may not work towards putting pressure on your intestines, as explained below.

- You would need to drink this water within 5-10 minutes of time so that the water results in the needed pressure on the intestines. Otherwise the water will get absorbed into the body and does not result in the required pressure technique.

- For the first few weeks you may not be able to consume this much water, so put your best effort. In a day or two you should be able to drink a liter or so. You may be afraid that you might throw up or you might even throw up a little of this water. This is not going to hurt you.

- It is preferable that this water is either at room temperature or a little warm in cold weather conditions. This will help sending the water directly into your intestines resulting in the pressure, rather than taking time to “warm” up in the stomach. Another thing I noticed is if the water is too cold, I feel a little chilly afterwards as the body is expending its energy in heating this water.

- For people with gastric troubles, respiration problems such asthma or sinus etc, this warm water is especially helpful.

- Those living in cold places like me also will find it easy to drink this large amount of water when it is warm and not too cold.

- Please try to get a glass or mug that holds a half liter water to drink your water. This way you can drink one liter water in two steps. If you were to drink using a “small cup”, you may have to drink 5 or 6 or more of the cups which can put mental strain on you and demotivate you.

(3) This water hence puts pressure on your intestines resulting in reflux action and helps move the stools and help you have an easy bowel movement. Walk around until the needed pressure is built and stay focused on this process rather than getting busy with your household chores or reading a book etc.

- Walk around until pressure builds up and you can wait no more. This will hence result in good ablution.

- For someone who is severely constipated this may not result in a bowel movement. Dr. Raju suggests them to have an enema with plain warm water.


(4) Approximately, half an hour after drinking water, you can start exercising. Yoga and Pranayama routines prescribed by Dr. Raju are the simplest and the most effective IMHO. You can also jog or brisk walk depending on your interest. If you are busy with the morning routines, you can take care of them as well.

(5) After your exercise, approximately an hour to two hours after the first round of water, have another 1 to 1.5 liters of water (as explained above) and try to empty bowels again.

- You may say you do not have this much time in the morning. That is why it is important to wake up early.

- You must experience this to see for yourself how much trash you are carrying around the whole day and hence harming your internal organs.

- Our intestines are such that the need to empty will subside if we ignore, which means unless we listen to the body and go when we have to go, we will be carrying around the stools until the next day!

(5) Please note for the first week or two, until your system is tuned to this procedure and you are able to drink tummy-full (and eating right), you might not be able to have the bowel movements and eliminate constipation. You might also feel some bloating because not all the pressure that was built up could come out right away. Stick with it to see the immediate benefits of this method in a matter of days.

(6) Half hour after the second round of water (or first round, if you can only accommodate that much in your busy life), you can eat breakfast.

(7) Remember to always give at least a half hour gap after drinking a round of water before you start eating anything. This way the water is absorbed into the bloodstream and reaches the thirsty cells.

(8) Two hours or so after eating, drink half-liter or so water.

- Let’s say you ate breakfast between 8 and 9. Then you can drink water at 11.

- If you are not hungry and not having lunch until 1, you can have more water in installments from 11 – 12.30. For example, you can have half liter at 11 and another half liter at 12.

- Do not drink a whole round of water, for example a liter, at once during the day / between meals. The water we drink “during the day” is to quench the body’s thirst and to hydrate it regularly, not to have a bowel movement.

(9) You should not drink too much water and other beverages “while” you are eating a meal. Drinking a sip or two of water, to wash down the food (because of the spicy, salty and oily food you are consuming), is all right when you are starting this method but not too much.

- Consuming too much liquid with your meals dilutes the digestive acids produced and hence weakening them

- The food you consumed resulting in more volume and hence more load on your digestive system and may lead to indigestion.

- The net effect is the food now requires longer to digest, resulting in fermentation and hence in gastric troubles.

- In the beginning, you might notice that it is not possible for you to eat without a drink. Even if you cut down on your salt, oil and spices. This happens if you do not drink half hour before eating. Remember to drink “between meals” making sure you are not thirsty when you start eating.

- If you are thirsty AND hungry, drink some water and wait for 20-30 minutes before you eat to ensure you do not end up drinking with your meal. Soon you will be able to tell when you are really thirsty rather than confuse thirst with hunger.

(10) The water you drink two hours after the meal helps blood absorb the digested food and hydrate the body.

- Now, you see the link here. For you to need no or almost no water while you are eating, it is important that your food is neither too salty nor too oily. Also, wholesome foods help digest food completely and quickly whereas oily foods and meats take longer to digest and mix with the water you drink resulting in additional load on the digestive system.

(11) Try to repeat the drinking of 1 to 1.5 liters of water and emptying bowels routine again in the evening, before dinner.

(12) Dr. Raju recommends consuming 5 – 6 liters of water per day for grownups, following the guidelines above.

- Adults: 4-6 liters of water. Females 4-5 liters and males 5-6 liters.

- Older people can do with 3-4 liters of water since they may not be very active in the day

- Children 12 and older 2-3 liters.

- Younger children 1 - 2 liters depending on the age

(13) Kids do not need this much water. They need around 1 - 3 liters of water per day, depending on age. My kids drink a half liter glass of water to start the day in the morning. Again, they drink another half liter in the evening right after coming back from school. Another quarter liter or so before hitting bed. The rest of the day, they drink a sip here and a sip there when they are thirsty.

(14) Please also visit Dr. Raju's An Ideal Schedule.

Note: If you had only one round of water in the morning, please do not try to compensate by drinking large amounts at a strech during the day. The water we drink in the morning is used by the body to "purge" waste. And the water we consume during the rest of the day is used to hydrate the body. If you drink too much, let's say after breakfast and before lunch, this water will put some pressure on their intestines, but since the stomach is not empty of food, the pressure is not enough to result in a bowel movement. This leads to some inconvenience such as belching (since pressure could not come out from the bottom, it is trying to come out from the top!), stomach pain or slight headaches or the inconvenience of frequent urination etc. The solution is to split this into two half liters in two installments. So, please make sure you understand the process before you start the water cycle.

Dharma of Water: Water Cycle - An Example

Here I am giving the water cycle just as an example, to help you see how it would work. Hence you will see that I said drink water exactly two hours after a meal. In reality you might go a little this way or that way depending on your dialy activities, weather etc and do not have to follow the clock so strictly. In a few months, depending on how good you were in following the cycle, you will reach a point where you can again interpret mind signals correctly and feel thirsty when it is time for water! Also, if the weather is hot and you are thirsty, drink a little water even if it is not yet two hours after eating your meal.

Assuming you wake up at 5 A.M.:
- Wake up at 5. Urinate and rinse mouth and warm up water to drink.

- Drink 1 to 1.5 liters of water (in two to three installments) in 5-10 minutes. Let’s say it is now 5.15.

- Focus on having a bowel movement and have your first bowel movement. It is now ~5.30

- Brush teeth, do whatever else you want to do and start “exercise” half hour after completed drinking water. Let’s round it to 6.

Note: It looks like a lot of time between drinking water and starting exercise. In the beginning it might take you this long to get used to this routine, but pretty soon you will be able to drink the first round of water in a couple of minutes and finish the ablution in 5 minutes. Hence by 5.30 you will be ready to exercise. I normally use this half-hour till 5.30 to practice my Vipassana Meditation or to prepare lunch boxes if I woke up late.

- Exercise / take care of your work / whatever till 7

- Did you have any diuretic action after the first round of water? Urinate at least once after drinking the water? Then you can have your second round of water.

- Start drinking second round of water at 7 and finish by 7.15. Hint: You are not ready to drink your second round if you did not urinate at all after the first round.

- In this scenario, you could start drinking your second round at 6.30 (since you finished your first round by 5.30). Similarly, you can wait until 8am or so for the second round. For example, if you are doing more than one of Pranayama, Meditation, Yoga, Jogging/Walking etc, you might spend more time. In this case, you will wait longer for the second round.

- Let’s say 7 am for the second round and finished by 7.15am

- You can have breakfast at 7.45

- 7.45 – drink a cup or more of vegetable juice.

- 8.15-8.30 – Eat sprouted seeds. Try to eat seeds alone. If need be squeeze some lemon juice or add some grated carrots or diced dates etc. If you are not trying to lose weight, you can add some soaked peanuts or soaked sesame seeds or other nuts as well.

- 10.30 – 11 – Drink Half liter water

- 12 – Drink another half liter water (Just to show you how you can consume more water safely during the day)

- 12.30 – 1 – Eat Lunch (For example 3-4 rotis or rice with a vegetable side dish or lentils+vegetables side dish + some yogurt)

- 3pm – Drink half liter water

- 4pm - Drink another half liter of water or lemonade. Again to show you how you can drink more water during the day.

- 4.30 - Fruits or vegetables for snack. If you are very hungry you can have some nuts as well or some other healthier snack.

- 6.30pm – Another half liter water or a round of water and attempt for a bowel movement, especially if you had a only one in the morning and none during the day.

- 7pm – Dinner (3-4 rotis with a vegetable side dish). If you are having a lentil variety, consume less of that variety and make sure you consume more of the vegetable side dish to balance out. If your digestive system is weak or if you suffering from constipation, this is important.

Note: If you were hungry and dinner was available, you could eat your dinner around 5.30 or 6 pm, without drinking water after your light snack.

- 9pm – half liter water

- 9.30-10 – go to bed. You should not be hungry and need any food. If you really must, have some fruits.

Some variations:
- You may have only one half liter of water after lunch.

- You may not be too hungry and need a snack. In this case, you will drink water from lunch to dinner in small installments. You can also have Lemonade once or twice during this time.

- You may have a bowel movement without having the “round of water” in your afternoon, in which case you may not try to drink another round of water around 6pm.

- You might also eat snack at around 5 and eat dinner at 6, which is quite acceptable.

- You don’t have to drink water exactly two hours after eating. It can be 2-3 hours or even 1.5 hours. Pretty soon you will actually be able to interpret your mind’s signals properly and start to feel thirsty when your body needs water!

- You are someone who has a bowel movement as soon as you hit the ground in the morning (lucky you!). In this case you still should drink water 15-30 minutes after the first bowel movement. In this time stools from the ascending colon and trasverse colon will move and be ready for excretion. You still can do two rounds of water as described above. But if you want to make only one round, try to make it up during the rest of the as described above in small installments.

Dharma of Water: Do we lose salts and minerals by drinking more water?

Myth: we lose our body salts when we drink this much water or our blood becomes thin

Please refer to page 6 of Dr. Raju’s Water and You.

Dr. Raju explains that the kidneys filter the blood and filter out the excess salts and water and retain what is needed. He explains with this example: A normal healthy person consumes food and sugar etc and the urine for this person does not have sugar. This same person, when becomes diabetic, the urine of this person contains sugar. This sugar is the excess sugar that the body could not absorb. The kidneys are trying to remove this excess sugar from the blood in the urine. Thus, the kidneys remove only what is not needed.

Dharma of Water: Do our kidneys overwork if we drink more water?

Again please refer to refer to Dr. Raju’s Water and You, pages 6-9.

- In essense, kidneys "filter" the blood. Our kidneys filter our blood at the rate of twice an hour. They will keep on doing this irrespective of the amount of water you consume.

- When you do not drink enough water, kidneys will not be able to filter out all the toxins from the blood

- The toxins filtered our cannot be discarded with urine, since the the filtered water is sent back into the blood

- On the other hand, by drinking more water, you can actually help your kidneys do less work because the blook is not full of toxins

- Filtered toxins can be discarded and hence do not accumulate in the kidneys

Some URLs that I found very interesting in this regards: How much water can I drink per day and it not be harmful?

Dharma of Water: Does our blood get diluted if we drink more water?

Please refer to page 6 of Dr. Raju’s Water and You.

Dharma of Water: Does our body get Water Poisoned if we drink more water?

Even though we hear scary stories about water poisoning every now and then, it is important to understand that this takes place in cases where the water is consumed incorrectly. In this method, it is true that we are consuming 4-6 liters of water in a day. But we are consuming this water "in a whole day", not at one time and not without nourishing the body with nutrition.

Please read and understand the water cycle thoroughly to get over this fear.

Please refer to Dr. Raju's Water and You book to understand thoroughly.

I also found some intersting articles in this regards:
How much water can I drink per day and it not be harmful?
How much should you drink every day?

Note: When you are working out very hard (for example, running more than half hour) and sweating profusely and feel fatigued, drink Lemonade instead of water.

Also, do not be afraid to drink water on a hot day and do not drink sodas instead. You can and should hydrate your body by providing it with water. The key is to drink small amounts (half liter or so) every hour or so during the day, following the water cycle guidelines. You can also drink lemonade once in a while to provide some energy on hot days.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Dharma of Food: Why we need food

- Food is required to provide the energy needed for the trillions of cells in the body.

- The digestion process aids this conversion of food into energy.
            Through the mouth, food gets to stomach
            Gets digested as a paste in stomach with the various dilutive juices and acids
            Gets into small intestines for further digestion and attains liquid form
            Digested food thus gets into blood and is called glucose
            From the blood reaches cells
            Converted into energy by the cells
            Unused energy is stored in the liver for later use
            Any excess is converted into fat for future use

- The refined, processed, cooked, fried, spiced foods instead put too much burden on the digestive system

- Most of such food consumed is used in digesting and converting into energy instead of providing energy to the cells

- Since the body is always busy digesting the food without rest even when we are sleeping, the purging / repair action is inhibited hence making us week, vulnerable and sick

- Such food results in or requires the production of excessive digestive acids resulting in the washing out of mucus layers in stomach, gastric problems, ulcers etc.

- This excessive digestive action results in chemical reactions in our body that excites us, makes us irritable. The food also results in our growing desire and greed for food and in general

Dharma of Food: Eating Meats

- Human bodies are not designed to eat meat. Like other meat eaters, are we able to eat meat uncooked? We are only able to eat it because we are cooking it with all the spices and make it interesting. If not for this, we would not. We also do not have our mouths (our tongues and teeth) designed for meat eating animals like other meat eaters.

- Meats take 8-10 hours to digest. When food takes this long to digest, all the life energy - oxygen, blood, energy - are focussed on the stomach in digesting food. The rest of the body lacks the pranic energy. We feel sleepy and tired.

- As the foods take longer to digest, they ferment and hence cause gastric troubles

- Cholesterol - all animal products have cholesterol. Our body is capable of producing the required amounts of cholesterol from the foods we consume and we should not consume additional cholesterol. Animal products have cholesterol but no fiber to "sweep" it out.

- Constipation and colon issues - lack of fiber makes it hard to digest and leads to constipation. Hard stools result in blood in stool, piles etc.

- Increased risk of cancers and chronic diseases such as skin issues. Dr. Raju gives an example here. Leave a piece of meat and a peace of long gourd such as cucumbur on a plate for a day. By next day, the meat will be swollen. Due to oxygen reacting with it and bacteria getting into it, the meat rots and swells up and starts to stink. By second day, we can see germs in it. On the other hand, the piece of gourd shrinks as it loses the water and hardens. The natural protecting nature of the gourd prevents air flow and becomes dry. Similarly, non-veg results in the growth of bad bacteria in our body and is the reason for such illnesses. The second biggest killer in america is colon cancer.

- We will end up using large quantities of oil, spices and salt to cook it. This hence is doubly toxic to our bodies. In addition, these spices etc make our greedy for such bad food.

- You might be wondering about protein: do we not need the protein from the meats? Dr. Raju asks, what is the goat eating to be a good source of protien to us? Our seeds and nuts are great sources of protien without cholesterol and other bad side effects.

- Some wonder about iron etc: our nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits have sufficient quantities of all required nutrients needed for our bodies.

- How about I stop eating but feeding my kids meats? What is bad for you is bad for your kids as well. In my opinion, it is worse for your kids because they are living in a much worse environment than we did 20-30 years ago surrounded by nothing but polished / refined / laden with preservatives / full of anti-biotics fed to these animals / culture of eating out every single meal of day etc etc.

Dharma of Food: Eggs are not Vegetarian

- Eggs are good source of protien but at the same time they contain very high levels of cholesterol and unhealthy fats

- In addition, they do not contain any fiber to aid the digestion of the fats

- Nuts, on the other hand can be consumed without any bad effect on your heart

- Just 28gms of peanuts contain as much protien as one egg.

Dharma of Food: Milk - Another Animal Product

- Milk is also animal product and hence contains cholesterol

- Also it contains proteins that are hard to digest by humans

- Due to this, our bodies do not efficiently absorb the calcium from the milk

- Too much milk consumption, can actually be cause for bone loss and osteoporosis. Please see Calcium and Milk .

- It is hard and may not be required to quit milk completely, at least not right away, unless you have heart issues or allergic to milk.

- Some changes you can do to help reduce the negative effects of milk:
            Please switch to organic milk "completely". This is the least you can do to help.
            Try to limit your milk comnsumption to yogurt. Especially for Indians, imagining life without yogurt is impossible.
            Try to use soy milk for your "milk" intake. For example, eat your breakfast cereal with soy milk. This will help you add some good protein and heart healthy fats into your diet while eliminating the bad fats and hard to digest protein from milk.
            If you have heart issues, try to use soy milk for yogurt as well. With a little practice you will really be able to enjoy it equally. Others can also try to explore with soy yogurt slowly.
            If you have any form of allergies, you might want to try eliminating milk completely and see if this helps you.

- Soy milk is fortified with Vitamin B12, so you do not have to worry about it.

- You might find the book Moooove Over Milk helpful.

Dharma of Food: Coffee / Tea / Soda etc

- Coffee and tea have medicines that are stimulants. This will result in stimulating the nervous system and as the nervous system becomes dependent on them need continuous stimulation

- Excessive stimulation causes depression - after the effect of coffee/tea is over, your nervous system requires more stimulation and leads to depression and head aches etc

- Mucus cells produce mucus to avoid burning as the food etc travel through the system. Coffee / tea result in the reduction in the production of mucus and hence resulting in burning sensation and ulcers etc. There is no point in blaming chillies and sour foods while the cause is coffee and tea.

- Digestive acids, juices such as hydrochloric acid are produced when there is food in the stomach. Due to the stimulants in the coffee and tea, these are produced even when there is no need for their production. This is called irregular acid formation and results in heartburn and ulcers

- Due to the stimulant activity the production of the enzymes that are produced to digest food reduces. Due to this, the food does not get digested properly and hence your body does not get the required nutrition

- They kill hunger. When hunger is killed, the food eaten does not get digested properly

How to give them up: Many people found it quite easy to give them up as soon as they started the water cycle. Dr. Raju says, drink "lemonade without honey" (water with a bit more lemon juice) if need be. Also drink vegetable juice in the morning, after your one or two rounds of water instead of coffee.

Taste Contributors: Peppers / Chilles

- Least harmful of all the taste contributors, especially the young green chillies

- Burn the tongue while eating, but not cause any harm on their own

- One with ulcers, thinned out mucus layers in stomach feel burning due to these, but they are not the cause. The root causes were the oily foods, meats, tamarind, spices, coffee etc that resulted in this condition

- Tender green chillies are the best since they are completely digestible and hence do not cause such discomfort, whereas mature red chillies are much more spicy

- Dried chillies and chilli powder are not completely digestible and hence stick to the walls of stomach causing irritation to those with tinned out mucus layers

- One with ulcers etc can embrace the method without these to start with and add them as their condition improves and are able to handle the peppers

- Chillies make it possible for us to eat our food with LESS SALT. Hence use more peppers. Typically, you can use 8 chillies in a recipe that you previously used 4. As the dish is a bit spicy, it results in the production of the saliva in mouth and hence make the food taste better.

Taste Contributors: Sourness - Why not Tamarind

- Sourness causes the saliva to ooze in mouth hence making the food tasty.

- Sour foods are also rich in Vitamin C

- Eating sour foods can help you get rid of the desire for sweets and salty foods, hence is very helpful in attaining health

- When used correctly, can compensate for salt and hence help you reduce the salt consumed

- Some healthy sources of sourness are lemons, fresh and dried raw mangoes, goose berries, cranberries. Please note tamarind is not a healthy source of sourness.

- Tender tamarind leaves and baby tamarinds are also acceptable. This is because they have not turned into harmful medicinal form yet, as explained in the next page.

Why is Tamarind bad?
- The biggest problem for South Indians is tamarind

- Tamarind is a very powerful laxative.

- Initially, while it is still working as laxative on our system, it will result in the increased movements in the large intestines hence weakening them, and hence leading to constipation

- in this process it will wash out the mucus layers in the large intestines. This will later on result in the sticking of stools to your intestines and hence making the movement of waste difficult, another reason for constipation

- Foods with tamarind take longer to digest. This will hence result in the over-production of digestive acids, the acids staying longer in the stomach, and hence the eating away of the mucus layers in stomach. This will result in gastric troubles and ulcers.

- Since the food stays longer in the stomach it gets fermented and leads to more gastric troubles

- Foods with tamarind require a lot more salt unlike the other healthier alternatives mentioned above

- Hence, it is crucial to completely eliminate tamarind from your food preparation.

- Tender tamarind and tender tamarind leaves are acceptable. This is because the tender ones have not yet attained the laxative medicinal properties

Taste Contributors: Spices and Herbs

- They are antibiotics. Due to this, regular and excessive consumption weakens the immunity power

- They also cause the excessive production of digestive acids resulting in ulcers, thinning of mucus layers in stomach; some also result in increase in hunger

- Makes you irritable and impatient due to the corresponding chemical reaction

- Increases the desire for food

- Hence one should eliminate or significantly reduce the consumption of the spices.
Tamarind and turmeric too. In fact, these are the most important ones to give up since these are very powerful medicines

- You can use them "occasionally", may be for a special recipe or two, for a special occasion or two. Even then you can use a tenth or so of what the recipe calls for and still get the flavor

- You are doing this to improve your and your family’s immunity.

Taste Contributors: Oil and Butter

- Devoid of the nutritious vitamins, minerals, fiber, lecithin etc that were part of the nut from which the oil is extracted. These are needed to aid the digestion of the fat. When these are discarded and only the oil is used, it is extremely hard to digest resulting in overloading of digestive system and liver

- When heated oil thickens and becomes hard to digest

- When heated or boiled, the water molecules go out and the oxygen molecules create carbon chains called free radicals. That is why the oil "stinks" when heated excessively

- After entering the body, the free radicals in the oil pull out the electrons from the cells which then pull electrons from other cells ... causing a kind of chain reaction (like an atomic bomb!). Even thought the body is capable of stopping it and stopping this process eventually, such constant change in atomic structure weakens and causes premature death of cells

- Foods cooked with these cook at a much higher heat and hence more of the nutrition is lost

- Deep frying kills all nutrition and results in free radicals

- Makes one thirsty during and after eating which will make you drink during wrong timings

- By consuming these fats, you are taking away nutritious mines such as nuts and seeds from your food. This is yet another reason why you do not consume enough healthy fats on a daily basis which are crucial for the formation of cells in brain, nerves, glands etc and hence result in weakening of the body.

- Butter is a "little" worse than oil because it also contains cholesterol in addition to all the above

Alternatives: Nuts, seeds, coconut. Lentils and grains also have small amounts of heart healthy fats.

Taste Contributors: Sweetness - Why not Sugar and Jaggery

Please note both sugar and Jaggery are prepared the same way and the explanation below applies to both of them equally.

- Sugarcane juice as such is not bad but the refining process results in the loss of the nutrients in the juice such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, iron etc. By the time we consume it, it is nothing but carbohydrates / sucrose and only adds calories and work to your body

- Addition of various chemicals: binding agents to ensure firmness; antioxidant to prevent melting; preservatives to prevent spoilage; soluble agents to hasten melting during usage; coloring agents. These chemicals cause many problems to the body:

            - The chemicals added contribute to throat infections, sinus trouble etc

            - Tonsil infections due to these chemicals; remvoing tonsils is not the solutions since it is removing the "guard" at the throat

            - As the chemicals remain in the teeth, they serve as food to the bacteria and result in teeth decay and overall health issues

            - These chemicals help the growth of bad bacteria in the body

            - Throat infections due to these chemicals; water change, weather change bother you too much

            - The body tries to eliminate these toxic chemicals - through urin, feces, sweat AND breathing. So in some people when the body tries to eliminate these toxins in the form of excess mucus through lungs / nose, the mucus gets accumulated in the lungs resulting in respiratory problems such as asthma

- As we believe, sugar does not cool you down (reduce the heat "inside"). It is the other way around. Our body is basic in nature 80% and acidic 20%. Sugarcane juice has the same composition as well. But sugar on the other hand is acidic in nature. It hence releases the acids as it gets digested resulting in the thinning of intestinal walls that produce mucus and ulcers.

- We will gain too much weight when we consume sugar. The glucose in sugar due to the lack of fiber reaches the cells too fast. The cells since they do not need all this energy, will convert the energy into fat

Hence making it fit to be labeled slow poison / white poison: Sugar - Sweet Poison

Alternatives to Sugar:
- Dry and fresh fruits, dates, honey, maple syrup, date sugar (available in Whole Foods Market), evaporated sugar cane juice (available in Whole Foods Market) are better alternatives

- Try to eat fresh fruits and not depend on "sweets". This will help you provide vitamins, minerals, enzymes etc to your body while satisfying your sweet tooth.

- Use other alternatives moderately. Just replacing sugar with healthier alernatives alone may not help. It is important that you learn to love other whole foods, not just fruits, and overcome the desire for cookies, ice creams etc.

- Using the healthier alternatives, in moderation, can help a lot in controlling the tongue and desire for food

- When you are preparing a sweet dish, try to use 50% of the amount suggested by your recipe. Most recipes will still be yummy and quite satisfying.

- Brown Sugar sold in Whole Foods market does not contain the chemicals and hence is not as harmful as white sugar. Still, dates and honey can be better alternatives because they contain more fructose and less sucrose than sugar.

Taste Contributors: Salt - King of Diseases

- Sodium is one of the required minerals and salt has it

- We need 200-300mg of sodium per day. But we consume much, much, much more than that amount

- 1 tsp of salt contains about 2000mg of sodium, the upper limit per day per USDA, which most people far exceed

- All foods such as fruits, vegetables, seeds etc contain sodium. So we can get enough sodium from our food. In addition, they contain sufficient amounts of potassium, which is lost during cooking

- Cells work hard and spend 50% of our energy in compensating for the low potassium and high sodium

- High sodium result in Water retention

- The excess sodium will be stored wherever there is some "empty" space. It will be stored between joints. This will result in the hardening of the cartilege resulting in joint pains, arthritis

- The excess sodium takes away water from the cells and hence they become dehydrated and weaken

- Excess sodium makes the cells and vessels harden

- Increased blood pressure due to this retained water and hardened vessels

- Heart trouble due to the hardening of valves and vessels

- Paralysis due to high blood pressure

- Kidney problems as the kidneys cannot purge the excess sodium

- Bad odors as the body is retaining water and urinating and sweating is reduced

- Chronic diseases as the cells weaken such as skin allergies, cancers

- Diabetes as the cells ability to absorb sugar reduces as they become hardened

- Asthma, allergy and sinus complications as the dehydration leads to the production of histamine and hence mucus in lungs

How to reduce salt consumption:
- Dr. Raju says this excess salt is the most harmful ingredient in our food

- We can reduce the salt required in our foods by using sourness. The sourness in the food will cause saliva to be produced and hence make it possible to savor the food. Squeeze lemon juice while eating food or mix aam choor powder to your dishes.

- We can also use a few extra peppers to make our food more pleasing to the tongue.

- Learn to eat your fresh vegetables without adding additional salt.

- Learn to eat your yogurt without adding additional salt (and sugar).

Fear of consuming too little Sodium: Just one cup of vegetable juice made with carrots and spinach will provide 200mg of sodium. So, as long as you eat healthy, you will be consuming more than enough amount of sodium. As a guideline, aim to not consume more than a quarter tsp of "salt" per day.

Dharma of Food: Cooking using Alternatives

- Now you know why eating food that digests quickly and efficiently (without getting fermented in our stomach and small intestines) and sweeps away waste as it travels to large intestines (due to the fiber in the food) is important.

- But eating only uncooked foods such as sprouted grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables is not agreeable for most of us and hence is not an unacceptable alternative. This will be too hard for us and we will not be happy with it.

- Hence, cooking food retaining as much nutrition as possible and cooking in such a way that the food does not burden the digesting system is the alternative.

- The world culture has become food and beverage centric and is polluted with highly refined and processed foods. It is hard for anyone to imagine living without these and I came across a few who asked me over the last few months as to what is the point in living a life deprived of these.

- That is why Dr. Raju experimented with food for a decade or so and came up with his wonderful book about cooking these same foods that we crave for "in a natural way" omitting or limiting the use of harmful ingredients.

Bottomline: For any recipe you come across from any source: skip the oil for tempering (takda). Skip any spices or herbs (or for special recipes, use in small quantities). Use sour alternatives to help reduce or skip salt. Use yogurt in place of cream. Add grounded nuts or seeds, or coconut in the end. Add some coriander leaves or curry leaves or minced mint leaves or powdered black gram for enhancing the flavor and to compensate for the skipped spices and herbs.

Dharma of Food: How to Eat

- Most importantly, please do not compare the side dishes or anything prepared using the healthier alternatives (as described in this method) with your previous recipes. See if they are tasty or not and if you are able to enjoy them or not.

- Squeeze lemon juice on your side dishes while eating if they feel a little bland

- Mix some Spicy Peanut Powder or a Chutney to your side dish if it feels a little bland

- Use a few more green peppers than before to compensate for missing ingredients or low salt etc

- Eat large amounts of side dishes to ensure you are eating enough vegetables and compensate for low salt. For example, to eat 3-4 rotis, you should be able to eat a pound or more of vegetable side dish.

- Reduce the amount of salt you use using alternatives such as lemons, raw mango, aam choor powder (dried mango powder) etc. Your goal is to either give up or reduce the salt added "considerably". As a guideline, you should aim to reach a point where you can enjoy eating a cup of daal cooked with vegetables and green leaves with the addition of only 1/4 tsp of salt. A pound of vegetables cooked using the recipes here should not need more than 1/4 tsp of salt.

- Use a “quarter tea spoon” to measure salt, not your palm.

- Use various forms of nuts, seeds, coconut, soy beans for your fat intake. Soy beans and flax seeds provide you superior quality heart healthy fats.

- Use only chillies, onions, coriander leaves, curry leaves, mint leaves, black gram and chana daal (bengal gram) in place of spices. Use the other spices and herbs as minimum as possible on special occations or for special recipes.

- Use whole ingredients as much as you can. For example, use whole toor in place of toor daal. For daal, there are many other lentils available in whole form such as moong, moth, masoor, black-eyed peas, kidney beans etc. Start using these in place of toor daal to ensure you are eating more of the whole lentils as well as taste. For example, daal cooked with whole lentils needs much less salt than toor daal.

- Stop using white rice as the main course of your meals. Use brown / unpolished rice, fox millet and other millets, cracked wheat to prepare rice and rice like main dishes; whole wheat flour, sorghum, raagi (red millet flour) etc to prepare your breads. You can mix small quanitites of soy flour to your bread flour, if you do not get bloated with it.

- Learn to keep the skin on for your vegetables. For example, do not skin your potatoes, long squash etc. Fruits too - do not peel the skin of your apples, learn to eat the sections of oranges – not just the pulp

- Eat fruits, vegetables and nuts for snacks – not chips and fries