As we continued working together, I introduced Howie to the Ayurvedic guidelines for healthy eating, helping him transform his eating into a form of sadhana. Howie’s symptoms improved over the first few weeks, as the weather warmed, he began a month-long khichadi mono-diet to clear the remaining ama and rejuvenate the liver. Khichadi mono-diets are ideal for those that do not have the financial resources to go through a full Pancha Karma. In fact, there are few that would not benefit from at least a short khichadi fast at the onset of spring. Howie’s khichadi included a good deal of turmeric and greens to aid in clearing the liver. I supported Howie through the normal initial fluctuations in energy that come with a khichadi fast.
I usually teach patients a form of pranayama using a double inhalation double exhalation, as well as focusing on drawing in prana from the sun and using affirmations that support the mind to let go of its addiction to getting life “from bread alone.” Howie did a marvelous job and was fully compliant.
After the first week, Howie was feeling wonderfully light and his symptoms were entirely relieved. By the third week, Howie went to have his liver readings and cholesterol levels checked again. His doctor was amazed with the results. Not only was it quite rare to see these high readings drop so much, but he had never seen them drop so quickly! Howie was thrilled.
I instructed Howie to take a month to return to the Pitta-Vata diet, starting with the most easily digestible foods. The following are some good guidelines to follow for a post-fast samsarjana krama:
• Spend the same length of time returning to a normal diet as the length of the fast.
• The first foods after the fast should have the same ingredients, but in different forms. For example, instead of khichadi the meal may be rice, steamed vegetables with ghee, and spiced mung dal.
• The portions should be small.
• Digestive herbs should be continued, increasing the dosage if there is any gas.
I continue seeing Howie occasionally and he continues to look and feel increasingly better. At the last visit I introduced color therapy to him. As he continues to integrate the healing principles of Ayurveda into his lifestyle and his knowledge of self-healing deepens, I am deeply inspired and grateful for the opportunity to share the science of Ayurveda. I am reminded of the intentions of our ancient rishis when they sat together in the Himalayan Mountains and sent Bharadvaja to ask of Lord Indra the principles of Ayurveda; the rishis were seeking to relieve the pain of suffering humanity, and to support our health on the path of Self-realization. May their light continue to guide us always as we practice with these goals in our hearts and minds.
Jacob Griscom, CAS is a Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist with an Ayurvedic practice at the Peaceful Living Holistic Healthcare Center in Nevada City, CA. He is also a teacher and intern supervisor at California College of Ayurveda, and serves as secretary of the California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine. Tel: (530) 478-0729. Web site: www.peacefullivinghhc.com
(1) Dash, B. and Sharma, R.K. Caraka Samhita. Volume I, Chpt.VII (Navegandharaniya), v.37. Varanasi, India.
Extreme Vata: A Case Study
by Debbie Mathis, MA, D.Ay.
Bob, a 52 year-old male with a history of anxiety, was under a psychiatrist’s care for bipolar disorder. He came to our practice because he needed a physical and because he had heard we had a “different approach to things.”
He was first evaluated, as are all of our new patients, via lab work and physical exam. Lab work included CBC, a comprehensive metabolic panel, urinalysis, lipid panel, GGT, serum iron, Thyroxine (T4) sedimentation rate, and prostate-specific antigen. He had a slight elevation of polymorphonuclear cells, urine pH of 8.0 (normal is 5.0-7.5) and an elevated cholesterol of 208 (normal is 100-199). His HDL was 37 mg/dL (normal is 40-49) while his LDL was 146 (normal is 0-99). White blood cell count was at the upper reaches of normal at 9,900. All other lab results were within normal limits.
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