Meridian Massage

The body has channels called in English meridians, and Chinese Traditional Medicine counts 12 major meridians in the arms and legs.  This massage follows the general path and direction of energy flow in the meridians, helping to undo blockages or stagnation (which is often associated with pain), and promoting the free flow of energy in the entire body.

Stand unclothed or wearing underwear or shorts, preferably facing East.  Facing North is acceptable, or West, but not South.  This is especially good to practice in the morning but can be done any time.


This simple massage can be done using oil or without.  If using oil, you can briefly rub some oil on your arms and legs first.  The hand that is doing the massage should be firmly pressed against the limbs maintaining full contact of palm and all the fingers.


With your Left hand, start pressing your Right hand at the very tips of the Right fingernails, moving up the outside of the Right arm up to the shoulder cap, then turn your Right arm over and continue the stroke, using your Left hand, down the inside of the Right arm, from armpit and carry the stroke off the ends of the Right fingertips.  Do this at least 12 times.

Then do the exact same movements using the Right arm to massage the Left arm – starting at the Left fingernails, up to the shoulder cap, turning the Left arm around and rubbing from the armpit down off the ends of the Left fingertips.  Repeat at least 12 times.


Using both hands at the same time, bend over, and starting at the tips of the toes, massage in one continuous stroke (as for the arms), keeping the palms pressed against the legs firmly.  Move up the feet, getting the inside edge of the feet, up the ankles and inside the legs up into the abdomen.  Repeat this stroke at least 12 times.  If one is weak and needs energy, more times can be done on this stroke.

Then, standing, start with both hands on the back of the hips by the lower back, rub down the back and outside of the legs, all the way to the outside of the feet and stroke off the ends of the toes, at least 12 times.  If one is detoxifying or overweight, more times should be done on this stroke.

If there is time, one can then massage the chest with both hands, making circular motions on the pectoral area, then the abdomen, making circular motion (in the direction of the intestines), also up and down on  the lower back, squeezing the  shoulders, and carefully massaging the face.   One can also try massaging the ears – pinching, gently rubbing and pulling, and massaging the soles of the feet.

Even just a few minutes spent every day invigorates the body and helps the flow of energy in the meridians, thus benefiting all the bodily organs and systems.

Thank You!

Protein Rich Recipes

Many people would like to be vegetarian but aren’t sure how to get enough protein in their diet.  It’s actually very easy to eat enough protein; the two secrets are to first of all, lay off the junk food(yes, there is vegetarian junk food!) because high fat and/or high sugar foods are filling – too filling – and then there’s no appetite for the protein foods, and second, eat sufficient high protein foods at meals and you won’t be so hungry later on that you’re tempted to eat high fat or high sugar foods!

Legumes are the cheapest and most nutrient rich food group to supply protein, with smaller quantities of seeds and nuts and milk products, balanced with whole grains.  There are so many kinds of beans, with varied flavors and uses a person could eat a different kind of bean almost every day of the month.  Here are some to think about:

Split peas, green gram or mung, garbanzos, brown lentils, red lentils also called masur dahl, black or turtle beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, navy beans, fava beans, pink beans – to name just some of those easily available.

Here are a couple of recipes for using beans, but since I rarely measure, except for pastries, I’m giving some ideas with general proportions and ingredients. Exact measurements really depend on how large a preparation is being made.  Bean soups are easy to freeze and easily keep a few weeks in the freezer, so it’ simple to make a large pot of bean soup and freeze a few containers for later on.   Here are a few tips for cooking beans to make them digestible and tasty:

  1. Wash well, and then soak 12 hours or even 24, for very hard beans like pintos, kidney beans and black beans. Discard water and rinse again.
  2. Cook in a pressure cooker for about half an hour – the timing really depends on the type of pressure cooker, the cooker manual may give directions, or you can experiment and see how long it takes to cook them properly. In my cooker, for instance, it takes 25 minute to cook soaked garbanzos well, but 45 minutes to cook pinto beans.

If cooking without a pressure cooker, choose a large heavy pot and bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes leaving lid off.  Then turn heat down to a low simmer with lid on and check often to see if you need more water.  I love using a pressure cooker as it saves time, energy and I don’t have to worry about burning them.  Pintos, black beans and garbanzos take longer, kidney and navy beans are intermediate, brown and red lentils cook quickly and no need to soak or pressure cook.  Some beans like red lentils and split peas cannot be cooked in a pressure cooker as they foam up, but since they cook quickly there is no need for the pressure cooker.

  1. When beans are soft with no hard parts, they are done. Best to add any salt the last part of cooking.  I often make large pots of beans and freeze some in plastic containers for later use, they freeze well.

Now for recipes; keeping in mind those ingredients can be substituted, or left out according to taste buds.

Cuban Black Bean Soup                                         

1 pound dried black beans
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup olive or other oil
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
4 T. red wine vinegar
Optional spices:  1 bay leaf, cumin powder, oregano, green hot pepper, 1 T sugar

Note about onion and garlic – those practicing yoga meditation may prefer not to use onion or garlic.  Hing or asafoetida can be substituted for a somewhat similar flavor, just toast for a few minutes in hot oil or ghee and then stir into the soup.

Directions:  Soak beans overnight and then cook in a large pot as above, when not quite done, add onion, pepper, garlic, olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and black pepper.  Bring to a boil and simmer, adding any optional flavorings, until the beans are soft and falling apart.  Add some vinegar to taste if desired.

Garnishes: Sour cream, chopped green onions, red peppers, cilantro

See some other home made recipes made out of ginger(ginger tea) and grape juice (alcohol free punch) that is so healthy and beneficial to the body.

Three Bean Salad

This is easy to make using canned beans and just as easy if you have cooked beans on hand or in the freezer.  Garlic lovers add more, garlic haters, leave out!

1 1/2 c. cooked black or kidney beans
1 1/2 c. cooked garbanzo beans
2 c. cooked green beans
1 or 2 stalks celery, sliced or minced
4 green onions chopped
1 to 2 cloves garlic minced
Italian type salad dressing or 1/3 cup vinegar and 1/4 salad oil
Salt and pepper to taste, minced basil and parsley
Many people add a couple of T. sugar

Mix together and marinate in the fridge.  Good served with chopped avocados and tomatoes if desired.

Garbanzo Sandwich filling and Dip

This is a tasty dish for the summer because it is filling, but not hot, and can be eaten with bread, raw veggies or as a side dish with any meal.

3 cups soft cooked and drained garbanzos
1 to 2 stalks finely chopped celery
2 to 3 T. finely chopped dill or sweet pickles
Minced green to taste if desired
1 T pickle juice
Mayonnaise or sour cream to make a good consistency
Salt and pepper to taste

Mash the garbanzos with a masher, no need to get all lumps out, add all the other ingredients except mayo or sour cream, and then add enough to make desired consistency.  Can be sprinkled with dill weed and/or paprika on the top.  Keeps for a couple of days in the fridge.

Home Facial


It’s simple and cheap to do facials at home using ingredients most people have in the kitchen. There is really no need for expensive cosmetics or treatments, most of which use very dubious ingredients that many people are allergic to or have reactions and actually can make the skin worse. Simple, cheap and natural are best. A general facial suitable for most skin types follows, with specifics for different types of skin.

Tie or wrap up your hair to keep it out of the way, best to wear a tee shirt that you don’t care about, and allow enough time so you are not interrupted.


First, massage the face gently and thoroughly with mild natural oil such as coconut, almond or refined sesame. Apricot is also a good gentle oil, and many people like grapeseed. Then let the oil sit on your skin while you collect the utensils and ingredients for your facial.

Step One
Steam your skin

Pour very hot water, almost boiling, into a large bowl on a table. Sit in a chair and hold your face over the bowl, allowing the warm steam to soak into your skin. If the steam is too hot, let it cool down a little. You can place a towel over your head to make a tent to capture the steam if you want. A few drops of essential oils can be used for the steam if you like.

Step Two
Cleanse and exfoliate your skin

Use a homemade powder to deep clean the skin and slough off dead skin cells and solidified sebum. The oiling and steaming have softened the skin and opened pores, so the cleansing will be more effective. The best method is to massage the skin with besan flour, found in Indian groceries or online, as this is traditionally used as a gentle and thorough skin cleanser.

A good alternative is oat flour, or you can make a mixture using both. There are two methods:

Make a paste of the flour and water
Rub the dry flour onto your wet face

If you make a paste of the flour, you can use milk instead of water for dry skin, yogurt for rashy skin, fruit juice for blemished skin.   You can also put a small amount of turmeric into the flour for added skin protection, turmeric is also anti-bacterial. You may find it helpful to make a jar of flour and any added ingredients and have on hand not just for facials but for daily face washing. Other herbs can be added in very small quantities, they should be fine powders:

Rose powder for older or reddening skin
Rosemary for tired or clogged skin
Peppermint for skin with poor circulation
Orange or Lemon peel for blemished skin

The flour paste can be left on for 5 or 10 minutes as a mask if desired.


Step Three
More Deep Cleansing for your skin

Next, use the steaming water or get fresh water – it should be lukewarm, do not use hot water on the face – and carefully wash off all the flour paste. Rinse with clear water, gently pat dry, and apply some mashed fruit. Here are a few ideas, some fruits work well for several conditions, so you can experiment.


Avocado for dry or wrinkled skin
Banana for irritated skin
Papaya for any kind of problem skin
Berries for oily skin
Melon for dry skin
Peaches or other similar fruits for blemished skin
Cucumber for wrinkled, irritated or reddening skin

The first time, don’t leave the fruits on very long, in case there is reddening or irritation. Rinse off and then apply plain whole or low fat (not fat free) yogurt and leave on for a few minutes, this balances the acid mantle of the skin and soothes after the previous treatments. Rinse off and gently pat dry.


Step Four
Final Cleansing and Hydration for skin

This is a really fun part – honey! Use a good quality honey, preferably unheated, and pat all over your face. Now using the fingertips, pat all over the face gently for some minutes. This pulls out impurities from the skin as the honey dries a bit. Honey is noted for healing skin problems and is antiseptic, and rehydrates the skin too. When finished, let the honey sit on your face for a while (it can drip) and then the final rinse and pat dry.

Step Five
Final Refresh for skin

A final rinse for your skin, either splash on or spray from a bottle. My favorites are Rosewater or Orange flower water – use only food grade, easily found at “ethnic” grocery stores. Just let it dry on. Other refreshers are diluted herb teas such as Chamomile, Lemon Balm, Lemon Grass, or make a weak tea from fresh flowers such as rose.


Your skin will feel extremely smooth and invigorated.

Thank You!

Benefits of Tongue Cleaning !

Just as a person brushes their teeth every morning, it is a good health habit to also clean the tongue. A metal tongue cleaner is the most efficient tool for this purpose and is traditionally used in Asian countries such as Japan and India. Overnight, “ama” (by-products of digestion) as well as mucus and bacteria, collect on the tongue – and scraping with a tongue cleaner is more effective than just brushing. You will notice a much cleaner feeling in the mouth when using a tongue cleaner daily.


Daily tongue cleaning improves oral health by reducing bacteria count and the debris that accumulates overnight.

There are reflex points relating to all the organs of the body on the hands and feet, and similarly there are reflex spots on the tongue. By massaging the hands and feet, different parts of the body can be benefited; and by scraping the tongue carefully with the tongue cleaner, all the internal organs are indirectly energized, and the gastric fire – digestive enzymes – are stimulated, thus improving digestion and assimilation.


Also, by daily observing your tongue both before and after cleaning, much can be learned about your health. A much coated tongue, especially if the coating is hard to clean off, can mean approaching illness, or toxicity that may be helped by a day of fasting or light diet , or drinking hot ginger tea.

Gently scrape from the back of the tongue forward until you have scraped the whole surface (six to ten strokes), washing off the tongue cleaner as needed during the process. It is helpful also to gargle with warm salt water. Just wash your tongue cleaner well and store until the next use.

Healthy Brown Rice Pilaf with Vegetables

Healthy Brown Rice Pilaf with Vegetables

Brown rice is a nutritious and filling choice, which is why it features in many vegetarian diets. The following recipe combines healthy brown rice with vegetables, and includes vegetable stock and parsley for flavor.

This is a very simple recipe which you may serve hot or warm, as the main dish or as a side dish. This recipe makes 6 servings but may be enjoyed cold the following day or reheated gently on the stove instead. Leftovers will keep in a covered container in the refrigerator for several days.

A Versatile Dish

You can make any tweaks or changes to the recipe that you like, such as swapping the carrot for pumpkin or fresh spinach, the yellow onion for green onions, or even the parsley for cilantro or diced chili pepper. Add some finely chopped walnuts at the end of the cooking time if you want to add a wonderful crunch.

Just take a look and see what you have in the refrigerator to use up. That is the great thing about pilaf recipes – you can combine the rice with any vegetables and seasonings you like, and the result will always be tasty. You can use olive oil or your favorite type of cooking oil, or even a vegan or vegetarian-friendly margarine spread.

What You Will Need:

3 tablespoons olive oil or vegan margarine
1 coarsely grated carrot
3 sliced button mushrooms
1 finely chopped yellow onion
1 cup (200g) long grain brown rice
2½ cups (625 ml) vegetable stock
Handful of chopped fresh parsley
Salt and black pepper, to taste

How to Make It:

1. Add the oil or margarine to a large pan over a medium-high heat.
2. Add the carrot, mushrooms and onion, and cook for 5 minutes.
3. Stir in the rice and cook until it browns a little.
4. Stir in the vegetable stock, then grind in a little salt and pepper.
5. Cover the pot and simmer the mixture for 45 minutes or until the rice is tender.
6. Stir in the parsley, cook for 1 more minute, then serve immediately.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 6


Baked Tortilla Chips with Mango Guacamole

Chips and guacamole is always a nice part of eating at a Mexican restaurant. The chips are made in house and the guacamole is full of flavor, texture and richness. When they combine a tasty and healthy appetizer is. To elevate the nutritional value even more why not add mangoes to the guacamole for some tartness and sweetness and bake the tortilla chips rather than fry them? Here is how to make baked tortilla chips with mango guacamole.

Total Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 4



  • 1 package corn tortillas
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Lime juice
  • Food safe spray bottle


  • 2-3 Haas avocados
  • 1 mango, peeled, pitted and diced
  • ⅓ cup chopped onion
  • ⅓ cup chopped cilantro, fresh
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced finely
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prepare 2 baking sheets by lining with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  3. Cut each tortilla in 8 wedges
  4. Arrange tortilla wedges in a single layer on each baking sheet so that each one gets nice and crisp.
  5. Add lime juice and oil into a food safe spray bottle. Shake to mix well.
  6. Mist tortillas with mixture.
  7. Sprinkle tortilla wedges lightly with chili powder and salt.
  8. Place into the oven to bake for about 5 minutes.
  9. Rotate tortilla chips and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until chips are crispy and golden.

Now that the chips are out of the oven it is time to make some guacamole! To do so:

  1. Cut avocados in half, remove the put and scoop avocado flesh into a bowl.
  2. Add in mango, chopped onion, cilantro and jalapeno pepper.
  3. Add lime juice and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Mash with a fork until smooth and chunky.
  5. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Once the chips and guacamole are complete simply serve together and enjoy. With one bite your mouth will be engulfed by bold flavor. Lightly seasoning the chips compliments the ingredients in the guacamole extremely well. The mango guacamole itself is the perfect balance of savory and sweet with a just the right amount of acidity and spice.


Tofu Coconut Curry Soup

Tofu Coconut Curry Soup

On a cold day there is nothing like a hot bowl of homemade soup. It is warm, comforting and very delicious. One must try soup recipe is tofu coconut curry soup. This soup is packed with dynamic Thai flavors that will wake up and warm your palate. There is the lovely texture of the tofu, tender slices of carrot and that signature curry flavor which is complimented flawlessly by the addition of coconut milk. These components are then enhanced with the perfect amount of spice along with sweetness to balance it out. The best part is, making this soup is so simple.

Total Time: 40 minutes

Serves: 3


  • 7 oz. water packed soft tofu
  • 1 can coconut milk, light
  • 1 ¼ cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • ¾ cup fresh green beans
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • ½ tablespoon brown sugar
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish

Preparation Instructions

  1. Drain tofu and cut into 1 inch cubes.
  2. Drizzle canola oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  3. Add minced garlic to the skillet and sauté until lightly browned. Stir to prevent burning.
  4. Add curry paste and stir constantly. Sauté for 30 seconds.
  5. Add brown sugar and cook for an additional 30 seconds while stirring.
  6. Pour in the coconut milk, vegetable broth, lime juice and soy sauce.
  7. Toss in the minced ginger and reduce heat to low.
  8. Cover and allow to simmer for half an hour.
  9. Add the sliced carrots and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the carrots soften.
  10. Then add the green beans and cook for 5 more minutes or until crisp.
  11. Put the cubed tofu into the soup and cook for an additional 3 minutes to warm through.
  12. Serve and garnish with chopped cilantro.

In the end you have a really yummy vegetarian Thai soup. All the ingredients in this recipe work together so well. This soup is hearty but will not weigh you down and the level of spice is amazing. The ginger along with the red curry paste adds so much depth to the soup and then the coconut milk comes in and cools it down. It is quite phenomenal. The soup is flavorful, healthy and vegetarian. What more can you ask for?


3 Modes of Nature & Brocolli

I have a dear friend with a strong interest in health and nutrition.  He works as a hospital librarian and therefore has access to all the latest research so he often sends me snippets on health and nutrition related issues. I was just watching one such video today, which talked about the method by which broccoli provides such potent anti cancer properties, as well as myriad other benefits.  I once put money into shares of a company researching the anti cancer properties of broccoli, hoping to produce a saleable product.  It wasn’t a smart move really, as all you have to do is eat raw broccoli to get the benefits.

Why raw broccoli you ask? You know those light emitting tubes that start to glow when you bend them to break the internal compartments so that 2 separated chemicals merge and produce a neon glow, popular at music festivals and useful in wilderness situations? Well broccoli is like that. It contains a precursor compound called glucoraphanin and an enzyme myrosinase.  When the broccoli is munched on, or cut, the two compounds meet up and produce the magic sulforaphane.  But myrosinase is destroyed by heat so when you munch cooked broccoli you don’t get sulforaphane.


There is a good trick however…  sulforaphane is not destroyed by heat, so if you chop up your broccoli and leave it for say an hour before cooking, there will be a decent supply of sulforaphane in the cooked broccoli.  Or if you are making soup, blend up the broccoli before cooking it.  Or even more magically, just add a pinch or two of mustard powder to your cooked broccoli, not in the cooking but on your plate so it doesn’t get too hot.  Mustard seeds contain the enzyme myrosinase, and mustard powder is just ground up mustard seeds.  And the precursor glucoraphanin is not destroyed in cooking so when you mix the two the enzyme goes to work and sulforaphane is produced in your very innards.

Going back to my medical librarian friend.  He is always trying for an optimal healthy lifestyle, and is well educated in what that means, yet finds himself continually acting in less than healthy manners.  (Don’t we all!  Speaking for myself here…) Anyhow, recently he wrote me, “here is the million dollar question hon – i know all the things i should do (or at least try) but never seem to quite get there so a bit of a mystery why not – not like the hardest thing in the world really and potentially the benefits could be very significant.  what say you?” 

My response was that deep questions require deep answers.  The fact of the matter is we think we are in control of our actions but we are subtly bound up by the modes of material nature, which the yoga texts called tri-guna, the three gunas.  These are tamas (ignorance), rajas (passion), and sattva (goodness).  All products of material nature are controlled by a combination of these three energies, and this includes our bodies and our minds.  In as much as we identify with our bodies and minds we also are controlled by these modes.To explore more about our real identity and essence, check out the amazing Self Discovery Series by Jagad Guru.

One can consider these energies as being like the 3 primary colours that are used to produce a myriad of hues and shapes in an artist’s work.  So while I will describe each mode as a single entity, they are never found purely in material nature, but always in come combination.

Tamas, the mode of ignorance is that energy which draws one down into excessive sleep, lethargy, laziness and ultimately madness.  It is increased by eating stale old foods, flesh foods, wine, and drug taking.  Places that are controlled by this energy include pubs and slaughter houses.

Rajas, or passion, is the energy of ambition, striving, strong desires.  Food that is overly spicy is one example of rajas.  Cities, stock markets, bustling shopping malls are all passionate rajastic places.  The energy of rajas is creative, making one active and productive.  But it has a terrible downside, which is the frustration that develops when these strong desires are not fulfilled as and when one had wanted.  And frustration leads to anger which can then draw one down into tamas.

Sattva, the mode of goodness is a more desirable energy to be influenced by.  A person in the mode of goodness is peaceful, kind, thoughtful and gentle.  Foods that are healthy, juicy, sweet, fresh, and vegetarian are sattvic.  The countryside and natural settings, and clean, quiet and airy places are in this mode.  One who is predominantly influenced by this mode tends to find it easier to enquire into the deeper purpose of life, and to be engaged in practices of meditation and spiritual endeavour.  There is still a downside to this mode, which is that one can become so attached to the sattvic lifestyle that one will avoid less peaceful situations, and not be willing to enter into the stress that sometimes accompanies a sincere search for spiritual enlightenment.

So in response to my friends questioning why he didn’t act in his best interest even though he know how he should be acting, I said that as long as we are controlled by 3 modes of nature so we are not fully in control of our own minds and desires.  We think we want to do something, but that desire is instigated by whatever combination of the modes we are currently influenced by.  Just think of how advertisements work! The three modes are even more subtle, insidious and all encompassing.

So we have conflicting desires and behaviours, sometimes influenced by the mode of goodness to eat well and act in healthy way and sometimes influenced by one of the other modes to act in less beneficial ways.

It is important to realise that it is actually possible to surpass the influence of all three modes.  This is the goal of the more subtle yoga practices, especially mantra yoga, which, when appropriately practiced, is nirguna, beyond the control of the triguna, the three gunas.  When one moves beyond the modes of nature into a state of nirguna, it is possible to be one pointed, not switching from one desire to another. But as long as we are embedded in material nature, we are under the controlling influence of the three modes, which churn our desires like a washing machine so sometimes one desire and behaviour surfaces and sometimes another.  Even if for some period we have stability it is only relative.  In time the pendulum will swing.  There is really only one stable place, and the practice of the deepest aspects of yoga will bring gradually bring one to that place.