Panchakarma with Martha Soffer
Part 2

1) What are the benefits of panchakarma?

Panchakarma is an ancient, nourishing, profoundly healing series of treatments that rejuvenates your body, detoxifying all the tissues, and restoring balance. In Ayurveda, our imbalances are the root of all disease… from serious conditions to minor concerns like lack energy, or restlessness, or any discomfort. We all know this — when we feel balanced, we feel good.

2) Can you give us a brief description of the three doshas in Ayurvedic Medicine?

Ayurveda looks at our bodies as made of of three doshas — pitta, vata and kapha, or fire, air and earth/water. Every body is a unique combination of these three qualities, which is why we’re all unique. A person who’s predominantly pitta is proactive, precise, has a strong constitution. When pitta is aggravated, there are problems with inflammation, digestion, skin conditions, anger. A person who’s predominantly vata is quick but balanced, thinner, creative, has good digestion. When vatta is aggravated, we feel scattered, even nervous, our memory is poor, and we might be impatient. A predominantly kahpa person is rounder, with larger eyes, and is solid, reliable and calm. When kapha is aggravated, we feel sluggish, slow, stubborn. Each of us are a combination of these three doshas — and in balance, they’re wonderful. Out of balance, we feel off, and we should — these imbalances are the seeds of all disease. Ayurveda’s main function is to gently bring us back into balance through diet, herbs and wonderful treatments…

3) You mentioned to me that having a spoonful of ghee every day keeps you young. Can you elaborate on this?

Ghee enhances brain function and stimulates the digestive system. It’s got vitamins A, D, E, and K — especially our ghee, which we make from raw, grass-fed Amish butter. Since these vitamins are fat-soluble, ghee helps us absorb and make good use of these vitamins. It’s a vehicle, too! Good fats, like the fat in ghee, are crucial to our body, and contain no trans-fats, hydrogenated oils or oxidized cholesterol of butter or other oils. Ghee also creates ojas in our bodies — and ojas is known as “the essence of life!”

4) What is your favorite healthy meal?

Organic dhal, fresh coconut basmati rice, and farmers market vegetables cooked with some raisons or figs in a little coconut oil or, yes, ghee.

5) Do you mind sharing your recipe for dhal? I can never quite get it to taste as good as yours?

Our secret at Surya is to cook with love, or mantras, or prayers — or all of that. Cook from the heart. I can’t explain it, but the food tastes better!

6) What inspires you?

Seeing our clients get better. Traditional Ayurveda is amazing. Even doctors recommend their clients to us. Ayurveda works. And people get more than just better — it’s really inspiring to watch people’s lives literally transform — they come in one way, and come out happier and healthier, and full of life. To be part of that is an honor and a joy…!

Dhal Recipe

Dhal (split yellow mung bean) is easy to make, easy to digest, and nutritious. You can have it done quickly, or let it cook for hours, as we do, by leaving the burner on very low and covering the pot.

Organic dhal is highly preferable. In any case, wash the dhal thoroughly (even scrubbing quickly with your hands). 1/4 cup is good for 1 person.

Stir 1/4 cup of dhal into 1 & 1/2 cups of water (ratio 1 to 6, a little less water if you like it thicker). Bring to a boil.

Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. You can take the foam off the top with a spoon as it rises (or whenever you like). Stir, put the heat on very low, and leave it there for as long as you like, making sure there is enough water so it won’t dry out.

Spices: Surya can provide you with vata-pacifying (or calming) spices, or you can make a version yourselves from the following:

1/8 tsp turmeric 1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cumin 1/8 tsp coriander 1/8 tsp fennel

If you’re doing home prep, then just put the spices and some fresh cilantro right into the mung beans. During PK, or at any other time, heat up a little ghee in a pan and sauté the spices. Add fresh cilantro to the cooked spices, let that sauté, then add the whole mixture to the dhal, putting a little water in the pan to get everything out if need be.

Dhal is delicious with white rice, basmati if possible.

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Posted On February 26th, 2014

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