A few years ago in an obsession to lead a healthy life, amongst the countless books that I read up on, one YouTube video stuck by me. It was by Rujuta Diwekar, who is none other than Karina Kapoor, more popularly referred to as Bebo’s nutritionist and her claim to fame revolves around the simple equation – your relationship with food.
She believes South Asian nutrition revolves on how our genetics and geographical heritage links up to our inner system. In her video, she emphasised that our ancestors are the oldest civilization of the world and as the far west now learns of South Asian spices, similar to the Britishers, they understand the benefit of some of these. That said, as along the way I meet older and wiser people and I ask them to share tips about health and beauty and here is what I have learned:
The ‘golden milk’ or haldi waala doodh
In March, I fell and injured my leg, ankle and thigh ligaments. I was told by a friend to have milk with a pinch of turmeric to make it heal faster. As a researcher, I read up on it and was shocked to learn of the benefits of one of the oldest spices of the world. Tumeric has natural healing properties and of its compounds, the most important one is curcumin which is the main active ingredient. Curcumin has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is also a very strong antioxidant. It is a natural aspirin, and when applied to small cuts, it can help heal wounds. In my experience, it was my wonder “drug”. I never once took a pain killer during my injury. I have warm milk with turmeric and a bit of black pepper, once a day now.
Coconut oil and tumeric for whiter teeth
So while researching, I came across a video on desi totkas for teeth whitening and viola, my dear spice, turmeric made another appearance. It is the BEST thing I have used for my teeth. I like my chai, but I hate stained teeth. I like having clean, sparkly white teeth. So I mix one and a half tablespoons of coconut oil (solid state) with one teaspoon of turmeric (organic) and brush my teeth with the paste. It is by far one of the most disgusting tastes you’ll experience but think of it this way: sparkly teeth in minutes and no dentist involved! Surprisingly the turmeric did not stain my teeth and the coconut oil “pulling” removed plaque and left my teeth shining white. I did throw away my toothbrush though. Do this once a month at least.
It takes a while to recover from a bad injury. You know what helps strengthen the body? Yukni. Yep. One day in my post-recovery state, I was running and my left knee felt as if the joints were rubbing against each other. It was such an intense pain that I had to sleep with two pillows supporting my leg despite my turmeric milk concoction. So I turned to the age-old wisdom of yukni. Here are a few reasons to have this magic elixir: bone broth is one the three nutrition pillars of the LA Lakers, it heals the ‘leaky-gut” syndrome, is easy to digest, is full of nutrition, chondroitin sulfate in the bone broth prevents weakening of joints, full of collagen, supports your immune system and helps you sleep better. This low calorie soup is a great meal replacement!
Our South Asian genes have a rich understanding of the natural healers around us. I highly recommend trying these totkas! Remember your grandmother was right!