School of Ayurvedic Diet & Digestion
1. Shred the fresh ginger, horseradish, and turmeric.
2. Coarsely chop the onion, jalapenos, and cloves of garlic.
3. Juice the lemon and grate zest.
4. Combine with all other ingredients (except honey) in a large mason jar.
5. Place a piece of parchment paper between the fire cider and the lid of the mason jar to prevent the vinegar from eating away the lid.
6. Cover tightly and place in a dark place for 2-4 weeks.
7. When it is ready, shake vigorously and strain liquid into a clean jar.
8. Add honey to taste.
With searing hot jalapenos, piquant ginger, and tart apple cider vinegar, this bold tonic revs up all your sense at once. Its distinctive tangy taste will add some much needed zest and pizzazz to your day. Be warned, this powerful ferment is quite intense. You don't need much of this potent tonic to gain the benefits. Make sure to wash your hands after making this one - it is the last thing you want to get near your eyes!
Its diaphoretic qualities increase sweating, and can help the body "sweat out" a cold or flu. It opens the pores which can help reduce a low grade fever. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, this is known as "opening the exterior" for the pathogen to be expelled. This tonic, based off an old folk remedy, is antibacterial and antiviral, helping kill certain harmful pathogens in the gut without disrupting the balance of healthy bacteria. It is also known to maintain the balance of bacteria around the throat too, warding off painful, scratchy throats. To enhance the throat soothing effects, add 10 whole cloves to the recipe.
You can say goodbye to seasonal allergies and congestion when you introduce fire cider to your home remedy reserve. The pungent taste liquefies and decongests excess mucus in both the digestive system (kledaka kapha) and upper respiratory tract (avalambaka kapha), meaning you feel less congested and can breathe easier.
The pungency of this tonic is particularly beneficial for Kapha types, increasing their sluggish digestion and metabolism (mandagni). The sourness of this tonic strongly stimulates the flow of bile, helping you digest fat more efficiently and aid weight loss. Bile has a laxative effect, and regulating bile flow will help ensure regular elimination. This fire cider is a fermented tonic. Ferments are pre-digested by bacteria and are easily absorbed in the digestive tract. This, combined with its sour and pungent taste, revs up metabolism of all the tissues (dhatu agni).
Fresh ginger and turmeric stimulate digestion without aggravating acidity. Turmeric is a rich source of curcumin, a bright yellow compound produced by some plants that has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect. Apple cider vinegar contains malic acid, a known liver tonic that also helps drain bile, cleanse the liver, and in turn, cool Pitta inflammation. Pittas should omit the jalapenos, horseradish, and cayenne from this recipe, and can substitute with 1 tbsp of both coriander and fennel seeds instead.
If you want something with a little more sweetness, add it to a glass of pineapple juice. Pineapple juice has the added benefit of further increasing enzyme production as it contains bromelain which supports protein digestion. For those with a Pitta constitution, add splash to a glass of coconut water or carrot juice. Get creative with your batch of fire cider! Add a couple of tablespoons to salad dressings for a fiery kick or pour a dash on top of seltzer water for a refreshing "mocktail."
Increases These Qualities (Gunas)
Functional Ayurveda helps you assess imbalances through 20 main states (gunas). Aggravating these characteristics weakens your body and causes imbalance. By knowing which states are habitually imbalanced in your body, you will be able to identify and correct imbalances before you get sick. Every state has an opposite which balances it (i.e. hot balances cold). You restore balance by favoring diet and lifestyle choices that increase the opposite state.
The 6 Tastes
Taste is used to sense the most basic properties and effects of food. Each taste has a specific medicinal effect on your body. Cravings for food with certain tastes indicate your body is craving specific medicinal results from food. Taste is experienced on the tongue and represents your body's reaction to foods. Sweet taste causes physical satisfaction and attraction whereas bitter taste causes discomfort and aversion. Kapha should use less sweet taste while Vata and Pitta would benefit from using more sweet taste. One of the first signs of illness is that your taste and appetite for food changes. The six tastes are sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent. Do you crave foods with any of the tastes below?
The Three Doshas / Body Types
People tend to get sick, over and over again, due to similar causes and habitual imbalances that are unique to the person. Your body type summarizes this tendency, showing you the 'type' of conditions and imbalances that frequently challenge your health & wellness. Using body type, you can also identify remedies likely to improve your strength and resiliency. Your body type identifies physical and mental characteristics as well as your personal strengths and weaknesses. The calculation of your body type is based on your medical history.
The 3 functional body types (doshas), are Catabolic (Vata), Metabolic (Pitta), and Anabolic (Kapha). Catabolic individuals tend to break down body mass into energy. Metabolic individuals tend to burn or use energy. Anabolic individuals tend to store energy as body mass. Catabolic people tend to be easily stimulated, hyperactive, underweight and dry. Metabolic people tend to be rosy-cheeked, easily irritated, focused, driven, and easily inflamed. Anabolic people are heavy, stable and grounded, but if they store too much energy, they could gain weight easily and have congestion.
HAS THE FOLLOWING
RAJASICRajasic foods stimulate desire or nervous energy. Red meat, high protein food, garlic and onions stimulate desire. Rajasic foods include chili peppers, coffee, and anything that stimulates movement.
ALKALIZINGAn herb or food that makes the urine more alkaline (higher pH). This herbal action can be helpful for a number of inflammatory conditions.
PRANAPrana is the Sanskrit word for vital life energy, similar to Qi in Chinese Medicine. Many herbs stimulate your energy, or improve the flow of prana through your body. Generally, prana needs to be increased in spring after a sleepy winter.
NIGHTSHADEA member of the plant family Solanaceae. Members of this family have a tendency to irritate the liver and arthritic conditions. Tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, and bell peppers.
FIREResembles fire (tejas) in quality - hot, sharp, penetrating, light, dry.
AROMATICHerbs or spices with volatile essential oils that present strong aromas. Aromatic oils shock, refresh and numb tissue, with the end result of relaxing, opening and clearing stagnant fluids in tissues.
COLOR Orange, Brown
RED-BLOODRed blood (Rakta Dhatu) includes red blood cells and blood vessels.
OUTWARDOutward-moving substances stimulate circulation, push heat towards the skin, or are stimulating.
SIALOGOGUEA sialogogue increases saliva. Sour foods are often great sialogogues, and increase output of all exocrine glands. Salty taste is very moistening as well. Bitter, pungent and sweettastes also increase salivary output but to a lesser degree. Astringents
|Cleanse and Detox|
BURNS-TOXINSAn herb that detoxifies by helping your body metabolize toxins, as opposed to eliminating them.
DETOXICANTAn herb that eliminates or metabolizes toxins from the body.
|Energy Vitality Strength|
STIMULATES-ENERGYThis category groups thyroid and adrenal stimulating herbs
|Heart & Circulation|
CARDIAC-STIMULANTHerbs that increase the heart rate. Useful in cardiovascular health, blood stagnation, and subjective feeling of heaviness in the chest area.
ALTERATIVELiterally, an herb that restores the proper function of the body. In practice, alteratives are usually blood cleansers and blood chemistry balancers. They were traditionally used to revitalize and detoxify after a long winter.
ANTI-INFLAMMATORYReduces inflammation in the body. Different herbs and carriers target different body systems.
FLUSHES-MEMBRANESHerbs in this category stimulate mucus membranes to release fluids, flushing them out.
|Liver & Gall Bladder|
LIVOTONICAn herb that strengthens the liver. It is helpful for people with a history of substance abuse, chronic liver issues from hepatitis and hemolytic anemias.
CHOLAGOGUECholagogues stimulate the release of bile from the gall bladder for improved digestion.
|Lung and Sinus|
FLUSHES-SINUSESAn herb that relieves sinus congestion by flushing out mucus.
DECONGESTANTAn herb that reduces mucus congestion in the sinus or lungs by restricting blood flow to mucus membranes.
|Mind, Stress & Sleep|
Wakes you up
WAKES-YOU-UPInvigorates the body and improves energy by stimulating circulation.
|Skin Care & Beauty|
DIAPHORETICAn herb that induces sweating, often by dilating blood vessels close to the skin.
About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. His online course Balance Your Ayurvedic Diet in a Week provides tools for gracefully healing with Ayurveda to thousands. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.