Kanji, the wunder cure
By Sheela Rani Chunkath | Published: 17th June 2017 10:00 PM |
A friend rang me up lamenting that any time she ate outside home, she had this terrible after effect of a sluggish digestion that made her feel uneasy and unwell. She had indulged in some wayside eatery this time, and while she did not have a major stomach upset, she kept feeling queasy and nauseous. She complained that thereafter every time she ate something—even simple idlis and sambar rice—she had mild stomach pain. She also said she was feeling vaguely feverish. I was happy that my friend is the complaining type because such minor health issues normally do not warrant sharing.
In Ayurveda, where every meal has to be taken after assessing one’s state of health and digestion, this kind of awareness about ones’ digestive state is critical to good health. So I asked her to just have hot water and skip the next meal and come back to me. Of course she did not, “Oh, I just had some fruits and I have this nagging kind of pain in the stomach.”
I desisted from saying “I told you so” and reiterated my suggestion that she skip a meal and start on a kanji diet. Since she had to travel in the next few days, she decided to take my advice. She just had hot water for the next meal and waited till she had some hunger pangs. She rang me up again saying she was fine now and that her hunger is back and whether she could go back to idlis and phulka chapathis. The answer was an emphatic no.
I asked her to let her stomach, digestion and agni be restored to complete normalcy by following the meal plan I gave her. Since she had been feeling a little feverish, it was likely that there had been some development of ama or vitiation of her rasa dhatu or the first product of digestion, which in turn would have vitiated the doshas and the dhatus again. In English we would say that she had mild food poisoning and indigestion.The kanji diet is pretty simple and absolutely doable if one can control one’s tongue and give up misapprehensions about what constitutes a simple diet.
To prepare kanji, take some red parboiled rice, the kind that Keralites eat. If the red variety is unavailable, use parboiled white rice. Lightly fry the rice in a tawa, powder it to rava consistency (small grains) in a mixie, sieve and store. Once you have a store of this fried and powdered rice, life is easy. Whenever you feel queasy, heavy, feverish, or have no appetite but your stomach is growling, reach out for this powder.
Take about a quarter cup of the powder, add about 16 parts of water and cook in a pressure cooker for up to three to four whistles. Add a little Himalayan rock salt for the first few glasses. Later, you can add a bit of powdered sunthi and jeera for making it more palatable and digestive. Kanji is a miracle food as it is deepana, pachana and grahi meaning it is a carminative, digestive and a bowel regulator and nourishing as well.The writer is retired Additional Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu. She can be reached at sheelarani.arogyamantra@gmail. com/arogyamantra.blogspot.com