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black pepper

Ayurveda considers healthy nutrition, lifestyle, yoga (or other physical exercise)  and meditation as the basic pillars for a long and happy life. We all want that, don’t we?

The effort you will make today for your health will yield its rewards at older age, when many illnesses start to arise.

These don’t come popping up, simply as a mysterious coincidence, like Western allopathy wants us to believe. In most cases we are responsible for creating a fertile ground in which the illness could grow.

In Ayurveda we recognize 6 stages of illness, of which only the last 2 are actually visible. At that point treatment is much more difficult than in earlier stages. A detox or cleansing has been a preventive measurement for thousands of years in many different cultures and forms. You are on the right track to ensure your long and healthy life!

So good for you! You have taken control over your own health!

Healthy food aids a healthy digestion, which in turn results in good overall health.

This brings us to one crucial question…

What is healthy food?

Our food delivers energy and nutrients for our cells to nourish and repair them. In order for the right energy to be released, our food has to be digested properly. So-called healthy food items can also turn into unhealthy, poisonous food, when the digestive fire is weak and toxins start to accumulate.

Healthy food is

  1. freshly prepared and eaten within one day
  2. eaten at the right time (not too late and not too often)
  3. easy to digest (during detox not raw and cold!!)
  4. warm and moist
  5. with a decent amount of suitable spices, that help the digestion of the food.
  6. full of sufficient proteins and healthy fatty acids.
  7. a great variation of plants, fruits and vegetables

What are these toxins?

These toxins are called ‘ama’ in Ayurveda, meaning literally ‘undigested food’. In Western terms this means acidity, free radicals and intestinal pollution. This undigested food gets stuck in the digestive system and the cells, where they are the main culprit for causing diseases. Our energy level decreases, thus the body and mind can’t function properly.

Ama causes many common diseases like rheumatic arthritis, blood diseases, depression, skin problems, food intolerances, Parkinson,…

What causes Ama to arise???
  1. incompatible food combinations (explained below)
  2. eating when the prior meal isn’t yet digested
  3. eating without hungry feeling (except eating disorders)
  4. eating at the wrong time; late or during the night
  5. eating while feeling very emotional or stressed
  6. fast food, old food, fast sugars
  7. eating too much
  8. very cold drinks and food
  9. drugs and Western medication
  10. external factors: pollution of air/water/cosmetics/cleaning products

What are incompatible food combinations?

These are types of food, with very incompatible energetic effect on the body, either causing too much heaviness or phlegm, or making it impossible for the body to have a proper digestion, resulting in ama. This can’t do much harm if we eat them once in a while.

It does become a problem when we eat them all the time. Here are a few of the main things to eat separately:

  • meat and mustard
  • dairy and fresh fruits
  • dairy and meat
  • meat and fresh fruits

How to eliminate Ama?

For thousands of years men have been integrating fasting and detoxing as a yearly tradition, to purify body and mind. In Ayurvedic clinics people are cleansed from excessive ama as a first intervention for physical and psychological ailments.

When you do a detox it is foremost important to boost YOUR DIGESTIVE FIRE, CALLED AGNI, so all toxins get burned and eliminated. Agni refers to all the enzymatic processes during the digestion of food. They transform the food into building stones for our body and brain. To ignite the digestive fire we use herbal power and make warm and nutritious meals. This makes digestion easy, gives a comfortable feeling and leaves lots of energy for other things.

Secondly, you will do daily exercises, like trampoline, walking, jogging or the yogaroutine I’ve made for you in part 3.  Let’s sweat out your toxins! Ancient breathing and meditation techniques are there to detoxify your mind and energetic body. You will take extra good care for your liver and kidneys, as they are our main internal detox stations. Check out part 5 to learn more about that.

Herbal Power

One important and very simple fact to keep in mind about spices is that besides giving taste to our dishes, they have strong medicinal powers.

All plants have a certain level of toxicity, which in fact helps the body to become strong against invasion of real toxins and bacteria. Herbs and spices work synergetic with vegetables when used in recipes and balance their toxicity. In this way our body can benefit the most from the food. Spices contain a lot of anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals. They can work adaptogenic. Adaptogenic means that the plant supports each body differently where needed and on different levels. They aid to a strong immune system and rejuvenate the body.

It is because of this special healing power that traders travelled along the Silk Route to reach Indian continent, where these spices were readily available. To return proudly with black pepper; back then known as the ‘Black Gold’ .

Black Pepper

This black pepper is as a basic cleaning agent for our intestines and fuels us with a substance, called piperine. This alkaloid is responsible for the sharp taste and boosts our metabolism. It also has the property to enhance the functionality of other spices or substances(medicines). Turmeric, for instance, is best taken accompanied by black pepper (Piper nigrum) or long pepper (Piper longum).



Is a blood cleanser and is known for neutralizing pesticides, coloring agents and bacteria in your food. Turmeric works as an anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic, anticarcinogenic, antidiabetic and antiviral agent. This yellow root is known for many centuries as a tonicum and cleanser for the skin. Most importantly, it stimulates the digestive fire and that’s what we’re aiming at, right?


Ginger has the power of a lion, as it can cure so many diseases. It has many similar capacities as turmeric, but is also very good to create heat in the body. It increases blood circulation and makes the ‘Agni’ stronger. Ginger powder is even better at stirring up the digestive fire and burning toxins. Fresh ginger is a good sweating agent in cases of flue or colds. Ginger works very well for arthritis, bloating, cramps, nausea and menstrual pain.

Mustard seeds

These are pungent in taste and hot. They are very important during a detox, because of their positiveinfluence on digestion. They burn toxins and help to dissolve acces of phlegm(kapha) in the body. It works as a disinfectant when used externally as oil.


Devil’s dung or asafoetida is a very typically Ayurvedic spice which is great against gasses, cramps or constipation. It is actually a resin from a tree and has a strong smell. Don’t use too much, but still don’t leave it out. It is essential during a detox, because it increases Agni and really clears the guts from old intestinal plaque.


Cumin increases appetite and prevents bloating, gasses and pain. It binds the stool, improves digestion and aids a good absorption of nutrients. These aromatic seeds are advised for diarrhea, diabetes, gives strength, helps against menstrual pain and is an aphrodisiac.


This sweet spice also improves digestion, stimulates metabolism, purifies the blood and dissolves phlegm in the body and food. It works well with all grains, carbs, milky and sweet food. It softens tooth pain and gives a fresh taste to the mouth. Only when pregnant it is advised not to use it too much, because of its contracting effect on the uterus.


This aromatic bulb is a top bloodpurifyer, a tonicum for the heart and lowers bad cholesterol. It works antifungal, antibacterial, antiparasite and disinfecting. Helps against bloating, painful cramps and nausea.



The name originates from the Greek word ‘oros’ meaning ‘joy’. It gives great taste to many dishes and can fuse perfectly into oriental dishes as well. We like it for its anti-oxidants and health properties. It is antibacterial, anti carcinogenic, anti inflammatory and balances blood sugar levels.



This plant contains anti-oxidants, like vitamine C and has anti carcinogenic, antibacterial substances. The other vitamines are A and K and the minerals are magnesium, potassium, folate, iron, and calcium. It is best to use this on a daily basis to have maximum benefits. Parsley reduces blood pressure and therefore contributes to healthy kidneys. Along with eating a balanced diet, adding parsley to your cooking may help support healthy blood sugar levels.

All Mediterranean herbs have strong medicinal properties as well. Use them too, together with the ones listed.


It gets even more interesting when we look at recent scientific studies. They have proven that regular intake of the plant substances listed above have a direct positive epigenetic effect on our health. They are able to balance a specific transcriptionfactor(nrf2) which activates or shuts down genetic activity of about 250 genes. This nrf2 has an importance the expression of many illnesses or can yield overall health.

To make food our medicine we need to comsume it regularly; about 5 times a week in small amounts. So daily use of many spices is essential for our health.

You have learned all about the necessity of spices and herbs in our daily nutrition.

Keep up the good work and take the next course to start your work-out.<< Previous PartNext Part >>

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