Homework this week:
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#1 Find bitter and meet it, know it and let it shake up your mind and body.
#2 Get some astringent into you. Befriend it - cause it helps us become inspired but also keeps us grounded to get the creativity working properly
#3 Patience. We need to patience to let Sattva grow. Do you have some today?
Here is a fun clip of people trying an Ayurvedic herb - Triphala which has pungent, bitter and astringent tastes - and can be a bit on the Holy Cow !! side of the spectrum of not liked tastes... but they didnt help themselves taking it as directed by Ayurveda. We never take herbs or spices dry. Ever. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIkiN_ZRDoc&t=3s
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Kelly Marie Mills 0:00 From Yoga Ayurveda Living, I am Kelly Marie Mills, and this is The Dosha Life podcast
This is series 8 episode 5 the secrets of taste with ayurveda and we are on the secrets of astringent and bitter
Now I can finally get to the point I have waited for…bitter.. - and anytime i think of bitter makes me think of phoebe shouting at Chandler, get out of the bitter barn already!
Awe stop …bitterness, it's not sweet lads. Even as tikta rasa it's still the same old Betty botter bought of bit of better butter , but the butter betty bought was -Bitter oh so bitter
is like the biggest game changer for the material body…mainly found in our veggies…dark leafy ones, and it's often blended with a bit of astringent tastes too
Listen to this…the rasa ot tikta , its essence aka rasa is like pure movement…because it is made of air and either.
So that's light and airy. Having bitter in the body is Like a hoover or vacuum cleaner or a floor brush, moving around, in correct amounts it helps to clean the body
And plus it's interesting… It's called an alterative in holistic medicine…it means it creates a state of alter, or it's like sending your dress or trousers to be shortened…you go to the alteration shop…visiting the bitter barn!
But which dosha does not need too much more of the bitter elements of air and space or air and either? Ha!
Vata vata vata
Note i did say too much…cause every dosha needs needs all six tastes in the correct amount for best metabolic function
Bitter cleanses the blood, and detoxifies the body (same thing I always think, but sometimes you have to add the bits so pitta types listening or reading can dig their teeth into it a bit better) bitter works on the body tissues, reducing them and clearing out the gunk, but like that's not all!bitter is an antibiotic, and antiseptic - and again, you can hear how it's a cleaner plus and adds support to your digestive power, especially helpful for digesting sweet/neutral tastes.
We all need to find ways to bring into our diet…but not in large quantities- thank small and go smaller. For the doshas here are some visuals:
Think wind and air and what that combo can do in a tunnel /that's what it would do to vata, and what does that mean in the physical body? More movement will dry out the cells, dry out the digestive power, too much space will reduce the fire in the belly or create a variable digestion - excess movement of vata creates 70% of problems in the body next…
Think small fire in a pot belly stove, wind and air in moderate amounts, but coming in all directions, it will create a bigger burn, or pull out the draft. it will allow the flow of air to circulate or to shu reduce the damper, the heat of the fire radiates more…so for pitta we have to tend carefully to the bitter actions use them at the appropriate times
And of course kapha requires a little more agitation, a little more continuous inspiration and attendance to activity - with bitter, the airy ness is a perfect compliment to the heavy density of water and earth, the material body. What bitter does is…. adds space and movement in the slower digestive power of kapha, and this makes them feel lighter and less stagnant. In this activity it has a downward cleansing movement so its super beneficial for correct metabolic function and digestive power but also, this taste assists apana vayu- the energy and vibration that creates toxin removal and correct timing of elimination-
When used correctly - like with at least two meals a day - it helps with correct function of the spleen, liver and pancreas - so that's a lot…and unfortunately we don't really eat bitter in most of our meals..do we?
We are talking about the sort of complete taste that is hard to find in a food like yanno yummy source but defo easy to find in herbs and spices ... .
turmeric is nice and bitter, dandelion, angelica - but my daily betty botter bitter is turmeric. And the taste of bitter is a little sneaky i think cause it sits behind the pungent which is in the front part of the tongue and then bitter is squeezed in the middle and sides of our tongue and so is sandwiched between pungent and astringent -
When we look at bitter, it's a bit of a paradox cause it be like the coldest taste we can have but then its long term effect (explained later) is pungent - i like to think of it like dry ice- its looks so cool and feels so cool and then you touch it and yikes well you be so sorry you stuck your tongue to it!
Well bitter can have that effect but not quite as sharp…correct use helps our mind be free, creating space for clarity and non attachment
Conversely if we don't get enough or take too much we hear more from our inner critic or we feel the boredom of life, as we start to get bogged down (aka, no lift off, no space to expand from our own voices) Bitter is really good at helping blood (pitta) plasma (kapha) and aggravates the nervous system (vata) so things that are of the pitta or kapha benefit from this air and either spice at the correct time of digestion
There are leafy greens that have complex tastes, but for a good source - my go to is Kale and my kapha really likes its action of drying, but other good food options won't make your heart flutter, but like cumin, dandelion greens -see doesn't make us want to dance but one of the spices i always promote since it is the most sattvic you will find…do you remember? Saffron, yah it has that weird little twang of a screech in its mix - but of course most of us will know bitter chocolate and bitter coffee very very well. Well think or try one of these to refamiliarise yourself with the work of bettys .bitter
With all this cool clarity and introspection that bitter can give us as long as we keep it in moderation…let's float ourselves over to the last but totally just as vitally important…the last taste - now, since I know ayurveda, I trust it implicitly. There are schools of traditional science that purport there are only five tastes…so make sure you understand that we are coming from the samkhya system and that this is how the tastes come as they do, in the order that they do…because of this system.
Astringent…thinking of it makes me think of how aluminum smells, or how a metal farm fence smells…or a school fence…looking out of what seemed to be a cage when I was small!
Don't tell me I am the only one who can smell a metal gate..hahaha…
Astringency, kshaya rasa…is the last taste for a good reason. It can be great to use like after that we have the very last morsel of our meal….it helps our tastes in our mouth feel complete - dry and done for the moment -
… it helps to close the process of digestion - being made of air and earth, movement and stability, it slows or stops things in their tracks, it helps activate the stop and drop zone, contracts things out and if you could imagine someone’s face who is alway contracting to a frown… that resting face comes across a bit scary even tho they could possibly be just happy on the inside? That's astringent
…astringent taste is pretty hard to find as a single plant with that primary taste but mildly tasted in raspberry or a young fruit and is a popular balancing pitta tea, that is raspberry tea, ….astringent herbs, and oh, well it's in Basil, bay leaf, caraway, coriander, dill, fennel, marjoram, nutmeg, oregano, parsley, poppy seeds, rosemary, saffron, turmeric, vanilla sprouted seeds and alfalfa sprouts, but they are also nutritive so again not the pure taste.
And you know..apples have more astringency in them than pears, so for vata types or vata vikriti apples are on the have less, or change it to stewed with cinnamon, cardamom and ginger -oh shamazing…
it can be hard to differentiate between them but bitter is drying and astringent is contracting so quite different actions…..
or make it more relative to you…tannins…tannins are astringent. What has tannins? Things that colour our teeth like black tea, of course coffee (it just doesn't get a break does it!) and wine..especially red wine, but grapes have tannins and its those foods of bark, leaves and fruits that are what you lean into to get Astringent/ think air and earth - the flight of the kite and the anchor of a heavy stone - a pulling movement, as if dragging out the moisture or pulling it out…it has a drying effect with stability to draw down - its good for digestion and strengthening the body - the effect of puckering or an inward drawing of the cells tissues, helps to formulate the wastes of the body correctly - basically what I really want to express…we need all the elements provided in our meals..not just you! Me too! And for us to live in our natural rhythm this is a chance to make our lives spring and sprout and feel good even when things don't go great our health…our health …it is so important to have a healthy lifestyle! …can I say it again? .it's really important so let's get our bitter and astringent tastes people!!
And what does astringent look like in people ..if you are balanced well you are balanced, you are solid and supportive, you are the go to person for support cause you are grounded and focused. That's nice isn't it- so when the shops run out of cranberries in two weeks - we will all know its cause the podcast has gone viral on how astringent and bitter tastes can help our body, our mind…our life!!
And out of balance or that which we can receive should we not get enough or too much of astringent? …the drama begins
Fear, anxiousness, nervousness, sadness, fixation, rigidity, resentment, harshness
And it's that mere possibility isn't it - that foods can have such a powerful effect on our body..that it then assists our emotions, our mental wellbeing, our hormones even! But of course it is true, but many would debate, and many would prefer to navigate it and find other faster ways to health and balance - but for sattva -there is no short cut. But the rewards, I know the rewards are full on amazing.
So remember what atringency is made of please so you can understand its effect on body and mind
…its air/so be careful if you have a vata imbalance and it can help pitta and kapha - and this taste…is way back more cheap seats near the end of the tongue and to be honest..i didn't even know i could taste things that far back ha!!
But I was thinking maybe I should try a bit of a green banana because they have a pure astringent taste. I do know I have had green bananas, but not real green, and not in the seeking of astringent taste. apparently the mouth will just pucker up so fast, but you don't want to eat them! Yah and hey…sometimes doing the research I find weird things…but seriously this was weird. The leaves of potatoes are astringent…and i thought…um, okay, so is that a thing? Somewhere? So I don't normally eat the leaves of potatoes..do you? Actually I don't even know where one would get leaves of potatoes unless you grew your own, and if you do…well have a few, not a big amount, but a few at the end of your meal, lemme know what you think. But i thought,omg that is just so random I am gonna say it cause i just thought it was so funny -but what about the leaves of cauliflowers ..are they astringent? I dunno, but I am not sure, but I do have to say I love cauliflower leaves ..do you? They are so nice! …and yes again many veg have some bitter and astringent, but as a rule, astringent and bitter seem to combine more than show up as a singular veg or whole food astringency
The tastes often appear in our diet as blended, like the elements.
there are not so many pure tastes in the natural world, most are collaborating!
But kshaya rasa is vital to our health and well being and most of us don't even know what it tastes like…! A cranberry has a good bit of astringency…and if you know the herb blend triphala, you will taste sour, bitter, astringent and pungent in one fell swoop…i think sweet is in it too but i never really taste it! Please look at the link in the show notes for a group of people trying triphala for the first time…and they are trying it absolutely dry -..it is hilarious…i have it in warm herbal tea or water at night as a rejuvenator for my digestive system…anyway watch and giggle but here are few where astringency is very apparent but many of them have another additional taste too
Alfalfa sprouts, avocado, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots (raw), cauliflower, green beans, lettuce, peas, potatoes, most raw vegetables
Astringent taste action is great for skin health and mucus membrane and
it has the capacity to stop or reduce discharges, like sweating, bleeding even diarrhea….it works as well as internally as well as topically -
Using triphala topically can help to heal wounds from the inside out, as it draws the blood towards the wound first …
So we are going to end this here, because it's become a bit of a marathon and yanno like Vata dosha gets tired out from too much talking..why? Because the voice and expression in any form, is known as Udana vayu, a sub dosha or one part of five segments or basically the limbs of vata, are called the values, so we over use it, we wack ourselves out - we create bitter by drying out our communication system.
Your homework this week -
Explore the tastes in earnest or without earnest if you don't know him. But set an intention on finding the best benefit for what the tastes can teach you.
taste the bitterness of turmeric...and reflect on any bitterness of heart or mind and can we meet these reflections, memories or thoughts with a sense of clarity and freedom? Standing objectively outside of our reactivity to them? Even to understand our sense of withdrawing from changing our habits is a good start…I really love the foods I love, but I see clearly that I need to change them so I can be a bit healthier. Nothing too radical but there are tweaks that can be done easily - slowly, methodically that will help me feel better in my mind and body - I want that for me..and for you…
And then also taste astringency, seek out things with tannins and recognise they also have the ability to pull nutrients from our body as a part of their process if we over use astringent tastes, and then think of the times where you felt wizened, shriveled.
Can we take a moment to build awareness about these types of inner searching, and find some patience for this process? Find patience for sattva to arrive? for all we know now, and recognise that what we learn now, we probably could not have digested before …
Thank you for walking with me, thank you for continually sending messages of encouragement. Without a few of you sending me the vibes - I probably would have stopped a while ago. But this work is worth the effort - and your health is worth the effort to me - and this work has made me feel how much more I can do to support myself.
Thank you , thank you - we are so over bitter and astringent - let go compile all we learned - and yeah I look forward to chatting to you again in the next episode - the