Nature Cure

Nature Cure

Preface

Before we move on, please do take the time to read the Preface section where I offer a heartfelt thanksgiving to all those who help us follow NC till date.

Introduction

I hereby present my own understanding and experience of the magnificent science of Natural Healing.

There are different schools of naturopathy and we happened to attend the camp titled ‘Life Natural’) – the hierarchy of naturopaths (under Life Natural) goes like this :

    • Lakshmana Sharma – He is the Father Of Nature Cure in India.
    • Ganesha Sharma – Son of Lakshmana Sharma
      • Balakrishan Aiya – Student Of Ganesha Sharma
  • Arun Sharma – Son Of Ganesha Sharma

I happened to listen to an introductory session given by Dr. Arun Sharma at reStore, ECR and that few hours opened our minds into an entirely new, yet simple world of healthy living. That inspired us to attend a full fledged Stay-Experience-Learn camp at Pollachi.

Nature Cure Camp Experience

These nature cure camps are conducted once a year at various places across the country. And I have given below my experience there for the past two years.

Nature Cure Pointers

Highlights Of Nature Cure

    1. Perfect Health is defined as :  None of your body parts should attract your attention.
    2. Eat only when you are hungry
    3. 1/3 rd of what you eat goes to nourish your body – 2/3 rd of what you eat goes to nourish the doctor.
    4. Drink solids and eat liquids
    1. Any medicine which is not obtained from the plant kingdom is not assimilated by the system.
    1. Insufficient oxygenation to the cells of the body is disease
    1. Coconut is a fruit – its then’kani’, not then’gai’
    1. Never eat fruits after a cooked meal
  1. Try not to mix cooked and raw foods

Interesting Reads

 Related Links On Nature cure

You can buy or print these books – they get to the core of naturapathy and explain in so much detail about health and life:

To register for Life Natural Nature Cure camp, click hereregister

Interesting Links:

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Traditional/Millet Cooking

How To Identify Different Millets

Here is a video which helps to identify the different millets :

Earthen Pots

Here is a video which tells how to condition a mud pot before the first use:

On the same lines we started cooking in earthen pots and they are super delicious, stay fresh longer and cook faster too.

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And the summer special in our home is paanai thanni – water stored in earthern pot – water which is thirst quenching and nutritious:

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Used Coconut Shells

Used coconut shells, coconut fiber (thengai naaru) and the dried shells of tender coconut – i collect all these and give them away to a sweet stall nearby who use these as their fuel. I also met a friend who told me she makes crafts from these materials, may be I should also consider giving a part of it to her. And I am seeing a lot of organic shops these days who make tea cups, spoons and small musical instruments from used coconut shells.

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Plastic Waste Mangement

Now that the kitchen wet wastes are managed well, we had the need to dispose our garbage only once in 2 or 3 days. I heaved a deep sigh of relief and was so happy at having accomplished this task. Then I suddenly got curious to find out what else goes into my garbage bin. There were lot of plastics – milk covers on a daily basis, oil covers, plastic carry bags n lot of plastic covers – I now wanted to manage these as well; and on went the google search and I found out these can be perfectly recycled (only thing I had to clean the milk/wet covers and dry them so that they can be stored till they are picked up for recycling). These are some of the vendors who can do this beautiful job of recycling for us:

  1. Paperman
  2. Kuppathotti.com

So as to say, they collect newspapers (or any bit of paper for that matter), plastics covers and bottles, metal scrap.

I was doing all this only for the fancy of reducing the trash disposal  frequency – but in the process of googling on this, I discovered something much bigger – the answer to “WHY ARE PLASTICS BAD?”; and here is the answer – plastics cannot decompose – they are bio-degradable – a piece of plastic once created is always there on the planet, whether it is thrown away or sent for recycling( because even if you recycle its still converted to another piece of plastic). Burning plastics pollutes the air, dumping them into landfills pollutes the soil and the groundwater and when they are washed off into the sea, it pollutes the sea water and kills the aquatic life.

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So its high time we follow the rule  of 3R’s “REDUCE REUSE or RECYCLE”. So simple changes that we have made in our home to reduce plastics are these:

  • Carry your own shopping bags all the time – there are bags which can folded into your purse – here is a link to get those kinda bags, MyPy
  • Carry your own containers to hotels buy food (parcel) – mite sound absurd but it makes a lot of difference to your health and the environment’s health – LET’S stop buying food packed in plastic bags
  • Avoid buying packaged food of any form – most of these are processed foods and they are simply junk and a burden to your health.

Having done this, our garbage reduced much further and we had to dispose our trash only once in a week or so except…move on to the next post for that..!!

A couple of interesting reads on Plastic waste management:

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Composting

Yep here is where our natural living journey started (though I didn’t know it back then..!!) and this is how the story goes:

At a gardening meet in my husband’s office, a couple of volunteers were elaborating on how composting your kitchen waste could yield nutritious yet cheap manure for your terrace garden – Aha, the idea of terrace gardening really fascinated me and from the next day on I collected all kitchen waste in a small bowl every day and dumped them into old, unused mud pots that were almost filled with mud till the brim; what a surprise, every day when i dump the waste it would look as though it was overflowing, but next day when i go back again to dump, there would still be enough space for today’s load of waste.

When I wondered what was actually happening, I suddenly realized the earthworms had appeared from nowhere and they were at work, decomposing our kitchen waste to rich soil nutrients..!! And ya, I can hear that – we have studied really enough even about the different methods of composting, but I have never thought of applying this into my real life and we have been throwing away of kilos and kilos of to-be-rich-manure into the kuppaithotti (garbage bin) which finally end up rotting into the landfills.

And I should admit the first time I saw an earthworm wriggling amidst the kitchen waste inside the pot, I was more than thrilled (earlier even the sight of it would irritate me like anything). Then I explained about this to my nieghbours and they also started contributing their wastes – so we bought really big 7 pots (from shops on the ECR – the farther you go, the cheaper the pots become) and covered them with aluminium lids; we labelled them Sunday, Monday, etc – one pot for each day of the week – this way the waste in each pot gets about 7 days to compost and the composting process is much faster this way. You can also simply compost inside unused buckets/containers.

Alternatively you can also compost using a kamba  – its comparatively less messier than using pots. Or you can simply use any unused buckets that you have:

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Cloth Diapers or No Diapers?

After the kitchen wastes and plastics were managed what was remaining in the trash bin was the used diapers(of my toddler) – we were using them for him only when we went out –  at home he was on his cloth nappies and during nights he was free..!!! I wanted to manage this waste as well – I went on to read about this to find the disposable diapers too had an alternative – cloth diapers. Was very surprised to know about this because me and none of my friends had any clue about this. Cloth diapers can be used much in the same way as disposable diapers, with the additional benefit that you can wash and reuse them and they work out much cheaper than disposable diapers. Here is how it looks ad you can buy one here.

clothDiaper

To know more about this , you can join this FB group Cloth Diapering India

Better still you can move on to a diaper-free world and there are numerous advantages of not using diapers for “infants to toddlers”:

  • Kids get toilet trained very quickly – you know what they even stop bed – wetting at nights very soon
  • Diaper-free babies are much healthier and hygienic – just imagine how it would be for us if we were put on diapers every night or whenever we go out..??!!!
  • It will cut down your expenses to such a great extent

Am sure we can all admit that diapers are a very new invention of the 1990’s and before that all children were brought up without these and toilet training was never a topic of discussion(as it happened pretty quickly and naturally)  and these children grew up to be much healthier adults.

So we stopped using diapers completely for our little one when he was about 15 months. With that we had dispose our garbage only once every month and that was because..read on here to find out..!!

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Cloth Pads

Having managed our wastes so much I was disappointed to find out we still had to dispose our garbage every month with a heavy load and that was my used sanitary napkins. And surprisingly there was an alternative for this too which was nothing but what our ancestors have been using for ages – REUSABLE CLOTH PADS. Here is how it looks:

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You can buy these pads here:

  1. EcoFemme
  2. HygieneAndYou

These pads come in varying thickness to hold varying levels of flow – from a panty liner to a night pad.

My menstruation experience:

Even though I was driven by a strong conviction to use reusable cloth pads, I still had initial hiccups in making the transition, the whole process of transition was much easier and once I got used to using these, I could never think of buying a disposable pad and dumping them into the landfills. It helped me get a better connection with my body and I slowly realized well that it was a natural process of waste elimination by the body and I was awestruck by nature’s beauty of managing a woman’s body. Read more..

How To Use A Cloth Pad:

  1. Button your cloth pad as you would stick a disposable pad on your underwear
  2. Leave it on till you feel the need to change the pad
  3. Cleaning the used pad 
    1. Rinse the used pad under running water for a minute till the water runs clear
    2. Soak this used pad in a bucket(with a few drops of disinfectant, preferably an essential oil tea tree oil) for a minimum of 1 hour to a maximum of 8 hours. I soak all my used pads in this bucket through the day; at the end of the day I rinse the pads another time and run a separate load on the washing machine for these.
    3. Then whenever possible, sun dry these pads, else you can air-dry them in a well-ventilated room.
    4. Fold these dry pads and store for next use. As simple as that..!!

For more info on this, join the FB group “Sustainable Menstruation India (SMI)

Couple of interesting reads on menstruation:

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Natural DIY Cleaners

Why make your own cleaners when you can buy ready-made cleaners and detergents?

I was prompted to make the switch because I wanted to do away with dozens of plastic covers and bottles that carried these cleaners. Because as I had mentioned in the previous post, avoiding plastics is better than recycling plastics. This is an obvious reason which I hadn’t thought of before – we may think we use all these cleaners external ly and they get washed down into the drains, so how can they be really harmful? Our skin is the largest absorbing organ  in our body,they have numerous pores through which soaps, shampoos and other cleaners we use enter our bodies on a daily basis (though the proportion might be negligible for one day, they aren’t negligible when used for a life-time, are they??!!!) Also what gets washed down the drains eventually ends up in the soil or water bodies which is not ok as well.

Ever since we started making our own cleaners at home, we have started saving lot of money on monthly expenditure. To sum up, I would say, these are eco-friendly, healthy and pocket-friendly options.

Bath Powder/Hand Wash Powder

I would say this is an amazing bath cleaner/scrub that I have ever used in my life.Not even the best of best soaps has given me this sense of freshness after a bath. And here is the recipe:

Green gram (say 1 kg) + Vettiver powder (50-100 gm)

Grind the green gram in a flour mill – grind a handful of the green gram little coarse, remaining can be a smooth powder. Mix the vettiver powder with this and store in an air-tight container. People with oily skin can use this powder as it is. For people with dry skin the powder can be mixed with gingeley oil and used instead of a soap.

We store the same powder in a small pepper sprinkler and use it instead of a handwash.

Hair Wash Powder

Option 1: (Basic version)

  • Shikakai (Main ingredient) – oil cleanser
  • Green Gram – oil cleanser
  • Methi/fenugreek seeds – conditioner
  • Soapnut – foaming agent

Any more of healthy ingredients can be added to this like dried curry leaves, hibiscus and so on.

Option 2:

Roasted gram flour – cleanser (More of it) + Methi/fenugreek powder-  conditioner (less of it)

We make our rice in an open pot, so we always get the rice kanji – we leave it for a day or two to ferment and mix it with the above powder and bathe. Works great even for an oil bath.

Dish Wash Powder

We slowly moved from liquid soaps to bar soaps to powder cleaners . I was still not satisfied because all of these had unsafe chemicals in them, though we wash it off well, these chemicals/soaps stick onto the vessels and are ingested into our bodies. We oil the idli plates to make idlis – whenever I oil the neatly cleaned (with soaps), dried idli plates, it will always turn into whitish translucent layer which is nothing but the soap.

We casually tried the wild ideas dish wash powder and it was amazing at cleaning even hard stains and oily pans. Have heard even Krya products are good. But though they were organic  and nice, they worked out a little expensive on a monthly basis.

Option 1:

Then I chanced upon my friend’s blog and here is her recipe for a cheap and perfect cleaner:

  • Used coffee grounds, sun-dried – 50% (got these from a filter coffee house)
  • Citrus peels(sweet lime/orange/lemon), sun-dried – 25% (got these from a juice vendor)
  • Shikakai – 12.5%
  • Soaput – 12.5%

One days’ yield from a coffee shop and juice vendor lasted me for about 2 months, in spite of giving away a portion of the powder to many of my friends, Whenever I drop by to any of my friend’s place, I carry this powder as a gift.

Option 2:

  • Shikakkai Powder – 50% – meant for cleansing and clearing out oily/sticky stains
  • Wood Ash – 50% (Got it from a nearby construction site – one day’s yield can last for more than a month) –  meant for bringing a luster to the ever silver vessels

The proportion can be varied as per convenience.

These can be used to clean kitchen slabs as well – they can easily remove even heavy oil stains.

Note: Take only required quantity of the powder every time in a small bowl – moisten the vessel and clean it with a scrub (dabbed with the dry powder).

Courtesy : Sangeetha Sriram’s blog

Floor Cleaner

This is a home made liquid ; before I share the recipe I would like to say what prompted me to specifically make this liquid (apart from the reason that I wanted to avoid plastic containers).

When my little one was around 9 months old, he was on his oral exploration phase and he would often come in contact with the floor on his bare mouth. So we made sure the floor was cleaned well (with what?of course the chemical floor sanitizer) – then suddenly it occurred to me I was literally feeding my little one with chemicals and for a couple of days after that we were cleaning the floor with just plain water. Finally I ended up making neem leaves decoction and ever since we have been using this instead of commercial floor cleaner solutions. Bonus?? – its an amazing ant repellant..!! No need of harmful chalk pieces anymore. Here is a video on how to make the neem leaves decoction:

About an year ago, we have stopped using refrigerator in our house, so storing the neem leaves decoction is not possible now. So we take care of basic hygiene in the house, we wipe the floor with plain water, and sometimes with neem oil diluted in water..!!

Reasoning: After nature cure, we know disease is our friend, so we are no more worried about sanitisation much.

Natural Tooth Powder

Store-bought toothpastes are a strict NO NO in our house. But making your own tooth paste is pretty much easy – here are 2 options:

Option 1:

Mix a couple of drops of any oil into a pinch of any herbal tooth powder (home made or store bought)  and use instead of a paste (using a tooth brush is optional)

Option 2:

This is what my friend recommends:

  • 2 parts Himalayan pink salt/ Sea Salt
  • 1 part Baking soda
  • 1/2 part Turmeric
  • Few drops of any cooking oil

Make a paste out of this and use instead of a paste (using a tooth brush is optional)

Natural Ant Repellant

Wiping the floor daily using the diluted neem leaves decoction repels most ants. If its till persists, I follow these 2 steps:

  1. Identify the source – if you have the tie wait till the ants eat away their delicious meal, else u can remove the source and displace it to any outdoor space
  2. Sprinkle turmeric powder over the ant line – the ants just go away after a while. Unlike when using the chalk pieces the ants are repelled here rather than getting killed. It feels ethically so nice to be nice to these little beings you know.!

It is after I saw this simple technique work that I realized why our traditional olden day houses and temples were lined with turmeric on the outside walls and also near the entrance (vaasapadi).

Natural Mosquito Repellent

Sure shot answer I have found so far is Lemongrass oil (an essential oil). Trust me it really works, because I tried it during the Dec 2015 floods – no power, stagnant water behind the house – it magically worked. Plus this oil being used in aromatherapy induces a freshening sleep. Take a few drops of lemongrass oil in a small cup and leave it on your bedside and enjoy a mosquito-free sleep. Alternatively you also get room fresheners with lemon grass fragrance, guess they work well too (I haven’t tried this though, but it has worked for my friend).

All-Purpose Cleaner 1:

Soapnut powder or liquid can easily be used as an all purpose cleaner, right from cleaning floor to bathrooms to kitchen sinks.

All-Purpose Cleaner 2:

Bio-enzyme – A homemade, child friendly, inexpensive cleaner – it can be used on tough stains of laundry, socks, cloth pads, toilet, sink, floor, etc. I followed this blog to make bio enzyme, a very detailed explanation. Please follow the bio-enzyme link.