Parenting

Monsoon, Kids & Ayurveda with Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra

Ancient India believed and followed Ayurveda in their daily routine for thousands of years. When it comes to Ayurveda, it is all about maintaining a healthy lifestyle with wholesome foods and exercises like yoga and meditation. But with changing times and modernization, people have forgotten what it means to have wholesome seasonal foods and their benefits. What effects do our late nights and late mornings have on us? What eating junk food often does to our body?

I got in touch with Dr. Varalakshmi, who is an internationally reputed Ayurvedic Doctor. She is the current director of AyurWellness and Pain Centre in the United Kingdom. She teaches Ayurveda to many people through her online webinars and is also a faculty at Prana Academy since March 2020. She was a formal faculty at Europe Ayurveda Academy till 2019. Having suffered from severe hormonal and gut problems during her teenage and healed through Ayurveda, it became her mission to spread the word and teach women Ayurvedic practices for healing their bodies & lives. 

Healthy Ayurveda Practices For Kids By Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra

When I came across Varalakshmi, she was such a delight to talk to and shared alot of information that I did not have any idea on. One thing led to another and I asked to her incredible knowledge on my blog.

The changing weather and coming monsoon season effects us alot. Cold, cough and flu is right around the corner and kids suffer the most because of them. Being a Mom always gets me worried for my children and so I asked Varalakshmi about the same.

What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda, the ancient science of life, is not merely a system of medicine, but it concentrates on all aspects of life. One of the fundamental concepts of Ayurveda is called the Pancha Mahabhoota theory.

Image courtesy Google

At the subatomic level, all the living organisms are composed of five elements of nature: Air, Ether, Fire, Water & Earth. They exist in the form of three fundamental functional units inside our body called doshas: Vata, Pitta & Kapha. 

Image courtesy Google

These three doshas are like DNA present in each of us but in a different ratio like some might have more VATA and less of the other two doshas and so on. A person’s physical, emotional and mental characteristics depend upon the unique dosha combination or Prakruthi. 

There is a theory which states that we are one with the universe and a part of nature. Hence, factors like diet, lifestyle, and the environment we live in, influences the Tridoshas and lead to illnesses. 

Hence, our first step to lead a healthy life is to honor the subtle changes of nature by following & adapting our diet as per the movements of Sun & Moon. 

What is Dinacharya?
Dinacharya includes simple everyday practices aimed at improving the health and well-being of a person. Having a good routine helps our nervous system to feel safe and helps to handle any stress better. Diet, lifestyle, and sleep are the main factors that keep children in tune with their biological clock. Besides proper diet, it is good to create a routine for sleep. 

Waking up early in the morning helps your child be active throughout the day and keeps in tune with the circadian rhythm. Build a habit of using the bathroom first thing in the morning. Cleaning the tongue along with brushing teeth is essential to maintain oral hygiene. Following with bath can keep your child healthy. 

Good sleep is essential for all growing children. Encourage reading a book or prayer before bed. Avoid screens atleast two hours before bedtime.  

Which Dinacharya practices can kids follow in their routine?
Gargling with warm water, nasal drops with ghee or oils, ear drops, body massage with oil, meditation, exercise or playtime and maintaining a journal are some healthy practices for children.

Gargling with warm water, nasal drops with ghee or oils, ear drops, body massage with oil, meditation, exercise or playtime and maintaining a journal are some healthy practices for children.

Why is gut health important?
The gut/ Gastrointestinal tract plays an important role in the overall health of a person. It starts at the mouth and ends at the rectum and hosts trillions of bacteria which influence several functions including our digestion, metabolism, happiness, and even our immunity. 

Long before gut health became a hot topic, Ayurveda described Agni as the epitome of health. Agni which translates to fire is a unique concept in Ayurveda. Having a balanced Agni is the key to our Digestion, nutrition, assimilation, immunity, emotions, and strength. Agni is present in every part of the body and is responsible for transformation. 

What are probiotics and why are they important?
Our Gut is filled with trillions of bacteria which play a huge role in maintaining our health and well-being. These bacteria inside our gut are called the microbiome. These bacteria are working on the clock to protect our gut from bad bacteria and help with functions like digestion, immunity, and much more. 

Probiotics are the food or supplements that contain this live bacteria which we can consume. Incorporating good probiotics in the diet is a great way to enhance gut health. 

What are the best probiotics for kids?
Ayurveda considers Takra/buttermilk as one of the best probiotics. Takra is made by churning curd and diluting it with 1/4 th water by adding good spices like jeera and dhaniya. Instead of using curd which can often cause congestion in kids, Takra is a good alternative that is easier to digest and helps with common digestive woes. Teaching kids to end their meal with buttermilk is an easy way to incorporate it into their diet. 

Other natural probiotics include sauerkraut, kefir, and kimchi. Sauerkraut is pickled cabbage with salt for a certain period of time. Vegetables like carrot, beetroot can also be added to make your own recipe of sauerkraut as per your taste. I love adding fennel and turmeric to my sauerkraut. Keep a ratio of 75% cabbage to 25% other veggies and flavors. 

Kefir is also easier to make at home just by adding kefir grains to cow milk or goat milk. It tastes a bit sour than yogurt but is considered more nutrient and good. 

What kinds of food should children have according to Ayurveda?
As per Ayurveda, childhood is a Kapha dominant phase, and hence balanced diet that is not too heavy or ultra-processed is good. We aim to feed kids a wholesome and dosha balancing diet. For the same, following some basic guidelines while preparing a meal for children is the key.

✓ Favor Pungent, bitter, and astringent tasting foods keep Kapha in balance.

✓ Find an alternative for the ultra-processed foods which are healthy yet liked by children replacing chocolate with homemade sweets using jaggery. Make meals attractive by using colorful vegetables and fruits such as pomegranate, sweet berries, melons, etc.

✓ Encourage more seasonal & local fruit and vegetables more than exotic ones. Avoid ultra-processed foods like frozen meals, instant pizza, canned food, carbonated drinks and, swap these with homemade items like baked sweet potato, homemade crackers.

✓ Include grounding foods like cow’s milk, ghee, yogurt, rice, whole grains, jaggery and honey, whole seeds and nuts, pulses and legumes and, green leafy vegetables like spinach.

✓ Add a small number of spices like ginger, turmeric, and pepper as it helps in digestion and metabolism.

✓ Lastly, be flexible with your child’s choices and acknowledge that it is an exploring age for them.

Explain the importance of following a healthy routine and lifestyle to your children. Give them time to understand and also lead them by example. Remember that parents are the biggest influencers and role models for their kids. Don’t just teach them but adapt them personally too!

This blog post is part of the blog challenge ‘Blogaberry Dazzle’ hosted by Cindy D’Silva and Noor Anand Chawla and sponsored by Queen’s Brigade.

39 thoughts on “Monsoon, Kids & Ayurveda with Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra

  1. Wow! Thank you for writing such a detailed and informative post! I used to think that Ayurveda can be implemented only using the powders and pills that are being promoted in the market. Your post tells me that simple activities and foods at home can help my child achieve mental, physical and emotional stability. Thank you so much for writing this one. Keep writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. These alternative medicine are gaining momentum now though it was there even before allopathy. Thanks for sharing such an informative post, most of the Ayurveduc medicine Can Be find in our own kitchen .

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is so insightful. I always feel that we have Dhanwantari in our pantry. We are blessed to have so much of variety in the food we eat. Simple habits can keep our health intact.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow this is really informative. I knew many of Ayurvedic principles but did not know its specification for kids. thank you so much to Dr. Varalakshmi for sharing this useful info with us and thank a lot to you as well for talking to this amazing expert for getting this useful insight.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love to use Ayurveda. Your post tells about simple way practise Ayurveda even at home too.
    Thank you for writing such a detailed and informative post!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a highly informative post and I will attempt to follow the suggestions on diet and routine for my child. Appreciate the in-depth look into the basics of Ayurveda.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I believe a lot in natural therapies and Ayurveda has been there since time immemorial. I liked the simple examples of yoghurt and sauerkraut and buttermilk. Kids will prefer having these to bitter powders or pills. A very informative post, I must say.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ayurveda is the best solution for the health issue , I love the fact how everything is well explained about dosha in easy language . A very informative post

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Yes, the food we eat has wonderful effect on our physical and mental well-being. If we can incorporate them consciously in our daily lives, the whole family, including kids will be highly benefitted. It’s really good to know all these simple things from Dr. Varalaxmi.

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  10. This was indeed quite informative. Understanding Ayurveda is really important for our health as well as for our kid’s health. I have saved it and will be sharing it with my loved ones too.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. A very informative post. Thank you for sharing the details about Ayurveda. Seasonal and local fruit and vegetables are always better than the out of season ones. We don’t have to look far, most of the things are already available in our kitchen.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. The ancient system of Ayurveda has a holistic approach to health and wellness. These are some really important aspects of how Ayurveda has solutions for the issues that the monsoon brings. Sandy N Vyjay

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I was working with a client who owns an Ayurvedic firm and realised it is not only an alternate medicine but a way of life, especially for kids. Your post highlights some very basic and effective everyday practices which we all can follow. We have everything available in our kitchen and thanks to Dr Varalakshmi for sharing her expertise with us here 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. This was really an interesting read. As someone who is allergic to practically all allopathic medicines, I am a firm believer in Ayurveda. Come to think of it, it is the most logical way of living. Something we no longer follow.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Very detailed post that will tell a person what Ayurveda basically is about. And I am sure the tips you have shared for kids will be useful for the parents.
    Yes…buttermilk is considered to be a very good probiotic source and easily available. That is one of the reasons why most South Indians finish their meals with ‘curd-rice’ or drink buttermilk. I follow this even now.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Monsoon- this word makes me feel pain as Delhi is very hot and no rain at all.

    Am a homeopath & my collegue was an ayurvedic doctor, so I know many terms and their line of treatments. It’s being our ancient medicine, it does have good results.

    Good to know about the doctor u have mentioned.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Such a detailed post. Ayurveda has cure to all the malfunctions we are facing today. Fast food and pizzas have taken over each bring and disturbed the functioning. Your post brings us back to our roots. Loved every bit of it

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Amazing! Plenty of information about Ayurveda. The concept of Doshas and its kinds Vata, Pitta & Kapha are totally new to me, and I am glad I came to know about it. Reading all, it proved again that a healthy lifestyle is the only mantra of leading a happy and healthy life.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Very informative post about Ayurveda. Best thing is that Ayurveda is a natural therapy with no side effects. Thanks for sharing this detailed post.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Ayurveda is an very ancient practise followed by many households. Your article is very nice and informative and I do believe that during monsoons specially when kids are easily falling sick instead of exposing them to unnecessary allopathy and high antibiotics it is better to increase their immunity using Ayurveda.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Oh, how much I needed this.. with pandemic going on I am sure every parent is concerned about their child’s safety including me. Ayurveda is always a better option than allopathy for every day use.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. This post is so insightful. I always find that Ayurveda is good these days. I guess we use some sort of organic products to make our habits simple in our daily products.

    Liked by 1 person

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