Here is a dish I gave to one of my patients Mark. M. a few years back who had a very successful outcome. Mark had been following drug therapy for about 6 months with limited improvement. We then followed a course of acupuncture/moxabustion for 9 months and herbal medicines for 1.5 years. Mark also entered counseling which he, and later his wife, continued for 2 years involving stress management and learning how better to deal with and express feelings healthfully. At the same time Mark continued his western drug therapy for the first 6 months of treatment. By the one year point, Mark was completely symptom free and had gained back his weight.

Mark also noticed, early on, how much better he did with chicken, broccoli and rice than with a cheese burger, so pretty soon Mark became an amateur chef.
This is a Mung Dal recipe I gave him that he used over and over again with different variations.

Mung Dal is the most easy to digest legume. In India it is given to people who are ill or are on Ayurvedic cleanse retreats (Panchakarma Therapy).

This recipe employs herbs and spices that protect digestive fire, make food very digestible, and reduce any gas producing quality of the vegetables or legume. In Ayurvedic terms this dish is very Sattvic (wholesome) and Tridoshic (balanced). It nourishes Vatta, while pacifying Pitta and Kapha.

Its a great recipe any of us can use, though if you are not ill, feel free to add a little black pepper or onion or garlic to the dish.

Mung Dal and Vegetables with Healing Spices


2 cups mung dal
3/4 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin seed
1/2 tsp asafetida (hing)
5 curry leaves if available (also called sweet neem leaf)
1 tsp fenugreek seed
1-2 tsp ginger powder, or 3-4 slices fresh ginger root, or both
sea salt to taste

2 cups chopped vegetables from below list:
daikon, turnip, rutabaga, nopales cactus leaf, chaote (chow chow), okra, carrot, hard winter squash, shitake mushroom, common mushroom, konbu or wakame sea vegetable

Limit to 2-3 vegetables at a time, or even just one.
This list is not sacred, but a list of reasonable possibilities for a mild to severe case


Soak the dal for a half hour or more
Pour out the water and wash the dal three times till water runs clear.
Add the turmeric and salt and boil in 6 cups of water till soft like porridge.
Add the ginger root, too, if using.
Set aside.

Saute the spices on a low flame in 1 tbsp ghee or sesame oil till the aroma fills the kitchen.
Careful not to burn them.
Put the seeds in first and let them brown a little, then the curry leaves for a minute, then lower the flame even more and add powdered herbs.
Be careful now, keep stirring and add a little more oil if you need to.
This whole step should take about 5-10 minutes
Add the spices and chopped vegetables to the cooked dal with enough water to cook for another 20 minutes till the vegetables are soft enough to digest easily, but not overcooked.

Eat with well cooked brown rice, millet, barley or quinoa. During the daytime, consider having with a tablespoon or two of plain unsweetened yogurt if you need more protein and to promote healthy intestinal flora. Vegans could use soy yoghurt.

This would also be great with a side dish of sea vegetables, which are an excellent choice with colitis.

copyright eyton j. shalom, may 2007, all rights reserved, use with permission

Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego

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