In Ayurveda, Lassi, a traditional drink from India, consisting of watered down yogurt and digestion boosting spices is commonly taken following meals. Due to its pro-biotic properties, Lassi is said to improve intestinal flora, cleanse the gut, promote digestion and is particularly recommended for those who frequently feel bloated, suffer from constipation, or who feel unpleasantly full after a meal. People with poor appetite or weak digestive fire can also greatly benefit from Lassi.
While Lassi is made from a base of yogurt which in Ayurveda is generally known to be heating, potentially channel clogging and difficult to digest, the process of making Lassi changes the properties, alchemizing the yogurt to be cooling, digestion promoting and opening to the channels, giving Lassi completely different properties (Gunas), than yogurt.
Additionally, when prepared properly, Lassi is said to contain valuable microorganisms that are known to gently support digestion, promoting digestive strength.
Why all this talk of digestive strength? In Ayurveda (and many other schools of thought), one of the key components of vital health is proper digestion. "You are what you digest", a common phrase heard in Ayurveda, as it's said if digestive fire (agni) is not functioning properly, even the healthiest diet will not be assimilated.
Important signs of proper digestion include – regular bowel movements, feeling hungry at regular times and having a light & energetic feel in the mind after meals.
Signs of poor digestion include – heartburn, bloating, constipation & indigestion.
Next to a person’s current doshic state, strength of agni (digestive fire) is said to be the most important factor in determining health.
With 4 main states of agni: balanced, irregular, sharp or weak, a person with constitutional harmony (the exception in this current landscape) will have balanced agni.
When balanced, agni ensures proper nourishment, balanced energy levels, regular elimination, strong immunity, a clear complexion, excellent circulation & overall strength and vitality.
Common ways agni can become weak or aggravated include: eating out of accordance with one’s constitution, overeating, eating tasteless foods (no spices), drinking too much water with meals (ice cold water is a no no, instead, warm water before / small amount during meals is best), eating at irregular times, eating when upset or angry, & resisting the urge to eat.
Along with the consumption of digestion boosting beverages such as Lassi, agni can be strengthened by adding pungent spices to food (cumin, cayenne), drinking spicy teas (ginger tea), light to moderate physical activity (by stimulating the overall metabolic activity of the body), balancing stress via practices such as meditation or the consumption of lemon water first thing in the AM and more.
Sold on the Lassi dream? Give this easy to make, delicious version a try.
Spicy Rose Lassi
2 cups water
½ cup plain, unsweetened organic yogurt of choice (homemade is great)
2- 3 tbsp maple syrup or raw honey to taste
½ tsp fresh grated ginger or ¼ tsp dry ginger
½ tsp cardamom powder
½ tsp cinnamon powder
1-2 drops foodgrade rosewater
1) Boil water and let stand until lukewarm (boiling water remove subtle impurities that are not removed by filtration and also increases Prana, (lifeforce) into the water)
2) Put warm water and all other ingredients in blender and blend for 1-2 minutes or mix with hang mixer.
Optional step: After mixing, remove frothy top layer using a spoon or fine sieve. **The froth contains fat so if removed to make the it lighter & easier to digest.
Some other important notes on making Lassi:
It is recommended to use lukewarm water to make your lassi.
For best results, lassi should be drunk regularly in the day, but not in the evenings.
For greatest benefit Lassi should be prepared fresh or at least taken within 2-3 hours of preparation.