By Tara Narayan

NOW where did I hear that? From one of our now innumerable health coaches…it’s like telling you to start your day on an alkaline note instead of an acidic note (for example, a great cup of mint-flavored milky tea or strong black coffee). Shots have been around for some time now and of course they also have an alcoholic avatar in many of our entertainment places…basically some fresh fruit juice of lemon/pineapple/mango/etc (kiwi!) combo with vodka or feni and now even urrack or hurrack. To get instant highs or something like that, promoted as being safe. No alcohol is safe, okay, limit yourself if you love your liver and kidneys!
BUT there are many wellness places now be their big time retreat places or small time wellness eateries dedicated to promoting health and wellbeing. Their menu will have a section of shots, that small glasses (shot glasses) of freshly squeezed turmeric-ginger-lemon or lime or some other combo offering aonla or Indian gooseberry, passion fruit, pomegranate juice and there are creative veggie-fruit combos too. Some shots may come in taller glasses if they’re diluted with say concentrated celery juice may be diluted with cucumber juice or beetroot with water melon and so on and so on…one may experiment with one’s knowledge of fruit, veggies and spices and come up with one’s own breakfast start with a shot, bottom-up. Way to go.
Such shots mean you’ll begin the day on a alkaline note? Yes. Alkaline notes are happy notes. Acidic beverage and foodie combos will take down the path of acidic notes…and ultimately body beautiful problems of a disagreeable kind.
Yes! For example, squeeze the juice of a lemon or lime in room water and drink up…it’s a gentle liver de-tox; make it a lemon and ginger juice shot if you wish, or a lemon-ginger-honey shot, but the ingredients have to be fresh okay, do it now, drink it now. (Sigh) The flip side is when there’re two in a family of two one may like it acidic while the other may like it alkaline!
Oftentimes I find if I end up doing things for other people I’m in no mood to do anything for myself – I want to go out and have somebody do it for me….so great moments in my autumnal life and living is to make tea and omlet at home for the hubby, then go out to do my marketing which on some days would mean steaming hot idli while out and the best filter coffee down town Panaji (I won’t tell you where). That’s alkaline note? No!
But I’m happy to be out in the cool morning even if the monsoon rain is here and so called city Panaji is in a mess – surprisingly its main thoroughfare hasn’t flooded up so for me but then for the biggest dilemma of this season for me when I step out of the house is…which route should I take to get here or there without too many hassles! My morning time destinations are normally to get to the Living Room point where my gentle friend Amita gives me my two half litre bags of cow’s milk and may be a Govinda curd pack too. She’s my morning smile of welcome. Then I drop by at the market, my halfway breakfast stop maybe and eventually back home for the rest of the day’s adventures petty or not so petty. Happy monsoon days!
BUT to return to invigorating shots (call them immunity shots if you wish or best of all just wellness shots, read them up, there’s loads of material online to tantalize the tastebuds and palate, just reading them up gives me a high, stupid really. But don’t knock these wellness or immunity shots, only check them out closely to see if they’re worth it…usual ingredients as mentioned are lemon or lime juice, ginger juice, pomegranate or pineapple or aonla (Indian gooseberry) juices, and it may be apple cider vinegar too. How about organic apple juice, lemon and strawberry juices, maple syrup, green coffee beans…shots can get quite complicated the more higher up the scale of wellness you go. A friend of mine does green mango or semi-ripe kairee (mango) and bilimbim shots for herself in Goa!
This is to say wellness shots do have a health brief in the sense that they do give you vitamins, minerals, enzyme boosting. They are or should be anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, promote digestion for good bacteria in the gut (there are specially formulated gut shots at the highly rated wellness clinics or retreats or centers of the world, formulated by famous doctors of both mainstream and alternative healthcare schools)…but my motto is keep it simple, but have some shot first thing mornings. Cheers to shots.
STRICTLY speaking all this week I’ve been thinking that considering how much public money goes down the drain in the name of AYUSH – the alternative systems of medicine and healthcare in the country …actually, Ayurveda healthcare should be free for all Indians. No, not just herbal medicines but more valuable I’m beginning to realize is such things as an annual panchakarma, abhangyan massage and all kinds of other massages in the traditional alternate healthcare systems…free for all or at least senior citizens at the nearest public health care centers (see how in Japan traditional spa therapies are available to the people readily and locally for nominal prices).
Ayurveda services and therapies free for all Indians. What do you think? If anyone wants to pass on this message to Prime Minister Narendra Modi please do so! I don’t know why only khaas aadmi may go for these high-end annual body-maintenance “holidays” at crème de la crème Ayurveda retreats in Goa or Kerala or a slew of places in India now – located in salabarius surroundings in hills or mountain country. Aam aadmi or common people is who need to take these Ayurveda health breaks as I see them without sacrificing an arm or a leg!
What inspiring all this serious talk this week is an experience I had with “arogya kansya thali foot therapy” or foot massage, last week. Read about it.

A recipe for a wellness immunity shot…

This is a perfectly delicious homemade immunity booster shot:
TAKE pineapple, turmeric, carrot, lemon juice and whip it up in your own kitchen. Select a ripe pineapple, cut into chunks. Pineapple is not only sweet and delicious but also rich in vitamin C, bromelain, and other antioxidants that support immune function and promote overall health. It’s like a tropical treat for your immune system!
Turmeric touch: add a teaspoon of ground turmeric to your pineapple chunks. Turmeric is renowned for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, thanks to its active compound, curcumin. By incorporating turmeric into your juice, you not only add a warm, earthy flavor but also an extra immune-boosting punch. Cheers to good health!
Carrot craze: Throw in a couple of peeled carrots for a dose of beta-carotene, vitamin A, and other essential nutrients. Carrots not only add natural sweetness to the juice but also provide additional immune support and promote healthy vision and skin. It’s time to go orange for your immune system!
Lively Lemon: Squeeze the juice of one fresh lemon into the mixture to add a zesty kick and a boost of vitamin C. Lemon juice not only enhances the flavor of the juice but also helps alkalize the body and support detoxification.
Transfer pineapple, turmeric, carrot and lemon juice into a blender and add a splash of water or coconut water to help facilitate blending. Blend all until smooth and well combined, adding more liquid as need. Enjoy your masterpiece immunity shot! Straining is optional using a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth to remove any pulp or fibers. The choice is yours – with fibre and texture, or without. Serve and sip. Homemade pineapple, turmeric, carrot, and lemon juice is the perfect way to support your health and vitality naturally. Incorporate this delicious beverage into your daily routine to keep your immune system strong and your taste buds satisfied! It’s time to raise a glass to good health!
(Courtesy Barbara O’Neill)


KANSYA THALI FOOT THERAPY COMES TO TOWN…first time in Goa, we don’t know, but here are mother and son entrepreneurs Surekha and Sushant Pol seeking to make “pada abhyanga” or “kansya thali foot massage” popular at a Caranzalem outlet. Offering discounts to seniors and on weekly and monthly packages, the machine-powered kansya thali massage is soothing. Ayurveda recommends it for a blissful sleep amongst other good things. “Kansya” is an alloy of copper, zinc and tin; in the old days a “kansya katori” was used to massage the soles of the feet. Choice of medium for massage: coconut, sesame or Ayurveda oil, ghee is best (Rs120 per 10 minute massage).

IT’S a modest little place close to where I stay at Caranzalem in Goa. Suddenly it opened up and there was a big board up at the road side entrance announcing “Arogya Kansya (Bronze) Thali Foot Therapy.” It’s an Ayurveda therapy or massage which do a lot of good for you. For example, help relieve varicose veins aches and pains, relieve eyestrain of tired eyes, reduce excess body heat, excess sweating, swelling of legs, promote sound sleep, heal cracked feet, improve blood circulation and digestion, activate metabolism, enhance joint mobility in lower limbs, improve the condition of ligaments and muscles of the lower limbs…balance your dosha of vata, pitta and kapha. Balance the body’s innate energies. Kansya thali foot massage can put you to sleep like a baby or so to speak!
Meet Surekha and Sushanjt Pol, mother and son team who have invested in these two impressive machines highlighted by gleaming bronze plates with gentle knobs on them. I remove my slippers, sit down and put my feet on the plates, one has a choice of coconut or sesame oils, I choose the Ayurveda oil and it was dribbled on the plates…the switch is put on and the plates start to rotate. Keep your feet steady and firmly on the plates, especially the large central “bowl” or hillock of knobs…now relax, relax, enjoy.
Say it’s a kind of acupressure therapy which may have originated in good old ancient Bharatdesh in the form of what is now called “arogya kansya bronze thali foot therapy” or massage or just “padabhyanga” — a massage of the soles of the feet. In the old days, enlightens Sushant Pol, they used to rub a brass katori or vessal with medicated oil on the feet to give them a massage. It’s ideally a night-time massage to induce good sleep. Natural sedative!
Someone has taken the therapy further and invented the modern machine offering the very same traditional foot massage more efficiently — kansya (bronze) thali foot therapy or massage. My ten minutes up too soon and my feet feel like heaven on earth with all the rotation they’re been getting! Some tissues are given to me to wipe off my considerably blackened feet (“toxins oozing out of your hot body!”)…the grayish black ooze mesmerizes me, all that muck is from my feet? Yes!
Anyway, experience of padabhyanga over with I must confess truthfully that I felt considerably lighter, ditto for legs and my knee pain practically negated. I walked out like a new woman with firmer steps and I slept extra well that well. A lot of vata-pitta-kapha toxins had oozed out of my body via my feet where the nervous system meets or to speak….you may catch them at your feet, you don’t want to die feet upwards, do you? That’s what happens to us all if we don’t pay attention to what’s happening to our feet.
Damages? Rs100 for ten minutes, only ten minutes per session. The Pols tell me it’s Rs90 if you’re a senior citizen 75 years old and plus, plus. There’s a month’s special rebate if you come daily for a 10-minute sitting to see faster results. That’s Surekha Pol. She tells me some beauty parlors like Goa’s pioneering beauty parlous Neopmi’s have invested in this kansaya foot therapy massage – several Ayurveda companies are manufacturing the machine and costs may be up to Rs40,000 or so. The parlours recover their money charging their customers something Rs300 or so for 15 minutes or so of massage.
Go check it out. This is to say I will return for more of this pleasantly agreeable foot acupressure massage called kansya thali foot massage or padabhangya – as long as I can spare the money, with the hope that it will improve the condition of my sad looking feet! Anyone wants to say something about this therapy write in with your comments and get published here!
I’m all for Ayurveda therapies of this kind and wish my local primary health center would offer it to all senior citizens for free. This plus all kinds of other therapies and massages of the rejuvenating kind which make one feel like living instead of dying every night.

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