Nowadays many of us have friends who are vegetarians or vegans, or who have special dietary requirements, or specific food allergies etc. As a result, we have become more tolerant of those amongst us who have different food preferences for whatever reason. I have recently joined the ranks of the latter.
I’ve never been hugely overweight but I’ve never been able to lose weight easily either. A few years ago I was diagnosed with a slow metabolism. I really don’t overeat or go crazy with food. I think I am the most disciplined person I know where food is concerned! But I don’t lose weight. I have come to a point in my life where I can see that losing a few kilos can be nothing less than good for reasons other than aesthetic.
So this is why I made an appointment to see Ulli Allmendinger, highly qualified lovely German ayurvedic consultant living here in Istanbul. I felt I needed some sort of detox and an appraisal of the way I was living my life. I am tired of eating so carefully and never losing a kilo. What she told me was fascinating.
Ulli explained me to me that in the ayurvedic way of thinking, body, mind and consciousness work together to maintain balance. I love that idea. To me, it makes total sense. Ayurveda is ‘considered by many scholars to be the oldest healing science’. And to understand further, one has to understand the three basic types of energy that everyone and everything has: vata, pitta, and kapha.
Ulli is very professional. After going through a detailed form that I had downloaded and filled in beforehand, she examined my tongue, the lines on my face, the bags under my eyes. She took my pulse on not one but both wrists. She pronounced an imbalance in my kapha.
We obviously went through my current diet and I said that I ate a lot of yogurt. It was a staple in my diet, in my fridge. And she said that as far as metabolism was concerned, there might be a connection. All I can say is that I dropped dairy as she suggested, as well as making some other dietary changes connected to boosting my metabolism, and within 2 weeks, I had lost 2 kilos. All painlessly. But the point is that this isn’t a diet but a different way of eating. Diets don’t work: we need to change our eating patterns to suit our constitutions. I get it.
Upon my second visit, Ulli suggested that I try making my own kefir which is basically a fermented milk. Apparently only the homemade variety has a positive effect on metabolism, not the shop-bought. She gave me some ‘living’ kefir grains and explained how to use them along with some further ideas as to how to benefit from the resulting kefir.
* obtainable in Kadıköy at Safran, Bahariye Serasker Cad. No 100/A
Tel: Mehmet Yılmaz: 0532 421 0244
- Place milk kefir grains at the bottom of a clean glass jar.
- Cover with fresh milk and very loosely, place the lid on the jar.
- Culture for 24-48 hours at room temperature, then strain using a non-metal strainer (NB kefir grains should never come into contact with metal). Wash the grains under running water and, using your hands or a wooden spoon, place in a new clean jar and start over.
- The strained kefir is best enjoyed fresh but can be kept in the fridge for a few days.
- Kefir Breakfast Bowl: Mix one cup of kefir with 1 tbsp of honey or pekmez, ½ grated carrot, and 2-3 tbsp freshly ground flaxseeds and oat flakes.
- Kefir ‘Ayran’: depending on the consistency of your kefir, you may add a little water, blend, and enjoy as a tangy yogurt drink with meals. Ulli says she loves adding 1/4 tsp Hingvasthak Churna to it for digestion-aid and taste.
- Kefir Salad Dressing: Using a blender, blend ½ cup fresh kefir with 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup fresh herbs (parsley, dill, etc), 1/4 cup olive oil and salt & pepper to taste. Enjoy over greens or as a dip for veggie sticks.
The grains are in liquid. Apparently they must always be so and Ulli says that when she goes away, she freezes them in a little water and milk. Otherwise they can be stored in the fridge for up to 10 days in milk.Here are some further guidelines from Ulli to help boost a slow metabolism:
- Avoid coffee ,tea; instead drink herbal teas or rooiboos tea, which I found at the aktar,
- Don’t drink diet coke!
- ‘Good’ vegs include artichokes, beetroots, carrots, greens, radishes, cooked garlic/onion/leek; lemon
- Start the day with 1 large glass water
- Avoid sugar, processed foods, white flour, and alcohol
Check out Ulli’s website for more information: www.ulli-ayurveda.com/en/. Better still, go and visit her! A visit is always so motivating. Her office is in Moda.