May 2010        

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“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth
as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”
Albert Einstein

Loving Greetings from Nalanda

Dear friends and clients

It’s autumn time for those of us in the
southern hemisphere, when the weather
is constantly changing, there’s a lot of
wind bringing coolness, dryness and movement.
As the vata, air & ether element increases in the environment around us, it also increases inside our bodies, so this is a time for using the warming foods and spices, drinking plenty of warming teas and using abhyanga oil massage to keep grounded and in balance. 


1.     Specials

        - Wellness Week

        - Gift vouchers

2.     Individual Yoga Sessions, Cape Pensinsula

3.     Art of Living 1 Course

4.     Ayurvedic Vegetarian Cooking

5.     Margit's personal journey to becoming vegetarian

6.     Disadvantages of a meat diet

7.     Recipes

8.     Remedies for prevention and treatment of colds
        and coughs

9.     Media review

10.   Diary of Events

As the weather cools and vata increases, our natural tendency is towards heavier foods which contain more earth element and many people will want to eat meaty stews and soups. Did you know that eating less meat, and becoming vegetarian or vegan is one of the biggest contributions you can make to curbing carbon emissions and pollution? Click here for an article on Cape Town City Council’s recent decision to go meat free one day per week. Hooray!

 In this newsletter Margit tells us of her fascinating personal journey to becoming vegetarian. We remind you of the disadvantages of a meat diet as well as giving you recipes for Stir-Fried Bean Sprouts and Vegetables.  There are also some simple and effective remedies for prevention and treatment of colds and coughs.

Visit our Facebook page where you can join the Nalanda Ayurvedic Centre group , see photographs of the beautiful centre in Greyton, comment on your experience at Nalanda Ayurvedic Centre and make sure that you are kept updated with our special offers and events.

In closing, we wish you a spectacular autumn season of health, inspiration and enthusiasm.

With love from The Nalanda team


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Wellness Week Special

Rest and rejuvenate, balance body, mind and soul with wonderful ayurvedic massages, healthy and delicious ayurvedic meals, yoga, time in nature and lots of loving care!

 Treat yourself this winter with our Wellness Week Special. For R6 600.00 you will receive the following:

  •  Daily ayurvedic massage treatments

  •  Daily yoga, meditation, quiet time

  •  Time in nature, rest and relaxation

  •  Introduction to self-care treatment

  •  Ayurvedic vegetarian cooking workshop

  •  Discussion on Ayurvedic diet and lifestyle 

  •  All ayurvedic vegetarian meals, including  mid-morning and afternoon snacks

  •  Four-night accommodation, Monday – Friday.


14 - 18 June, 5 - 9 July, 2 - 6 August, 2010

R6 600

Gift vouchers

Gift vouchers can be purchased for individual treatments or retreats.  These would be tailor-made to suit your needs. Please contact Nalanda Ayurvedic Centre on (028) 254 9027 to arrange.


Individual Yoga sessions, Cape Peninsula

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  • Do you feel uncomfortable in the class situation?

  • Do you have difficulty keeping up in a group yoga class?

  • Do you have injuries or disabilities?

  • Or do you simply want more personal attention?

Then you will benefit from Samantha’s effective, yet gentle style of teaching yoga. She is based in Kalk Bay, on the Cape Peninsula where she teaches yoga privately, but will travel reasonable distances to clients’ homes.  She qualified as a Yoga Therapy Teacher and Ayurveda Practitioner in 2003 and worked full-time at Nalanda Ayurvedic Centre for four years - running retreats, facilitating practical workshops on Ayurveda and teaching Yoga, as well as giving Ayurvedic Diet & Lifestyle Counselling.  Subsequently, she qualified as an attorney and runs a practice in Kalk Bay.

Cost Individual Yoga session of 50 - 70 min = R270
Petrol/travelling costs: R2 per kilometre
Contract Samantha Wittenburg on 084 905 5400

The New Art of Living three-day course
Part I

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Date 04 - 06 June 2010
Time Friday 19:00 - 22:00
Saturday 18:00 - 21:00
Sunday 14:00 - 18:00
Cost R650 per person, R350 pensioners and students
Repeaters welcome!
Venue Nalanda Ayurvedic Centre, Greyton
Bring Comfortable clothing, cushion to sit on, blanket, yoga/exercise mat (if you have), pen, paper, water
To book contact Jatin on or call 082 743 3361
Nalanda on or call 028 254 9027

Ayurvedic Vegetarian Cooking Course

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Although we do offer vegetarian cooking weekends here in Greyton, we are also available to come to your own kitchen to inspire you with yummy food that makes you feel good, as well as being healthy.  This would be appropriate for groups of six or more. Samantha shares her knowledge and experience of Ayurvedic cooking. It would be a great opportunity and a great deal of fun helping you with your transition. 

Next course scheduled for: 21 - 23 May 2010

Facilitator:  Samantha Wittenberg worked full-time at Nalanda Ayurvedic Centre for four years running Ayurveda Wellness and Pancha Karma Retreats, facilitating workshops on Ayurvedic Diet, Doshas & Digestion, teaching Yoga, as well as giving Ayurvedic Diet & Lifestyle Counselling. Since then, she has qualified as an attorney and runs her own practice.  Samantha now returns to Nalanda Ayurvedic Centre as a facilitator of the Conscious Eating Retreat. On this retreat, she shares her knowledge of Ayurveda and healthy diet to inspire you to enjoy food which is high in prana (life force energy).

Contact us for your booking!

Margit's personal journey to becoming vegetarian

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My life started on a farm in Germany. Eating meat was normal! We never had big portions of it and not daily. I did not like the cruel moments of slaughtering the animals, looking for excuses to be absent when I was supposed to help and also the idea that it was those animals we ate. But I was assisting in packing the meat in the deep freezer or similar tasks related to the slaughter days.  I did not think about it much more during the first 30 years of my life; farming was and is the livelihood of my family and many of my friends, there was no questioning.

The first time I became aware of benefits of a vegetarian diet was when I did my Ayurvedic massage training and practice at Adi Shakti/Tapovan under Kiran Vyas in France.  Whenever I was spending seven days at the Centre Tapovan in the Normandi on a meat, fish and egg free diet, I started noticing how my moods improved, how I felt lighter and happier, how my mind was clearer, my emotions more peaceful, how the quality of my massage became better and how I became more intuitive.

Then back with my work life at the airport in Paris, where I was single and not eating well, I noticed how I lost those effects again. Over and over and over I had this experience and the positive effects of a vegetarian diet just became obvious to me and I could not do anything other than begin the transition to implement it in my own life.

When I moved to South Africa in 1998, I was lucky as Gaetan was already a strict vegetarian. I was not cooking any meat or fish at home. Occasionally when I was invited I still helped myself to some non-vegetarian bits. However, I would begin to feel the dulling effect some hours later and even up to three days, but I did not want to be rigid about anything. I did not want it to become a dogma. I followed my cravings for german style herring in tomato sauce and fried chicken every few months when I had them. But the cravings got less and less and eventually just ceased.

It is just over two years now that I have not touched a single piece of meat or fish.  I feel no deprivation whatsoever and my senses are much refined. The very thought of eating animals seems so weird and wrong. When I walk into a supermarket the smell of meat/death hits me. I try to avoid even going closer to the meat shelves as it smells so bad.

When eating in a restaurant, I feel that there is also meat being prepared in that same kitchen, using the same pots and that the person who has prepared my food is not vegetarian him/herself, therefore eating out becomes less fun. I also tend to be rather critical about the little variation and inspiration there is out there in terms of vegetarian menus. How often one finds that all you can find on a menu for vegetarians, is salad, pasta, risotto and pizza.  It certainly gets boring.

With Nalanda and our guests it has been an interesting journey for me. Our guests enjoy our meals and feel the wonderful effects. Often have I heard at the end of a retreat that people are going to eat less meat when they go home or see how they can cut it out slowly altogether. No big preaching here! I like this teaching by experience.

Disadvantages of a meat diet

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Have a look at the attached pdf presentation which says it all with a few images, and takes only a few seconds to watch. 

Click on the image to the right.

A vegetarian is a person who eats no animal products which have been obtained by killing animals. Some people call themselves vegetarians but still eat fish and chicken; those two species still belong to the animal kingdom.

Revealing the effects of eating meat on the body or the practices of the meat industry are bound to upset or shock. Our purpose is to support you with your health and well-being, so we do not wish to upset you, but sometimes we all need a bit of a shock to wake us up and shake us up so that we are no longer operating on "automatic pilot". This is also an important part of health and well-being. The benefits of a vegetarian diet are physical, nutritional, emotional, spiritual, moral, environmental and social, so it is our responsibility to remind ourselves of these benefits.

Our bodies are not designed to consume meat.  Nutritionally, the alkaline-based digestive system of humans will not properly break down substantial acid substances, the greatest of which is meat.  Eating large amounts of red or processed meat over a long period of time can raise the risk of colorectal cancer. The type and amount of oils in meat are unhealthy. 

Meat rots in the body.  Have you ever seen what happens to a piece of meat that stays in the sun for three days? Yet, meat often stays in the warm intestines for much longer than this until it has been fully digested. Carnivores such as lions and tigers have acid-based digestive systems. Also, their intestines are in a straight run of about five feet long, not twisted and turned, layer over layer, compacted into a small area like the human intestine, which is 20 feet long. 

There are many alternative sources of protein.  Little of meat protein can even be utilised by humans because it is incomplete and lacks the correct combination of amino acids, the building blocks of protein. 

You are not only eating the natural flesh of a healthy animal when you are eating meat.  Frequently, when certain animal carcasses are found to have cancerous growths in the butchering and trimming process, they are simply carved out by the butcher before being sold.  We don’t know if this is safe for human consumption.  We do know about the hormones and other substances which are fed to animals.  In some places they also feed the large animals concrete to add weight and saleability.  Until recently one-third of all chickens were leukemic and were still allowed to be sold.  Now powerful chemicals are fed daily to the chickens to attempt to control chicken leukemia.  Since as far back as 1950, arsenic has been the standard chemical given to poultry within the entire industry.  So the chicken-eater consumes this arsenic legally... and it accumulates without ever being expelled. Poultry is often frozen for up to two years.

Meat eaters suffer more frequently from various types of food poisoning than non-meat eaters.

Fish do not have a waste system to expel or handle toxins, and a fish-eater consuming any fish that inhabits polluted waters is consuming toxins too.

Many meats are now being irradiated.  The scientific research on its effects is inconclusive and it will take several years until its dangers are recognised and it can be legislated out of the food industry. The purpose of irradiation is to destroy the odour of bacterial action on meat when it turns bad so you will no longer be able to smell a piece of meat to see if it has putrefied.

Meat is costly and it is the most wasteful source of resources. When one removes meat from the diet, a whole new world of eating opens up. Cooking and preparing vegetarian style is no more time-consuming than cooking meat. It costs less than half as much to eat vegetarian as it does to eat meat.

The animal instincts become more powerful every time you eat meat. When animals are slaughtered, fear and aggression enzymes are shot into their cells from their glands and other organs, just as in humans, and are part of the dead carcass that goes on to the food store.

Kirilian photography shows us that a force field remains around dead or amputated tissue. You are affected by that animal's aura when you eat a dead animal. The moral aspect goes along with the spiritual one - we must question the necessity and the method of killing animals.

According to the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada, diets that avoid meat tend to have lower levels of saturated fat and cholesterol, and higher levels of carbohydrates, fibre, magnesium, potassium, folate, and antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, and phytochemicals. People who avoid meat are reported to have lower body mass index than those following the average Canadian diet; from this follows lower death rates from ischemic heart disease; lower blood cholesterol levels; lower blood pressure; and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancer.

However, everyone has their own principles which they must determine for themselves. Our intention is not to force a specific moral behaviour on anyone, simply to increase awareness.

Our suggestions for moving away from meat are:

  • cut down and have a meat-free day every week.

  • start to explore the infinite variety of vegetarian alternatives.

  • be creative and adventurous with food! Most consumers have eaten no more than five or six varieties of beans, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds — a fraction of what is available - Other peas, lentils, vegetables, and cereals, easily available, are usually neglected.

  • a vegetarian diet really can be most inspiring and tasty. We like to think of some main dish that brings something interesting looking and tasting to the plate such as stuffed vegetables, cabbage rolls, tofu steak, veg kebabs, lentil patties or burgers, soya goulash, and than making sure there are vegetables, protein, grain or other carbohydrate in the meal and it completes with a fresh salad and chutney, pesto or salsa.

  • lately during the hottest part of the year out here in Greyton we have enjoyed making with great success raw soups. They are easy to prepare and to digest and full of prana or life force.

  • we think about the digestibility of food when preparing a meal, about colour and shape and the six tastes as well as the needs of the guest for whom we cook, as well as the weather. We favour foods that are in season and that we can get organically grown and harvested in the area. It sounds like lots of things to take into consideration and may sound a bit complicated, but that does not mean that the cooking can’t stay easy!


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Stirfry bean sprouts and vegetables

Ingredients Method
2 cups whole green mung sprouts Soak 60 gm whole green mung beans in 1 cup water overnight, drain, keep in a jar and rinse with luke warm water 3 - 5 times a day, you will have ready sprouts after 2 days.

¼ teaspoon   salt
¼ teaspoon    sugar
½ teaspoon    lemon juice

Mix salt, sugar and lemon juice in a bowl. Stir till sugar is dissolved.
1 tablespoon ghee or quality oil Heat.

1 cm ginger cut into long fine strips
2 garlic cloves finely chopped

Add ginger and garlic, stir for a few seconds.
1 carrot Cut into matchstick-thin strips and add, stir fry for about
1 minute.
2 spring onions including tender green portion Cut lengthwise into fine strips, add and  stir fry.
125 gm cabbage Cut into fine long stripes, add and stir fry.
1 green chilli Chopped fine, add, then add mung sprouts, stir fry for 2 min longer.
1 tablespoon water   Pouring water around the sides of the pan. Add lemon juices mixture. Stir for a few seconds. Serve hot for 6. 
Mung beans
Mung (moong) beans are small, cylindrical beans with a bright green skin. Mung beans are highly valued in ayurveda because they are tridoshic - they can be eaten to balance all three doshas, especially when cooked with spices appropriate for each dosha. They are very nourishing, while being relatively easy to digest - they do not generally create abdominal gas or bloating, the drawbacks of larger beans. Persons recuperating are often recommended khichari, a combination of rice and mung beans, because of their ability to provide a good level of nourishment without overtaxing the digestion. They offer the astringent taste. It is important for balance that we consume foods with all six tastes and the Western diet is commonly deficient in this taste.

According to modern nutrition, mung beans offer 14 gms of protein per cooked cup. Mung beans are also a good source of dietary fibre. They also contain thiamin, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and copper, and are a good source of folate.

Mung beans can be eaten on their own, or combined with rice to make khichari, or combined with vegetables and greens to make hearty soups or ground into flour to be used to make crepes or added to breads. Turmeric, cumin, dried ginger and coriander are some spices that work very well with mung beans.

Mung beans are available at Indian groceries or health food stores.

(Adapted from an article on
Remedies for prevention and treatment of colds and coughs

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Relief from cough:

  • Eat the powder of dried ginger and cumin with sugar.

  • Eat a mixture of mustard paste or freshly ground black pepper and honey.

  • Mix equal quantities of basil juice, honey and ajwan (celery) juice and drink on an empty stomach.

  • When you are suffering from cold, take a mixture of lemon juice and honey.

  • For fever and cough of children, give some honey mixed with water.

  • Drink basil water everyday, it helps in keeping throat infection and coughs at bay.

Media review

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Click on the HealthSpas logo to the right
to see our review that appears on

2010 Diary of Events

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May 2010
11 - 17 May Pancha Karma Detox Retreat Margit Gilliot Greyton
21 - 23 May Ayurvedic Cooking Weekend Samantha Wittenberg Greyton
24 - 31 May Pancha Karma Detox Retreat Margit Gilliot Greyton
June 2010
1 - 10 June Prison Smart Jatin Gordhan Planned for Helderstrom
4 - 6 June Art of Living Part 1 Course Jatin Gordhan Greyton
14 - 18 June Wellness Week Margit Gilliott Greyton
July 2010
5 - 9 July Wellness Week Margit Gilliott Greyton
August 2010
2 - 6 July Wellness Week Margit Gilliott Greyton

Welcome to Nalanda Ayurvedic Centre