Celebrating the auspicious handsels of nature, with most festivals of India, a significance is tied to the types of foods that are prepared corresponding to the change of seasons which tunes the type of harvest in the months to come.
With the caveat that everything should be consumed in moderation most importantly if these foods are sweets, it is perhaps worth noting that the festival of Makar Sankranti and the preparations associated with it is a stellar example of biohacking of ancient times.
Makar Sankranti: Kites and Ladoos!
Makar Sankranti is the day when the Sun begins its transition to the constellation of Capricorn, signalling the beginning of sunnier days and the end of winter for most of the northern hemisphere. Kite flying and Til Laddus might seem like a generic pairing for commencing the summer with, but contemporary nutrition and supplementation science is also in parallel with the same, if not for this exact practice with the focus being on the optimal interaction of essential minerals and micronutrients in our bodies.
Kite flying in the sun is a source of Vitamin D. Our blood vessels will literally dilate towards the sun when we are outdoors in the day. For its post Coronavirus fame as an immunity booster, Vitamin D is in fact a metabolic hormone that is the result of the sun’s UVB radiation reacting with the cholesterol in our skin. (Note: Melanin in the skin affects the extent and efficacy of this reaction)
With the absence of sunscreen, these specific rays in the B range reacting with the skin is how we produce Vitamin D the hormone that also synthesizes the B vitamin which regulates our sleep, features in the duties of maintaining a healthy gut microbiome as well and so much more for our health.
Til Laddus prepared with Sesame Seeds, Peanuts, Jaggery, etc are perhaps the most appropriate treat after some kite flying in the sun.
Peanuts are primarily high in fats and Sesame seeds are primarily rich in calcium.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin which simply means that D (Source: Sun) absorbs better with fat (Source: Peanuts) and Calcium (Source: Sesame seeds) absorbs better with vitamin D.
Now Jaggery, one could say is unessential which strictly speaking could be true. But regardless, the significance of a festive day would be incomplete without a traditional sweet. That being said, jaggery is a source of Iron which, compared to the evils of refined sugar is most definitely a more sensible sweetener for an occasional treat rather than artificial sweeteners.
Don’t forget to fly your kites before you treat yourself though!
Recipe: Til-gul Ladoo
- 1 cup roasted sesame seeds.
- 1 cup roasted groundnuts
- 1 cup organic jaggery.
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar.
- 6-7 green cardamom pods. (Remove
seeds for use)
- Only half T-spoon ghee.
- *While making coarse powder of the sesame
seeds or groundnuts, let the seeds cool down
completely, and do not over spin the seeds in the
mixer, since we need a coarse powder, just give a
quick spin for 3-4 seconds or if you over spin the
seeds will start releasing the oil.
Now mix all the ingredients well in a bowl with a spoon, again
give a 2-3 second quick spin in the mixer, remove the mixer
and on a slow flame just warm up the mixer continuously
stirring for about 2-3 minutes only, till all the ingredients
become one smooth mas, remove from the flame, and roll into
Recipe: Satvik Ladoo
(This is my original recipe, sharing with all yogis first time, I do this for my daughter’s always. Can be eaten before yoga practice, an excellent source of energy)
- 1 cup soft dark seedless dates.
- 1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds.
- 1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds.
- 1/4 cup roasted watermelon seeds.
- 1/4 cup roasted flaxseeds.
- 1 Tablespoon Gulkand (optional, but if added it gives a wonderful flavour)
- Very important point to remember, the seeds have to cool down
completely before using them
- Mix all the seeds together, give it a spin in the mixer for 3-4 seconds
only, a coarse powder is needed, remove the powder from the mixer in a bowl and keep aside, crush the dates into a soft pulp with your finger, add
the Gul-kand in the dates mixture makes a smooth mix, now add the
seeds coarse powder in it mix well and roll small ladoos of the mixture,
store out of the fridge in an airtight container.
Sushma Suhas Gaikwad.
Painter & Teacher
(Taught in a University in Jakarta)
Completed Pranic Healing till Arhatic Yogi 1 level.
Love cooking for friends & family.
>> This is part of a series of blogs created by our Abhyasa Yogis!