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Why we are doing an elimination diet with our vegetarian toddler

Narottam has had moderately bad eczema slowly creeping up his back for the last few weeks. Its not exactly surprising as both Arjuna and I have a tendency towards eczema too, and we both have flare ups and remissions.

Last week he had a gastro bug which wiped him out for a few days poor little man, but his eczema cleared up. I am suspicious that this could have been because he wasn’t eating at all and therefore there were dietary triggers during this time.

While many people including naturopaths are into allergy testing, my preference is always the humble elimination diet, if you can do it. Why? Well, allergy and intolerance testing is complicated, and there is no one test that “does it all.” You would have to do multiple tests to get a clear picture. In New Zealand, functional medicine testing is also really expensive.  And personally I am really into evidence based medicine, so things like resonance testing etc. are not something that gel with me.

There are many different types of tests- some test for IgA mediated reactions, some for IgG reactions, some for IgG. Here is a great explnantion of the different types of immune reactions one can have to foods over on naturopathic pediatrics:

Yes elimination diets can take months unfortunately, and as I am breastfeeding too I also have to follow the diet. That’s the bad news: it takes quite a bit of perseverance. The good news is that I am already vegetarian, gluten, sugar and peanut free and was vegan for many years, so all I am really cutting out is dairy, soy, citrus and nightshades.

Narottam just woke up from his nap so I need to finish this spiel, but I will write a second post sharing some ideas of vegetarian todder friendly elimination diet meals and snacks next.

Take care

Madhava xx


Round here we call sweet potatoes kumaras. They are such a beautiful vegetable, full of beta carotene and so flavoursome.

The other day I was feeling really wholesome, and I imagined a kumara salad, made with golden, roasted kumara, with coriander, toasted sunflower seeds and cous cous. I think it would be even better with red quinoa though 😉

The outcome was this:

A colourful mish mash of textures a flavours


2 medium sized orange flesh kumaras, cut into small chunks

a little extra virgin olive oil, for roasting

1/4 tsp hing

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup lime juice

1 bunch of coriander, finely chopped

2 cups of cooked cous cous (or quinoa/ millet/ wholewheat cous cous) (I think quinoa would be best, actually, millet, cous cous etc keep absorbing more and more water even once they’re cooked, so it is hard for the salad to be moist- quinoa doesn’t do this so much?

Put the kumaras on a baking tray and toss with half of the salt, all of the hing and a splash of olive oil. Bake the kumaras on a high heat. I used about 200 degreees celcius, and I roasted them so that they stuck to the bottom of the pan and went brown. A well roasted kumara is brown and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. They took about 25 mins to get to that point.

Meanwhile, cook your grain and dry roast your sunflower seeds in a fry pan. I do it over a low heat, stirring often so that they all go golden and none burn.

Mix the cous cous, kumara, corainder, seeds and add the lime juice. Add another splash of olive oil, black pepper, the rest of the salt and the paprika, and gently combine them together

Serve while still warm 🙂

Ok…. I’m back!

So, I think the last time I posted was new year.. and its now August. *ahem* Yeah, my life took a very interesting and wonderful turn and I stopped blogging.

First thing’s first, I moved to a farm community in west Auckland, new varshana. Its a temple on a  and its so incredibly beautiful. I moved into a tiny tiny unit that has a very limited kitchen, and I’m still living there.

Then, I realised I was in love with a friend of mine, Alex. It was like a completely overwhelming rollercoaster. Through Alex, I met my guru HH Bir Krishna Goswami. Long story short, my guru accepted me as his disciple on the 30th of April, and Alex and I got married on the 19th of July.


So now I’m a married woman with a husband who I really love to feed. Now we’re moving house in about a week to somewhere with a much larger kitchen… and I think its time to resume blogging where I left off! I’m also studying naturopathy full time so I think maybe that will also become part of this blog. Let’s see what happens.

Please forgive me everyone, for my prolonged absence.. watch this space 😀

Long time no post…. Mexican feast tomorrow!

So, I haven’t posted in ages, as you all know. I moved out to a farm and have no internet at home now. *withdrawals* gasp. Actually, its quite nice once you get used to it! Anyway, I will probably be organising some internet sometime soon.. but for now, I’m staying at riverslea retreat centre in otaki for a week and tomorrow I’m cooking a  mexican menu for about 170 people. That’s a lot of people!

We’ll be making:

  • Chilli with refried beans and kidney beans
  • mexican millet
  • home made corn chips
  • guacamole
  • stuffed quesadias
  • salad and cashew mayo
  • chunky salsa
  • sparkling ginger and lime drink
  • carob strawberry torte
  • strawberry coulis..

Plus, everything will have a gluten, sugar and soy free option.

What a mission! Wish me luck and I will post a photo and recipes once mission is complete!

Have a beautiful day



Easy indian dahl with squash, brocolli and spinach

I love dahl. Protein rich, easily digestable, tasty, a one pot meal in itself- I could sing its glories all day.  I make variations on this recipe all the time. Dahl means lentil, or a pulse which has been split. However, dahl as a dish means a thick, soupy stew made from some variety of lentil which has been cooked until it begins to break down, making a thick starchy sauce. I usually cook with moong dahl, which is halved moong beans. Its great, because it doesn’t need to be soaked first. Other favourites of mine are urid dahl, channa dahl and toover dal.



2 cups moong dahl

3 bay leaves

1 tspn salt

1 small head of brocolli, diced

3/4 cup diced squash

1 bunch spinach, leaves removed and chopped a little

1.5 Tbspn grated ginger (fresh)

1/2 Tbspn cumin seeds

1/4 tspn cayenne pepper

1/2 tspn turmeric

1/4 tspn hing

fresh lemon juice, to serve

fresh coriander, to serve


Wash the moon dahl, then drain it, then wash it, then drain it etc etc until the water runs clear and isn’t cloudy. Traditionally, the yellow colour on the dahl was turmeric, but unfortunately these days it can be (not always) a toxic food dye- and often if you buy it from an indian or asian store its not listed on the packet. So wash wash wash your dahl! (You should do this even if it IS turmeric on the dahl BTW.)

Now, put the dahl into a saucepan and cover with 6 cups of water. Add the bay leaves and salt and bring to a gentle boil. I put a wooden spoon over the pot so that it doesn’t foam up and overflow, because dahl foams like mad if it gets too hot.

After about  15- 20mins mins of gentle boiling, or, when you can see that the dahl is beginning to break up,  add the broccoli and spinach. Boil until soft.

Once those veges are cooked, add the spinach. You don’t need to cook it really. It will just wilt and cook itself in the hot dahl.

Heat 1-2 Tbspn oil in a frypan. Fry the cumin seeds until they go golden brown, then add the ginger, constantly moving it about so it doesn’t stick. Then add hing and cayenne pepper, and lastly turmeric. Now quickly put the fried spices into the dahl mixture. Mix the dahl a bit, then put a lid on the pot and let the spices infuse the soup for a few mins.

Chop a handful of coriander coarsely. Cut a lemon into wedges. Serve the dahl while hot, with a sprinkle of coriander and a wedge of lemon to squeeze over the top. This is also awesome served on basmati rice with a splodge of soy yohurt and an indian bread!ImageImage

Simple and tasty red kidney bean curry

Like many people I’ve met, including many vegans, I don’t really like kidney beans- and I’ve never met anyone who loves them to pieces. I’m not sure what it is- the taste? The texture? However, these protein packed little beans really come into their element in a red bean curry like this- and if the sauce is well spiced enough, you won’t even notice the taste of the kidney beans! Serve it with a splash of tofu “yoghurt” and either basmati rice or a fresh indian bread and you’ve got a full meal!


vegan kidney bean curry with tofu yoghurt

Serves 10!


1/3 cup oil of your choice

1 large knob ( about 8cm x 8cm) ginger, peeled and finely grated

2 large green chillis, seeded and minced

3/4 tspn hing

1 1/2 tspn ground turmeric

2 tspn ground cumin

2 tspn ground coriander

1 tspn cumin seeds

1/2- 1 tspn cayenne pepper (you decide, do you like hot food?)

600 gram can chopped tomatoes

8 drops liquid stevia

1/2 tspn cinnamon powder

1/2 cup coconut cream (or milk)

2 cups water

5 cups cooked kidney beans

1 cup coarsley chopped coriander, plus a bit extra, to garnish.

1 brocolli, washed, florets chopped into bite sized pieces

1/4 large crown pumpkin, chopped into bite sized pieces

1/2 a bunch of silverbeet,  washed and coarsely chopped

1 lemon worth of lemon juice


Heat the oil in a sauce pan. Add the cumin seeds and fry until golden  brown. Then add ginger and chillis and fry for a little bit. Then add coriander, cumin, cayenne pepper and fry for a minute. Add tomatoes, cinnamon, stevia and let cook for another couple of minutes. Add water and then veges, and let it simmer for about 15 mins until the veges are cooked. Then add kidney beans and coconut cream, and simmer for another 5 mins. Take off heat and add lemon juice, coriander and salt. That’s it!

Tofu and coriander “yoghurt”:

In nz you can’t get unsweetened soy yoghurt in the shops. I do make my own soy yoghurt from a starter culture, but if I haven’t planned ahead and made any, this is what I do:

350grams silken tofu

1/2 cup lemon juice

1/2 tspn apple cider vinegar

1/4 tspn mustard powder

3 tbspns flavourless oil

1/3 cup chopped coriander leaves.

Blend all together and serve a dollop on top of each plate of curry!

Sautéed capsicum and sunflower seed pâté.. nom nom nom

I served this with buckwheat crackers, the recipe for which is here. It received rave reviews from Jamie and Gopi, my wonderful taste testers/ friends 🙂

red pepper and sunflower pate


3 cups chopped red capsicum (bell pepper), finely chopped

Juice of 1 large lemon

1.5 cups suflower seeds

1/2 Tablespoon oil of your choice

1/2 bunch coriander, stems and leaves, coarsely chopped

1/4-1/2 tspn himalayan salt

1/8 tspn hing

1 tspn paprika

1/4 tspn ground black pepper

1/2 cup water (optional)



Toast the sunflower seeds in a frypan over medium heat until they go brown.  Saute the capsicum in the oil for about ten mins.  Stir it frequently. You want to saute it until its starting to burn/ go black in some places. Stir the capsicum frequently. Then, mix the seeds and capsicum with all other ingredients  and process in a food processer or with a stick mixer until it is a smooth but firm paste. If you want it thinner, more like a dip, add the water (I added the water to serve this on crackers.)



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