Now, of course, the holiday season is in full swing and the usual weight-gain, from 5 – 15 pounds, will be devasting to deal with, so everyone, but especially pre-diabetics and diabetics, needs to pay attention to this information. Also, any diabetic who wants to use more natural based, successful therapies, as part of their care, needs to read this series about special foods. This time, learn about the medicinal impact of India’s karela melon, now available globally.And, guess what? India is a country where a diabetic crisis is about to explode, like it is already in the United States of America, but even moreso, unfortunately. Tens of millions of undiagnosed diabetics exist in both countries, and the numbers of those identified is steadily rising. Junk foods and sugary foods are the main culprits in both populations, especially among the young.
By the way, India is also the source of humanity’s first medical system —- known as Ayurveda, which was developed more than 5,000 years ago — and it remains as a long, independent medical tradition.
Indeed, that effective medical treatment system, which is the basis of all other major, medical systems, prompts me to look at the way that Indian culture is dealing with the crisis, which is largely caused by:
1) less traditional dietary food choice
2) more sedentary and stressful occupations
3) degraded environment
Reality is that all of these same issues contribute to the huge new incidence in diabetes in every industrialized country, like the USA, Great Britain, Australia etc.
Moreover, through Ayurveda, there’s a long list of now-called “alternative therapies” in its practice, but many of these protocols are the “original treatments” which served Humanity for millennia (from before Pasteur’s drug-oriented, germ-based theories appeared only 150 years ago). Ayurveda’s treatments are very effective options.
Before we go any further: in using any of the foods in this series as diabetic therapy, make sure that you consult your physician beforehand and get exact numbers of times to monitor your blood sugars more frequently, as your blood sugar levels will change when you consistently use the foods in this series. Do not use this particular food while you are pregnant or trying to conceive!
Now, pay attention, I’ll say it again. These foods will effectively lower your blood sugar levels – thereby reducing your need for your diabetes medications, if you use the foods regularly, so you must monitor and consult for changes in your medication dosage. Hopefully, one day you will be able to get the news from your doctor that your medication is not needed any more. This has happened to people using this protocol.
In fact, karela melons are so effective at targeting blood sugar that the government of the Phillippines officially endorses the use of Karela, as one of their mainline diabetic therapies (more on that later).
Now, in the spirit of Hippocrates, the Greek physician credited as originating Western Medicine’s protocols and philosophy,“Let your food be your remedy and your remedies be your food.”
See for yourself. Incorporate these new foods into your diet one at a time, maybe trying them for 2 weeks before adding another of these therapeutic foods from the series. Be sure to monitor your blood sugar levels more frequently in those first weeks. Much can happen in the first 1 – 2 months to change your diabetes positively.
Remember, the first food in the series was Cucumber. Now, we’ll learn about Karela, another member of the Gourd Family, botanically, which is a very alkaline food; that is one reason it is “bitter”, and by reducing your systemic acidity, and alkalinizing your cellular pH, via the bitter compounds in karela, you are acting to solve a major cause of your diabetes. If you maintain body-wide normal pH of 7.35, then your diabetes is unlikely to return.
In fact, Karela Melon is also known as: bitter gourd, balsam pear, balsam apple, ampelaya, papailla, melao de sao caetano, k’u kua kurela, kor-kuey, ku gua, foo gwa, pava-aki, salsamino, sorci, sorossi, assorossie, sorossie, sorossies, pare pahit, peria laut, peria, peria katak, bitter melon, mara, tsuru reishi, ngai uri, muop dang, springkomkommer, wunder-balsamapfel, balsamini lunghi, balsamina.
Simply stated, Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia Linn.) is both a nutritious bumpy skinned vegetable and a trusted medicine; it grows abundantly in many tropical regions. Unlike most medicinal herbs, bitter melon is commonly eaten, proof positive of its safety, but you need to pay attention to the times when you should NOT use it e.g. when pregnant!
As I said, it is a member of the cucumber family, and the lighter green colored to the ripened orange colored gourds are a little less bitter but www.rain.org/greennet/docs/exoticveggies/html/bittermelon.htm says that the orange ones are more potent and not to eat much of them or any). Find karela in Asian markets or the ethnic vegetable section of your market, especially from spring through summer. Many markets are beginning to carry them year round. Select firm, 5″ - 12″ long, light-green to yellow veggies, without soft spots. Refrigerate them in a paper bag for 3 – 5 days. Cut immediately before use, only.To reduce the bitterness, discard seeds and fibrous central-core section (but for diabetics, try to learn to use these parts, too).
Believe me, please understand that this vegetable is extremely bitter, and that is the exact component which contains a very effective, high dosage of ‘plant insulin’. It lowers human blood-sugar levels very effectively.
And, what’s more, if you tend to also have hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), you should not use bitter melon or use only half the recommended amount and monitor yourself, because it lowers blood sugars even further.
Here’s something else. Karela also helps those who have liver problems. And, a component in the seeds has been found to aid those with auto-immune diseases.
When you first start eating karela, it may seem very potent, so for flavor and for enjoyment, the bitterness can be moderated or balanced out in using time-worn, traditional cooking recipes.When recipes suggest blanching the melon ‘to reduce the bitterness’, this undoes what we are trying to accomplish, so do not do that technique.
Know this, in the Philippines, ampalaya (karela, bitter melon) has been included as part of the current national program’s treatment protocol in Operation Diabetes. This makes it one of the few (maybe even the only) herbal products in the world endorsed by a national medical association of over 1,500 doctors. This has been using the karela (ampalaya) as a vegetable and as Charantea.
Let me explain also, that Bitter Melon also requires you to monitor your cholesterol lowering drugs, too, if you take them. It makes them more potent, so less medicine may be needed.
Meanwhile, I believe that if you use karela long-term, then also take a probiotic capsule of friendly flora everyday e.g. acidopholus capsules. Having yoghurt is not sufficient as the numbers of bacteria are too low. Bitter Melon effectively kills off many bacteria, including your friendly ones, which must be there, in your intestinal tract, to make vital substances for you, and protect you from other pathogenic bacterias. Tropical diseases have begun to invade Europe, due to global-warming, so many of the everyday protectors, long-used in the tropics, may have to become part of daily life in Europe now too. See the article at New York Times listed in Reference section, below.
Plus, I have read to only use concentrated bitter melon preparations right AFTER a meal … this would be a better way to start using this therapy, in my opinion, especially if you are not under the care of a physician who understands the action of this food therapy.
Again, make sure you are monitoring your blood sugars more often so you see how this food’s beneficially affects you. Hopefully you will be able to reduce your medications soon.
Have the juice of three to four karelas early morning on an empty stomach (WOW!).
OR Powder the seeds of karela (measuring 1 teaspoon), mix with water and drink it. (This second form may be practical in India, but we do not have a ready supply to just use powdered seeds.)
OR A traditional South American prescription is: juice 1-2 fresh bitter melon fruits and drink twice daily.
New traditional prescription: Westerners are promoting Bitter Melon in other forms e.g. Charantea (which is used in the Phillippine protocol). This is likely to taste better to the Western palate and can be combined with citrus flavors … see a recipe on their site www.charanteausa.com I would also flavor it with a bit of low-glycemic agave nectar.
Tea Take 1 cup after every meal, 3 times a day
OR Capsules: Take 1-2 capsules after meals, 3 times a day.
“Charantea contains the food’s key compounds that help maintain normal blood sugar levels”. These include:
___ a polypeptide-p (a plant insulin similar to animal insulin)
___ charantin (a steroid mixture)
___ vicine (a pyrimidine nucleoside)
“Researchers are looking into possible modes of action caused by the interplay of these compounds.”
Just think about this. The alkaline pH of karela helps to undo the overly-acidic bodies most of us have – from stress, inefficient metabolisms, the biochemistry of fear or eating and drinking too many acid-producing foods. Diabetes and other chronic disease is exacerbated and even caused by the inflammatory processes and degrading, catabolic cellular processes instigated by over-acidity.
Just for the record, in using karela, we return to kitchens all over the world, where it is utilized by many societies regularly as a vegetable or beverage. As food, karela can be taken on a regular basis by everyone in your family except for pregnant women, breast-feeding women and children below 7 years old.
Most importantly, Karela has a natural birth-control aspect to it (don’t rely on that component completely, please!) AND it will abort fetuses, so do NOT use it if you are pregnant! And for those couples who are seeking to procreate children, do not use bitter melon while trying to conceive, either, as it can abort the embryo, too.
So, let’s begin. Many Asian and South American cuisines use bitter melon e.g. Phillipines, India, Okinawa, Thailand. Here are some recipes, and you can easily find others online. The whole vegetable, including skin and seeds is edible; even the leaves and stems are too. In fact rain.org site says: ”the young leaves are also harvested and used as potherb. The immature fruits are a good source of vitamin C and provide some vitamin A, phosphorus, and iron. The tender vine tips are an excellent source of vitamin A, and a fair source of protein, thiamin, and vitamin C.”
Here are some recipes to try. My suggestion is to keep the potent flavor and healing-power of karela intact, while blending it with other foods, to mask these strong flavors thereby effectively making the whole dish pleasing to your palate.
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Bengali Thétor Dal (Karela with Lentils)
1. Boil moong dal (split yellow moong/mung beans or lentils) in water until half done.
2. Lightly stir fry cubes of bitter melon and onion slices flavored with cumin seeds, chopped red/green chillies and grated ginger in some vegetable oil or even better in some ghee.
3. Add this to the boiling dal, also add salt and some turmeric powder.
4. Boil until both bitter melon and dal are fully cooked.
5. Serve with rice as a starter, as the Bengalis do, to get digestive juices flowing. This is a thick dal, not a watery one.
Em: you could also use this as a dip, rather than serving it over rice.
Bengali Korola Bhaté (Mashed Bitter Melon)
If you are using green bitter melons, boil them and then mash them. You may eat or leave out the seeds. Adding some mashed boiled potatoes to this also tastes good and helps reduce the bitterness. Add salt and dried red chili peppers fried in oil (add both the chillies and oil). Mash until there are few or no lumps and just scoop out a serving. Serve with plain boiled rice as a starter.
For ripe bitter melons, coat them in vegetable oil and grill or roast them whole then mash them. Mix in salt, mustard oil and chopped chili peppers (red or green) as seasoning. Again you may leave out the seeds if you wish. Serve as a starter with plain boiled rice although these are not so bitter.
Scoop out the flesh and seeds and roughly chop it. Put the empty gourd shell aside, for the moment.
Saute the inner flesh and seed mix with lots of onions, coriander powder, Jeera powder (ground cumin), turmeric and chili powders.
Cool the karela and stuff inside the shells of gourds. Lightly oil the outer skin of the gourds and cook the stuffed gourds either in the oven for 30 minutes at 325 OR in a wok over low heat for 35 minutes, turning constantly for even cooking
Bitter Melon Chips
2 ripe bitter melons
1 tbs. curry powder
1 tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. cayenne
½ tsp. cardamom
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbs. sesame oil
1. Using a mandolin or with another slicer or a very sharp knife, slice the bitter melon into 1/8″ slices.
2. In a bowl combine the rest of the ingredients thoroughly to make a marinade.
3. Toss bitter melon slices in the marinade. Be sure to completely coat each slice.
4. Place the karela slices on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper and place in a pre-heated 325 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until they begin to crisp.
5. Remove them from oven and let cool on the sheet tray to harden them further.
6. If you do not plan to serve the chips immediately, then store in an air tight container, in the freezer for up to a week.
Green Papaya and Bitter Melon Salad
based on a recipe by Chef: Hiroko Kikuchi
approx. 1T organic apple-cider vinegar (Bragg’s or Spectrum)
approx. 1T nam pla (Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce)
approx. 2 teaspoons agave nectar or Succanat
Celtic sea salt
organic cayenne pepper
organic lime, lemon yuzu or ponzu sauce (Asian grocery)
bitter melon (goya)(karela) (amplaya)
Asian mint or regular mint
green papaya or daikon radish
*add any additional vegetables you like (carrot, cabbage, endive or red bell pepper are good)
crushed raw almonds or pecans
add nam pla, sweetener, salt, pepper and vinegar to a little boiling water (maybe start with 1/4 cup).
Simmer a few minutes. Add lime in the end. And chill it until room temperature.
The Vegetable section of the Salad:
1: Slice bitter melon.
2: Thin slice leeks and green onion.
3: Peel the jicama and the green papaya. Thin slice (“julienne” – the finer, the better)
4. Add any other veggies you choose, sliced very thinly, too.
5: Mix everything together, gently, in a large bowl. Add herbs.
6: Tear up the herbs, for better fragrance.
7: Pour the sauce into the mixing bowl, and combine thoroughly.
8: Taste and balance the spicing.
9: Crush nuts, and add to the top of the salad.
Other recipes with different views or techniques:
(c)2007 Em http://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com
If you desire to use or quote from my article, please respect my copyright and include the full copyright citation and my website’s location in your article. Thanks.
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