A friend is trying to be as environment friendly as possible…or as less damaging to the planet earth. Actually he says – it is just like going back about 60-70 years and lead a middle class life style.

Let us see some of the things he does:

  • drinks water from an earthen pot
  • takes bath in cold water
  • sleeps on the floor with just one ‘chatai’
  • uses public transport or walks
  • 50% of his food is raw/ fresh
  • he is a vegetarian – no onion, no garlic,
  • not yet a vegan (has curds)
  • no tea, no coffee, no processed foods
  • no polished rice – only wild or red rice
  • wheat – made at home
  • no soap, no shampoo – only oil and shikakai (!)
  • no toothpaste
  • only ayurvedic doctor for consulting

Cannot remember more – but he says he is seeing a dramatic improvement in health. He has cut down on television (2 hrs a week), talking on telephone (not monitored), and even a lot of unnecessary talking…

a 100 years ago we may have called such a person normal…but in a day and age when people are judged by what they show off, this guy moves around like a saint!

cannot think of more

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  1. Thanks anon, sudha and subra. I can get shikakai and all the other jadi-booti mentioned in some old-bazars in Bombay. Luckily New Bombay where I stay is also a bit South-Indian heavy, so sure I can find such shops on enquiring.

    Is it possible that such jadi-booti shops may have the entire powdered mixture with some/all ingredients as described by sudha in proper proportion? If so that’s great 🙂

    Some nitty-gritty practical questions:
    a) Can you describe the proportions of all ingredients you described? And typically how much in advance can you prepare this (I mean can you make stock for entire month at one time – just like we do for traditional spices). This is incase I have to prepare my own mixture.

    b) When making the final paste before going for bath, what should be the consistency of the final paste. How thick/runny on a scale of 1 (water) to 10 (ketchup)?

    c) Does it form lather the usual way like soap?

    d) subra: the way you mention, we can apply the same paste on our body too? Till now I was thinking this shikakai thing is only for hair!

    e) Finally this method is same as what anon described of soaking overnight in kadhai? Or is he talking the whole shikakai fruit, not in powdered form. So looks like two alternative methods.

    Thanks y’all.

    One such tip from me 🙂
    I often use neem sticks (datoon) as a replacement for morning teeth-cleaning ritual. It’s awesome – keeps teeth sparkling white. A 5 Rs stick lasts for about two months. If you can’t bear the sour taste of dark-brown neem(I can’t) go for the milder slightly whitish sticks. The effect is almost as good but it has basically neutral taste so more genX-friendly. You can start with it and then graduate to the real thing!

  2. @pravin
    Humans are consuming minerals, fossil fuel, oxygen and water at great speed. They call it as “growth”. It is ridiculous to call it growth. It is not sustainable. It is not even worth following. The more you try to make a process efficient, you create more sub-problems which are harder to solve. What nonsense human has done in last 200 years, you can read it here http://www.niichro.com/Environ/Enviro1.html

    This problem cannot be solved by eating raw vegetables. You would do good to yourself by eating raw vegetables, but not much to earth.

    I am not against progress. For example, just like everybody else, I would like to have renewable energy and atomic energy. It is just that I am not ready to pay more money than what it costs for coal energy. 🙂

    I appreciate the person who takes a public transport even when he owns property over 25 Cr.

  3. anush

    you need not MAKE datoon! it is available in all Gujarati dominated suburbs of Mumbai like Ghatkopar, Khar, Mulund, Goregaon….and of course Kalbadevi!

    this was assuming u are in Mumbai…otherwise in each city check out the Guj dominated are and you should be able to buy…

  4. @sanjay – the minerals,air or oxygen dont really care if they are consumed by human beings are they are just lying there unused for millenia.so you dont have to bat for them -they have no feelings,you know.none of these ‘resources’ were available 200 years ago.they existed -but without the most important resource of all ‘human resource’,they were as good as non existent.

    if water supplies are being wasted,it is because of property rights abuse.ie assuming it is abundant like air.ofcourse not.water is resource that needs to be priced like everything else.just because we want more of it doesnt mean it can evade the laws of economics.

    you are not ready to pay for more than what it costs for coal? great.that reflects the choicesof the modern age.200 years ago,except for a handful few,the default state of humankind was poverty with no indoor plumbing/toilets,electricity or any of the myriad things that we take for granted today.they were not available even to the richest kings of those days.

    it is pretty fashionable among urban slicksters to lay on the guilt.all pretty much esconced in the lap of luxury while fantasizing about some romantic idyll in the past.
    the past was not a paradise.human beings have never had it as good as we have today.
    if that were not the case we wouldnt have these massive migration into the cities.back breaking farm work,knee deep in monsoon flood is no joke. we romanticize it hypocritically while ignoring the millions who flee those opressing conditions every year.

  5. BombayBoy
    Not very sure about the proportions, but it is mostly shikakai (75%), a little reetha (15%) and the rest of the ingredients (10%). It doesnt foam like shampoo, so you will have to expend some elbow grease to get the oil off. A Little thinner than ketchup, say 8 should be right. The amount of water we used to mix with the powder depended on the amount of oil applied, the strength of the shikakai mix (since this was homemade, you couldnt predict how strong the mix would be each time). You apply it to your hair and let is stay for a minute or so and then scrub a little. The leftover paste was watered down and applied to the body. Til oil was warmed with a few black peppers (to prevent colds and coughs). Post the oil bath, once a week, you had hot garlic rasam and slept the afternooon. Bliss!!!!!

    Tip for stubborn dandruff – soak methi seeds overnight, grind the next morning, nic with sour curd and apply to scalp and hair. Soft, dandruff free hair.

  6. @Sudha: I remember my mother mixing arapu powder made from arapu leaves(I don’t know the english equivalent) with shikakai. Arapu provides increased foaming.

  7. anush: You cannot make datoon. It’s basically narrow stems of neem tree. (see images – http://bit.ly/tSi2xX) Before using, wash it just like you’d wash yr brush, midly chew on about 1/2 inch of one end to crack open the slightly protective outer layer and soften the fibres, then brush yr teeth/jaws/tongue. The first, second attempts your jaws will feel slightly uncomfortable – that’s okay. Eventually in a day or two it should resemble fine bristles.

    Also subra: You can also get them in Muslim-dominated areas. For Muslims it’s a mildly religious (not mandatory) thing to brush with datoon when they perform ablutions before their daily five prayers. Many muslims who never pray, also use it. Outside most mosques there’ll be a shop selling perfume oils, incense sticks, henna – it’s probably selling datoons too.

    Many people from UP/Bihar and other north states are also well-versed with it, irrespective of their religion.

    Hope that helps.

  8. Thanks sudha for yr explanation and tips. Some things are clarified, and some new doubts emerge. The whole oil thing probably I haven’t got it straight.

    I’m assuming shikakai is mixed with water (and not oil) to make grade 8 paste you said. Right?

    “…expend some elbow grease to get the oil off”
    here, you mean, the (usual coconut) oil applied on hair 2-3 hrs before bath or overnight, right?

    …Til oil was warmed with a few black peppers (to prevent colds and coughs). Post the oil bath..
    This is not clear. Bath with oil? How? Or you mean, post-bath til oil massage?

  9. @Bombayboy: Down south the term oil bath usually means a pre bath oil massage with til oil, usually applied couple of hours prior to the bath.
    Shikakai is mixed with water. Hope this helps.

  10. @pravin
    I agree. We are living far better life than what people could have imagined 200 years ago.

    But population has increased. and people’s aspirations. and some concept of growth. And there is mining, deforestation, green revolution, genetically modified crops, insecticides and so on. In the quest of great lifestyle, things are getting pushed too much. Everybody has to stop somewhere saying “okay, this lifestyle is good enough for me”. We all collectively responsible for this mess.

    If you are worried about misuse of subsidized resources then you are also admitting that these resources are precious and needs to be conserved. 50 years down the line some people might say that petrol was almost free 50 years ago 🙂 Note that here I am not talking about subsidized resource but a resource which is an apt example of scarcity.

    You can always argue that along with prosperity there would be decrease in population and technological prowess will keep giving us better lifestyle for next few decades. Whether it happens is real test.

  11. Thanks sujatha for that oil-bath clarification. For a moment I was terrified of applying oil after bath! 🙂

    anush, welcome. Glad to of help to you.

    All in all – a great thread guys! Thanks everyone.

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