Paanagam or Paanakam – A traditional Health Drink

Paanagam in Sanskrit means Sweet Drink. It is offered as ‘neivedhyam’ or ‘prasaad’ to Lord Rama on his birthday – Raama Navami, that is celebrated on the 9th day [ Navami ] of the Chaithra Month of the hindus.
It can be made very quickly in easy steps [ just add & stir] and devoured even more quickly [ sip,sip,sip…]. Paanagam has great health benefits and tastes divine. Jaggery is rich in mineral salts and iron which help in strengthening the nervous system and preventing anemia.
Dried ginger powder or sukku as it is known in Tamil Nadu aids in digestion and its intake benefits people of all ages.

On the whole a very soothing and refreshing drink for summer.


Jaggery – 1/2 Cup grated
Dried Ginger Powder – 1/2 tsp
Cardamon – 1/4 tsp
Salt – a Pinch
Lime – 1/2
Pachai Karpooram/ edible camphor. – a small pinch
Water – 3 cups

Method :
Add jaggery to water with rest of the ingredients.
Squeeze in the Lime.
Stir continuously till jaggery dissolves completely.
Strain and serve chill.

Adjust quantity of lime and jaggery to suit your taste buds, depending on how sweet you want it to be.
If you feel the jaggery is not clean enough, you can mix it with water bring it to a boil, strain and mix rest of the ingredients after cooling.


TO BE or NOT TO BE – A Vegetarian

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” “To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Being a vegetarian simply means abstinence from animal food. It should not however be confused with Veganism which excludes animal – derived products as well. Vegetarianism is catching up. Not just because it is healthier but because of people’s awareness that being vegetarian is something deeper. It carries a deeper philosophy encompassing environmental concerns, compassion for the animal world and a healthier world. It is not about a habit – It is a life style.

Health is a major factor contributing to the conversions. Consumption of animal fat and proteins raise your risk of contracting Cancer, Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Hypertension, Cardio Vascular diseases to name a few. It is common knowledge that vegetarian food has all the ingredients required to maintain a healthy body and Saints of yore are striking examples of this with proof of their health and longetivity.

Another factor is respecting and preserving one’s environment. Experts opine that live stock farming takes up huge chunks of land, water, fertilizers and other resources meant for cultivating food meant to feed humans. Live stock need to be fed and large areas are tilled and farmed with animal feed products. Huge areas of wilderness are converted into grazing areas and farm lands disturbing the balance in the eco system. Ground water pollution due to animal waste is a huge problem to be tackled.

On the ethical side Bernard Shaw’s quote perhaps sums it all.
George Bernard Shaw

“If a group of beings from another planet were to land on Earth – beings who considered themselves as superior to you as you feel yourself to be to other animals – would you concede them the rights over you that you assume over other animals?”

Some other reasons that propel people towards this diet us economics [Meat is certainly very expensive], religious beliefs, traditional and cultural background.

Below is a list of famous vegans / vegetarians spanning across varied professions and cultures:
Alicia Silverstone (Actress)
Benjamin Franklin (Scientist and diplomat; inventor of the lightning conductor)
Charlotte Bronte (Author)
George Bernard Shaw (Dramatist, novelist)
Henry Ford (Founder of Ford Motor Company)
Mahatma Gandhi (Politician, pacifist)
Albert Einstein (Scientist)
H.G. Wells (Author)
Greg Chappell (Australian cricketer)
Hans Christian Andersen (Author of fairy tales)
Leonardo da Vinci (Italian painter, architect and engineer)
Linda Blair (Actress)
Martin Luther (German church reformer; founder of Protestantism)
Martyn Moxon (English cricketer)
Pamela Anderson (Actress)
Paul McCartney (Musician)
Plato (Greek philosopher)
Plutarch (Greek philosopher and biographer)
Prince (Musician)
Pythagoras (Greek mathematician and philosopher)
Ricky Williams (Professional American football player)
Scott Jurek (Ultra marathon runner)
Sir Isaac Newton (English physicist and mathematician)
Vincent Van Gogh (Impressionist painter)
Voltaire (French author)