Love Your Food
And Be Healthy
By Dr Shashikant Patwardhan
Our diet is an essential factor for the formation of our body. It is clearly mentioned in classic Ayurvedic text Charak samhita that consuming improper diet in improper way is the main cause of disease.
According to Charak samhita: "An appropriate and suitable diet in a disease is equivalent to hundred drugs and any quantity of drug hardly compares to good results in disease without following proper dietetic regimen".
In as far as diet is concerned, Ayurveda has recommended the following principles for living full span of life with perfect health.
The intake of diet and what you should take and should not depends upon a number of factors, among which, surprisingly includes the desha or territory), kala or season, and time of the day etc. You should consume foods belonging to all six rasas or tastes rather than just a few of them so as to avoid nutritional deficiency disorders. Various tastes provide you different nutrients.
Time of consuming food:
A person should take meal only when he feels hungry. Lunch should be taken early between 12 noon to 1afternoon; a time that coincides with the peak pitta period. Pitta is responsible for the digestion. Lunch should be the largest meal of the day. The supper should be lesser and lighter than lunch. .
Quantity of food:
Generally half of the capacity of stomach should be filled with solids, one-fourth with liquids and rest kept empty for the free movements of body humors. That means you should actually get up when you feel you should eat a little, just a little more!
Sequence of consuming food:
Madhur or sweet rasa food like fruits are advisable for intake in the beginning of meal, food with amla and lavana (sour and salty) rasa in the middle and katu, tikta, kashay (bitter, astringent and pungent) foods should be taken at the end of the meal.
Method of consuming food: .
1) Wash the face, hands and feet before meal. Dine in an isolated neat and clean place in pleasant environment. Squat/ sit rather than stand while you eat.
2) Food should be taken after complete digestion of previous one.
3) Hard items should be consumed in the beginning followed by soft and liquids subsequently.
4) Few sips of water are advised now and then while taking meal.
5) Heavy substances are contraindicated after meals and should be avoided.
6) Consumption of excessively hot food leads to weakness. Cold and dry food leads to delay in digestion. Intake of food prepared by giving extra heat leads to glani; hence consumption of such food should be avoided.
Incompatible food (Virudha ahara):
Certain foods donít gel well with certain others. This is a question of compatibility. Just as two people canít be compatible, so canít be foods. There is nothing wrong accepting/ cooking foods that way. Follow which foods love which ones, and which hate the others. Use of incompatible food leads to skin disorders, gastrointestinal disorders , anaemia, leucoderma, hyperacidity impotence, and hence should be avoided. Compatibility is essential. Here is a list:
1) Milk followed by fruits and vice versa.
2) Soar substance along with milk.
3) Milk with salt, horse gram, green gram and cow gram.
4) Wheat preparations in gingelly oil (Tila taila).
5) Hot drinks after alcohol, curd or honey.
6) Cold and hot substances together.
7) Banana with curd and butter milk.
8) Chicken with curd.
9) Ghee kept in bronze vessel.
10) Radish with jaggery.
11) Fish with jaggery or sugar.
12) Jingelly seeds with kanjika.
General rules about food consumption:
* Walk a while after meal to help digestion
* No travelling, exercise or sexual intercourse within one hour after meal.
* Avoid meals when thirsty and water while hungry.
* Avoid meals after exertion.
* Avoid meals when you are having no appetite.
* Don't suppress the appetite as it leads to body pain, anorexia, lassitude, vertigo and general debility.
* Don't suppress the thirst as it leads to general debility, giddiness and heart diseases.
* Consumption of the fresh, acceptable, easily available and compatible food with various nutrients is a key to lead a healthy life.
Dr Shashikant Patwardhan is an Ayurvedic consultant backed by 27 years of experience, and belongs to the beautiful city of Sangli in Maharashtra State of India. He holds a Postgraduate Fellowship of Faculty of Ayurvedic Medicine [F.F.A.M.] from Tilak Ayurved Mahavidyalaya, Pune University, India, apart from the undergraduate Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (B.A.M.S) degree. A regular writer for several magazines and alternative health websites, an author at heart, Dr Patwardhan is currently the chief editor of Ayurveda-ForYou.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org..