We are what we eat. Food is one of the three basic needs of human. In Ayurveda, it is the prime among the three Upasthambha, which holds us. The food we take is responsible for our growth and development, health and sustainability. Food gives us the energy to perform physical activities on a daily basis, the energy for us to respire and for our hearts to contract. Not only the physical activities, food has an impact on our thinking, consciousness, and alertness. In addition, there are foods described in Ayurveda that would increase the Sattva, Rajas or Tamas qualities of mind.
While in today’s world, newer ideas of nutrition sciences, dietetics, and food hygiene are emerging, Ayurveda illustrates various rules regarding food habits that gives a gross idea of them all. In this article, we will discuss the basics that we shall keep in mind before taking food.
Learn 7 Rules Of Healthy Eating Habits
1. Sadras Food – Ayurveda suggests us to include all the six tastes: sweet, sour, salt, pungent, bitter and astringent in our everyday diet so as to establish a balance between the doshas in our body.
- Vata pacifying tastes- sweet, sour, salt
- Vata aggravating tastes- pungent, bitter, astringent
- Pitta pacifying tastes- sweet, bitter, astringent
- Pitta aggravating tastes- sour, salt, pungent
- Kapha pacifying tastes- pungent, bitter, astringent
- Kapha aggravating tastes- sweet, sour, salt
You can also know more about Dietary recommendation as per Prakriti, here.
2. Food Amount – While Acharya Charaka, father of Ayurveda medicine suggests to take food that would make up 1/3rd of our stomach, take 1/3rd amount of liquid diet and leave 1/3rd of the stomach capacity vacant to allow the proper digestion of food; Another scholar of Ayurveda, Acharya Vagbhata allows to fill half of the stomach space with food, a quarter with liquid leaving a quarter space vacant. The idea is not to fill up the entire capacity and leave some space for better digestion.
The food we take shall be in such quantity so that it does not aggravate any of the doshas, helps in the smooth operation of body mechanisms and gets properly digested in time.
Disregarding this rule and taking full-stomach food can lead to laziness, sleepiness, difficulty in moving, lack of energy in short term and inadequate digestive fire that can be a root cause of many diseases in long run.
3. Combination of foods – The combination of several foods can render harmful to toxic effects on our body and are called incompatible foods.
Example Of Combination Of Food
- Ghee and honey in an equal amount can be toxic
- Fish and milk taken together may cause skin problems and even psoriasis
- Tomato or eggplant with milk or yogurt
- Milk and yogurt, sour fruits
4. Eat only when you feel hungry so that your digestive fire will properly act on your food and you won’t suffer from indigestion and the problems it can lead to.
5. Never speak or laugh while eating. Always concentrate on and only on the food you are taking. Food takes care of you. You shall respect it too.
6. Do not eat too fast or too slow, but eat calmly, at time and by properly chewing food. If you eat too fast, you already take a lot of calories before you have eaten enough. In contrary, if you eat too slow, your brain sends signals of fullness in a certain time, but your calories and nutritive needs won’t have met; also, your food gets cold and it’s laborious for the body to digest.
7. Always take clean, fresh food you are habituated with. And keep in mind the place, climate and seasons and properties of food and your own nature, age and health condition before taking food.
Food is medicine. It purifies your mana, gives the energy to perform activities, makes up your body tissues and body resistance. Therefore, we shall always be thankful for the food in our plate and take it with respect, dedication, and love.
There is a great importance of vegetarianism as human are naturally vegetarian. Let’s identify experimentally, whether human are vegetarian or non-vegetarian- Have you ever thought of killing a buffalo or goat with your bare hand and eat them raw? You saw a dead animal on the side of the road; do you feel to eat? The answer is ‘No’. A cow was walking on the mountainous sloppy path and falls downwards and gets hurt badly. The condition is near about death. Do you feel pity for those animals or feel to eat it? The answer is “sympathy feeling”. This shows human psychology is vegetarian.
The people who abstain from taking fish, poultry, eggs, and meat are called vegetarian. There is another concept called “pure vegetarian” who avoids taking animal products, even dairy products, honey etc. They are also called “Vegans”. They strictly avoid the use of any kind of animal products and services that are achieved by exploiting animals. Nowadays, the research has found that the vegan diets are the best of all for both angles- physical health and spiritual upliftment. Vegans try to provide right and respect to the animals as well.
Human Anatomy also proves that they are vegetarian
- The fingernails of human are short and soft; canines are small. But carnivorous animals have sharp and strong claws, giant canines that are fit for tearing flesh.
- Carnivore can move their jaw only up and down to rip flesh, while herbivore’s (including humans) jaw move up-down and side to side to grind up food with back teeth; also molars are flat for grinding fibroid plant food.
- Carnivore has excessively acidic stomach juice which can break down flesh and kill the dangerous bacteria in it easily. But acidic juice in herbivore is much weaker which is sufficient to digest plant products.
- Carnivore has short intestine and colons that takes short duration to pass the meat before it gets rot. Herbivore has longer intestine that allows absorbing nutrition from plant-based food. Meat gets rot if it takes long duration through a long path of the digestive tract, which creates a risk of food poisoning and cancer. Thus, it is found that non-vegetarian people are unhealthier than vegetarian people. Patients with heart disease, cancer, diabetes, blood pressure, obesity, decreased immunity and other problems are mostly seen among the meat-eaters.
- Sometimes the question arises- if meat eating is unhealthy, why our ancestors sometimes turned to flesh-eating. For this, Dr. Neal Barnard explains that –we had a diet like other great apes, i.e. plant-based diet. Meat eating probably began- taking the leftover of carnivores’ prey. However, the human body could never adapt to meat.
- Research shows that consumption of animal protein is connected to the cancer of prostate, breast, colon, and pancreas. T. Colin Campbell, the director of the Cornell-China-Oxford Project on Nutrition, Health, and Environment, forecasted that animal protein would be the most toxic nutrients in the following ten years.
Thus, it shows that the ideal and healthy diet for human beings is a vegetarian diet. Plant products help to be safe from different diseases. Elimination of meat from your diet saves reduces the danger of hypertension, osteoporosis, kidney stones and many other terrible diseases. The vegetarian diet is helpful to precede the vital step with a long life of health and happiness. Animal products like meat, eggs are only the sources of cholesterol and the prime source of saturated which are the major causes of heart diseases. Even risk of heart attack can be reduced by 90% consuming vegetarian food. The fiver found in vegetarian diet lay off harmful cholesterol and cancer-causing agents; reverse atherosclerosis. A Californian University, Loma Linda, evinces that meat consumers have three to four times higher possibility to suffer from prostate cancer than vegetarians. Dr. Takeshi Hirayama (a member of National Cancer Research Institute of Tokyo) finds through his study that vegetarianism women reduce the threat of breast cancer by 25%. The women in Japan who adhere meat based food were eight-nine times more possibility to suffer from a breast cancer than the women who eat the plant products. Fiber intake, absorbed through the plant, is a pointed factor to prevent cancer.
The Journal of the National Cancer Institute protocoled in the 1970’s that there are no any people in the world with a high meat consumption which does not have a high rate of colon cancer. A study of UK for over 6000 vegetarians revealed them 40% less likely to die of cancer than meat-eaters. Blood check out of vegetarian shows that they have higher levels of specialized white blood cells which fight against cancer cells, and increases immune power. The high rate of fat, absorbed from animal products, is always shorn of fiber. This increases the chance of cancer and constipation. It is the vegetarian diet which reduces the risk of blood pressure, eliminates non- insulin dependent diabetes. Once, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition kept diabetic on a vegetarian diet, nearly half of the patients were able to stop using insulin injection. Animal protein causes the body to spue more calcium, oxalate and uric acids which can form a stone in kidney and gallbladder. An ultrasound research has shown that 18% of meat-eating women were with the symptomless gallstones, juxtaposed to only 10% of vegetarians. Vegetarian food makes the calcium work properly and does not force to spit out of the body, as meat does, vegetarians have a lower risk for the weakening of the bone and major health concern for women. A long study conducted by the University Hospital in Linkoping, Sweden, in 1985 more than 90% of patients with bronchial asthma had less severe and less frequent attacks while abandoning non-veg food, and minimized their need for medication as well. Dr. William Castelli advice that vegetarian diet could help more than 90% of all Multiple Sclerosis victims, blocking the disease phenomena and improve the health condition.
The death rate was lower among the vegetarian people than the general people as per the study of vegetarian Seventh Day Adventists. The death rates was lower among the vegetarian men from coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancers of all types, etc. Vegetarian women had lower death rates from stroke, diabetes, cancers of all types like – breast cancer, cancer of the rectum, ovaries, and colon. Dr. William Castelli found through his research that vegetarians live longer than meat-eaters by about 6 years. Populations that consume high amounts of meat, like Greenlanders and Russian Kurgi have life expectancies of only 30 years. Populations like the East Indian Todas and the Russian Caucasians, who consume little or no meat, have life expectancies of 90-100 years.
As vegetarians are healthier, avoid toxic food, they naturally have more energy and endurance which was repeatedly shown by scientific studies. Thus, the study concluded that meat-eaters have a higher tendency of disease and death whereas vegetarian lifestyle approaches strength, health, happiness and long life.
Are you in a dilemma whether to be vegetarian to practice yoga or not?
Modern yoga learners who effort with the question of eating meat can check out this page to solve their queries. Here, you can understand the relationship between yoga and vegetarian habits.
Have you ever heard to a group of people at a yoga class talking about the healthy food? Well, the food selections that stimulate a lot of yogis be inclined to be a little different compared to normal food followers.
Vegetarian Diet Is better for the Body
The key reason that people choose to practice yoga is for better physical health. Further, than harmonizing the arms and tightening the butt, yoga also plays an essential role to purify the internal organs keeping the digestive system active, enhances blood flow, Build up the immune system, and much more. In fact, a complete vegan diet comes up with lots of health advantages of yogis.
A veggie diet is also essential to decrease the risk of many diseases such that diabetes, cancer, heart disease, hypertension, obesity, and so on. Foods that we get from plants are usually trouble-free to digest, rich in fiber, vitamin, and antioxidant, and lesser in sugar and calories. Vegan foods are also more expected to perk up your energy level.
On the other hand, taking animal products can obstruct the enhancement to your comfort. Animal-based foods conversely, can make a slow immune system, deplete your energy, and consider you down on the whole.
Yogi’s desire of feeling better choosing a healthy lifestyle. They understand that yoga is the awesome way to attain their desire and veggie diet harmonizes their healthy lifestyle.
Veggie Diet benefits the Mind
We perform yoga for the peaceful mind. The food you eat every day has the perspective to either assist in this procedure or it can have a contradictory consequence and amplify the influence of unhelpful feelings in your mind.
Based on the tradition, the most excellent diet for peaceful mind is called a Sattvic diet, and maybe not amazingly, it is vegetarian. The term Sattvic diet is derived from Sanskrit term Sattva which means clearness and precision. A Sattvic diet, consequently, encloses foods that help you survive a peaceful life with a calm mind. It consists of chiefly fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains and legumes.
Consistent with Ayurveda, the ideal foods are those that are grown-up in synchronization with nature. Consequently, fresh cow milk and fruits are the most Sattvic as they were provided enthusiastically. There are some useful herbs like tulsi, gingko and ashwagandha, saffron.
Vegetarian Diet following the Non-Violent Way
Most of the Yoga values also teach the idea of non-violence. For most of the yogis, this, too, expand to animals. This practice of livelihood mainly focuses on non-violence. It can be a common means to follow a vegetarian diet. It’s not rare for vegetarians to follow non-violence and the link between all living beings to an extent in which they eat foods in their most normal situation via a raw vegetarian diet.
To bottom line,
Maximum yogis consider you become whatever you eat. If you have natural foods from plans rich in dietary value and simply used by the body, the fragile inner balance can stay in check. It is a stability that expands to the mind.