Ayurveda, the science of life, is very closely related to our lifestyle. It is somehow a complete life’s guide, more than a healing science. In Vedas, our ancient Acharyas mentioned about many health issues & many health practices, The rules of eating is one them. In the Ayurveda, food is also considered as a medicine as it supports our body. In ancient classics some basic guidelines mentioned regarding the food, food habits, eating styles, quality of food, etc. So let’s discover those theories to rectify our modern complicated unhealthy eating habits.
What is Food ?
You may laugh after reading this Sub Title, but if I ask you what is food? Then what will be your answer?
Ayurveda says about food in the terms of “AHAR” and according to Ayurveda AHAR should have the bellow five qualities.
- Which is nutritious and helps in the growth.
- Which gives power and stamina.
- Which keeps the body fit and disease free.
- Which increases longevity, power, and memory.
- Which increases the body defense system and keeps the appetite good enough.
So the proper diet should have all these qualities, but just look at your diet chart and just imagine which food is having all these. I am sure you will find very few. Our day-to-day habits just going down day by day. So it is the proper time to regain the habit of healthy eating.
When You Should Eat ?
The importance of diet is mentioned very clearly in Ayurveda with all the necessary acts and rules that we should follow. Ayurveda says that our diet plan should be made according to the seasons and length of the day and night. We should take the main meal in the morning and the first half of the night in the normal seasons when days and nights remain almost equal. Nevertheless, during the periods when the night is lengthier than days then we should take food early in the morning. On the same way in the long days, we should take food before the first half of the night generally in the evening. However, if you feel hungrier even in the night then just go for some light diet. Otherwise, it will reduce the potency of our body. A gap of 3 hours to be maintained between but never keep yourself hungry for more than six hours. Other than the main meals, some light foods you can take according to the situation. One thing is very much important and that you should remember Ayurveda says that as we work in the daytime and remain active so the food that we consumed in the morning used to digest easily. However, the food that we take in the evening takes much more time to digest, as we remain inactive during night hours. Therefore, it is better to take easily digestible foods in the nights. Nevertheless, always remember eating in excess or a lesser amount. So now, the question is when you should go for the main meal. So here it is.
However, based on some special symptoms we should sit for eating, and those criteria are as follows
- After defecation or proper complete evacuation of stool.
- After developing a desire for food with a desire for water.
- After feeling the lightness of abdomen.
- After feeling that there is no flatulence in the abdomen.
If you study these things then, it is very much clear that the civilization of that Vedic time was much more intelligent than the most advanced human civilization of these twenty-first centuries. They were much more concern about their health than us. They had a planned diet maintenance and food restriction with proper utilization of consumed energies. We all know that consumption of excess food or diet is a very bad habit. However, we are doing that regularly. There are many such diseases, whom we used to call to attack us just by developing a wrong food habit. The above-mentioned four points are indicative of proper digestion of the previously consumed food and that is very necessary. Regarding the timing, it is very much clear that they used to avoid overeating by simply making a scheduled time of eating with a proper gap. Nevertheless, just look at us we used to eat whenever any tasty thing comes in front of us. Our habits not only the causes of diseases like diabetes but also creates the formation of free radicals in the body that is very much harmful. Free radicals always decrease our life span. That means overeating of any nutritious food can also produce free radicals and this nutritious food actually reduces our lifespan. In this way, it seems that Vedic people were much more advanced than we are. Maintaining of such rules perhaps the secrets of their 100 years of life span.
Rules of Eight
Ayurveda taught us about eight rules of diet intake, which includes the selection of diet to the selection consumer of that prepared respective food. These are so much important that the proper use of such habits can give us some unimaginable results. Use of such habits not only keeps us disease free but also increases the longevity. So they are
PRAKRITI (Nature of Food)
The nature of food is very much important regarding the eater concern. For example, let us take Pork’s, which is much heavier to digest than Chicken. Therefore, if you want to select your diet then it should be according to your appetite to digest. However, a selection not ends here there are some influencing things which you should remember. In the winter, we all can consume more heavy diet than in summer. Therefore, your selection also should be according to the season.
SANSKAR (Property Of Food That Changes)
Property of the food materials sometimes changes with the change of time. With the contact of water, after washing, after cooking, according to change of season, after mixing with other thing or even after keeping in certain containers. These are the basic things that we can see even in our today’s day-to-day lifestyle, but we never thought the importance of it. For example, seasonal vegetables having their goodness in their respective time of maturity but in modern time you can get any vegetable throughout the year. So do you think you are going to get same benefits even in the off-season…? No, you will get fewer benefits and by depending on that you will miss the actual vegetables of that particular season. Therefore, selection of diet should be according to the season.
SAMYOG (The Change of Property While Cooking After Mixing With Other Food Materials)
All the food materials are having their qualities but when we mix them with another while sometimes cooking they change their properties. Nowadays we often cook some experimental food items but do you know that it may be fatal. Yes, if you mix equal quantity of Madhu (honey) and Ghrita (ghee) together it turns to a fatal poison. Again, some fish and milk if you consume together it can be fatal. So before trying anything new always try to know whether they are compatible or not.
RASHI (Amount of Food)
It actually includes many things like
You should intake the amount of food that you can digest. Intake of excess food can cause many diseases.
While eating do not put excess amount together in your mouth. It may because of difficulty in deglutition.
While eating, you should take all items separately in the adequate amount. Intake of the certain food in excess amount can also be harmful.
Intake of highly nutritious food in excess amount can also be harmful.
Intake of less amount food is also harmful to the proper growth of the body.
DESH (Place of Origin of the Raw Food)
Ayurveda believes that if you take food materials grown in the same place you belong then the food materials will be more beneficial and suitable for you. It simply means that taking of local food is preferable for us. Now a day we used to take tin foods, frozen foods, fruits from other countries that simply an indicative of fewer benefits. So always prefer the local vegetables, fruits, meats, fishes more.
KAAL (Time of Collection of Food Materials, Time of Cooking & Eating)
Time plays an important factor of diet. Diet should be select according to the seasons as we discussed earlier. Again, the condition of your health is very important. For an example, you are suffering from the certain digestive disorder and during this time you should not take a heavy meal, means that time is not proper for such diet. Again cooking is very important after cooking you should not keep it a long time before eating. Which means there should not be a long gap in cooking and eating?
UPAYOGSANTHA (Assessment of the Symptoms of Proper Digestion)
It is already described earlier here I am posting it aging
After defecation or proper complete evacuation of stool
After developing desire for food with desire for water
After feeling the lightness of abdomen
After feeling that there is no flatulence in the abdomen.
(Health Assessment of the consumer of food)
Diet should be made according to the health condition of the consumer. Such as for a dietetic patient you should not prepare anything which having high calories. If you are fatty then you should simply avoid fatty foods, junk foods. So whenever you are going to cook just assess the consumers’ health.
How Much You Should Eat?
Ayurveda gives some clear concepts regarding the amount of food you should consume. Ayurveda simply suggests you to divide your stomach into just three equal segments. Among these three two third space should be filled up with solid and liquid food and you should leave the rest one-third for gasses.
So you might be thinking how to assess that? It is just a matter of practice. Always try to eat in such a matter that you feel no pain after consuming. Simply saying, adopt a comfortable eating style. You should not feel any discomfort after eating.
Such habit is very scientific because such habit makes the food easily digestible, and no pressure occurs on the heart. The gasses produce after digestion also gets their space to move.
When You Should Take Water?
There is no ending of suggestions regarding this question. However, we should follow the fundamental theories. We should not eat much water before a meal or not after finishing. Taking water in between the meals is the ultimate solution. It helps the enzymes to mix with foods properly, makes the esophagus more smooth and slippery. Always try to drink water in-between your meals.
Therefore, after this very short discussion one thing is very much clear to us that the proper way of eating is much more beneficial than what we are eating. Though we are living in the age of extreme development, but our basics, fundamental theories remain same as earlier. The Vedic way of lifestyle is more appropriate for us, and we can adopt it for a disease free long healthy life.