You are what you eat – Your diet and your health
The body is sustained by food, water and air. Food is processed in the digestive system and converted to different ingredients like vatha, pitha, kapha. Food is converted to chyle, which is further processed sequentially to blood, flesh, fat, bones, bone marrow, and finally to semen. It takes one month to process to final constituent semen.
The ten ingredients mentioned above carry out all bodily functions. Their composition and quality depend on chyle i.e. diet and digestion. If the diet is unsuitable, it affects the quality of ingredient and disturbs the balance, thus setting the stage for disease. Thus diet, its quantity, suitability and digestive power is important for good health.
There is subtle effect of diet on the mind and on our temperament also.
Quality of Diet
The diet that we take has 3 qualities:
1. Nutritional value
2. Medical value
3. Spiritual value
Diet should be a balance one with respect to nutrition like fat, protein, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, etc. at per requirement based on work, exercise, age, etc. Natural products before they have been tempered with by the processors and refiners are the one source that has been consistently proven dependable. No truly adequate substitute for the products of nature have been discovered and prepared in laboratory. Processing removes vitally important minerals from the foods and either removes or makes values some or all of the precious vitamins. Enzymes are destroyed and many of the amino acids of the proteins in the food are destroyed. (Amino acids are destroyed by heat). Importance of eating fresh foods and uncooked vegetables should not be compromised, as they are sources of minerals, enzymes and vitamins. Minerals are important to the formation and maintenance of the blood, bones, teeth, muscles, glands and nerves.
The next suitable diet is boiled vegetables without losing water. Food values are evaporated by high temperate like frying and are chemically altered and rendered unsuitable foods. Nuts are sources of adequate protein. Green leaves, bananas, avocados, dates, figs, legumes and cereals contain proteins.
Canned foods, preserved foods, processed and refined foods, sulphured fruits, white flour, white sugar, white rice constitute poor minerals with which to produce healthy tissues, in many seeds such as sunflower seed, peanuts, soybeans, nuts and in avocados, olive nature has packed an abundant supply of the finest tastiest oils associated with minerals and vitamins. They are superior to oils on market.
Sweet fruits – dates, figs, raisins, sweet grapes, banana, and persimmons and similar is finest sources of sugar. Learn to be moderate in eating habits
Diet acts as medicine also. Some of the food items and herbs have medicine values and should be consumed as per requirement.
Diet has spiritual value also. Food items and methods of preparation and cooking decide such value as satvic, rajasic, or tamasic, which affects our temperament, activity, inertia, restlessness, peace, etc. Satvic food contains items like fruits, fresh vegetables, juice, salad, milk, sweets, boiled vegetables without spices, honey, homemade bread, butter, etc. It brings mental clarity, endurance, compassion and peace. Rajasic food contains items like fried, fatty, fast food, processed food, and spicy food. It brings anger, agitation, restlessness and passions. Tamasic food contains items like meat, fish, frozen, alcohol, and left over, etc., which brings inertia, ignorance, confusion, hatred, violence, etc.
Quantity and Time of Eating
Diet should be taken when you are hungry and not based on time. It should be a sparing diet leaving 1/3 of the stomach empty. There should be a 6-hour gap between two meals.
Food should be chewed properly as digestion starts from the mouth. No liquid should be taken before, during or just after the meal, otherwise the gastric fire is extinguished and digestive enzymes get diluted resulting in poor digestion. Water can be taken 45 minutes after the meal.
Wrong combination of food items should be avoided. E.g. Milk can be taken with cereal, bread, or oatmeal only. Not with vegetables, fruits, beans, yogurt, etc.
Raw items like salad, fresh vegetables, juice, fresh fruits, sprouted beans or wheat are good. Cooking should be done at low temperature and not deep (prolonged time). Half cooked is better, particularly green vegetables. Wash the vegetables before cooking. Do not wash after cutting or do not discard water. If left over after cooking, as it contains vitamins like B and C. Freshly cooked food should be taken and not left over.
Process of eating
Diet should be taken as ritual, because it is an offering to the God within. So consider your body to be a temple, which should be preserved pure and pious.
Take time to eat so as to justify your body. Eat cheerfully. Don’t eat when you are under grief or sorrow or tension, as digestive enzymes will not be secreted properly resulting in digestion and generation of toxins. Don’t eat while standing or watching TV or doing some work. Concentrate on eating, chewing and enjoying the food.
Try to follow the wisdom of body. If there are symptoms of discomfort after eating or over eating, vomit the food out before it gets assimilated to the blood or avoid such food in the future.
Take food suitable to your body type (vatha, pitha, kapha) and blood group. Avoid junk food, processed food, left over and food having hydrogenated oil. Take lots of anti-oxidants, which act as oxygen scavenger so that cell health is maintained and aging process is delayed.
Give place for fresh fruits, salads, fresh vegetables, juice, and herbs, in your diet as they provide living enzymes over and above minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals.
At times (once a week) observe fasting. This will ripen the unripe chyle circulating in the blood, gastric fire will get stimulated, and digestive system will get rest.
Drink sufficient water for efficient blood circulation, formation of enzymes and avoid constipation.
As far as possible, take pure mineral water and organic food so as to avoid chemicals and hormones. As you age, reduce salt, sugar, fat and dairy product. Instead take more vegetables, fruits and light food without oil. Use butter or ghee. A vegetarian diet is better as our body is designed for it. Meat/flesh does not contain fibre, or vitamin C. On the contrary, it has saturated fat and hormones, toxins and tension. Moreover, it is secondary food.
Take wheat grass juice and fresh juice of apple, beet, carrot, kale, collard greens, celery, parsley, spinach, fenugreek, coriander, tarragon, parsnip, cucumber, dandelion, watercress, romaine lettuce, ginger, etc. as they provide phytochemicals, minerals, vitamins and living enzymes. Whole grain flour is better compared to white flour. Brown rice or unpolished rice is better compared to polished rice, which has acidity.
As we age, acidity in the body increases. So avoid fermented food, cheese, meat, polished rice, paneer, bread, cake, beans, sour food and instead take more vegetables (boiled or raw) and alkaline fruits like fig, raisin, tomato, sugarcane, mango, melon, coconut, banana etc. Oat bran or wheat germ is better with soy milk. Our requirement for protein reduces as we age. Reduce the protein intake to 25 – 30 grams per day as excess protein is loading the cells and more waste products are getting locked in the cells.
You are what you eat! Exercise is as important as food. Dinner should be light but lunch can be heavy. Dinner should be taken before sunset. Our digestive power/gastric fire depends on the position of the sun. There is a solar plexus/center/chakra at navel. Digestion slows down at night.
Know about GMOs and Join Forces to Fight Against Genetic Engineering.
Wish I could eat from my own crops like the ancient did. All genetic engineers should should be held accountable for changing the natural genetic make-up of our foods. Most of these genetic engineers will be still around to reap what they had sown in 20 years and see the world in turmoil. Still there’s a silver lining, ray of hope, in every cloud.
Firstly, each one of us should know exactly ‘how’ and ‘what’ the genetic engineers are doing with their experiments to our foods. If you don’t already know, watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAP6ZtfP9ZQ. You will be shocked. These so called scientists are already using bacteria and virus invasion techniques to do their dirty jobs, destroying our immune system and causing early diseases such as diabetes and skin allergies in our young people. What are you going to do about it? Go to http://www.MEDIAROOTS.org and dig out every pieces of MEDIAROOTS about GMOs. Know who your enemies are; then fight against them! Follow the Non GMO Project on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nongmoproject?ref=ts&sk=wall. Join the True Food Now Network at http://truefoodnow.org/.
Secondly, be a food cartel watchdog. Go on the internet and get updates from activists who are constantly fighting against these food cartels and those involved in the dealings of GMOs. Go here, “New Hope 360” at http://newhope360.com/saying-no-gmos-anti-gmo-activist-launches-new-initiative – Say No to GMO – is a good start. Join them or at least read about what’s happening. I’m already a member!
Thirdly, be an anti-GMO activist! You’ll be doing yourself and many innocent people a great favour by taking active part in the fight against GM activities. You can write about it, tell about them, have your voices heard in webinars, help identify and make know GMO food products on market and boycott the use known food products.
Fourthly, if you’re a billionaire and needs to do something good for a change, then exercise your influence on the political arena, or invest money in the development of traditional methods of farming, marketing and distribution and storage of foods, or set up academic programs of studies to educate the young generations in innovative farming without involving genetic engineering so that such tradition and innovative farming can regain a competitive edge over GMOs, causing financial loses to existing GMO cartels and GMO development.
All in all, our generation of young people must have a clear understanding of the harmful effects of genetic engineering and must stand up against further GMO developmental activities.
March 10, 2011