Eating for Your Soul – The Ayurvedic WayDr. Arya Krishna
Food is the basis of all life. To gain optimal balance from food, it is essential to consume something which is well-suited and wholesome. The food which is wrong in combination, has undergone unsuitable processing, was consumed in incorrect quantity, and/or consumed in wrong time of the day and in wrong season is said to be Incompatible food. This concept is clearly explained by Ayurveda Acharya Charaka as ‘Virudha Ahara’.
According to Ayurvedic perspective each food has a distinct combination of tastes, energy and post digestive effect (Rasa,Virya and Vipaka).Therefore, combining foods in a wrong way can affect the digestive fire and may cause gas, bloating and formation of toxins in the body. On the other hand, proper combining can enhance digestion and tissue formation.
Here’s a list of Incompatible foods according to Ayurveda.
- Fish and Milk – The potency of fish and milk is different (cold and hot potency respectively) and a combination of these two is known to vitiate blood and cause obstruction to channels.
- Milk and melons – Milk is a laxative and Melons are diuretic; a combination of these two can result in belching and acidity.
- Banana with Milk, Yoghurt or buttermilk – Combination of these can cause indigestion and produce toxins in body.
- Ghee and Honey – In equal quantities, this combination is considered to be hazardous as poison.
- Raw and cooked food together is considered incompatible
- Nightshades like potatoes, eggplants, tomatoes etc. with cheese and yoghurt may cause indigestion.
The list is unfinished, but gives an insight into some not so recommended staple daily combinations in our diet. It’s important to understand that Ayurveda gives prime importance to Agni or digestive fire. It has been said by Acharya Charaka that the root cause of major diseases is improper digestive fire.
Certain recommendations need to be followed while taking food. These include,
- Quantity of food – One should take the right quantity of food always, since the quantity is that which maintains proper digestive power. Quantity of food depends on the digestive power of the individual.
- Time of eating – Ayurveda advises three meals in a day.The main meal should be lunch which is the Pitta time and digestive fire is maximum. Also dinner should be taken before sunset, as sun goes down the digestive fire also goes down.
- Sequence of consuming food – One should include all the 6 tastes while consuming food. The sweet taste need to be taken first (like fruits), sour and salty taste in the middle, and bitter, astringent and pungent foods should be taken at the end of the meal.
- Method of eating food – One should eat in a moderate pace, not too fast or slow. Eating slow is advised for those who wish weight loss.
Besides these directives on how to eat, Ayurveda also advises about foods that can be consumed on a regular basis and those which need to be avoided in regular use.
Food for Regular Use
3 Indian Goose Berry
4 Fruits like Grapes, Pomegranate etc.
5 Rice and Barley
6 Immature Radish
7 Chebulic Fruit
8 Leafy Vegetables
9 Meat of animals in arid or dry land
In short, the dishes capable of promoting health and curing diseases are suitable for regular use.
Foods not recommended for Regular Use
1 Cheese and Curd
2 Alkaline preparations like Vinegar
3 Sprouted seeds
4 Black gram
5 Dried meat
7 Tuberous roots
8 Sweets prepared by grinding cereals
9 Uncooked radish
Ayurveda advises to eat food for your soul. The food that you eat can nourish or vitiate all the aspects of your health. This includes, not just your physical health but your mental health too.
Follow these simple practices from Ayurveda for a healthy life.