The importance of diet in giving you good health can’t be gainsaid. Food is the most basic requirement of any live body. But the Yogic-dictum is. “Just as over-eating makes the body fat and heavy, under-eating makes it weak and illness-prone. The proper balance must therefore be found between the needs of the body and the quantity of food eaten.” A well-balanced diet contains sufficient quality of protein, carbohydrates, fats, salts and minerals. It is held in Yoga discipline that “as you eat, so you become.” This is because the kind and quality of food affects the physical as well as mental condition of the individual. In Yoga/all foods have been divided into three categories: Rajasi (royal), Tamasi (baser or carnal) and Sattvik (noble). The rajasi food comprises a variety of dishes. This type of food includes fried, roasted and ghee-rish food, which is not desirable for good health. A little intake of these type should be sufficient to titillate the palate. A little quantity of strongly spiced bitter or sour food (tamasik) should also form part of diet which should mostly be made by easily digestible, nourishing and freshly prepared food which classifies the noble or Sattvik food. Your food must give you the variety of all the six varieties of taste, sweet, salty, astringent, bitter, sour and biting. However, it is not only the quantity or quality of the food but your way of eating it is also very important. Whatever food you eat, masticate it thoroughly and allow the saliva to reduce the eaten morsel to a mere pulp before gulping it down. Always eat 75 to 80% to your total capacity and leave enough room for the movement of gas/liquid etc. to help the system digest the eaten food quickly. Drinking water with food should be totally far gives, \drink water always half an hour before and half on hour after your having food. Drink lots of water between your meals but not ‘with them.
For your help we give below some guidelines following which you shall remain healthy. Adherence to them will not only keep diseases and disorders at bay but enhance also the age of your healthy life.
(i) The food that we eat helps build the blood cells, nerves, bones and muscles in our body. It has been proved scientifically that food which is highly processed and high in protein, fat, salt and sugar leads to health problems. Nutritious food (balanced wholesome diet), moderate exercises, drinking enough-[8/10 glasses (3 litres)] water, enjoying fresh air and sunshine, resting adequately everyday will ensure a healthy body and healthy mind.
(ii) Overhaul/detoxify the system completely by fasting 2 to 4 days every three months with liquids, preferably fresh lemon water with honey 4-5 times daily and follow it up with an all-fruit course for 5 to 7 days and then resort to normal diet cautiously and gradually. Take enema on the days of fasting immediately after taking mud pack for 15/20 minutes. Also take abdominal pack at night.
(iii) Abdomen must be kept cool and soft always. All liquid intake should be close to the body temperature as far as possible. Take mud pack, hip bath, enema and oil massage intermittently.
(iv) Drink 1 or 2 glasses of water on rising, every morning.
(v) Dental health plays a vital role in causing a troubled abdomen; an unhealthy abdomen is responsible for most of the diseases.
(vi) Use honey and molasses instead of sugar. Use a lot of garlic and some ginger (Read more on health benefits of ginger)if they suit. Take maximum roughage/fibre.
(vii) Avoid non-vegetarian, concentrated, stimulating, intoxicating and gas forming food.
(viii) Ideal time for lunch is 10.00 a.m. and for dinner 7.00 p.m. May take some fruits (one variety only) around 2.00 p.m. Take only two meals a day and satisfy 80% of your hunger or appetite. Do not drink water during meal but take in plenty one hour after the meal. Chew well. Do not eat if not hungry or in bad mood/anger or at odd hours.
(ix) Shun-smoking, tea, coffee, alcohol, zarda, panmasala, soft drinks and drugs.
(x) Going for brish walk and/or doing. Yoga for 30 to 60 minutes daily-is a must.
(xi) Wash vegetables and fruits properly under running water, scrubbing with a brush before cutting, as they contain pesticides and contaminants. If any germs are suspected then wash in water with diluted solution of potassium permanganate.
(xii) Ensure good digestion, sound sleep, good appetite and evacuation of bladder and bowels regularly and naturally.
(xiii) Tension is very harmful, as it causes flatulence, constipation, irritability, besides liver and heart problems. Hence, change the way of living. Do not work for long hours. Do not become a workaholic. Do Shavasan and enjoy minimum 7 hours sound sleep daily.
(xiv) Always use polyunsaturated oil and reduce welt and sugar intake to the minimum possible level.
(xv) After lunch, rest a while and after dinner, walk a mile-is a wise old recommendation. Relax in Vajrasan for 10-15 minutes after the meal.
(xvi) Take very light but nutritious food which includes fruits, skimmed milk and yoghurt (curds).
(xvii) For healthy condition, 80 per cent of alkaline foods to 20 per cent of acid foods are needed. For curative treatment, 100 per cent alkaline diet is needed. Alkaline food and drink purify the blood. Refined and processed food tend to acidify and pollute the blood and the cells.
(xviii) Select your food from the following.
(a) Acid producing foods:
All flesh foods, fish, pulses, white bread, polished rice, white flour, nuts, confectionery, sweets, coffee, tea, cocoa, alcohol, boiled buffalo milk, fried foods, concentrated foods, hydrogenated stuff, powder milk, chilled foods, cheese, white sugar, beans, onions, peanuts, tomatoes, jam and all preservatives, pickles, unripe fruits, refined stuff, grapes, high protein food.
(b) Alkali producing foods:
All kinds of vegetables, potatoes, fresh fruits, butter-milk, fresh lemon, coconuts (tender), figs, dates, almonds, loquates, skimmed milk, yoghurt, molasses, olives, sweet oranges, dry fruits, sprouts, whole flour/unpolished rice, honey.
(xix) It is suggested that one may keep the following items at home. They are negligible in cost, but help in maintaining healthy body (of course, a support of exercises and balanced diet is prerequisite of Naturopathy):
(a) Hip bath tub
(b) Fomentation bags
(c) Abdomen/chest pack
(d) Mud tray and towel
(e) Enema Kit
(f) Bucket for hot foot bath
(g) Tumbler for Jalneti
(h) Infra-red lamp
(i) Facial steam kit
Thus we see that our senses and faculties sometimes work at cross-purposes, and throw the body out of gear. It can be brought back to normalcy by observing the simple do’s and don’ts enumerated above.