Ayurvedam consists of works from different rishis and maharishis like Maharishi Charak, Maharshi Sushrut etc. It’s believed that primarily Bhagwan Dhanwantri passed on this knowledge of Ayurvedam to our rishis and so we celebrate Dhanteras which is ideally the day of health and not wealth. It’s the most ancient, advanced and vast form of medical sciences. Most people nowadays think that its only limited to some jadi buti stuff but the fact is that Maharshi Sushrut was the founder of surgery and plastic surgery. Yes, he did plastic surgery thousands of years ago and mentioned the complete procedure in his book Sushrut Samhita which is still present. Ayurvedam has an organic cure for every disease in this world and explicitly mentions about the impact of thousands of herbs on the body. Its unfortunate that we’re unaware of our rich heritage.
‘’Right now what is the most important thing in your life? Your bank balance, your business, your family, your relationships, what you’re planning or your’re alive right now, which is the most important thing? You’re alive right now is the most important thing.’’ These lines by Sadhguru draws our immediate attention towards the significance of a healthy body because without it everything is useless. It should be the priority in our daily lives.
According to modern sciences, there are a lot many things which we need to consider while choosing a healthy meal like calories, nutrients, vitamins, weight of food and what not. When it comes to our Ayurvedic scriptures then it has some pretty basic rules of having a meal for a healthy lifestyle. In this blog we’ll discuss about those basics with proper explanation. This blog may be lengthy but it’ll be adding a lot of value in your life. This blog is inspired by the references of scriptures provided by a certified Ayurvedic doctor, Dr. Arun Mishra(BAMS). Hindi translation and other important links will be provided in the end of this blog.
Pre-meal directions :
»»» First of all, Ayurvedam mentions about hygiene i.e. hands, feet and mouth should be properly washed before sitting for a meal.
Bad germs and bacteria can enter in our body and make us fall sick which needs to be washed off from our hands and same goes for rinsing the mouth. Scriptures also say to clean our feet properly because it ignites the digestive fire.
Note- Do not use handwash or soap with harsh chemicals or with toxic ingredients as it will also kill the good bacteria which are helpful for proper digestion and those harsh chemicals can even go inside the body. So, use organic soaps or handwash or simply use soil to clean palm of hands. Avoid sanitizers as well
»»» To eat food, one should sit on a mat in sukh asana(legs cross folded).
As per Ayurvedam, this is the best posture in which the food assimilates properly.
»»» Never eat anything when you’re emotionally disturb.
When we’re emotionally disturb, our digestive fire is hampered. That is why we don’t feel hungry when we’re in immense states of negative feelings. Therefore, we shouldn’t eat anything during that time otherwise the food will not get digested properly and produce toxins in the body which will further lead to diseases.
»»» Express gratitude towards the food by thanking Ishwar and the farmer.
Ishwar has given us this body and a free will to do anything in this universe and food provided by Ishwar is a support system to do karm. So, we must express gratitude towards it.
A farmer does immense efforts to bring food on our table. A person with 9-5 cubicle job can’t even think of that much hard work. In an ideal society a farmer should be one of the most respected person. Unfortunately, from the Britisher era to the pseudo Britishers era(us) nothing has changed for them. At least thank them with your heart before having the meal.
It makes mind satvik and makes food much more pleasant for the body.
What to eat and what to avoid?
»»» Avoid calculating calories, protein, vitamins etc. and just try to assimilate all 6 tastes in your meal i.e. sweet(meetha),bitter(kadwa),astringent(kasaila),spicy(teekha),sour(khatta) and salty(namkeen).
Rather than focusing on vitamins, nutrients, calories etc., a person should only focus on having all 6 tastes in the diet and the sources of these tastes should change regularly. Such type of diet will automatically take care of the body.
»»» Eat seasonal and local fruits and vegetables instead of fancy imported stuffs.
Mother nature knows the way to balance out things. She knows which food is suitable for which locality and season. So, stay away from those wrongly marketed avocados and choose fruits and vegetables which are local, fresh and seasonal.
»»» Eat cooked food within three hours of its cooking as it becomes tamasic after that and will do more harm than good whether it is kept in fridge or preserved by adding chemicals.
In Bhagavat Geeta, Yogiraj Shri Krishna also says to eat cooked food as soon as you can because it starts to loose it’s satvik properties once it gets cooked and becomes rajasic or tamasic after a time period of 1.5 hours to 3 hours depending on the food’s nature.
Ayurvedam also recommends the same to eat hot and fresh and completely avoid food which was cooked before the 3 hours window because eating them to save food will be a stupid decision, instead offer it to an animal.
Now you know what to do with those packed items of chips, bhujiya, biscuits, ice-creams etc. available in the nearby stores. Don’t give it to an animal because even animals deserve better than eating those items made out of palm oil, refined flour, sugar, artificial flavours, colors etc. Simply don’t purchase them or eat them.
»»» Eat flour(atta) instead of refined flour(maida),pure cold pressed mustard or sesame or groundnut oil or ghee instead of refined oil, thread mishri(not small mishri crystals) or jaggery instead of refined sugar, sendha namak or rock salt instead of iodised salt etc.
In this modern time, our daily used products are also not left pure and we have started using unhealthy items on a daily basis.
Maida or refined flour sticks to the intestines which when rots up produces toxins which get mixed with our blood and makes the whole body unhealthy because the same blood transforms into our different body organs.
Oil is very essential and healthy for our body but choosing the wrong oil can be really disastrous because each cell in our body comprises of 40 percent oil. So, it’s really important to choose an oil or ghee which is not extracted by heating methods or is refined. It should be pure.
Sugar crystals are chemically refined and is the reason for a sudden increase in the diabetes cases in our country. Jaggery or large mishri pieces(tied in a thread) are it’s guilt free alternatives.
Only salt recommended in Ayurvedam is rock salt. Salt obtained from ocean can create vata disorders which can lead to severe headaches, joint pain etc. Nowadays, we see people with uncontrolled blood pressure and this iodised salt has played an important role in it. Use sendha namak or rock salt or Himalayan pink salt as its alternative which is very beneficial for the body.
The list goes on and on so choose things which are organic and close to nature like our desi masalas or spices instead of those Chings or Maggie masala which has dangerous chemicals in it. Replace white rice with red rice or semi-brown rice, maida with atta and atta with traditional chakki atta which has thicker consistency, polished dal with unpolished organic dals.
»»» Don’t compromise with your food cravings but turn those cheat meals into treat meals and completely avoid junk for the rest of the life.
Eating pure is very important for the body because “Jaisa Khave Ann, Waisa hove mann”.We shouldn’t give up on everything in the name of health rather choose the ingredients wisely for the food we make out of it.
For example, if someone likes momos then it can be made at home with atta rather than the one sold outside which is filled with harmful items like maida, ajino moto, mayonnaise and artificial red color in the chutney.
In the same way use healthy ingredients to turn your cheat meal into treat meal and enjoy them regularly. Easy healthy recipes links for pizza, ice-cream, chocolate etc. Are provided in the end of this blog.
»»» Don’t fall for any fancy health diets like Keto, raw food or oil-less diet etc. and eat food made at home which is rich in different varieties of spices and superfoods.
The process of making food including its ingredients in our country is very smartly engineered by our ancestors. Have faith in it and avoid these new fancy diets trends which come up every month and get reversed because of its side effects.
»»» Never eat food, cooked or served in aluminum or non-stick or plastic utensils. Use iron, steel or clay utensils instead. Also eat food cooked or heated on fire not from un-ethical sources like cooker or microwave oven or air fryer.
Aluminum and plastic are great discoveries but these were not invented to cook food in it. In fact Britishers started the culture of serving food in the jails in aluminum plates so that our patriot prisoners die early. Unfortunately, in most of the Indian kitchens, we can find a cooker or a non-stick utensil made out of aluminum. Throw them away or if you eat outside then ask the manager to replace those aluminum utensils with iron or steel or clay utensils.
»»» Never re-heat food once it gets cold.
Ayurvedam recommends that we shouldn’t re-heat the food which is cooked once. Oil when re-heated acts like poison for the body. In the same manner when food is consumed after re-heating then its harmful for the body.
»»» Eat according to your Ayurvedic body type.
There are three types of dosh in human body i.e. vata, pitta and kapha. When three of them are completely balanced then that person is healthy and when a dosh becomes dominant than others then diseases related to that dosh emerges out. Every disease in human body from cold to cancer is due to the imbalance of these three dosh.
The dominant dosh of our body is primarily decided by our genes, then by our age and lastly by our lifestyle. No matter which dosh is dominant in you, it can be balanced by fixing our lifestyles. These dosh with seven different permutation-combination is responsible for one’s body shape, intellect, nature and fields of interest. This is the reason why one person puts on weight easily while the other can’t, even when both have the same diet and working schedule. A detailed blog will be provided soon where you’ll be able to know your body type and become your own doctor and dietician.
»»» Never eat things which are not meant for humans like non-veg. Food obtained out of violence and miseries should be avoided at any cost.
Modern science views keeps on changing when it comes to non-veg, so, its not reliable. The stand of Ayurvedam on non-veg is that all sort of non-veg including eggs are tamasic(have negative impact on body and mind) and not meant for humans to consume. Though its consumption totally depends on the personal willingness as the phal of karm would be faced by them. Again, it’s a vast topic and needs to be covered in a separate blog where we would de-bunk the common myths floating around it like its rich protein source, must for strong body etc. and we’ll also discuss about the illogical logics presented in veg vs non-veg debates like the population of animals or its comparison with trees and dairy products.
»»» Check the ingredient of every item you buy from the market in the name of healthy products and discard it if its not 100 percent natural (no artificial chemicals, colors, fragrances, preservatives etc. should be present)
Now we know that most of the packed food items in the market are cooked days or even months before so it makes them tamasic. Prefer making your favorite items at home.
While purchasing non-cooked food items keep an eye on the ingredient list and avoid them if they have added preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, chemicals, refined flour, bad oils and even our regular sugar as that is chemically refined.
Most of the companies and food items sold nearby don’t qualify in these two tests for example, Maggie, Lays, Kurkure, biscuits, corn-flakes, Patanjali muesli, mixtures etc. etc. Never trust any brand or their health promises on the front label of packets. Buy organic and pure items online in case of unavailability in local stores.
»»» Don’t eat wrong combinations of food items.
Coat is a stylish and fashionable cloth. Half-pants are cool and comfortable. Though wearing both of them together will be a disaster as they don’t go with each other. In the same manner you may be eating two very healthy items but their combination can be very unhealthy and some of them are even act like poisons. Here is a list of some of them (search the web with “wrong food combinations as per Ayurvedam” and get complete list)
Honey with Ghee mixed in dis-proportionate amounts acts like poison.
Curd with cucumber or salt are not ideal. Though curd can be consumed with sendha namak once in a while and same can be done while preparing kadhi. (Cucumber Raita and Kadhi)
Milk with salt, most fruits including bananas , sour items, onion, vegetables etc. are wrong combinations. Ideally milk should be consumed alone or with very few items which goes with its nature like dry fruits, few drops of ghee, mishri etc. (Avoid adding milk or its cream(makhan) to vegetables. Paneer vegetable or vegetable made in ghee doesn’t have any issue.)
»»» Consume A2 milk and products made out of it only.
Milk and its products like ghee, paneer, dahi etc. are considered superfoods in Ayurvedam but the catch is that all of its benefits are mentioned for milk obtained from a desi cow which is considered A2 milk. Modern scientists have now admitted that milk obtained out of foreign breed cows (A1 milk) like jersey does worse than good but the A2 milk obtained from Bharatiya breeds like Gir, Sahiwal, Kankrej etc. are healthy and beneficial for body.
Milk sold by famous dairy brands in the market is A1 milk. Moreover, the process of making the golden nectar(ghee) is not followed by any of the brands be it Amul, Patanjali or any other famous brand. Milk of a desi breed cow is heated on a lakdi chulha for 7-10 hours, then its turned into curd, then the curd is churned with bilona to obtain makhan and finally ghee is obtained from the makhan by heating. One litre of ghee requires 25-30 litres of milk. So, you may calculate the ideal price of original ghee accordingly. Link to such ghee is provided in the last of the blog. For pure A2 milk, search the web and ask them to deliver it in metal or glass bottle as plastic hinders its quality. The milk will cost around 70-100 rupees per liter and its worth its price if cow and all its family is nurtured properly. Eat less but quality shouldn’t compromise.
»»» Our meal must contain fifty percent of solids, twenty-five percent of liquids and rest twenty-five percent stomach should be kept empty.
This is the ideal proportion of every meal in which 50 percent of the stomach should be filled with solids like rice, roti etc. 25 percent with liquid like dal, chaach, lassi etc. and 25 percent should be left empty.
»»» Don’t eat food at wrong time or season.
A very healthy food when eaten at wrong time of the day or wrong season then it may harm more than good.
Curd, rice, fruits etc. foods which have cool potency and can cause kapha imbalance if eaten at night. Curd or banana when eaten in winter then it can cause sinus or cough problems. When the mango is eaten before its season i.e. unripe mangoes then it will harm the body and aggravate pitta dosh.
»»» Have sweet curd after breakfast, chaach or buttermilk in afternoon and milk at night or at wrong temperature of that item.
This type of heavy diet is suitable for people who do intense workout and need rich sources of protein in their diet. For a normal person half liter of milk at night (3 hours after dinner) is good enough.
»»» Salted salads or fruits.
Avoid adding salt on salads and eat it raw as unsalted one can be absorbed more easily by the body. Otherwise, add rock salt to it.
»»» In case of unviability of organic fruits and vegetable, dip them with a good quality baking soda for 15-20 minutes and then wash it.
The vegetables and fruits sold near our homes are mostly grown with pesticides, fertilizers, ripening agents and other chemicals. If one has no other way than eating it then he/she should use baking soda as it approximately removes 98 percent of these pesticides and fertilisers. It is the best we can do or you may take the initiative to convince local farmers for tree based mixed organic farming or build your own farm.
»»» Don’t buy GMO or hybrid food and vegetables.
The modern way of modifying seeds and its products are not good for the body and causes serious health problems like making testosterone levels low in a human body. The most common foods which are genetically modified are carrots, mangoes, papaya, guava, soyabean, corn and tomatoes. Ask the vendor for the desi or non-hybrid variety. The common way to identify hybrid items are that they’re oversized. In carrots orange carrot is desi whereas red one is genetically modified.
In our Bharat, we have been modifying fruits and vegetables from a long time but in an organic way and this the reason why we see large varieties of same fruits and vegetables in Indian market like the different varieties of mango and banana. This traditional way of modifying fruits and vegetables is written in Vruksha Ayurvedam (Treatment of trees). The process mentioned in Vruksha Ayurvedam is completely organic and is good for the body.
»»» Food cooked in the presence of sunlight and pure air is considered best.
Food prepared while maintaining such conditions are considered best as per scriptures.
Note:- Under the sunlight, does not mean directly under the sun. It resembles that food should be prepared under the presence of natural light. Similarly, in presence of air doesn’t mean that we prepare food in an open vessel, instead mitti utensils should be used which have pores in it.
When to eat?
»»» Ayurvedic scriptures primarily recommend two to three meals a day in which the first meal should be in the morning(anywhere between 7am to 9am), second meal should be in the afternoon(anywhere between 12pm to 2pm) and the last meal should be in the evening(between 5pm to 7pm). After that only milk can be taken at night (30-60 minutes before sleep or when felt hungry).
For a physically non-active person, Ayurvedam recommends only two meals i.e. in the morning and in the evening with 8 hours of gap, similar to an agnihotra yagya.
For a person who’s physically active can have 3 meals a day with five hours of gap each. Ideal times mentioned above.
Now, most of us are habituated of eating at night but it is not a right thing to do as per Ayurvedam because our digestive fire is closely related to sun. When the sun is up, our digestive fire is up and when it goes down, our digestion also dampens. Any food item other than milk is not digested properly when consumed at night. The food may rot up inside and cause serious health issues. So, eat before the sunset. In this way, you can also protect yourself from eating crap outside because of hunger in the evening.
Anyhow, if its not possible then here are few tips which when followed will help in proper digestion of food. First is performing Suryabhedi Pranayam (check steps on the web). Secondly, chewing and eating a small piece of adrak with pinch of sendha namak before starting the meal. When both of them are done together, it ignites the digestive fire and food gets digested much easily. Though, eating before sunset is recommended.
»»» Not even a piece of rice should be eaten before the previous food gets completely digested which typically requires 5 hours. So, avoid eating in fractions.
Nowadays, most of us have built a habit of munching on something for the whole day like an animal but humans are not supposed to do so. A proper meal requires 5 to 8 hours for proper digestion. If anything is eaten before the previous food is digested then it can be a great trouble because none of the two will get digested properly or the body may struggle managing them. If this habit is carried on for a long time then serious digestion like acidity (ajirna or indigestion) will be faced which can turn into serious diseases in the long run.
So, once the meal is complete, don’t eat anything for the duration in which the meal is getting digested. Once its digested completely then you’ll feel hunger but note that due to our bad practices the body may create fake hunger desires. So, to know the status of food’s digestion, keep a track on your burp and don’t eat till the burp has an essence of previous food. An intense hunger is also a good signal which usually happens at least after 5 hours of previous meal.
How to eat?
»»» Before starting to eat, offer some part of your food to any animal or a hungry being.
It was a ritual in our Bharatiya homes that cows, dogs, cats, beggars etc. should be fed first. The right order of having meal was deity or bhagwan or guests, animals, beggars or needy people, staffs or chefs, children, females and males of the family respectively.
»»» Don’t drink water during the meals and have it after 1.5 hours of meal completion. Eat anything only after 30 minutes if you have drunk water.
Water dilutes the HCl acid (jathar agni or digestive fire) which digests food in our stomach and hence Ayurvedam recommends not to drink water before, during and after having meals or eating anything. Drinking water disturbs the natural intelligence of producing right amount of diluted acid required for digestion in our body.
»»» Firstly finish the sweet dish of your meal.
Sweet dishes or dessert of the meal should be finished first as its heavy to digest and if its eaten at the end then the body may struggle digesting it.
»»» After having the sweet dish finish the raw items of your meal i.e. salads.
Ayurvedam says that raw and cooked food should never be combined and raw food should be finished right after the sweet dish. After that main course items should be touched.
»»» Chewing the food properly is another important aspect. The ideal duration for a meal should be around 20-30 minutes.
Till now you may have understood the significance of proper digestion for being healthy as for a healthy body, the digestion holds much larger significance than the quantity and quality of food. In that chain, it is advised that most of the food should be digested in the mouth itself. Each morsel (niwala) should be chewed at least 30 times before gulping down. Doing this will take 20 to 30 minutes for the completion of a meal.
»»» Don’t talk while eating your meal.
In foreign countries food choking is a very common problem because they use the meal time as a quality time with their families. Nothing wrong with spending time with them but while eating food mind should be concentrated only at the food otherwise we will not chew food properly or may even face food chokes. So, avoid speaking while having food.
»»» Use your fingers to eat anything.
Our body is made out of 5 elements and each of our fingers holds a different significance. So, eating with all our fingers add a certain value to our food. Though, it’s a very experiential thing and one cannot experience it without being spiritually ripe. So, a scientific explanation to it is that it has been observed that when food is eaten with fingers then a signal is sent to the body to start preparing for digestion and saliva is produced more and digestive fire burns up.
»»» Eat with all your senses present and avoid any sort of distraction or multitasking.
There is not much we know about the universe or even the non-physical dimensions of our body. Your body may be functioning properly even while eating and watching Television simultaneously. Ayurvedam emphasizes on avoiding distractions and multitasking while eating and express complete gratitude towards the food to get benefitted from it completely. Experiencing the subtler dimensions of food is only way to understand this statement. Till then we must believe in the statement made by spiritual siddhas in Ayurvedam.
Post-meal directions :
»»» Sit in vajra asana for at least 5-10 minutes after completing the meal.
One should sit in vajra asana after the completion of meal. Standing just after the meal completion leads to bloating, gas, heavy stomach and improper digestion whereas in vajra asana food gets assimilated properly and no abnormality is felt.
After it, one may also lie on the bed on his/her left side because if one sleeps on his/her right side then the acid will come up from the stomach. Moreover, by lying on the left side our right nostril gets activated and a form of surya bhedan pranayama starts which ignites the digestive fire further.
Note:- Don’t sleep after meals. Eat food at least 3 hours before sleeping and milk at least 30 minutes before sleeping.
»»» Don’t bath after eating.
Our body temperature rises up few temperatures after the meal completion to digest the food properly. Bathing after eating will hinder this process. So, bath at least 30 minutes before eating anything or at least 3-5 hours after eating something.
»»» Wash your dishes with wood ash and lemon or a 100 percent natural dish-wash liquid or bar.
»»» Clean your mouth properly by rinsing it with water and rubbing teeth and gums with finger. It will also take away the thirst.
»»» Ekadashi fasting is done in our country from a very long time. In this fasting, one has to stay on a liquid diet(preferably water or coconut water) in a duration of every 15 days. On the 11th day of every paksha(15 days) as per Hindu calendar(Sanatan Panchang) is the day when body doesn’t demand food.
Professor Yoshinori Ohsumi was awarded Nobel prize for his study on autophagy. His discoveries started a new craze of intermittent fasting which is nothing but a form of our age old Ekadashi fasting process.
»»» Fasting is the best remedy for fever and other seasonal diseases because till the time our immune system fights with the external virus or bacteria, we shouldn’t disturb it by adding food in the body without hunger. Modern doctors say to eat a lot when the body is sick but it’s the worst advice to a sick person as per Ayurvedam.
Till now, you may have understood that there are so much things we’re doing wrongly and that is the reason diseases are on rise. If you don’t fix these things then no matter you build up bulky muscles on your body but in reality you won’t be healthy. The most important thing to implement them is to remember them but you need not worry about remembering them like a school textbook because useful stuffs are stored in the long-term memory very easily. Only thing you need to do is to visit the blog again and again and implement everything one by one. To your surprise, I as the writer of this blog follow everything written in this blog and while writing it I didn’t re-visited a single source to re-call stuffs for the blog.
The blog ends here. Type “Bharat” in the comments below if you read it till here or you may also ask your doubts related to it in the comments. Do share it with your family and friends for their well-being. Hindi translated post is available below.
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DESI COW MILK FARMS LOCATED ALL OVER INDIA (Not Sponsored)
In and near DELHI NCR
In and near HYDERABAD
- http://godesimilk.com/ (Also Available in Chennai and Nagpur)
In and near MUMBAI
- https://aumrut.com/ (They have Foreign Breed Cow milk as well. Specifically ask for only Gir Cow Milk if you choose them.)
- http://provilac.com/a2-milk.html (Also available in Pune)
- https://dearcows.com/ (Gir Cow Milk Packet)
- https://bodhishop.in/pages/a2milk (Also available in Pune)
- https://www.gosrushti.in/ (Gir Cow Milk Packet)
In and near BANGALORE
- http://www.vrindavanmilk.com/desi-cow-milk/ (Desi Cow Milk Packet)
- http://www.indusmilk.com/index.html (Desi Cow Milk Packet)
In and near CHENNAI
In and near AHMEDABAD
- https://www.ayudaorganics.com/a2-milk (Also available in Gandhinagar)
In and near INDORE
In and near KOLKATA
In and near LUDHIANA