Ayurvedic rules emphasize on healthy eating habits – and these start with metabolism and digestion. The knowledge of eating intelligently is to be obtained for eating wisely all your life.
“As long as we are not living in harmony with nature and our constitution, we cannot expect ourselves to be really healed. Ayurveda gives us the means.”
– David Frawley
Food is much more powerful than medicine. Ayurveda lays much more emphasis on natural food meant for our body type. If we understand our Dosha’s and eat food according to our physiology following a saatvic (pure food) routine – it automatically makes digestion easier. Moreover, our body’s natural intelligence understands the connect it has with the brain and the hormones that cause the hunger pangs. Most importantly, it helps interpret them correctly and eat as per the recommended Ayurvedic principles. Then only, we shall be able to avail the benefits of a healthier, happier life no matter what our age is.
Eat Naturally Intelligent Foods
Do you know that by 2023 the food additives industry is predicted to grow at a rate of 6% yearly. In United States alone above 10,000 various kinds of additives are allowed in food items supplied inspite of potential health threats and “potential problems within the system to ensure their safe use”. The chemicals and pesticides used in foods have health issues as their side effects.
The natural intelligence of nature is not in sync with processed foods, artificial preservatives, synthetic chemicals or genetically- modified foods. “When we consume food that lacks intelligence, we take in vibrations incongruent with our body’s internal orchestra and compromise the intelligent functioning of our cells.” -Mark Bunn. By consuming food lacking in intelligence over the passage of time your bodies are out of tune. You loose the vigor and ease known as second nature to your body. According to ancient medicine it is a sign of cellular disharmony, therefore you will start showing signs of mental dullness and fatique.
What is intelligent food?
Nature works intelligently in growing fruits and vegetables. The presence of intelligence is alive in the fruit. For instance – if you pluck and bite into a ripe apple or mango from a tree – it makes you feel good and is in sync with your body. You can only do it if it is a seasonal fruit or vegetable. Earth naturally produces fruits and vegetables your body needs at that point of time in the year.
In comparison to the above – think of the fruits added to your breakfast cereal containing ‘artificially manipulated milk’ , ‘refined sugar’ and ‘processed cereal and fruits.’ As per the manufacturer of the cereal box – it contains nutritional value like proteins, minerals, vitamins and carbohydrates. However, the manufacturer fails to mention if there is any intelligence in the food. The fact is that the manufacturer has taken away most of the nutrition before packing it in the cardboard box.
Thus, these kinds of food are called non-intelligent or ‘intelligence-extracted foods. “When we consume foods that lack intelligence, we take in vibrations incongruent with our body’s internal orchestra and significantly compromise the intelligent functioning of our cells.”
Intelligent foods are “health-promoting vibrations” naturally presence in original natural foods.
There are namely three types of Ayurvedic foods:
1. Pure food (Sattvic)
2. Stimulating Food (Rajasic)
3. Impure and Rotten food (Tamasic)
Pure Food (Sattvic):
Pure food invokes ‘calmness and purity’ to the person eating them, as well as ‘nourishing and soothing’ to the body.
Stimulating Food (Rajasic):
Rajasic food brings a restlessness and animal like passion in human beings who eat them. You experience nervous and circulatory disorders like uric acid diseases, high blood pressure or hardening of the arteries.
Impure Food (Tamasic):
The impure food – turns a person lazy and dull at the same time. The capacity to think is reduced to a level as an animal or bushman. He fails to have a purpose in life or high ideals. Moreover on the physical side he suffers from chronic ailments. “The natural appetite is nature’s instinct in the animal kingdom to protect it’s life upon the earth, and the instinct very seldom fails.” As we take refuge in nature our instincts will automatically guide us.
Natural Intelligence of our Bodies:
The natural intelligence our bodies have is to process natural food items such as organic fruits and vegetables and fresh whole grains. For millions of years human beings evolved by eating natural foods, however in the last 100 years or so the trend of artificial ingredients and toxic pesticides have been added to our food list. As a result life threatening diseases like cancer has hit the human race.
As per Alan Marks CEO of Maharishi Ayurveda wrote: “Cancer is caused by a toxic environment, including our food supply; cancer is a symptom of a toxic environment. It is the body’s response to toxicity. Traditional Western medicine would have us believe the model that there is something wrong with the human body that must be cured. This is the paradigm of the cancer economy. This argument turns the truth on its head. When our bodies are thrown out of balance due to long-term exposure to toxins and from living an unhealthy lifestyle, the result is cancer. According to Ayurveda, cancer is one of the most extreme expressions of imbalance in the body. The social and long-term cure for cancer is cleaning up our environment and food chain. How we sow, so shall we reap. When we toxify our mother earth, the result is that our bodies become toxic.”
In the USA on an average a person consumes 9 pounds of chemical additives yearly through their food choices. A staggering 1 billion pound of additives are added to food consumed each year.
Whenever possible, choose organic, unprocessed foods. The key is to live a balanced lifestyle with proper rest, pure food, physical exercise, staying hydrated to enable our bodies to cleanse the impurities.
I. Natural Hunger or Appetite:
You see people taking huge bites and almost gulping down the food. This is not the normal manner in which human beings are built to eat. As per Ayurvedic rules on eating – once you learn to chew food naturally, your reaction to abnormal appetite will decrease and you will reduce eating out of compulsion. As a result, you will start feeling natural hunger.
Natural appetite is essentially an instinct of every human and animal to keep oneself alive. As the modern science developed – your power to reason diminished and you started getting confused since you stopped listening to your gut feeling. Even though you are a rational being, yet, you have forgotten to use your reasoning power to restore your natural instinct.
As soon as you start moving towards nature – your natural instincts will refrain you from indulging in dishes and drinks that cause diseases.
II. Beware of Emotional Eating:
If you turn to eating a piece of chocolate or coffee when you feel tired, exhausted, sad, or overwhelmed at work or home – you are an emotional eater.
Do you feel comfortable if you dig out chips the moment you feel lonely. In Deepak Chopra’s book “What are you hungry for?” he says: “In the act of eating, your self-image is involved, along with your habits, conditioning, and memories. The mind is the key to losing weight, and when the mind is satisfied, the body quits craving too much food.”
A mind-body approach is best suited to fulfill your hunger. Food alone is not responsible to fulfill this hunger. Learn to nourish:
1. Firstly, learn to fill your heart with love, compassion and joy
2. Boost mind with knowledge
3. Raise your your spirit with self-awareness and equanimity
4. and lastly, nurture your body with healthy food
Analysis of different ‘Feelings’ due to Eating Patterns:
Eating normally: You feel good and normal
Overeating: initially you feel good however, you turn uncomfortable in the end.
Overeating due to Cravings: brings out your feelings of remorse, guilt and sometimes frustration.
Addiction to Food or Drinks: your health declines, suffer and acquire low self-esteem.
Remember, you shift from normal eating to overeating – only due to lack of the feeling of “fulfillment.” You start overeating when you want to make up for the lack of something. Identify the lack and fulfill it by doing simple joyous things like;
– Calling your Mum and telling her how much you love her
– Going for a short stroll to the neighborhood park or bringing in houseplants to energize your works space
– Taking a five minute break and listening to your favorite song number on your headphones as you jog round the block.
– Giving and get a hug back to your favorite person at work.
III. Brain and Food Connect:
Brain controls hunger when in its natural state. The hypothalamus in the brain is an almond-sized area in the brain – it receives messages as soon as your blood sugar falls below a certain level. Therefore, on receiving this message it starts secreting hormones to make you feel hungry. However, as soon as you eat enough the hormones stop secreting. This phenomenon between brain and hormones and hunger has been going on ever since the evolution of human beings.
Interestingly, you should know that every animal with a spinal cord or vertebrate also has a hypothalamus – making hunger a basic need.
However, human beings are special as in their case the mood decides the feeling of being hungry or not. We could be hungry or be averse to food depending on what emotions we are going through. The interpretation by brain of hunger is not always right – a lot of times it also misinterprets desires other than food to be hunger pangs.
Desires could come from basic needs like:
1. Feeling be nurtured
2. Want to be safe and secure
3. Craving to be loved and appreciated
4. To feel life is meaningful and relevant
Therefore, when you feel hungry ask yourself – if that is truly hunger you are experiencing or just a need to fulfill one of the above basic needs. As a result you will tend to eat only when your body is naturally hungry and is not craving for some other emotional need.
“The story of overweight in America is the story of missed fulfillment.” Even though, they have the best foods and opportunities in the world yet people are eating the worst and feel lonely and sad instead of eating a healthy Ayurvedic diet.
Comfort Foods and Ayurveda:
Each one of us has a different definition of ‘Comfort Food.’ Irish Scones for St. Patrick’s Day, Ginger Bread Cookies for Christmas, Waffles with Chocolate sauce for Breakfast! These kind of food could give you short term comfort yet are not suitable for long term Ayurvedic health.
Real comfort foods are not just satisfying – they are also, nutritious and contain a balanced diet to satisfy your body’s needs. As per Ayurveda the food you eat should be intelligent enough to balance both the mind and body.
An Ayurvedic diet allows you to eat mainly whole or minimally processed food items along with the practice of following mindful eating rituals.
IV. Eating Naturally Intelligent Food:
First and foremost – as per Ayurveda you should be mindful and include all six tastes—sweet, salty, sour, bitter, pungent and astringent in every meal to create a balance.
Food you eat should be happy, lively and full of energy. When food is grown freshly, in an organic manner and home-cooked – it automatically carries nature’s intelligence to your body and brain. In Ayurvedic terms these foods are called Triptighna – both nourishing and satisfying.
Junk foods, leftover food, processed food, frozen or preserved foods do not have the intelligence to satisfy you or satiate your food cravings. Resultant, you gain weight due to overeating since you feel under-nourished.
V. Cooking Food or Eating it Raw – Ayurvedic Tips
As per Ayurvedic eating rules – At the same time when we want to keep the intelligence of our food alive, we also want the food to be easily digestible. Cooking is the medium to inject fire element in our food for better digestion.
Body needs food for mainly two reasons: (1) fuel to supply energy (2) to repair body tissues.
Our bodies require four elements to rebuild and repair:
3. Protein and nitrogenous food
4. Minerals and vitamins
You will find them in large proportions in vegetable than in animal tissues.
1. Carbohydrates (Sugar and starches):
Oats, wheat, rice and other food grains and potatoes (to be eaten after cooking).
2. Hydrocarbons and Fats:
All protein food, vegetable oils, butter and cheese contain carbohydrates and fats.
Milk, cheese, nuts, peas, etc contain nitrogenous food.
4. Minerals and Vitamins:
Minerals are mainly found: in Fruits, vegetables like iron, lime, soda, potassium, etc. They act as eliminators, blood purifiers, antiseptics and produce electromagnetic energy you find in the plant kingdom.
Vitamins are found: in vegetables that can be eaten raw like spinach, cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes.
Vitamin A and B: do not get affected by boiling, however get destroyed by frying.
Vitamin C: is necessary for bones and teeth and found only in green leafy vegetables, fruits and a little bit in milk. You will destroy it’s properties rapidly – if it is heated, dried, dehydrated, preserved, canned or washed. Therefore a diet of fresh fruits like oranges, pineapples, lemons, leafy vegetables or salads is good for a vitamin rich diet.
VI. Spice up the Intelligence – Ayurvedic WAy
Spices are an integral part of Ayurvedic eating as it not only makes the food taste delicious, however it also enhances the intelligence of your dishes.
Benefits of Spices:
Help in flavors, digestion and assimilation. You should eat spices in their best form either by roasting, drying or sauteing them in ghee before adding them to food.
Spices become therapeutic when you cook and eat them in place of sprinkling them raw on the food items.
Ayurvedic Spices and their uses:
Turmeric, Black pepper, cumin, saffron, fennel, Asafetida (hing), corainder, mint, cloves, cinnamon, cardammom, nutmeg, cayenne and dried ginger powder help in balancing Doshas and also boost metabolism. They play on all your five senses and turn an ordinary meal into a delicious one.
Spices work slowly and gently and you gain the benefits over the period of time.
Ayurvedic Physicians advise to refrain from eating spices in the form of a pill or capsule – since they are active ingredients should not be isolated of food. To avail optimal benefits you must consume spices with food items.
In the last 50-100 years by filling our plates and body with various chemical preparations – we have become weak in nutrition. This is because, our food has become processed and refined where the chemicals use up the body’s vitamins. Therefore, for a healthy life and longevity, it is important to consume an Ayurvedic Eating Style.