By Vishakha Moghe
“The only species that becomes nutritionally deficient is the human species. And we do so because we’ve completely lost touch with the inner wisdom of our bodies.”
Ayurveda has this wonderful way of explaining how we as human beings are unique from every other human being on the planet. This applies to the Prakruti (body constitution), the mental makeup and the eating habits. Eating does not mean feeding your body to sustain it; eating is an art and one must master it. How often do we carefully pick what we eat and concentrate on how our body assimilates it? Hardly ever! And that’s exactly where our problems begin.
Intelligent food is that which is full of “Prana”(life), energy and strength. It has the power to influence your consciousness and thoughts. At the same time, food brings anger, happiness and contentment depending on the way it is cooked and on the vibrations of the person who cooks it. The quality of food literally affects your mind, body and your thoughts. When you are aware of the qualities of foods you eat, you are being a conscious and a wise eater. But with all the chaos going on in our heads, we miss out on these simple pleasures of life.
How to be a Wise Eater?
1. Love the regional food- Food is life, it is the source of energy and it is an entity that has been wisely created by nature. Foods that are whole, unadulterated and that grow in your own region have the highest nutritive value and are intelligent in nature. Traditionally, Indians used to eat a fair amount of Bajra (Pearl Millet), Jowar (Sorghum) and Ragi (Finger Millet). These foods were packed with health, antioxidants and nutrition. We need to revive our love for traditional foods which is the only way we can save our future generations from hoards of allergies, nutrition deficiencies and other health problems.
2. Include all six tastes in your meal- When your body craves unhealthy food, it’s because your body isn’t getting its dose of all the six tastes namely- Sweet, Sour, Salty, Pungent, Bitter and Astringent. So it’s important that we include foods that fall under each category. Also, you should always begin your meal with something sweet and then eat the other foods one-by- one in the above mentioned order.
3. Minimize restaurant eating- No matter how much a restaurant claims to use safe ingredients and healthy cooking measures, restaurant food can be far from safe and healthy. Most of the time, we are unaware of the source of the ingredients esp. when the foods are animal-based. The kind of cooking oils used, the nature of the ingredients whether they are freshly bought or have been stored in the freezer for a long time is unknown to us. It’s always a better option to eat freshly cooked home food.
4. Avoid stale foods- Foods that are cooked in the morning can be eaten at night but foods that have been cooked at night shouldn’t be eaten in the morning since they turn stale due to night’s tamasik Also, the nutrients in the food die out. Stale food increases acid secretion that in turn worsens diseases like hyperacidity, digestive disorders and other ama-related disorders.
5. Eat the five main Sattvik foods in their natural, organic form when possible- Milk, Ghee, Honey, Fruit, Almonds. Milk is revered in Ayurvedic philosophy as a complete food.
6. Avoid eating canned and frozen foods- Every living food is full of Prana when it’s fresh. Food that has been frozen or preserved is devoid of prana. How much prana is present in a particular food is dependent on the length of time it has been frozen. As a rule of thumb, if your food hasn’t seen sunlight in a while, it’s best to reduce your consumption of that food or eliminate it from your diet altogether.
So many of us complain about our lack of energy, increased sluggishness and exhaustion; this is where the energy actually starts to manifest. Feed your body and mind with natural, prana-rich foods that have the power to entirely change the way you think and look at your body. Not only that, start maintaining a routine and sticking to it whole-heartedly. Eating is a sacred act of filling your body with good energy and life. The love, joy and happiness you feel while cooking it will bring the energy back into your life.
So vow to start eating your way to a healthy body and a sound mind!
Vishakha is an Ayurvedic practitioner, yoga counselor and a passionate traveler. She lays emphasis on living a healthy life by nourishing the body and mind with wholesome and natural food, meditation and yogic techniques. An Indian at heart, she aims at propagating the goodness of the Indian culture across the seven seas and stimulating thoughts by creating a hunger for knowledge.