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“We Are What We Eat” Series, Part III


Sukti amongst the Mexican Flowers

Ayurveda approaches health through diet based on eight simple concepts – these are the second four:

Five: Place (Desha)

The classification of Places into distinct types, for example; marshy, dry and normal, reflects diverse climatic conditions and their influence on the body when she eats. As the individual perceives a complimentary environment, the body absorbs nutrients from food with ease, which in turn exerts positive effects on both body and mind.

Six: Time or Period (Kala)

Food consumed at proper intervals gives the body freedom to digest and assimilate. Once a meal is properly digested, the next meal may be eaten. Types of foods eaten, as well as quantities and quality should conform to seasonal changes, both in environment and availability. As a general rule, the main meal should be eaten between 11 to 2 in the afternoon.

Seven: Rules for Eating (Upayoga Sanstha)

  • Food should be consumed while hot, as this will naturally increase the secretion of the digestive enzymes.
    • Meals must be eaten in a relaxed, calm and cheerful atmosphere. One should not eat when nervous, angry, anxious or in a disturbed state of mind.
    • Eating too slowly or too rapidly, talking, laughing, thinking or watching television during meals is not advisable.
    • Putting one’s attention on the food with the thought that this food is going to benefit the body and mind, does indeed benefit the body and mind!
    • Smoking, drinking too much water or any other liquid after eating, is not advisable.
    • Taking a shower and changing into clean clothes prior to cooking, creates a pleasing feeling in the body condusive to healthy assimilation of foods.
    • In the Indian social environment, a guest is treated like a god. Food is served to guests and children first.
    • Chanting of mantras and offering prayers to God adds a beautiful ritual space to the atmosphere, as Gratitude adds her benefit on every level.
  • Eight: The Consumer of the Food (Upabhokta )

    If one observes the above mentioned, eating as per his/her constitution, digestive capacity, season, time of the day and digestion status of the last meal consumed, then the Body has upmost opportunity to make thorough use of the Blessing of Food provided.

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