Your food alone can keep you healthy
Food is vital for life. It is the right kind of fuel for all bodily needs. And yet we have managed to interfere with this vital input to an extent that food has become poison and poison has become food. The results are visible. The body has become a burden and medical expenses are the number one impoverishing factor. What can we do?
The solution is simple.
- Eat organic. Organic is ironically expensive. But still it is cheaper than hospital bills. Choose a farmers’ cooperative for your food needs. There are genuine such organizations that do not have the organic label. But they still produce good food and are less expensive.
- The same goes for milk. Milk is the most adulterated food on the planet. Choose a milkman and keep a little eye on him. Encourage him to go in for compassionate care of cattle. The animals can do without hormones, steroids and antibiotics. Many have serious reservations about all kinds of animal foods and become vegans. Many also suffer from allergies
- Include good oils and ghee in your food. They lubricate the body and brain
- Contaminated water is another concern. But the solution is not RO. Water contains a microbial world that is beneficial for us
- Junk food is not food. Even that biscuit contains additives and preservatives that play havoc with the microbiome. The body has to strain itself to digest junk food and the elimination organs have to deal with the toxicity. A lot of energy is wasted in the process and toxicity leaves its mark. It requires a lot of mindfulness and self discipline to steer clear of all kinds of processed and junk food but it is worth it in terms of health gained.
- Your food should be according to your culture as the gut microbiome has evolved out of centuries of food habits. What you need is what your ancestors had. Food in India can be divided into North Indian, South Indian, West and East Indian. Choose according to the region you belong to
- Do not forget the value of diversity in food. Have the plate that includes grains, pulses, vegetables, spices, greens, and fermented food. All tastes should be incorporated; sweet, bitter, pungent and astringent. Taste called Rasa in ayurveda is an important pointer towards bodily nourishment
- Fermented food like curd, pickles and kombucha are necessary for the gut microbes that are essential for digestion and assimilation of food
- Eat seasonal food during the seasons. Seasonal food and fruits are natures gift to address the impacts of the seasons. The same logic applies that they should not be consumed out of the season
- It is the duty of the cook to make the food look good, delicious, and with a rich aroma. These kindle the digestive fire and ensure good digestion from the moment the food hits the tongue
- If you need to reverse chronic disease you need to go on a raw diet. Teach yourselves the basics. Raw food is to be taken before sunset. Raw diets hydrate, supply the necessary nutrients, provide energy, and increase the vitality of the body very quickly and effectively
- Fasting is as important as eating. Fast at least once a month. It should be a complete fast with only water as per your thirst. Fasting for 17 to 18 hours is needed
- There are different kinds of fasting. Dry fasting, juice fasting, intermittent fasting, prolonged fasting. Do read up on their benefits. Fasting for a prolonged period yields the desired result. The famished body scavenges on dead cells. This is called autophagy
- Ensure use of genuine ingredients and oils for cooking. Prepare your own spices. Use cold pressed mustard, coconut, sesame, olive, and ground nut oils. Do not use other oils.
- Avoid the white poisons; sugar, salt, and maida (refined fluor). Use jaggery, burra (sugarcane sugar without additives), and sea salt
- Read about food combinations, good and bad and follow them
- As far as possible stop eating outside. Even the best of hotels are guilty of using very harmful ingredients. They also store food and serve stale refrigerated items that are best avoided
- Seemingly insignificant tasters like soup and ice cream served in hotels add to the disease burden
- Non vegetarian food is also highly toxic in these days of medically treated animals and birds boosted for milk, meat and egg production
- Eat on time so that the body can effectively digest the food. Chew well. Do not eat to the full, leave some space for the digestive process to work. Do not drink cold drinks along with/ after food. Do not eat all the time but only when you feel hungry.
- Taking a lot of water before, after, and during eating is not good. This dilutes the saliva and the digestive juices. Taking sips of water if one feels thirsty during eating it is fine
- Once you change your eating habits the body gets energized. Then it can go into a detoxification mode and you experience symptoms like cough, cold, fever, diarrhea, dysentery, skin rash etc. They can be mild and not violent. Do not be worried as it is an welcome step
- Stop eating if you experience illness. You will notice that your sense of taste and smell reduces in such times and you stop feeling hungry. This is a signal from the body that it does not want to spend its energy in digestion. Respect acute ailments because they are the rectification attempts of the body. Take water and rest in such times
- How to kindle the digestive fire? Hard work, eating mindfully and on time, avoiding binge eating, and paying attention to bowel movements is the key. Yoga asanas are very helpful. Take a glass of lukewarm water the first thing in the morning to cleanse the stomach and gut
- You need to pay attention to the food and your eating while taking food. This activates the saliva and other juices necessary for digestion and assimilation
- If you want to take supplements I would advise juices and herbal/ green powders, used judiciously. The supplement industry is very poorly regulated
- Good health leads to a good digestive process. A good gut also ensures overall good health. The digestive fire is the most important fire in the body
- Amla, Triphala, Avipattikar Choorna, Ashwagandha, Brahmi, Shatavari, Neem and Manjistha are herbs that address our common problems. The herb Bhuin Nimba (Kalmegh or Andrographis Paniculata) is a great liver tonic
- The homeopathic mother tinctures of Carica Papaya and Kalmegh sets right lack of appetite
- Take good quality aloe vera and wheatgrass juice regularly. These two super foods supply all the needs of the body and also help in detoxification. If aloe vera does not suit you in winter months take noni juice as a substitute
- Take care of the food needs of pregnant mothers, children and elderly. A good traditional nutritionist will guide
- You need to do physical exercise to ensure that the body performs the duties of digestion, assimilation, and elimination
- You should take adequate water everyday. Keep a water flask on your desktop and drink at least 2 to 3 liters per day. Your water intake must be according to your thirst. In summer times please add a little lemon and sea salt to your drinking routine.
Why is food important? The body carries out all its functions depending upon food alone. We do not notice this because we do not think and know about it. If you go without food for a number of days you will immediately know the importance of food. You will be weakened at physical and mental levels. Prolonged food deprivation leads to death.
How can food keep you healthy? Many of our ailments are due to various nutritional deficiencies. This happens when food loses its nutritional value due to loss of soil health and use of chemicals in agriculture. A lack of diversity in food also leads to deficiencies. Food also feeds the body with its water content and prevents dehydration. The solar energy is utilized by crops and eating the same transfers the energy into the body. The science of nutrition is the most important science we need for health.
The other two causes of disease are waste accumulation and toxicity. Under these conditions cells are over burdened/ damaged and cannot function leading to serious disease. Food raises the vitality of the body, and the energized body then performs the task of elimination and detoxification leading to symptoms like cold, cough, fever, dysentery, diarrhea, vomiting, and skin eruptions. After the elimination is over the body becomes healthy again.
The gut needs to be repaired as assimilation of food happens in the gut. With the flurry of junk and processed foods, the gut is in terrible shape. As the gut microbiome becomes accustomed to junk food it then craves for more leading to junk food addiction. Antibiotics also adversely affect the gut.
There are many studies that show that simply providing good food and nutrition do not lead to good health outcomes. There are many factors to be considered in today's hectic world. While food is required, the digestive and assimilation powers of the body need to be protected from environmental factors like pollution, chemicals, and poisons. People also need to resort to periodic fasting so the gut can reset itself. Please take the services of holistic healers to ensure gut health. Some methods are also suggested in this article.
Digestive disorders are reflected in the changes in mood and behavior patterns. While those with disturbed digestion manifest anger, panic results when the gut is affected. Depression is also an outcome. This happens because of two reasons. The gut is connected to the brain through the vagus nervous system. The second reason is that the microbial world determines our moods, emotions, and cravings. Thus keeping your digestive system in order is very important.
If you can follow these broad pointers and also teach your kids accordingly your family can stay healthy. Please ask your children to stay away from the trendy multinational eateries and foreign origin fast foods. Peer pressure is very detrimental these days. Junk and processed food not only have no nutritional value, they also lead to extreme harm due to the harmful ingredients.
Kindly share this note. People have forgotten the basics of health. They need to be reminded. There has been enough emphasis on disease. The trend needs to be reversed. We need to invest in food instead of paying hospital bills and health insurance premium. The author of this note does not have any health insurance as health is not the outcome of the hospital set up. Health is a personal responsibility and people should realize it.
May all beings be happy and healthy.
A long, pretty exhaustive article, Jagannath. Thank you for making it so readable.
Just one point I would like to add here that has been such a part of our tradition but completely overlooked in the present times: the silent chanting of mantras while cooking food/ playing bhakthi songs while the food is being cooked.
Keeping the annadata in a calm, happy mood meant the transfer of that same energy into the food being prepared.
Our ancestors knew the power of water to hold memory that's why so much importance given to the use of water in our traditional practices and religious functions.
We seem to have forgotten the contributions of our people to this deep understanding but are only too ready to quote Dr. Emoto's stellar work on the nature of water and the enormous possibility it has to be a healing agent!
It's time to activate the research into our beliefs and practices!
Dr. Masaru Emoto and Water Consciousness
Dr. Emoto demonstrates how water exposed to loving, benevolent, and compassionate human intention results in aesthetically pleasing physical molecular formations in the water while water exposed to fearful and discordant human intentions results in disconnected, disfigured, and “unpleasant” physical molecular formations. He did this through Magnetic Resonance Analysis technology and high-speed photographs.
K R Vidhyaa
This mood of chef has been mentioned in some stories as well. Maybe that was the reason our ancestors refused to eat outside. Also saints don't consume everything everyone gives them. It may be the reason I feel. But I have seen in personal experience that when you cook something with complete passion and concentration and love it certainly turns out to be very tasty.
Yes, I agree. The article caters to a wide range of people many of who are of a "scientific bent of mind". So I have to be as objective as possible. What was obvious to our ancestors is considered impractical and superstitious today. The human being is perceived to be just a body; worse a machine. To talk of the wide spiritual base of the human entity is considered blasphemous. However in my book, "Why People Are Sick - And what can be done about it", I have included everything, putting things in context and supporting with evidence. The truth needs to be told.