Nurturing healthy food and dietary habits are the key aspects that Ayurveda explains in its literature. Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word where ‘Ayur’ means longevity and life and ‘veda’ means knowledge. It’s an ancient practice that amalgamates food lifestyle, eating habits and ancient system of medicine for the well-being of the people.
According to Ayurveda, the food contains energy, which stimulates our consciousness, uplifts our spirit and rejuvenates our soul and mind. Food influences body, mind and soul and hence it should be cooked in a clean and peaceful ambience.
Food should be cooked well and should also have a pleasant aroma. In Ayurveda, eating food at a calm place facilitates digestion. The ancient literature also emphasis on consuming food sitting on the floor, with cross-legged position, especially facing east.
Sunrise to sunset food timings:
Ayurveda clearly explains day and night eating schedule. The breakfast is the first meal of the day and it must be consumed preferably between 5 am to 9 am.
Speaking to newskarnataka.com Dr Keshavraj, Ayurveda practitioner from Vedamayu Hospital says that nowadays, Alzheimer’s disease, a neurological disorder is striking even the younger generation. The cause for this is inappropriate dietary habits including skipping breakfast.
“In this case, students and office goers must inculcate the routine to have a morning breakfast, which is freshly cooked, healthy, and light. The breakfast must be such that it is easily digestible,” he says.
After the first meal, the preferable lunch time is from 12 noon to 2 pm because the body’s digestive factors are at the peak. It should have a good spread of dishes and must have all the six rasas or tastes (Astringent, bitter, pungent, sour, salty and sweet) in the plate.
Dinner too must have the six rasas, but in smaller quantities. It should be ideally consumed before sunset because as the sun sets, the body’s digestive system too gets feeble.
Shadrasa or Six taste buds
Ayurveda emphasis on shadrasa or six tastes that should be included in our daily diet especially in its chronological order. The classification of six tastes are sweet (madhur), sour (amla), salty (lavana), pungent (katu), bitter (tikta) and astringent (Kashaya)that influence and nourish seven dhatus or tissues of the body such as bone (asthi), blood (rakta), muscle (mamsa), fat (medas), plasma (rasa), marrow/nerve (majja) and reproductive tissue (shukra). These dhatus are an integral part of the body and their proper functioning is extremely essential for a dynamic physique.
Incompatible diet, food, processing and its combination (Viruddha Aahar)
These days most of the diseases occur due to contradictory food lifestyle. Ayurveda theory provides an in-depth concept of dietary combinations where an antagonist food recipe when consumed at the wrong time with incompatible assortment can certainly lead to immunity disorders and chronic diseases like cancer etc.
The following 18 dietary rules interpret an incompatible food lifestyle.
1. Desha (against place) Virudhha: to have dry and spicy food in dry region unctuous and fried/oily food at a damp region.
2. Kala (against time) Virudhha: intake of cold and dry food in winters, pungent and hot food in summers.
3. Agni (against fire) Virudhha: intake of heavy food when digestion is weak, intake of light food when the digestion is strong.
4. Matra (against quantity) Virudhha: consumption of honey and ghee in equal quantity is harmful.
5. Satmya (against wholesome) Virudhha: consumption of sweet food to a person adapted to pungent and astringent food.
6. Dosha Virudhha: use of medicine and food that is against the nature of the body.
7. Sanskar (against a mode of preparation) Virudhha: several varieties of food if cooked inappropriately it becomes toxic and noxious for the body such as curd and honey if heated they certainly become poisonous.
8. Veerya (against potency) Virudhha: intake of hot potency food with the cold potency food.
9. Koshtha Virudhha: if a fertile person is given less amount of food or less excreta forming food and vice-versa.
10. Avastha (against a state of health) Virudhha: intake of vata aggravating food by a person who is physically exhausted.
11. Kram (against sequence) Virudhha: consuming food before nature’s call or when the person is not hungry, also consuming food when a person is starving excessively.
12. Parihar Virudhha (against caution): consuming food substances that are against physiology.
13. Upachar (against treatment) Virudhha: intake of cold things after consuming ghee.
14. Paak (against cooking) Virudhha: intake of food that is cooked with a spoiled fuel or eating uncooked and burnt food.
15. Samyoga (against combination) Virudhha: intake of sour, pungent food with milk.
16. Hriday (against interest) Virudhha: intake of unfavourable food.
17. Sampad (against the richness of quality) Virudhha: intake of food that is processed, purified or refined.
18. Vidhi (against rules of eating) Virudhha: eating meals at public places.