Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ayurveda food – an art of consumption

Ayurveda speaks about all corners of life. It stresses an over all development and enables us to understand life on a micro plane. Ancient texts states that life is held upon a tripod or three pillars as follows:
  1. Aahar (food)
  2. Nidra (sleep)
  3. Brahmacharya (celibacy).

Among these 3 basic utilities of life food has been considered as utmost important and rules have been laid down for a proper consumption of it. Though sometimes lack of complete understanding lead us to a wrong interpretation and rules become an obligation than a discipline. Actually it’s a wrong message that has been perceived by many of us that Ayurveda implements a lot of restrictions regarding food and life style. In fact it is discipline and not restriction. Same is true in case of diet planning. It has been summarized under the topic Bhojana Krama i. e. planning of food consumption. It is divided in three sections as Poorva karma (pre operative), pradhan karma (operative) and paschat karma (post operative). Food made ready to eat should be considered as god because it nourishes are body and provides us the necessary strength and energy in order to live a good socio economic life.

Poorva karma (preparatory measures)

This explains about preparing your body for the consumption of food so as it should be digested completely and does not leave behind any debris/ toxins (ama).

 

Bhojanagre sada pathyam lavan ardraka bhakshanam!

Agni sandeepanam ruchyam jivah kantha vishodhanam!!

                                                                                          Yogratnakar

Before the consumption of food one must take small piece of ginger smeared with salt as it is a very beneficial practice. It increases the digestive capacity, enhances taste perception, and cleanses tongue and throat.

It is indeed very effective and also eradicates minor ailments confining to gastro intestinal tract. It strengthens digestive fire. My personal opinion here is, people suffering from hypertension should check the quantity of salt and instead of normal salt they can use rock salt/ Epsom.

Pradhan karma (main course)

Following rules have been laid down for the consumption of food:

  1. One should be involved in the process of eating mentally and physically.
  2. Madhura rasa (sweet items) should be eaten first followed by salty taste.
  3. Pungent, bitter and astringent taste should be consumed in the end.
  4. One must eat all the six taste in an appropriate quantity and refrain oneself adhering too much to the consumption of one or two tastes only.
  5. Hard eating stuff should be taken first, followed by soft items and then liquid preparations.

Effect of various tastes on the body:

Sweet – promotes blood tissue

Sour – promotes bone marrow

Salty – strengthens bone

Bitter – improves fat

Pungent – promotes muscles

Astringent – promotes plasma functions.

Paschat karma

Herbs that pacifies kapha and enhances digestive fire should be consumed. It must also have a flavor to combat bad/ foul smell.

Though, the complete knowledge can not be explained being subjective. One must put constant efforts to know the deepest knowledge by reading various texts.

 

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