Let us discuss about Diet today. This is a very vast topic. We will briefly bring out few important aspects related to diet:
- When to eat?
- What to eat?
- How much to eat?
- How to eat?
It may appear trivial, but each one is very important.
When to eat?
It is very important that we eat when we are hungry. We must not eat for mere taste. We must eat to live, not live to eat. We should eat what is suitable for the body in order to maintain and sustain good health and happiness.
What to eat?
Our main diet must be fruits and we must minimize on cooked food. Fruit diet is the best diet because it is not only pre-cooked by nature but also mostly pre-digested and it has bio-energy. It is like a God given diet. It has vitamins and minerals in a complex form which can be easily absorbed by the body. Scientific study shows that an apple has more than 4000 nutrients and minerals. Similar would be the case with other fruits. These vitamins and minerals are otherwise damaged by cooking. Cooking damages even bio-energy. When you take fruit in your mouth, you already start getting energy. Therefore, it is recommended that the first meal in the day is 3-4 types of fruits. A variety of seasonal and fresh fruits can be taken rather than preserved fruits. Diabetic people must consume fruits. American Diabetic Association (ADA) advices consumption of whole fruits rather than processed fruits. The glycemic index of most fruits is lesser than most refined food items.
Raw food or salad is also pre-cooked and has vitamins and minerals in plenty. Choose from a wide array of raw salads, tender edible green leafy vegetables and sprouts. Sprouts is superior food. It is cooked by nature and has more vitamins and food value when sprouted. Salads and sprouts also have bio-energy besides nutrients.
Natural food including fruits contain antioxidants and enzymes which are mostly destroyed by cooking. Antioxidants prevent the aging process. It also prevents growth of tumor and cancer. It is pertinent to note that natural food is alkaline in nature and growth of tumor is not supported in alkaline condition. The proteins are converted to usable proteins or amino acids by enzymes. Proteins are the building blocks that help in regeneration of the body. The immunoglobulins which fight diseases are also proteins. This implies that fruits and raw food regenerate the body and enhance the immune system!
It is recommended that we do not mix different types of foods, in general. Eat them separately. There must be a gap between one kind of food and another. A healthy person may handle different types of foods at the same time, but a person with some health issue may not be able to manage. It is therefore suggested that we give a gap between different types of foods.
In case of cooked food, try to minimize all the refined products. Adding salt to your food is not required. Please refer to the website Saltkills.com. Salt is sodium chloride. The sodium that is required by us is already available in its natural form in raw fruits and vegetables. Avoid using refined sugar or any other refined products including refined oils. The process of refining drops the nutrient value of the food and adds chemicals to the food too.
Instead of salt, you can add some lime. Other supplements like tomato or tamarind can be used to make the food palatable. In place of sugar, fruit, raisins, dates, honey and other natural sweeteners can be used. Fruits have fructose, which is good for even people having diabetes. This is as per our own experience in the ashram.
Apart from salt and sugar, avoid most condiments and spices. They will influence your satiety center and you will tend to eat more. Milk is also not recommended. Milk in the form of yogurt, curd or buttermilk is fine. Research shows that all animal protein puts a load on the kidneys. So, we may minimize animal products as much as possible.
In general, one must have cooked food once a day; one to two times assorted fruits; and may be raw food, like, sprouts, salads and handful of nuts and raisins in between when required.
In order to remove excess toxins and acid that is generated in the stomach due to stress, it is recommended that Psyllium Husk be used. It is known as Sat Isabgol, without any additive. Take a spoonful of Sat Isabgol in little water and drink it immediately. It must be taken one and half to two hours before breakfast. This also helps the digestive track to remain wet. It helps in the purification of liver and intestine also in a long run. Those who have problems with digestion and constipation, may consider taking Sat Isabgol one and half to two hours before all 3 meals.
I would like to quote a case study of Denmark during World War 1, when they were forced to become vegetarian due to war time shortage. Death rates in the city between the years 1917-1918 had dropped to the lowest rate in history to that point. Death by disease had dropped by 34% compared to the previous 2 decades, that too in the midst of the World War 1. Therefore, please use your discretion to choose the right food.
How much to eat?
It depends on an individual, his weight, and his work. Two people with same weight, one with sedentary lifestyle and another with physical toil, may have to eat differently. Do not eat full stomach. At least keep one third of the stomach empty for the process of digestion to take place. Therefore, you must eat to the extent that you do not feel very heavy. That’s the gauge based on which you can adjust how much to eat.
How to eat?
More important than “what you eat?” is “how you eat?” Convert solid to liquid, Ayurveda says so. Drink the solid, chew the liquid! It means when you take solid, chew well and break down the food into minute particles so that it mixes well with saliva aiding the process of digestion. We do not have teeth in the stomach, we have them only in the mouth. Apart from helping with digestion, with proper chewing, some of the nutrients are absorbed in the mouth cavity itself. Yogi Ramacharaka has mentioned this in his book, Hatha Yoga. It may appear trifling, but is very important. Chewing well is very difficult for many people. It needs to be really practiced on priority. People are in a hurry while eating. It has become a habit.
It is recommended that you eat fresh fruit rather than consuming its juice. There is more fiber content when you eat whole fruit plus as you chew it, it aids in better digestion and absorption of the nutrients. When you have juice, not much is absorbed in the mouth as you tend to gulp it down. What had to be absorbed in the mouth goes into the stomach instead. Thus, in case you have juice, you must chew it, meaning you must sip it slowly. Same is true with any liquid, including water.
You must sip water slowly. Water contains energy. When you are tired and take fresh normal water, you get energy from it. Therefore, you must sip water so that you can absorb the energy from it in the mouth itself. Two thirds of our body is water. All the processes in the body require water. Be it digestion, blood circulation or production of hormones, water is essential. Hence, we should not deprive our body of water. If you take 10% more water, body will throw it. But when you take 10% less water, where will the body substitute it from? It doesn’t mean that you take excess water. The average water recommendation is about 300ml for 10kg of bodyweight. This means, about 2 liters of water for a 60-70kg person. That includes all types of liquid intake. Excessive water is also a load on your system. In case you are sweating and exerting physically, you may require more water. If you are thirsty, you must have water. Even if not thirsty, you must take minimum required amount of water. Like, in cold weather or at higher altitudes, you may not feel thirsty at all. But you still need to consume minimum water.
When you do not drink sufficient water, the body tries to make up for it by absorbing water from the large intestine. This leads to constipation. The water which was supposed to be thrown out, is absorbed into the body. Therefore, when experiencing constipation, it is similar to consuming “gutter water” instead of “fresh water” and leads to absorbing toxins which should have been otherwise thrown. Thus, consuming enough water is very important.
While eating food, you may consume minimum water as required. If you chew well and eat, the requirement of having water while eating is almost not there. If required, you must have it in small quantity only. Have water at least half an hour before a meal. You can again have water after half an hour of your meal. This will avoid diluting the digestive juices in the stomach. People drink a lot of water while eating food that is spicy. This will dilute the digestive juices in the stomach. Avoid eating such spicy food.
In case of any chronic ailments, we recommend that one must have two times fruit diet and may be cooked food during lunch with above guidelines. In case of very serious ailments, one must go on full fruit diet, till condition normalizes to some extent. The process of digestion requires energy. When you take only fruits, the energy that is required for digestion is diverted for healing the body. Please note that our body has the ability to heal itself!
The ailment could be due to stress too. So, other techniques as mentioned in the YPV Sadhana app, like breathing exercise, forgiveness, meditation, etc., must be practiced to calm yourself.
If the ailment is very severe one may consider partial or full fasting. This can help to heal faster. “Lankanam parama aushadham” as per Ayurveda, which means, fasting is a super medicine! Beyond all medicine is fasting!
3 ways to practice fasting so as to sustain and maintain the immune system; purify the liver and the intestines:
1. Go on 1 full day fasting in a week.
That is to say, if you want to fast for example, on Thursday, then you must have dinner on Wednesday and breakfast on Friday. Fasting may be partial (only fruit diet) or full day fasting. This is recommended for a healthy person.
2. Those who cannot do it because of their work, can try only two meals a day. One meal can be fruit diet and the other meal can be cooked food with some salads and nuts in between.
3. The third alternative is to go on a one-week partial fasting (only fruit diet), once in a year.
This will help the person purify and regenerate.
One can come out of many diseases, like diabetes, hypertension, etc., by just taking a right diet! Furthermore, address the emotions by proper breathing exercises or practicing other techniques, like, forgiveness sadhana or meditation. Use an integrated approach.
YPV has been practicing this integrated approach and has helped many people to recover from different ailments, like autoimmune diseases, musculoskeletal disorders, diabetes, asthma and other respiratory issues and many serious chronic ailments, etc. We have substantial data and case studies showing improvement through this diet and the holistic and integrated approach.
You can join our live sessions thrice daily at 7.15 AM, 1 PM and 6.30 PM, IST on our Facebook page @ShriNJReddy. These sessions will be conducted till 7th May 2020 to sustain and upgrade Immune System in the present condition which is the need of the hour
For quick and easy understating and purpose of each of the YPV practices, refer to our study video for practitioners: https://youtu.be/QKKhnX5LiKw
You can also do simple practices with the help of YPV Sadhana App available freely in Google Play Store and Apple Store in various languages.