What is healthy, what is disease?
What is healthy, what is disease?
That is that a question that can be thrown in the air and everyone thinks that they know the answer. They all have their opinions, that is for sure.
In the West, more is better. This theme is so subtle it is ingrained deeply in your subconscious mind from birth that you don’t even know it is there. It is the subconscious paradigm of the modern world. Western nutrition is no different to this very disease forming theme. More is better and you are not okay as you are and need to be fixed or changed….. enters our american 1001 diets over the last 30 years. Please realize that in the 70’s, western nutrition was telling us a high carbohydrate diet is healthy. In the 80’s it was high protein. In the 90’s high protein and fat. Now one of the trends is just another ridiculous diet called Paleo which the masses are so confused at what it is the Paleo guys can even agree. And of course the sales of Paleo items…… We have been told, from western research, everything and in between all those diets until today where people still think a high protein diet is healthy. Yet, the founder of the Atkins diet himself died of a heart attack then fell to break his hip. Think about it. Heart is made of muscle. Eating meat, or any substance, in excess creates an excess imbalance in that very tissue/substance. That imbalance created the weakness of the bone tissue. This leaves us with the very obvious view that a moderate diet is healthy, yet there are so many factors to what makes something moderate. That and the difficulty of anything being moderate in the western world of excess and external desires fulfilling.
The excess and health ignorance is also seen in what we think a healthy body looks like. A chiseled body with tight abs. Low body fat has been proved by western science to not be healthy yet this doesn’t effect what we perceive and what is popular as healthy. Did you know, that you need fat on your body to produce healthy bone tissue? A secret of ayurveda.
Did you know the tighter your abdominal muscles the more it impedes your ability to breath normally with the diaphragm? It makes you breathe with secondary muscles of breathing, the scalenes. This also impacts the nervous system negatively by making the sympathetic nervous system or the fight response (adrenalin/noradrenalin/epinephrin/norepinephrine/cortisol) to be turned on at all times. No wonder we have sleep issues and high stress. Just tight abs and not being able to breathe properly. Just because of desires of looking good to the outer world. Our whole way of thinking about exercise is disease forming. Oh and the huge cup of coffee in the AM doesn’t help either. I digress….
Western Nutrition is also so far off of any mark of being healthy or even knowing what is healthy. The US Food Pyramid has changed 9 times since its conception and there are so many diets which are nothing but fads. They are popular, like fashion and as we all know, what is fashionable and popular comes and goes in the Western world. It changes every few years constantly creating more and more confusion to the masses and coincidentally America holds the highest disease rate in the world for almost every disease, but yet has the arrogance to think that it is the best and knows what is right. Yea, right. Wake up people. Really wake up.
It is not that Western Nutrition is getting better either. In my experience of living and working in that world for over 25 years, it has only gotten worse in the past 15 years since health has become a popular fad and a multi billion dollar industry as well (that means anything for sales, not that it actually works or is healthy). People have taken health into their own hands with their knowledge mainly coming from the internet, scary. You can also now get certificates from places like a very popular “online” nutrition school based in LA giving you a year course online of lollipop cheerleading “up with people”, how to market your business, and not any real education in nutrition. They teach you all the diet fads that are out there so you can then put people on JUST ANOTHER DIET. It is all sales. This is the latest fad. Quick certification programs that are nothing more than money makers feeding on the low integrity and low knowledge of the West. Think for a mpment in just a very short while how the market is going to be saturated with people that are certified and really know not much about what they say they do….. yet it will be all hidden under making people feel better and pushing “inspiring” and manifesting yourself into a better person/better health. What is that? Really? So if you have to go have an operation done, lets just wheel you down to the coffee shop because Sean over there did a weekend course in surgery. Now he is the same as all other doctors. Think people, think.
Let me ask you a question, would you ever have a person with one year of education online build your house for you? Think about it. Why would you ever put your health in their hands?
So what is health? Well, it sure as hell isn’t that. Thats all sales. Commercialism and capitalism at its best. Take a certification, package and market yourself and your of to win the races.
Disease is that which causes suffering.
Disease is of two types, that which is curable and that which is incurable.
Because nature is so multifaceted, diseases are innumerable but Western science doesn’t see it this way. Example, although there is two types of diabetes in western medicine, neither is curable. Both are maintainable. They believe the disease is about sugar levels. In Ayurveda, there are 20 classified types of Prameha (only one of those is Madhumeha or what we know as type two diabetes) and over half of those 20 are curable. This is due to the paradigm, due to the lens which each look thru. In the Western science lens, everyone is supposed to consume 1500 calories at a certain weight, the Western lens is completely lost in seeing anything as individuated as there is no map to see this within a symptom based and empirical evidence based science. Everything is only material there so nothing beyond that is able to be seen nor believed and has to be disproven.
When I was a 250 pound body builder with 4% bodyfat, the body mass index which is a Western indicator of health, said I was obese. Something wrong with that equation maybe? In Western medicine, if you have acidity, they give you a buffer to cut the acidity. There is never any looking at why the acidity is there in the first place. This actually does cut the acid, but the acid wasn’t the problem. The acid is what creates digestion right? Now your digestion is completely ruined, the acidity might be gone but so is your ability to digest food properly and you have a complication, a new disease, that has been created from the primary disease. This is all due to Western medicine”s treatment. In Ayurveda, acidity with any simple diagnosis is actually too much water in the system and simply drying that up and getting rid of the causative factors cures the disease. Funny, is it that simple? Okay, a little more complicated but that is really the gist of it.
In Ayurveda, it is a completely different paradigm. There are doshas or humours that are imbalanced naturally. They are similar to a buffering system of the body but yet control all the functioning of the physiology as well as the mind and everything that makes you an alive functioning being. This is a completely incomprehensible science from a western lens as well as the humours are not able to be seen by cutting open the body and in our western world of “prove it to me”, that empirical evidence demand can only end up short sighted and failing every time. Also, Ayurveda is not a Vata, Pitta, and kapha diet plan as most western books as well as Dr. Oz have purported it to be. (shame on them, just more sales) There are srotas that get clogged, there are gunas which are the mind, there is so much to this science and much of it lies in a spiritual and philosophical level of things that are not in the manifest and solid. But wait…… as much as the Western medicine and sciences are based in the material only…. what about the mind. Where is the mind? Cut open the body and show me where the mind is? Yet they cannot and the mind is fully accepted. Hmm……?
The doshas of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha are the doshas (physiological) pertaining to the body. They create diseases when imbalanced. These diseases that are caused by them are fever, diarrhea, oedema, consumption, dyspnea, meha which is a disease of the urinary system that includes diabetes, skin diseases, and some others.
There are doshas (gunas) of the mind as well. Nope these don’t exist in Western anything either. They are Rajas and Tamas. They produce the diseases of passion, anger, greed, attachment, envy, ego, pride, grief, worry, anxiety, fear, excitement, etc… Ayurveda these are imbalanced states. The emotions are imbalances, doshas.
Yes, those are actually diseases. If you start looking through an ayurveda lens at the western world you start to see just how mentally diseased the entire culture is and how the state of imbalance is actually provoked and valued (due to a lack of wisdom about these things). It is a rude awakening, really. Since money is made by marketing and its making you feel not good enough so you need to purchase x, you can see how the entire culture of consumerism is only feeding off the disease created by itself. This is also the spiritual world in America too, with all of its faux short training certificates and courses that make you a shamen, psychic, a healer of whatever kind, a tantric, a yoga teacher, and the list goes on and on….. not to even mention the pursuit of happiness.
All of the etiological factors of the doshas becoming imbalanced and causing disease comes down to only three factors:
Unwholesome contact with the objects of sense, intellectual blasphemy, and seasonal change.
The first two really come down to simple ignorance or arrogance. Not knowing better (ignorance) and knowing better and still for some reason still doing something wrong (arrogance) or that is not beneficial or BAD. (it brings about harm to oneself therefore bad)
The last causative factor is due to seasonal changes that affect the elements and disturb the doshas. Funny thing is that nature always brings things back to balance on its own but human beings, in our ignorance, continue to imbalance our systems and create the disease.
Depending upon the nature of the causative factors and the specific tissue elements that are afflicted. Doshas when imbalanced will manifest into innumerable types of diseases.
When the psychic diseases and the somatic diseases are allowed to persist for a long time they combine and cause deep disease such as fever. (no, not all types of fever, this just an example)
The doshas of the mind are symbiotic. Tamas cannot manifest without rajas. In general, tamas is ignorance and rajas is action. This paradigm is not seen from a western lens in the depth that it exists. The explanation needed of these psychic doshas is much, much more. Truely, same with the somatic doshas.
Foods and lifestyle as well as how you eat and how you live, all affect these doshas. As a very simple example, chilis and spicy foods all create rajas as well as imbalance pitta and vata (hence why they are never in a yogis diet). This doesn’t mean they are bad, there is much much more to all of this.
Excessive exercise also creates imbalance in the doshas as well as just improper exercise. This says oodles about what we are calling “yoga” out there today. Yoga today is based on Western exercise theory and not on physiology from a yogic lens. Remember yoga and Ayurveda are very much from the same source. They do not contradict each other.
If the imbalanced doshas of the body settle in one place and have similar qualities, they will combine. If all the imbalanced doshas settle in the same location all three will combine. Uh oh. Then there is primary and secondary diseases. Primary diseases manifest due to specific conditions of the disease and are cured by prescribed therapies for that disease. Secondary diseases are characterized by opposite features. Two of the doshas or all three doshas can be vitiated at the same time. Depending upon the primary and secondary nature of the doshas in a state of disease, many many diseases specified. This is one of the features that gives ayurveda a much deeper look into disease as well as treatment of disease when compared to a Western model of symptom chasing and everything being given an antibiotic because it is a virus or a bacteria. (anti = no bio = life, think about it)
Lets take this back to nutrition. In Western nutrition, more nutrient dense or super food is better. You have been fed hook line and sinker the more nutrient dense the food is healthier for you. This is the biggest lie you could ever believe. Actually it is disease forming when you really understand it all. The Western model of everything has no way of looking at an individual for what their needs are. None. Except the calorie intake thing which is also bogus. Otherwise, the closest we have gotten is blood typing diet and metabolism typing diet but they are so far from correct because there is not an understanding of food or the depth that ayurveda gives.
Get two of your closest friends together and say that all three of you weight the same and are the same height. Western science sees no difference between the three of you, specially if you have the same sex and the same blood type and race. The same amount of the same exact food is going to be different for all three of you. Take a bowl of rice. It is going to be to much for one, to little for another, and just right for the third. The story of the three bears is spot on. This individualization is not up to the “intuition” of “I feel like this is healthy for me” or “I listen to my body” like I hear all the time in the west though, yet when seeing what the person is eating, it is so far off from correct for their system. Normally it is just a blend of what is in fashion.
This is a science. A deep science. You are going to create disease following your ego and desires, since that is really all it is, ever.
You have a digestive fire (agni) or in other words the strength and capacity of the digestive system. Depending upon its intensity, which is the factors responsible for digestion and metabolism, it can be classified into four types:
Sharp, which is tolerable of all types of irregularities and the mild type which is of opposing nature. Even a small irregularity in size of meal, timing of meal, consistency of meal, etc will impair its functioning greatly.
The regular or balanced type gets impaired by minor irregularities as well but maintains its normalcy when consistency is followed.
The final type is the irregular type which is opposed to the regular type. It gets impaired and sometimes it doesn’t by irregularities.
Irregular eating is a causative factor to many diseases.
The four types of digestive capacities are intimately connected to the three doshas. When the three doshas are fundamentally balanced in an individual so is the digestive capacity. When one of the three doshas is dominant in an individual, the digestive capabilities are afflicted in the same qualities as that dosha. When two doshas, well, it gets more complicated the further we go.
Western Ayurveda has simplified this and watered it down. There is not a vata digestion of a vata person and a pitta digestion of a pitta person and the same with a kapha person as they would like you to believe. There is only those afflicted digestions when the persons dosha is out of balance. A Vata person only has an irregular digestion fire when the sites of agnis are afflicted by Vata.
Western nutrition thinks everything is about density of the nutrition…….. lets look at this. Let’s make a bowl of rice, brown rice. Lets even make it sweet brown rice because you (your desires) like the taste better or that you have been following the latest nutritional pop information.
Since sweet brown rice has more nutrition to it, it is also much harder to digest. It is heavier, which means it will fill you up quicker with less quantity as well as it will take more digestive power to digest it.
Now lets put some tahini and some soy sauce on it. Sesame seeds are also very heavy. For most people this is already to heavy to digest. But then lets add in raw nuts and seeds and then some sauteed vegetables. Since coconut oil is the new fad, (notice just back in the late 80’s it was considered the most unhealthy oil by Western nutrition) let’s cook those vegetables in coconut oil because it tastes better or because your following the latest pop western nutrition information. Coconut is cold, thick, and heavy in qualities. What you have just created is an indigestible mess that will only turn into toxicity in your body, create toxic improperly formed tissues that then turn can turn cancerous. But lets blame that on something outside of ourselves when that happens. Does anyone question the reason that there is a ton of cancer happening and the rise has also been at the same time as all the superfood and the masses coming into propagation of the health world? Hmmmmm?
In the Western world of nutrition, you have created a work of art. Art is subjective the same as one’s desires.
From an Ayurveda view, Western nutrition meals following the newest pop fads creates indigestible toxicity what will make you sick and diseased. You have impaired you digestive fire with the nutritionally dense heavy foods combined and any meal you put in now will just turn to toxic morbid metabolic waste then turn into a disease in time. Scary huh?
The funny thing with all of this is that we don’t feel it…..
and we don’t take the time to feel what we have eaten either.
Nor do we have any awareness of the elimination until it is already a problem or a disease has been created.
If we did feel what we eat, we would really not eat what we do. We also have no concept of this in the West. The more toxic we are the less we feel. The more numb our senses are and the more sensory stimulus it takes for the same level of thrill. We feed our tongues and our imbalanced emotions, not our bodies. Just look around. It is quite obvious.
We can only digest what is digestible to the capacity and strength of our own digestive fire. This means all of this nutritional information does not matter at all. It is not the amount of nutrition you are getting, it is first and foremost the quantity and quality of nutritional load you are able to digest and metabolize. Now think about Thanksgiving dinner and what it means to celebrate in the West.
When we eat more than we can digest (say that Thanksgivng dinner again), it destroys our digestive capacity and creates disease. When we continue to eat this way, it continues and complicates. All of this has an effect on the mind just as much (anyone that has experienced constipation knows the anxiety and other mood stuff that happens with it). It is only a tamasic mind that will continue to do what it knows is not beneficial to its being. On top of this, much of the American diet is tamasic in nature meaning the food is dead and poor quality and badly cooked, but it tastes good!!!
Another thing we do is quickly run off to the next thing after eating or stuff the meal in our mouths as we are on the run already. Sit in a noisy restaurant and talk to our friend while we eat is very popular too. All of which will create those irregularities in the diet that impair the digestive fire. This is a normal American healthy diet sad to say.
Another funny ditty is that we say,”a little bit won’t hurt” but if we really saw/feeled how impaired our systems were already, we would know that little bit here and there has led to our juxtapose. (one of wisdom can also see how this is the impaired buddhi or intellect)
So you say,”okay, stop preaching and tell me what to do about it!!!”
Well that my friend is a bit more than what I can put in a blog. you can look back through past blogs for information but know that all of this is individual so it cannot be just written down like a chore sheet to be followed. Everything is dynamic and so is the individual. That is the knowledge of Ayurveda.
The first thing to do would be to realize that the Western way isn’t a healthy way and to start to wake up and look around. Feeding your kids horrible isn’t going to make them Einstein either. I love the comments when people say I just don’t have time to cook for my kids. My response is, “but you have time to poison and destroy their health?” Open your eyes to the insanity of the way we live our lives in the West and the really messed up priorities we live by. What is health? Is healthy running around all the time for working reasons?
Your stomach is only as big as both your hands cupped together. If you eat this much it will not digest. It needs room for liquid and air as well. general rule is 1/3 air, 1/3 water, 1/3 food. Start off with that and eating at consistent times. After a while of doing this you will start to feel yourself. The thick covering of the mind will start to lift. (as a sidebar here, there is incredible amount of western research showing that a diet that is 75% of the daily caloric intake extends the life, check it out if you want.)
Be cognizant of the qualities of what you put in your body. Heavy, light. Wet, dry. etc…. too much of one will create an imbalance.
Only eat to the capacity of your digestion. This is hardly as much as most people eat in my experience. It is also much less than what the proportions that are served in restaurants and really, you don’t need to get an appetizer and follow the meal with a dessert, seriously.
As above, white rice is easier to digest. Switch to it.
Don’t put ten thousand different things together in a meal. The more complex the meal the more difficult it is to digest. Not only that but there are incompatibilities as well like putting uncooked food with cooked that kill the digestion.
There are 6 tastes. Each meal has to have each. They are what makes digestion and assimilation happen properly. Read past posts on them and do your best.
It is very difficult in the Western culture to eat healthy, we don’t really have a clue what that is. Really. In time, as you start to become healthier, you will understand more. The more you learn and experience, the more you will take on.
Peace and best of luck.