Eating Ayurvedically (nuts and bolts of it)

Ayurveda views all living beings in the universe require food, which sustains the life.

The food in the form of diets and drinks whose color, smell, taste arid touch are pleasing to the senses and conducive to the health, if taken in accordance with the rules, in fact represents the very life of living beings.

They promote:

1. Mental as well as physical strength
2. Strength of tissue elements (dhatus)
3. Pleasure of the senses
4. Complexion
5. Good voice
6. Longevity
7. Happiness
8. Satisfaction
9. Intellect
10. Enthusiasm
11. Memory

The various articles of diets and drinks are classified according of the following twelve groups:

1. Sukadhanya (corns with bristles): Sail, Sashtlka, Yava, Godhuma etc. belong to this group.
2. Samidhanya (pulses): Mudga, Masha, Adhaki, Charaka, Tila etc.
3. Mamsa (meat)
4. Saka (vegetables) consisting of leaves, tubers etc.
5. Phala (ripe fruits)
6. Harita (Salads)
7. Madya (wines)
8. Jala (water)
9. Gorasa (milk and milk products)
10. Ikshuvikara (products of sugar cant): jaggary, sugar etc.
11. Kritanna (food preparations): Peya (gruel), vilepi (thick gruel), manda, saktu etc.
12. Aharayogi (assessary food articles): oils, condiments, spices, salts etc.

Proper time for taking food:

It is stated that one should take food twice a day (within 24 hours) i. e. before noon and at night, and food should not be taken in between. This stipulation is only for adults but children who are in the state of growth may take more than two times, whenever they feel hungry.
1. The proper time for taking food is.
2. When there is normal movement of stool and urine.
3. The eructations are free of any taste.
4. When the body and sense organs are light and free.
5. When he is hungry.
6. When there is relish for food.
7. When the belly becomes light. The digestion of the ingested food is considered to be completed by the following symptoms:
1. Clarity of the belching (erection). It should not possess any particular taste either acid or that of any component of the food taken.
2. Enthusiasm: The person should be active.
3. Normal regulation of natural urges.
4. Lightness of the body.
5. Proper hunger and thirst. The food should not be taken within the yama (3 hours) after the previous meals, because during this period, the rasa dhatu is still in the process of development. It should not be taken after the second yama because it causes depletion of the strength. Therefore food should be taken after 3 hours of the previous meals and before the completion of 6 hours. The previous meal should be completely digested before another meal is taken. But according to Charaka, taking the evening meal even though the morning meal has not been completely digested is not injurious. The hridaya is awakened (active) due to the sun in the daytime like a lotus and therefore the srotamsi of the body are fully opened. The srotamsi are also open due to the exertion, movement and mental activity of the daytime. Hence the dhatus in these srotamsi do not get softened (kleda) in the day. When new food is mixed with the old, which is not softened, it does not get spoilt. But in the night when the hridaya is in a state of diminished action, the srotamsi including the koshtha are inactive and the dhatus get softened. Therefore when the food consumed in the night is not fully digested, the wise man, desiring to protect his strength and life, should not take any food.

Other stipulations about time:

A meal should not be eaten before the appointed time, nor before the appetite has fully developed. Similarly, over or insufficient eating should be equally refrained from. Eating at an improper time and before the lightness of the body is felt, brings on a large number of diseases and may ultimately lead to death. A meal eaten long after appropriate time tends to aggravate Vata, which affects the digestive fire and causes serious obstacles in the digestion. The food thus digested with difficulty destroys all desire for a second meal.

Regimen before meals:

One should wash his feet and mouth before meals. One should sleep with dry feet. Eating with wet feet increases longevity. One who had his bath, worn soft, beautiful, clean and white dress and flowers and just washed his feet, should enter the dining chamber with lucid mind along with his children and friends with the intent of taking meals which is good for him.

Description of seat:

One should sit on a seat which is sufficiency high, beautiful, softly covered, comfortable and wide. While taking meals he should face either east or north. He should sit during his meal in an easy posture on a high seat and partake at the right time, with his body erect and his mind engaged in the act of eating.

Vessels for cooking:

Earthened pots cleaned with water are good for cooking food. The food cooked in such pots will be tasteful and of good qualities.If pots are not available, iron vessels may be used. Vessels made of bronze or bell metal are also good. But the food prepared in copper vessels cause anorexia and gastritis. The best are the vessels made of gold and silver because they remove all faults.

Serving different dishes:

The mode of serving out the different dishes should be as follows:
1. Ghrita should be served in a vessel of steel (kantaloha).
2. Peya in a silver bowl.
3. Fruit and confectionary on leaves and baskets.
4. Different preparations which are dry and fried in golden plates.
5. Fluid edibles and meat essences in silver bowls.
6. Preserved chutney in stone utensils.
7. Cool boiled milk in copper vessels.
8. Other drinks, wines and cordials in earthened pots.
9. Raga-shadavas and sattakas in cool, pure glass bowls or in vessels made of crystals.

Qualities of different vessels
1. Gold vessels/plates are auspicious and alleviate all doshas, good for the eyesight, stimulate the digestive fire, alleviates pitta and cordial.
2. Silver vessels: alleviate anorexia, according to Bhoja aggravate vata and pitta, and according to Bhavamisra aggravate vata and kapha; good for the eyesight.
3. Bronze vessels: cordial, alleviate eye diseases and raktapitta. Food will be tasteful and increase intellect.
4. Brass vessels: cause aggravation of vata, heat and roughness but alleviate kapha and destroy krumi.
5. Iron or glass vessel: improve strength, alleviate oedema and anemia and jaundice.
6. Vessels made of stone or earth should not be used because they are inauspicious.
7. Vessel made of wood alleviate kapha, and increase relish.
8. Plantain leaf: alleviates vata and kapha; best for meals because of cleanliness; bestows strength, health, complexion, sexual desire, and hunger
9. Plate made of palasa leaves: destroys gulma, vata diseases, colic, diseases due to aggravation, of kapha and pitta.
10. Plate made of banyan leaves: heals ulcers and alleviates pitta.
11. Lotus leaf; acts as vishahara.Congenial food

The food containing clean and pleasant dishes, served neither hot nor cold, and cooked and seasoned in the desired method and possessed of their specific tastes is congenial to a person.

Varieties of food: According to Charaka, food is 4 varieties
1. Asitam – wholesome eatables
2. Peetam – beverages
3. Leedham – linctus
4. Khaditam – masticables

Bhavamisra divided into six varieties
1. Chooshyam – Any article of food to be sucked like sugar cane, pomegranate etc.
2. Peyem – Beverage, fit to be drunk.
3. Lehyam – Articles to be eaten by licking.
4. Bhojyam – Wholesome eatables.
5. Bhakshyam – Anything eatable, confectionaries etc.
6. Oharvyam – Masticable articles.Regimen while eating

At the time of eating, one should look at auspicious things; such act increases longevity. Abuse of food is prohibited at the time of eating but should be praised. One should pleasantly describe the food after looking at it, tasting and eating.

Practice regarding taking diet
One should not take food:
1. Without reciting mantras.
2. Without offering oblations to the God.
3. Without making offerings to the departed ancestors, teachers, guests and dependents.
4. Without wearing precious atones in hand.
5. Without taking bath.
6. Wearing a torn apparel.
7. Without applying sacred scents or garlands.
8. Without washing hands, feet and face.
9. Without cleaning the mouth.
10. With face turned towards the north.
11. With disturbed mind, or contemptuous disposition towards food.
12. Surrounded by the insincere, uncultured, dirty or hungry persons.
13. In unclean dishes.
14. At improper place and time, or in a place surrounded by many persons.
15. Which is dirty.
16. Served by the opponents.

Except in the case of meat, rhizomes, dry vegetables, fruits and sweets, one should not take stale food. One should not consume the entire food except in the cases of curd, honey, salt, Saktu and ghee. One should not take curd at night. One should not take Saktu without mixing it up with ghee and sugar or in the night or after meals or in large quantity or twice daily or “interrupted with water intake, nor one should eat by tearing with teeth.

Aharavidhi Vishesha:

There are eight factors of diet and dietetics
1. Prakriti (Natural qualities).
2. Karana (Samskara, preparation).
3. Samyoga (combination).
4. Rasi (Quantum).
5. Desa (Habitat).
6. Kala (Time).
7. Upayoga samstha (Rules of use).
8. Upayokta (user).

1. Prakriti:
Natural qualities are the innate properties of substances. The presence of qualities like heaviness etc., if the natural property of substances used as diet or drug. Thus heaviness is the nature of black gram and pork and lightness of green gram and venison.
2. Karana:
Preparation is the process performed to modify the natural properties of substances.That which modifies radically the properties of substances is transformation. This modification is brought about by application of water or heat, cleaning, churning, storing, maturing, flavoring, impregnation, preservation and the material of receptacle.

Examples:
1. The property of rice is heaviness. This property is lost by washing with water and cooking and the rice acquires the property of lightness.
2. Curd causes sopha. – But after churning, buttermilk destroys sopha.
3. Samyoga:
Combination is the combining together of two or more substances. This combination exhibits special properties which none of the constituents ever possessed separately.
Example: The combination of honey and ghee. Honey and ghee taken alone is wholesome to the body but combined in equal quantities, they become toxic. Similarly the combination of honey, fish and milk has a toxic effect.
4. Rasi:
The quantum is 2 varieties:
A. Sarvagraha—total measurement of the entire meal as a whole i. e. the combined quantity of the rice, meat, pulse, condiments etc.
B. Parigraha—detailed measurement of each article of diet separately. This determines the effects of the right and wrong doses.

5. Desha:
Habitat is a geographic region. It indicates variations in the qualities of substances, due to difference in soil, use and climate. Substance grown in the region of Himalayas are heavy in property while those grown in desert or sandy region are light. Similarly the living beings who consume light articles of food, or live in desert or sandy regions or indulge in many activities are also light in nature. Deshasatmya is that having opposite qualities to those of the region. Substances having the qualities of ushna, ruksha etc. are homologous to the watery or marshy region, and the substances having the qualities of shita, snigdha etc. for the desert or sandy regions.
6. Kala:
Time is used in two senses, time in the general sense i.e. Nityaga and time in the sense of a stage i.e. Avastha. Time in the general sense is used in relation to seasonal wholesomeness. The stage issued in relation to disease.
7. Upayoga Samstha:
The procedure in diet consists of the dietetic rules. They are determined by the strength of digestion.
8. Upayokta:
The user is he who makes use of food. These eight different factors give rise to good and evil effects and are helpful to one another. The person should try to know them, and having known them he should make use of the wholesome only. Either out of ignorance or negligence he should not make use of any article of diet or any other thing which is pleasant but unwholesome and fraught with unhappy consequences.

Most wholesome dietetic regulations:
These are the dietetic rules and procedure for the healthy as well as for certain types of people, concerning the intake of food that is most wholesome.

One should eat food which is:
1. Hot
2. Unctuous
3. In due measure
4. After full digestion of the previous meal
5. Non-antagonistic in potency
6. In the congenial place
7. Provided with all the favorite accessories
8. Neither too hurriedly not too leisurely
9. Without talking or laughing
10. With full concentration
11. Having proper regard to oneself

A. One should eat hot. The food eaten hot is relished and on being consumed stimulates the gastric fire, digested soon, and stimulates the peristaltic movement. It alleviates kapha. Therefore one should eat food that is hot.
B. One should eat unctuous food. This gives relish and on being consumed excites the inactive gastric fire, is rapidly digested, stimulates the peristaltic movement, makes the body plump, strengthens the sense organs, increases the vigor and brightens the complexion. Therefore one should eat unctuous food.
C. One should eat in requisite measure. The food eaten in requisite measure does not disturb the balance of the doshas, but exclusively promotes life, is easily assimilated. Therefore one must eat in measure.
Quantity of food and digestion:
The amount of food which, without disturbing the equilibrium of dhatus and doshas of the body, gets digested as well as metabolized in proper time, is to be regarded as the proper quantity. This measurement with certainly vary from individual to individual. No standard measurement can be prescribed for all individuals. In fact, the power of digestion even of a single individual varies from time of day as well as time of season and so there is bound to be some variation in the standard measurement of food to be taken by him.

Quantity of food relation with Quality of food:
The light food articles are predominant in the qualities of vayu and agni and heavy one in Prithvi and Ap mahabhutas. Therefore according to their qualities, the light articles of food, being stimulants of appetite and by nature are considered to be less harmful even if taken in excess of the prescribed quantity. On the other hand, heavy articles of food, being by nature, suppressors of appetite are extremely harmful if taken in excess unless there is a strong power of digestion and metabolism achieved by physical exercise. If the food article is heavy only three—fourth or half of the stomach capacity is to be filled up. Even in the case of light food articles, excessive intake is not conducive to the maintenance of the power of digestion and metabolism. The stipulation is meant to maintain the equilibrium, of the power of digestion. The lightness or heaviness of a food affects the lethargic, the unhealthy, the luxurious and men of delicate constitution and impaired appetite. Such discernment of the properties of food is not obligatory on strong, healthy men of active habits and good healthy digestion, who are habituated to hard and solid foods.

Three divisions of the stomach capacity:
One, about to eat a meal, ought to dispose the stomach capacity into three parts. He should use one third for solid food, one third for liquids and the remaining one third for the free movement of the three doshas. Eating in conformity to this rule, one is not liable to any of the ill effects resulting from eating without measure.

Effects of measured diet:
The following are the signs of food eaten in measure:
1. Freedom from distress in the stomach as the result of the quantity taken.
2. Freedom from the excessive heaviness of the stomach.
3. Absence of any cardiac discomfort.
4. The non-distension of the sides.
5. Gratification of the senses.
6. Subsidence of hunger and thirst.
7. Sense of each in standing, sitting, lying down, walking exhaling and inhaling, laughing and conservation.
8. Easeful digestion and assimilation of food in the evening and morning.
9. Imparting of strength, complexion and plumpness.

Evils of inadequate diet:
The diet which is deficient measure is seen to result in:
1. The impairment of strength, complexion and plumpness.
2. Want of satisfaction.
3. Disturbed peristalsis causing Udavarta. (upward movement of vata)
4. Impairment of the functions of life, virility and vitality.
5. Impairment of the functions of the body, mind understanding and five senses.
6. Disturbance of the eight saras.
7. Induction of inauspicious conditions.
8. Incidence of the eighty kinds of vata disorders.

Evils of excessive diet:
The diet which is excessive in measure causes the following
1. Provocation of the morbidity of all the 3 doshas.
2. These vitiated doshas lay hold of the indigested food mass and getting localized in the stomach of man who has over-eaten and make their resort in the food-mass.
3. They either obstruct or dispose of the stomach contents violently through the upper or lower routes of the alimentary tract giving rise to many disorders.
4. One should eat after the digestion of the previous meal. The food that is eaten while the previous meal is lying undigested, getting mixed with the semi digested ahararasa of the previous meal, immediately provokes the three doshas.

The food taken when the previous meal has been fully digested is the cause of the following:
1. Doshas return to their normal places.
2. Gastric fire is kindled.
3. Hunger is stimulated.
4. Srotamsi are clear and open.
5. Clear eructations. (belching)
6. Stomach is clear.
7. The peristaltic movement is normal.
8. Natural urges are normal.
9. Does not vitiate dhatus.
10. Promotes life.
Therefore one should eat on an empty stomach after the digestion of the previous meal.

One should not eat what is antagonistic in potency. By eating the food that is not antagonistic in potency, one is not afflicted with disorders born of incompatible dietary (like impotency, blindness, kushtha (skin diseases) etc. (The food which are antagonistic to the body are many varieties. 6. One should eat in a congenial place provided with all the necessary appurtenances, and then one does not get depressed in the mind by the emotions produced in unpleasant environment; similarly with the appurtenances. Therefore one should eat in a congenial place and circumstance

One should not eat hurriedly. By eating hurriedly, the food is likely to pass in the wrong way, or injure the health or it is not properly placed. There is no appreciation of either the good or bad qualities of the food taken .

One should not eat very leisurely. By eating too leisurely, one is not satisfied even if he eats much. The food gets cold and is digested irregularly .

One should not talk or laugh while eating. One who talks and laughs and is preoccupied while eating, is liable to suffer the same disorders as the one who eats too hastily. Therefore one should not talk or laugh while eating, but should eat with due attention to one self.

One should eat rightly considering one’s constitution. “This food will agree with me, this will not agree”, such knowledge makes for the determination of what is wholesome for each individual. This knowledge is known as Atmasatmya.

Method of taking meals:
One first should partake of the madhura dravya (sweet) of the meals, then of the Amla (sour) and lavana (salt) dravyas and of the katu (pungent) and other dravyas at the close of the meals. The taste of the madhura dravyas eaten at the outset subdue the vata located in the stomach, amla and lavana dravyas partaken of at the middle of the meal would rouse up the digestive fire located in the Aamashaya, while the katu taste enjoyed at its close tend to subdue the kapha. At the beginning of the meal, one can eat a mixture of saindhava lavana (salt) and ginger. This mixture stimulates the digestive fire, taste, and appetite and clears the tongue and throat. It is also stated that at the end of the meal, small articles of sweet taste have to be eaten, to counteract the evil effects of the consumption of saltish, sour (acid), pungent and hot articles of food. Therefore curd which is sweet or sweetened by sugar only has to be consumed at the end of the meal, or if such curd is not available milk has to be taken.

Evil effects of insufficient and excessive food:
The digestive fire is always kindled by the sufficient food (fuel). Therefore both insufficient and excessive intake of food destroy the digestive fire. Insufficient food gives inadequate satisfaction, and causes weakness, emaciation and vata disorders. Over eating, on the contrary, produces laziness, heaviness of ,the body, distension of the abdomen accompanied by rumbling in the intestines and indigestion. A judicious mixture of wholesome and unwholesome diet is known as samasana. A diet which is taken either excessive or scanty or eaten either too late is known as, Vishamasana (irregular diet). Adhyasana is a meal taken before the previous meal has been digested. The irregular meal is the main cause of indigestion and cause of all diseases. Therefore destruction of the irregular habit of meals destroys the diseases.

Food to be discarded:
The following varieties of food was to be discarded
1. Which is impure and dirty.
2. Infested with insects, poison, pebbles, dust, weeds etc
3. Out of which another has eaten a portion.
4. Which instinctively repels the mind.
5. Cooked on a previous day or long ago, or kept standing overnight.
6. Which is insipid.
7. Emits fetid smell.
8. Cold and hard.
9. Which is rewarmed, imperfectly strained or burnt.
10. Food prepared out of articles which are incompatible to each other (virudhahara)
11. Foods containing excessive leaf vegetables, black gram etc., or salt or very hot .
Only a single taste should not be enjoyed in the course of a meal. Cooked pot herbs, boiled rice of inferior quality and a diet with excessive Amla taste should be avoided.

Use of certain dietary articles:
Choice of grains :
Corns and grains, one year after their harvesting, are wholesome, old corns and grains are mostly ununctuous (ruksha) and fresh ones heavy. Corns and grains which take a shorter time for cultivation as well as harvesting are lighter than those taking longer time. Rice, will cleaned, washed and cooked with filtering of excess water is light when taken hot. After cooking, rice should be taken when it is still hot. Heating it for the second time is not considered wholesome. Food prepared out of fried rice is also very light. Rice cooked with milk or meat etc., is heavy.

Choice of animal food :
The meat of the animals which are in prime youth and killed and cleaned afresh is the best.
The meat of the following- type is unwholecome :
1. Of animals died a unnatural death
2. Emaciated (or dried up after death)
3. Fatty
4. Old or too young
5. Killed by poisonous arrows
6. Of animals who graze in a land not commensurate with their natural habitat.
7. bitten by snakes, tigers etc.

The meat which is otherwise, is wholesome, nourishing and strength promoting. Meat soup is refreshing for all living beings. If those who habitually indulge in exercise, sex and wine take meat soup regularly, they neither succumb to disease not lose their strength, No other food excels meat in producing nourishing effect.

Milk:
The milk, milked in the morning, is heavy, cold and takes a long time to be digested. Woman’s milk is wholesome in its natural or unboiled state. Freshly milked warm milk should be regarded as extremely wholesome, which, being cooled down, loses its efficacious virtues and becomes unwholesome.
Milk acts as nectar for the following:
1. Emaciated due to: a) disease b) drug c) travel d) speaking e) sex indulgence f) fasting g) exposure of sun h) physical exertion
2. Old
3. Children

The following varieties of milk is unwholesome and injurious
1. Emitting fetid smell
2. Discolored and insipid
3. Acquired an acid taste
4. Looks shredded and curdled
5. Tastes saline.

Evil effects of consuming unwholesome milk:
The following diseases are caused :
1. Indigestion
2. Diarrhea
3. Vomiting
4. Flatulence
5. Stomatitis and
6. The contagious disease like cholera, yakshma, fever etc.

Curd:
Curd should not be consumed at night.
It should not to be taken
1. Heated state
2. During Vasanta, Grishma and Sharat ritus (Spring, Early Summer, and Autumn)
3. Without combining with Mudga, honey, ghee, sugar or Amalaka
4. Every day
5. Which has not solidified properly.

If the above rules are violated, one may suffer from
1. Jwara
2. Raktapitta
3. Visarpa
4. Kushtha
5. Pandu
6. Kamala
7. Bhrama

Curd may be taken in Hemanta, Sisira and Varsha ritus. (Winter, Late Summer)

Butter Milk:
One who regularly takes buttermilk never suffers from any disease and the diseases subdued by the use of butter milk, will never recur. Use of butter milk according to the dosha.
Dosha Variety of buttermilk:
Vata Sour buttermilk with ginger
Pitta Sweet buttermilk with sugar
Kapha Buttermilk with Trikatu

Butter:
Fresh butter is digestive, stimulant and cardiotonic. It is useful in grahani, arsas,ardita and arochaka. It is very good to children and old people.
Ghee:
It is the best of all unctuous substances. It is cooling; prevents old age. When administered according to the prescribed procedure, it increases thousand times in potency and develops manifold utilities.
Unwholesome vegetable preparations:
Vegetables infested with insects, exposed to wind, the sun for a long time, dried up,old and unseasonal are unwholesome. Fruits, which are old, unripe, afflicted by insects and serpents, exposed to snow or sun for long, growing in the land and season other than the normal habitat and time and put rifled, are unwholesome.
Accessory food articles:
For the maintenance of health one should use pepper, cumin seed, asafoetida, mustard seeds, oils etc., in the small requisite quantities to enhance the taste and flavor.

Honey:
Honey should be taken in small quantity because it is heavy, ununctous, astringent in taste and cold in potency. Honey should never be used in heated condition, by person suffering from heat, in hot region or season or with hot foods.

Liquors:
Liquor is taken observing all the rules, acts as an elixin; otherwise as a poison.
Fresh wine is heavy, and aggravates all doshas.
Old wine alleviates three doshas and clarifies channels of the body; it is digestive, light and palatable.
The following kinds of wine should always be rejected.
1. Thick
2. Bad smelling
3. Insipid
4. Full of worms
5. Heavy and acid in digestion
6. Unpleasant, new and strong
7. Hot in potency
8. Preserved in an improper vessel
9. Prepared with a comparatively lesser number of ingredients
10. Decanted overnight or left unused
11. Extremely slimy or transparent

The following should not indulge in liquors
1. Who consumed hot foods or hot treatments
2. Who had purgation
3. Hungry

Anupanam:
Generally anupana should have the properties opposite to those of the food taken. But at the same time, it should not be harmful to the dhatus of the body. By anupana is meant by the drinks which are taken during meals or after meals. Of all kinds of anupanas, clear heavenly water, kept in a pure vessel should be deemed the best, in as much as such water contributes in every way to the welfare of a person throughout his life and all the six different tastes are inherent in that heavenly fluid. During the meal and after finishing a meal water should be drunk in a quantity which would be beneficial. Anupana drinks in general bring about refreshment, pleasure, energy, nourishment, satisfaction and steadiness in the food eaten. It helps in breakdown, softening, digesting, proper assimilation and instant diffusion of the food taken. An excessively heavy meal and the one which usually tends to derange the doshas, may be easily and speedily digested with the help of a suitable after drink.

A proper after-drink brings on:
1. A fresh relish for food.
2. Increases the bulk of the body
3. Acts as a spermatopoietic beverage
4. Disintegrates the combination or accumulation of the deranged doshas
5. Subdues or pacifies the deranged doshas
6. Soothes the organism
7. Increases the softness of the body
8. Removes the sense of fatigue and exhaustion
9. Brings on pleasurable sensations
10. Stimulates the appetite
11. Diminishes the thirst
12. Improves the complexion
13. Imparts tone and vigor to the system

Water:
Water is the life of all animals, and the life is dependent on water. Therefore water should not be prohibited. A thirsty man becomes unconscious leading to death. So a thirsty man should be supplied with water. Since it is stated that water is the best anupana, one should take water during meals. Intake of water before meals destroys the digestive fire and leads to emaciation and derangement of doshas but is also used in proper treatment of certain ailments. Intake of water during a meal stimulates the digestion and it is the best habit. Intake of water after meals causes aggravation of kapha and obesity but is also used in treatment of certain ailments. Hence drinking at meals should be most judiciously determined and taken with great forethought and discretion. Ice water is not healthy as it destroys the digestive fire. A hungry person should not drink water, because such act causes jalogens (Ascites). A thirsty person should not take meal, because such act causes Gulmaroga. Both excessive intake of water or abstaining from it prevents the proper digestion of food. Therefore for the kindling of the digestive fire, one should take small quantities of room temp or warm water during meal.

Evils of excessive intake of water:
A person who is excessively thirsty should not drink too much of cool water; such act aggravates pitta and kapha.
It may cause :
1. Amavastha
2. Thirst
3. Sleep
4. Drowsiness
5. flatulence
6. heaviness of the body
7. Indigestion
8. Cough
9. Nausea
10. Dyspnoea
11. Coryza.

Contraindications of anupana:
Persons suffering from the following diseases should avoid anupana
1. Dyspnoea
2. Cough
3. Diseases of the part above the clavicles
4. Ptyalism
5. Urahkshata
6. Swarabhang

Regimen after food:
After taking food, one should thoroughly wash his mouth and hands. He should take water into the mouth and gargle vigorously to remove/dislodge the particles stuck between the teeth, or may be gently drawn out by means of a toothpick, in as much as if not removed a kind of fetter is produced in the mouth. The eyes are to be wiped with wet hands. After eating, one should enjoy soft sounds pleasant sights and tastes, sweet perfumes, soft and velvety touch, in short anything that ravishes the soul and enwraps the mind with raptures of joy, since such pleasurable sensation greatly help the process of digestion. After taking a meal, one should not sleep or indulge on exertion, but should comfortably sit. If a person sleeps after food, the kapha and pitta getting aggravated and depress the power of digestion.

Restrictions after food:
One should not indulge in the following after food
1. Lying for a long time
2. Sitting for a long time
3. Excessive take of fluids
4. Exposure to sun or fire
5. Swimming
6. Travel
7. Riding
8. Exercise
9. Sex

Indulgence in the following after a meal causes vomiting
1. Sounds which are harsh
2. Sights which abominable
3. Touches that are hard and unpleasant
4. Smells which are fetid and disagreeable
5. Eating of impure and execrable boiled rice
6. Loud side-splitting laugh

Tamboola sevana (use of betel combination):
The vata is increased after the completion of digestion, the pitta during the process, while the kapha is increased immediately after the act of eating. Hence the kapha is to be subdued after the close of a meal and the intelligent eater should attain that end by chewing a betel leaf prepared with broken arecanut, camphor, nutmeg, clove etc., or by herbal smoking or by means of anything that instantaneously removes the acidity in the mouth and permeates it with its own essence. The betel leaves are chewed in combination with arecanut, flaked camphor, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, bark cardamom, musk, seeds of latakasturi (Hibiscusa belmoschus), lime etc. All these constituents are used in requisite quantity only. Chewing of such combination removes tastelessness and bestows good flavor to the mouth.

Suitable time for such use:
The betel combination should be chewed in the following times
1. After waking from sleeping
2. Early in the morning
3. After bath
4. After meals
5. After vomiting
6. At the time of sexual union
7. During travel
8. During war
9. In conferences with scholars and kings
10. In marriages
11. During sacrifices, auspicious times etc.
One should wait a while for chewing the betel combination after waking from sleep, drinking water, sexual union, partaking fruits and meals.

Excessive use of betel combination causes the following
1. Anemia
2. Loss of strength to teeth
3. Eye diseases
4. Diseases of mouth
5. Causes vatarakta and raktapitta
6. Loss of strength of hair and ears
7. Loss of complexion

Contraindications:
The following should not use betel combinations
1. Who has taken a purgative.
2. Who is hungry and thirsty and very weak.
3. Suffering from the diseases of teeth and eyes.
4. Injured; exhausted.
5. Suffering from mental disorders, anaemia, prameha, oedema of the whole body, diarrhoea, mutrakriccra, vomiting, raktapitta, kshaya, aggravation of pitta and rakta, skin diseases and poisoning, vertigo, dyspnoea, heart diseases.
6. Who are parched (Atiruksha).
7. Obese persons.
8. Who had eaten rice and milk.
9. Immediately after eating mango, plantain, sugarcane, wood apple, jack fruit, liquor, milk, honey, ghee, coconut water.

Homologation (Satmya)
Homologation or habituation is that which agrees with ones system.
It is of three kinds:
1. Pravara (best)
2. Avara (poor)
3. Madhya (moderate).
It is again of seven kinds: agreeability to each or one of the six tastes and seventh by agreeability to all of them combined. Among these the last is the best type of homologation. The poorest type is the agreeability only to a single taste, while the medium type of agreeability is the mean between the best and the poorest. So, from the poorest and the medium agreeability’s one should develop the homologation of the best type that is agreeability to all the tastes. After acquiring homologation to all the tastes, one should resort to what is wholesome.

Most unwholesome articles categories (not for daily consumption):

Most unwholesome are as follows:
Paddy having bristles like Yavaka (wild barley)

Pulses – Black gram

Various types of drinking water River water in rainy season

Salts – Salt collected/Prepared from saline soil

Pot herbs – Mustard Greens

Meat of animals – Beef

Meat of birds – Young dove

Meat of animals living in holes – Frog

Fish – Chilichima fish

Ghee – Ghee of sheep milk

Milk – Sheep milk

Vegetable fats – Safflower oil

Fats of marshy animals

Fat of buffalo

Fats of aquatic animals

Fat of shark/crocodile

Fats of aquatic birds

Fat of water fowl

Fats of gallinaceous types of animals

Fat of sparrow birds

Fats of branch eating animals

Fat of elephant

Fruits – Wild jack fruit

Rhizomes and roots –  Aluka (potatoes)

Preparations of sugarcane – Treacle (Phanita)

Schedule for giving up the addictions:
A wise person should give up by and by unwholesome practices to which he is addicted and he should correspondingly adopt ones which are wholesome. The schedule for the same is given below:
On the first day one should give up a quarter of the unwholesome practice (still maintaining 3/4 of it) and correspondingly adopt a quarter of wholesome.

On the second day half of the unwholesome practice is to be given up and half of the wholesome one is to be adopted

This is to be continued for the third day also.

On the fourth day ¾ of the unwholesome practice is to be given up and ¾ of the wholesome one is to be adopted.

This process is to be continued on the 5th and 6th day also.

The process of giving up of the unwholesome practice and adoption of the wholesome practice is completed fully on the seventh day

By slowly and gradually giving up the unwholesome practices and by increasing the wholesome practices correspondingly, the unwholesome practices are eradicated forever and the wholesome practices are fully adopted). One should not be in a hurry to give up and to adopt the unwholesome and wholesome practices respectively. A sudden change in habits is likely to cause immense harm to the body. Only a slow and steady process as indicated above can absolutely eradicate the effects of unwholesome practices and stabilize the effects of wholesome ones.

Incompatibility in articles of food (Viruddhahara):
Such of the drugs and diets as are unwholesome or incompatible for the normal dhatus and doshas of the body (viruddhahara), are in fact opposed to the proper growth of such dhatus and doshas
1. Some act due to their mutually contradictory qualities (Gunaviruddha).
2. Some by combination (Samyoga Viruddha).
3. Some by the method of preparation (Samskara Viruddha).
4. Some by virtue of the place, time and dose (Deshakalamatra Viruddha).
5. Some others by their inherent nature (Swabhava viruddha).

Examples of mutually contradictory qualities:
Fish should not be taken together with milk, both of them have sweet taste, but due to the contradiction in their potency (fish is hot and milk is cool), they vitiate the blood and obstruct the srotamsi. There are many more.

Incompatible food combinations examples..
1. Taking milk, fish, and honey together.
2. Taking honey, ghee in equal quantity.
3. Milk and Curd, these things or any food items made of these two should not be eaten together.
4. Similar to milk and curd, milk and jaggery also does not go together.
5. Onion and milk is another item which is dangerous if taken together. Many problems of skin happen because of this combo.
6. Except amla (Indian gooseberry) no sour fruit should be taken with milk. Even mangoes are not to be taken with milk. This is a highly mistaken idea. Any fruit with a sour vipaka does not get mixed with milk as it is incompatible and is Virudhahara. (sorry not mango milk shakes.)
7. Milk followed by fruits and vice versa.
8. Sour substance along with milk.
9. Milk with salt
10. Wheat preparations in sesame oil (Tila taila)
11. Hot drinks after alcohol, curd or honey.
12. Cold and hot substances together
13. Banana with curd and butter milk
14. Chicken with curd
15. Ghee kept in bronze vessel
16. Radish with jaggery
17. Fish with jaggery or sugar
18. Milk with meat
19. Cheese and fruit
20. Consumption of stale/leftover food should be minimized for good health. It should never be mixed with fresh food as refrigerated food loses its vitality and becomes heavy and difficult to digest.

Compatible food combinations example
1. Milk with sugar
2. Milk with turmeric
3. Ginger with lemon
4. Panchamruta
5. Caffeine, stresses the adrenal glands. An Ayurvedic anti-dote is to add a pinch of cardamom or cinnamon to your coffee to minimize the impact on the adrenals.
6. Honey, equal quantities by weight of ghee and honey are bad combinations, but mixing in a ratio of 2:1 (two parts ghee to 1 part honey) is fine.

Upavasa (fasting):
Upavasa belongs to the Samana group of Langhana treatment (Reducing therapy)
The following are the benefits of fasting:
1. Stimulation/kindling of digestive fire
2. Digestion of Ama
3. Lightness of the body
4. Normal functioning of sense organs

A youthful person desirous of maintaining the health should indulge in fasting according to the laid down rules.

Varieties of fasting:
Fasting is of two varieties:
1. Nirahara (without diet)
2. Phalahara (with intake of fruits).
The former is the best and it is of two varieties.
1. Sajala (with intake of water)
2. Nirjala (abstaining from intake of water)
Sajala variety is recommended to the persons with vata and pitta temperaments and Nirjala for persons of kapha temperament.
In phalahara variety, the person should eat the fruits which do not cause constipation, only once in a day. A person intending to go on fasting a day, should eat a very light meal on the previous night and go on fasting for 24 hours. On the fasting day he should not indulge in day-sleep and sexual union. On the next morning, after completing the requisite ablutions, he should eat a meal which is well cooked, very light, unctuous, soft and sweet in taste.

Contraindications of fasting:
One who regularly offers oblations to the fire (Ahitagni), wrestlers and bachelors should not go on fast.
Prohibition of addictions: One should not get addicted to different varieties of alcoholic drinks, opium, tobacco, Datura seeds, cannabis, nux-vomica, cocaine, aconite, arecanuts etc. These are intoxicants; destroy the functions of the brain and heart. Therefore one who wishes to live healthfully should not use these either as drinks, smoking or eating.

9 thoughts on “Eating Ayurvedically (nuts and bolts of it)

  1. Whoa. Lots to take in here🙂

    Question about regular scheduled fasting once a week, are there any contraindications based on the weather? Rainy, overcast, high winds, blizzard, etc?

    Should I fast on days I do laghu shankaprakshalana?

    • The question is more of why fasting?
      What for?
      And more importantly do you know how to do it?
      And what to do after it?
      Just not eating for a day or whatever amount of time is not fasting. To continue with your normal life on days of fasting is also not healthy. Coming out of it and going back to eating the same way you have been is not only hazardous to ones health, it actually will create disease because the agni is not in any place to digest a normal meal and needs to be properly brought back to strength.
      Fasting is necessary if you are doing laghu shankaprakshalana. It is actually part of the entire process. To do it without???? Why?

      • I suffer from bloating after meals so I am lightening my intake of foods, being more mindful of how I’m feeling after, trying to understand the seasonal changes, and working on my morning routine which will eventually include some sort of sadhana. I’m familiar with Hatha and I’d like to take that route. Laghu shankaprakshalana has helped me in the past and I’d like to include it in my routine, just once a week. I’m getting my info about it from the Bihar School’s book on Yoga for the digestive system, but it mainly focuses in the full procedure which says to rest in bed and then eat a kitchari some time later in the day and for a few days after.

        My fasting and laghu is done with the intent of improving health and will only be done on Sundays when I don’t work or do much else. My daily routine doesn’t include jala neti yet and I do want to take care of my oral hygiene problems before I go much further, I’m just trying to gather info right now.

      • So this to me is the problem Lucas. Without knowing about something, as in the details that are really necessary to know what something is for and why it is done, you are doing something. Yes, out of best intentions but what do you think the end result will be? Kinda like throwing dice? And then do you think that there is knowledge out there to then fix or even diagnose or see something that is happening as a side effect of doing shatkarmas incorrectly? Like doing it once a week. Not wise.
        So is Laghu shankaprakshalana good for bloating? What is bloating? Why is there bloating after meals? Get what i am saying?
        Unfortunately, there is books like that APMB (I know the book well) out there putting stuff that can be very harmful in the hands of people that are not studied.
        Do you think that doing this all year around once a week is contraindicated or not? Is this even the correct treatment?
        Get my point?

  2. Thanks for your very quick response. I THOUGHT (you know all about our friend THOUGHT) it might be good for them for digestion\genl health and a good habit. No current health issues and no signs of any either. Just a good habit I thought. Nothing spiritual for them yet (twins age 9) but my daughter has a very sluggish digestion and like her mother struggles with constipation. So interesting to see her twin brother bowels go (like his father) about twice a day….. This must surely be from the past as they never ate differently but had very different digestions since birth. Is this digestion issues from the past or what causes it – in this case twins with all else similar.

    Thanks also for the copper vessel advise. I pour water from it into kids school water bottles and only me drink the rest. I will start drinking without touching.

    What advise can you give for western school going children to eat. Personally I think in the west we eat ourselves to death, but I am not sure how much and what a child should eat. One read so much about the effect of carbs 9 (bread – even if home baked with stone ground flour) on the mind and my son has a concentration problem of note (ADD). It is easy feeding a child home cooked meals at home, but what to send to school is a mystery to me. Now this family eats very little and I try to teach them that food is to only sustain the body (and not for taste or greed) and the body is the temple of God, so to look at food differently. I also raise then now completely vegetarian, they can decide for themselves when they are older, what they want to do about that…. But they are surrounded by other kids that grow up VERY differently. So how to feed them is a real struggle for me.
    I much appreciate your educated answers🙂

    • Hi Chantelle,
      Yes, I know all about thought, lol. Deal with it all the time here.🙂

      Children, even twins are not the same and have different constitutions as you have shown in your comment. it pretty incredible huh? They will even have different astrology, well, not in western but in jyotish. You can easily have your daughter do abhyanga if she has no aama to help with the vata. there are oter things but not without a proper diagnosis. There is so much to all of this really. They have different constitutions because they are not the same, simple. Where does it come from? They have different personalities right? That is the start of the manifestation. Past life karma of course is going to have to do with it as well. Then add to it that they are 9 so they are not living the same lives, not the same actions and those actions lead to imbalances as we age. pretty much that simple. They both don’t get a fever at the same time and go to the bathroom at the same time so how could their systems be the same or even expected to be the same?
      Its just the way the modern world thinks about things. We also think children are so pure. Not the case. Children are born with diseases as well. They are born with a blending of the health of the parents and more. But this itself leads one to think what is going on with our future generations when adults are having children at much older ages than ever. The children are bound to be more imbalanced because of this at birth.

      The school thing is a very hard one for many reasons. Children tend to not eat certain things unless you make them, right? Also at school they tend to trade foods as well as eat other kids foods. There is hardly any containment for all the possibilities. Best is to follow the seasons and make food fit for that for them. Other wise what to do about the other variables. I would not believe much of anything put out in the popular medical world as far as what they think health is. I stopped that years ago. I originally started over 25 years ago soaking up all of that stuff and over time i knew it was wrong with how much it changed and turned over what it had purported to be true earlier. Hey, the egg is healthy again, did you hear? Yea!!!!! My point exactly. No joke, latest is that eggs do not raise the cholesterol level. Research it. What a joke right?
      Keep reading the blog. you’ll learn along the way. It is not something i can just write in a response to a comment. Read about agni. First thing.

    • To many variables there to tell you a good answer Chantelle. It is a great question though.
      For what reasons are they fasting? Is there a disease state? For spiritual because it is their path , not their parents? Why exactly would a child be fasting. A normal child in the mundane world, i do not believe should be fasting for no reason.
      Fasting once a week is fine, for an adult.
      Copper vessel does not need to be cleaned. Rinse it. In India people do not put cups to their mouths or water bottles to their lips like in the US. Water is poured in to the mouth without the vessel touching. So not cleaning needs to be done to any copper vessel.

  3. Get real chapati flour from your indian store. Try that. I gotta say, I have never had success in making roti with American ground flours, except for one and that was a whole wheat in Trader Joes but they do not carry it now for years. Most likely all of your problems come from the flour you are using. You can also add a little ghee to the recipe and they will be softer.

    White rice and plain flour together is find. Do it everyday. I am guessing you mean with other stuff in the meal too. Yes, in Ayurveda as well as most of India there is a comprehension of how to eat the food. You don’t just eat like we do here in the US which means with no knowledge and just mix it all together because “it all goes to the same place”. Eat the roti first and eat the rice last. Make sure the rice is not basmati k?

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