Good Food and Bad Food According to Ayurveda – Food that should be consumed rarely I

The ayurvedic hypothesis is that the food items listed above diminish digestive fire and release more toxins than nutrients during their digestion. The only person with extremely good digestion power is able to absorb proper nutrition from them. Let us assume that consuming the above-listed food is like putting damp wood in the fire, which takes a long time to get burnt, produces a lot of smoke while burning and still might not get burnt properly. Only a very strong fire can burn the damp logs. A weak fire will get extinguished by them.

Food that should be used rarely

  1. Food cooked in a mixture of milk and curd/yogurt etc.

  2. Cheese

  3. Pork (Red meat)

  4. Beef (Red meat)

  5. Fish

  6. Curd

  7. Buffalo meat (Red meat)

  8. Urad Dal ( Black gram)

  9. Sorghum(Jowar)

Also, it is important to note that according to Sutra rule, the foods listed above are more harmful than the foods listed below. That means a mixture of milk and curd is the most dangerous in the entire list, worse than even beef and pork.

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Milk and Curd (yogurt) Mixture

According to Ayurveda, milk and curd are different in the constitution and so is their digestion process. Milk is sheeta virya (cool temperament) and curd is ushna virya (hot in nature). Milk is an almost neutral emulsion and curd is acidic.

Let us imagine the cooking (digestion) of rice in two different forms. If we cook completely raw rice, mixed with already cooked rice then the cooked rice will get overcooked and lose its nutrition. If we focus on the cooked rice, the raw rice will not get cooked properly and will not be absorbed if consumed.

When something does not get properly absorbed in the body, it starts to putrefy and produce contaminants. Thus, digestion of milk and curd together produces incompatible substances, which might not be easily absorbed, thus producing more toxins.

This mixture should not be consumed at all. If consumed, it should not be more than once a month for a young and healthy person.

Cottage cheese


Cheese is made from adding acid(for example – lemon) to the milk.

According to Ayurveda, Cheese (Sanskrit – Kilat, Hindi – Paneer) is a good food for people suffering from insomnia (with good digestion). Cheese is heavy to digest but nutritious. It promotes semen and muscle formation and balances the vata dosha.

According to Charak, colostrum, cottage cheese water, or cottage cheese is for the people who have EXCELLENT digestion. There are very few people who can claim that today. Therefore, you should think twice before you consume cheese.  Besides, even if you have a great digestion, cottage cheese should not be consumed every day.

Consumption of other types of cheese that are aged is better than eating cottage cheese. But even the aged cheese (like Cheddar, Mozzarella. Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan) Pecorino etc.) should not be consumed in heavy quantity (example: pizza, cheeseburger etc.)every day. No wonder, the cheese was rarely used in earlier days. Now-a-day, in any party or celebration I can find cottage cheese in almost half of the menu. Such food is the cause of our low immunity towards all diseases.

Ideally, you should consume cottage cheese only once or twice in a month if you are young and healthy.

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Red Meat

Consumption of beef is highly restricted in Ayurveda. It is important to note that beef is mentioned to be used only in specific diseases like the vataj disease, chronic coryza, recurrent fever, dry cough, weakness, excessive digestive juices in the body or certain muscular disorders (Charak Samhita – S.S-17/19). However, the word “only” is very important here. It should be used “only” in the above diseases.

Pork is considered “guru” or hard to digest. This single quality should make it a fairly undesirable food for most of the population. It is not dry in nature like the Urad dal, but if we have to compare the 2, pork will be at least a 100 times harder than Urad dal to digest! Again, it is can be used in certain diseased conditions but definitely not every day.

Buffalo meat is again Guru or very hard to digest. Besides, it causes excessive sleep and obesity. Similar to beef and pork, it has many good qualities. It is unctuous, hot temperament and gives strength and stability to the body. It endows enthusiasm to the mind. But because it is hard to digest, it should be consumed only once in a while.

These foods are like medicine, they help when consumed in some specific conditions and kill when consumed every day. Consider antibiotics, they are good, but you cannot eat them every day!  According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a part of the World Health Organization, red meat like beef and pork might have a carcinogenic effect on humans, with possible risks for colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, Gastric cancer, and prostate cancer.

You should consume any kind of red meat once or twice in a month if you are young and healthy. Also, you should refrain from red meat during the rainy season. Red meat soup with few meat pieces is the best preparation that is the easiest to digest in all seasons.

Digestion is the door to health or disease

According to Ayurveda, digestion is the key to health as well as disease. Digestion is the main route through which the nutrition can enter the body. It is like the assembly line which processes the raw material to the finished product. But if the raw material has defects, it will not only produce an imperfect end product but also derail the normal functioning of the assembly line.

Heavy food is like an impure raw material that requires more resources and time to produce the same end product – energy and nutrition. This naturally makes the heavy food a low-profit bargain for the body. You should not stay in a low margin business if you have to thrive. In fact, it has more possibilities to be a loss-making transaction for the body (toxins from undigested food).  Therefore, we should make sure that only the most profitable food goes into our mouths.

This is a hypothesis according to Ayurveda and more research is invited to verify the truth.

Please find the details on curd, fish, urad dal and sorghum in the next blog.


Good Food and Bad Food According to Ayurveda – I : Food that should not be consumed

Keeping in mind that food cannot be cooked separately for all persons in a house, Acharya Charak describes the food quality that should be taken regularly for all seasons and all prakrati, along with food that should be used very rarely by all prakrati individuals. However, it is particularly important to refrain from the bad food even if you have to stay hungry, as it is said that one should not eat poison even if he has nothing left to eat!

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Food that should not be eaten regularly (occasionally, once or twice a year or for the medicinal purpose)

  • Dried Meat
  • Dried Vegetables
  • Lotus roots
  • Non-vegetarian diet for the weak

Dried Meat and Vegetables

It is very convenient and sometimes cheap to store dried meat or vegetables for easy use later. Many times people store dried vegetables to be used during the offseason. Dried or dehydrated meat/vegetables are now being frequently used in “Ready to cook” food. But such products should not be used every day.

The food should be consumed in its fresh or natural form as much as possible. According to my personal hypothesis, food that is naturally juicy, like most of the meat and vegetables, when consumed in dried form,  tends to absorb extra water from the intestines for getting into its original digestible form. It might swell in the intestines. If the adequate amount of moisture is not available, it might not be digested properly. Such food might create toxins due to incomplete digestion.

Dried Vegetables

Most of the vegetables that grow above the ground like cabbage, cauliflower, brinjal, beans, peas, bottle gourds,  etc. are dry in nature and they cause Vata imbalance(dryness in the body) when consumed without hot spices/oil etc. Also, most of the green leafy vegetables are heavy, dry and have a tendency to cause bloating (esp during the rains) if not cooked along with proper spices. When these vegetables are used in the dried form, the dryness produced in the body is multifold. Besides, it can seriously derail the digestive system. This is true for almost all the vegetables.

Therefore, if you have the option of using dried red chilies for the fresh green ones, please choose the fresh green chillis. Dried methi leaves, normally used as a flavor enhancing agent in Indian cooking, also should be used once in a while.

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Meat, esp pork is supposed to be extremely heavy in nature and can cause severe digestive problems (Vata derangement) if consumed in the dried form. Beef is recommended only in diseased conditions, not otherwise. Most of the meat is heavy to digest. Dehydrated meat is harder to digest and can cause severe Vata vitiation in the body.

It is said that such food takes a long time to get digested and after digestion does not fuel the digestive fire, instead leaves it weakened. Therefore such food is classified as Dhatupradushak or contaminator of the metabolism/tissue systems. In order to understand this concept, let us take the example of throwing sand on the fire. The sand does not get burnt but brings down the intensity of the fire. It might even extinguish a weak fire!

Ideally, we should stop using the packaged ready to cook masalas which contain dried vegetables like onion, garlic, or dried chicken pieces.

dosakaya-pickle-recipe.jpgInstead, meat or vegetables stored in pickled form are oiled, tender and better option for easy cooking than the dried ones.

However, dried meat and vegetables, even when used rarely, should be cooked in water/moisture/oil in order to make them soft and easily digestible. They should be served hot in order to stimulate the digestion. Digestive herbs like ginger, black pepper, asafoetida, cumin etc. should be used to make them easy to digest and absorb.

ginger-1191945_960_720That reminds me about dried ginger powder! There are some exceptions to everything. Dried root vegetables like potato chips can be kept for long duration and consumed after frying. The use of water or oil for proper cooking is indispensable. Still, a fresh potato is a 1000 times better than the dried potato. The dried ginger powder is an Ayurvedic medicine, easy to digest and produces heat in the body and therefore is not a bad food choice. Pumpkin in dried form is not damaging to health, therefore Vadi(a dried Indian curry material) made by sun-drying the chunks of pumpkin paste and spices, are not harmful.

Also, this concept is not applicable to the medicinal herbs(aushadhi) like Ashwagandha to coriander seeds. They can be stored in the dried powdered form of at least one year. However, their other preparations like jam (chavanprash), tablets, alcohols are more useful and have a longer shelf life.

Dried meat and vegetables are not great everyday food, but they might be used for medicinal purposes, as according to Ayurveda, everything in the universe can be used as a medicine. For example, dried radish soup is used to relieve severe bronchitis.

Considering all the health dimensions of dried vegetables and meat, it is best to avoid most of the dried vegetables and meat, unless prescribed by a trained physician.


Lotus Roots

Lotus roots are considered to be very heavy and not digestible in the human system. Therefore they should not be consumed at all.

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Non-vegetarian diet for the weak

Normally a person who is weak and thin is advised to consume a non-vegetarian diet, as according to Ayurveda also, flesh is the best diet to increase flesh. However, a weak person with a bad digestion should never consume non-vegetarian diet, as it can seriously hamper his digestion capacity. Ideally, according to the Ayurvedic procedure of weight gain, a very weak person should improve his digestion and health primarily on a vegetarian diet and digestive medicines. After that, he should gradually move to a non-vegetarian diet. A non-vegetarian diet for a weak person with retarded digestion is like a college assignment for a school kid. The chances of successful completion are almost nil. Besides, such a diet will cause further retardation of the already weak digestion.

The central idea of the above guidelines is to preserve the digestion. Digestion is the fuels the life-force in the body and anything that hampers digestion should be avoided at all cost.


Know thy food – Basic Ayurvedic Classification of Food

According to Ayurveda, the one who eats healthy food will never need any medicine; and the one who eats unhealthy food will never benefit from any medicine. Therefore it is important to know thy food!

According to Ayurveda, every edible substance on earth has 3 properties –

Doshashamak (Pacifier of Dosha)- It balances the dosha (physiological systems of the body). Herbs like turmeric, ginger, black pepper can be classified as Doshashamak. Turmeric balances Kapha and Pitta, ginger and black pepper balances Vata and Kapha.

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Dhatupradushak( Contaminator of Dhatu)- It contaminates the vital tissue systems. Ayurveda believes that the diseases can occur only when there is a suitable environment for their incubation inside the body system. A contaminated dhatu is the ignorant king who unsuspectingly allows the trojan horse of diseases inside the body. It is like the traitor of Sparta who gave away the strategic secrets and led to the defeat of his kingdom. Therefore, all diseases have roots inside the body and these roots are formed by the Dhatupradushak food and lifestyle habits we practice.

Onion can be considered as an example of Dhatupradushak, as it is Guru (heavy to digest). Anything that is heavy to digest is taxing for the digestive system to absorb. It has a hot temperament and helps to balance Vata. However, it is heavy, sweet in taste, and unctuous. Therefore, onion has a tendency to vitiate Kapha Dosha. Onion is also sharp in action and has bitter as its secondary taste. Therefore, it can vitiate pitta dosha by disturbing the physiological processes.

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Swasthyahitkarak(Beneficial for Health) – It is the substance that is indisputably good for health. It is important to note that all Ayurvedic guidelines should be considered in a context. Sutra is the system that provides a comprehensive context for all rules. Ghee, Honey, rice, moong dal are some of the swasthyahitkarak foods, that cause almost no harm to the body in the widest range of situations.

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Now, there is no physical substance that when taken in any quantity, any time and in any manner will be incontestably good for health. For example, rice is considered good for health and according to Ayurveda, one should have it every day. But uncooked rice is disastrous if consumed, an excessive amount of cooked rice is not good, polished rice is unhealthy etc. Therefore, there is a context where a substance is doshashamak, dhatupradoshak or Swasthyahitkarak. This is the broad view.

Now for practical purposes, how can we classify day to day objects in these 3 categories? Well, we can do that in the same way as we classify the solid, liquid and gas. Everything that exists on this earth can acquire any of the 3 states of physical existence, in specific conditions. For example, oxygen is a gas in normal circumstances. However, it can be transformed to liquid when compressed, or even solid. But still, for all practical purposes, it is classified as a gas, because that is its natural form of existence. In the same way, even arsenic can be good for the body. It is actually used in many of the Rasa Shastra medicines. But, for all practical purposes, it is classified as a toxin. Because it has a natural toxic effect on the body. Similarly, haritaki (Terminelia chebula) is extolled to be as benevolent as a mother towards the stomach but it is not supposed to be consumed more than a specific period of time. Still, for all practical purposes, it is a swasthyahitkarak herb.

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Besides, it is important to note that each human body is different. What is good for one person might not be good for the other. For example, eating curd might be good for a person with good digestion, but buttermilk is better for a person with weak digestion. But this classification is still applicable for everyone. For example, as swasthyahitkarak substance, Ghee is invariably good for all humans, (pure and natural) milk is nourishing for all children. Similarly, too much acid like vinegar is dhatupradushak for all people. And Amla is pitta doshashamak for everyone.

Therefore, irrespective of the body type, this classification is the basis on which we can choose the food that we should eat or the food that we should avoid, in general.

  • Swasthyahitkarak food items should be consumed every day.
  • Doshashamak food items should be consumed according to requirement.
  • Dhatupradushak food items should be consumed rarely or not at all.

If we follow these plain and simple rules of eating, we will never fall sick.

The most interesting thing about substance(dravya) as described in Ayurveda is Kal (time), Disha(dimension), Mana(mind) and Atma (soul) are classified as substances. Therefore the above 3 classifications are applicable to the lifestyle and the thought process also.

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Ayurveda for a Gorgeous Skin

 According to Ayurveda, skin is formed in the same way as the cream is formed from the boiling milk. This example indicates that all the physiological functions of the body have a direct or indirect effect on the body. According to this sutra, you scars, wrinkles or pimples actually start forming in your stomach! Besides, Ayurveda stresses the role of the mind as the supreme controller of the body physiology. So actually, your stress or anxiety is the factor that might ruin the normal function of your stomach and cause you a face full of wrinkles! Like the way a healthy mind resides in a healthy body, a healthy skin also is a result and reflection of the overall health of the body and the mind.

Health is the real beauty! Now, as the results of dangerous chemical cosmetics are more visible now, this age-old concept of real beauty is being rediscovered. Most of the skin care products like moisturizers, lotions or cosmetic creams do not penetrate beyond the outermost layer of the skin.  All they can do is to soften the outer dead layer of the skin. The real nutrition of skin, as stated earlier, has to come from the centre of the body.

According to Ayurveda, there are three pillars of perfect health. A perfect skin will inescapably boil down from a perfectly healthy physiology. These 3 pillars are Ahaar (food), Nindra(sleep) and Brahmacharya(balanced conduct).

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We are what we eat. The factor “Ahaar” consists of 3 factors – the quality of food that we consume, the way in which we consume the food and the kind of digestion we have.

Qualities of an Ideal Meal

Use of Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables

The central force in the body physiology is the process of digestion. Whether it is nutrients or toxins that are digested, formed or absorbed in the body, are the factor to the digestion.  Important guidelines for healthy digestion can be found in the below link.

Ayurvedic Lifestyle for Excellent Digestion

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The next most important thing is “Nindra” or sleep. Sleep is the rejuvenating factor for the skin. Sleep provides the much required time for rest, repair and manufacturing of new body parts. Even proper digestion cannot happen without proper sleep. Most of the skin repair and rejuvenation happens when you are sleeping. Without proper sleep, the skin will be like a vehicle which has not had a proper servicing for years. Naturally, such skin will be full of distasteful marks, acne, wrinkles etc. Therefore, in order to have a gorgeous skin, it is important to make sure that you sleep is a perfect beauty sleep. Disturbed sleep or insomnia severely affects entire body physiology and thereby also the skin.

Here are some factors that pave the way towards deep, peaceful and relaxing sleep.

How to get the best sleep

Following points can help to have an excellent sleep and restore the skin health

  • Have an early dinner, preferably before sunset.

  • Stop working on the internet, mobile, TV or any other electronic device at least 2 hours before sleep

  • If you are a music lover, listen to relaxing music before going to sleep
  • Meditation before sleep helps to reduce stress and helps to bring a deep and peaceful sleep.
  • Everything good follows gratefulness. Try praying just before going to sleep. You can have your personal unique prayer. This prayer will set a positive mode before your mind goes to process your deep thoughts and impressions during the sleep.
  • Use eye caps to ensure proper darkness. Darkness helps to restore the natural balance of chemicals in the eyes.
  • Do not read, listen to or talk about depressing or sad things before going to sleep. This means that you should not be reading a newspaper or a thrilling novel before going to sleep.
  • If you are not the meditation or music type, try taking a small quiet walk outdoors before going to sleep.

A good sleep will definitely result in a fresh mind and a healthy body. Healthy skin is but an inevitable outcome of the same.

Ideal Time to Wake Up: Brahma Muhurat

Healthy Sleep Patterns During The Seasons

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The last but not the least, stress is the most important factor in the skin health. Stress is one single factor that can derail all other factors. It damages digestion and wipes out sleep. It creates a hormonal imbalance and accelerates the overall ageing process. There is no way our skin can escape the effects of stress.

Brahmacharya is an ideal code of mental, verbal, physical and social conduct. According to brahmacharya, we should make ourselves in sync with nature and humanity. Brahmacharya is the way to perfect peace and balance in the mind. According to this code of conduct, one should refrain from any kind of violence (wilful damage to others), greed, anger, arrogance and obsession. These qualities naturally keep the mind undisturbed. A balanced mind can maintain a balanced body. Besides, once the mind is calm, this calmness reflects on your face and makes it really attractive beyond words.

Thus, by strengthening the 3 pillars of health- proper food, proper sleep and a peaceful mind, one can achieve a flawless skin! And, the best part is that for doing any of this, you do not need to spend any extra money or buy an expensive product or service, because real beauty is priceless!

 How to have a great skin? – Basic Approach

Actually, the better approach is how to preserve the great skin that we are born with. As a child, normally all of us have had great skins, hence the term – baby soft. But over the years as we grow older, we lose that beautiful> And is it solely because of the way we treat it.  So it is important today to know what not to do before we start on what to do in order to have a great skin.

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Don’ts for a beautiful skin

Don’t use soap EVER on your skin. Soap is an acid and if you keep pouring acid on your skin every day, no one can save your skin from getting dry and look older. With dryness come the wrinkles, rashes, dullness and rapid ageing. Soap is for washing non-living things, use it for washing your clothes, but not your skin.

Please, please don’t use chemicals based cosmetics, sunscreen, skin serum, moisturizers, lotions, skin creams, toners, cleansers etc etc etc on your skin. These products contain a bulk load of chemicals that are not only harmful to skin but many of them, esp the fragrance producing agents like benzene compounds are carcinogenic.

Don’t use bleach, chemical-based hair removers, artificial deodorants or body sprays.

In short, don’t use anything artificial for your skin. It will be a blessing both for your skin and your pocket. And what’s more, you will have a naturally attractive skin.

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Do’s for the skin

It is important to stay properly hydrated to maintain a good amount of moisture in the skin.

  • Ushapaan is an excellent water detoxification methods, normally practiced early morning before sunrise. It is a must do not only for a healthy skin but for the health of the entire body.
  • Again, good digestion is the basic factor for having a clear and radiant skin.
  • Body Massage is the best way to immediately increase blood and nutrition supply to the skin. Ayurvedic massage helps to increase the rate of lymph and tissue fluid circulation, which helps to improve the quality of blood supply reaching the skin. Regular massage with Ayurvedic oils helps to enhance the rate of toxin removal, skin repair and rejuvenation. Massage activates the skin based glands and ensures a smooth, healthy and radiant skin.

Ayurvedic oils that can be used for body massage

General body pain

  • Mahanarayan tailam
  • Bala Tailam

Dry skin or medium skin

  • Mustard Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Olive Oil

Oily Skin

  • Aloe vera gel
  • Turmeric – gram flour – milk cream paste


  • Multani clay face pack
  • Neem leaves paste face pack

Scars and Face Marks

  • Aloe vera gel
  • Mashed raw potato face pack
  • Kumkumadi Tailam


  • Aloe vera
  • Kumkumadi tailam

Hope this information helps you. Feel free to get in touch for a personalized Ayurvedic skincare consultation.

Wishing you a beautiful skin!