First part of this post : Food that should be used rarely I
In the earlier post, we looked at the first 5 points. In this post let’s look at the others.
Food cooked in a mixture of milk and curd/yogurt etc.
- Cottage Cheese(Chenna)
- Pork (Red meat)
- Beef (Red meat)
- Buffalo meat (Red meat)
- Urad Dal ( Black gram)
Continued with Curd
Curd / Yogurt
Curd here means yogurt. The product made from curdling the milk with an acid like lemon is referred to as cheese.
Curd has lots of good qualities. It is a natural appetizer, digestive, semen enhancer, and unctuous and hot temperament food. It balances vata and promotes muscle development. However, it is acidic and should be avoided during autumn (sharad), summer (grishma), and spring(vasant). However, there is no strict rule and everything depends on the digestive system of the individual.
Autumn(sharad) is the time for pitta vitiation. It means that the pitta system of the body gets naturally imbalanced because of the external seasonal change. (Effect of Ritu (seasons) on Dosha)
Summer is the time of vata vitiation and spring is the time for kapha vitiation. It means that the body’s immunity, digestive capacity, and overall physiology is accommodating itself to the seasonal change. Therefore, it becomes more prone to diseases. It is important to have light and dosha balancing food during this time, according to the season. The curd is heavy to digest. Being acidic, it might hamper the digestion. Therefore it is advisable, esp for the children, elderly and patients, to avoid consuming curd during these particular seasonal changes.
Because of the above reasons, curd should not be consumed daily. Also, it is important to note that it should not be consumed at night for the same reasons.
Go Dinnerless! – Ayurveda advises light food at night
Fish is again a heavy food to digest. It is also specifically stated to cause an imbalance in all 3 dosha or the physiological systems in the body. It has other positive qualities also. It is said to be hot temperament, sweet (Madhur Rasa) and unctuous; it gives strength and nourishes the muscle tissue. It can increase the quality and quantity of semen. But all these qualities can be utilized only if the fish is digested properly.
Even with the use of herbs and spices, everyday consumption of fish may severely derail the digestion. Let us consider an example of a seashell. It is pure calcium carbonate and very good for the body, but we cannot eat one plain seashell every day! It is very important to consider what a normal human body can absorb and what it cannot absorb. Only counting the nutrition or calories present in a substance does not ensure its proper absorption in the body. (processed seashells are an Ayurvedic medicine 🙂 )
Therefore fish should be consumed once in a week if you are young and healthy. Otherwise, it should be consumed either for medicinal purposes, very rarely, and in extremely small quantities. Also, it should be properly spiced with digestive spices.
Fish is a part of the daily diet for a huge population across the world and these people have lived healthily for generations, for example, Bengalis, Chinese, Japanese or any people living near the sea. But it is important to note that these populations have been poor for a long time. They were not able to eat fish every day and would consume a very small amount per person. However, in the past few decades, we have seen significant financial progress and increased fish consumption among these populations. At the same time, there is a marked increase in the lifestyle, autoimmune and other kinds of metabolic disorders in these populations. Once we start to consume something that is not good for the body, the body adjusts its physiological functions to a certain extent in order to accommodate the dietary disturbance. This phenomenon is called Satmya. This continues till the time, it reaches a yielding point where multiple diseases, that were pent-up in the metabolism, begin to surface.
Urad Dal (Black gram) is described to be very dry and liable to cause diseases related to Vata Dosha. Plain boiled Urad Dal should never be consumed if possible. It should be mixed with other kinds of pulses. Also, it should be flavored by Vata reducing herbs like asafoetida, mustard seeds etc. even when you are eating it once in a while. If cooked directly and consumed without any hot temperament spices, it might cause severe vitiation of Vata Dosha.
The best way to use urad dal is the fermented/soaked form. This changes its dry nature and becomes slimy when soaked in water for more than 8 hours. Fermented urad dal is used daily in some places. It is an important constituent in idli/dosa batter and also as a flavoring in south Indian cuisine. But since it is used in the fermented form, it changes its dry constitution, becomes slimy and more easily digestible. Use of fried Urad Dal as a flavoring in south Indian meals is a very small part of the entire meal, so its effect is balanced by other constituents such as asafoetida, mustard seeds, Methi seeds (fenugreek seeds). Also, Dahi Vada, a north Indian delicacy, is made from Urad dal, soaked in the water overnight and ground with methi seeds (Anti-Vata herb).
According to Charak Samhita(S.S – 27/19), sorghum is dry, cool, light and sweet astringent in taste. It promotes Vata and faeces formation in the body. It creates stamina and strength in the body and helps to remove Kapha related diseases. It is an ideal food for reducing and managing weight, without becoming weak.
But due to its dry, cool and light nature, it has a huge tendency to vitiate vata. Vata is prominent of all other dosha systems of the body. It can cause severe weakness, joint diseases, neurological problems and is an essential conductor of all disease-causing factors throughout the body.
Therefore, it should not be consumed during the rainy season, which is the time for natural vitiation of vata. Also, weak, thin and old people suffering from joint pain, body pain, nervous problems should not consume sorghum on a daily basis. It should be consumed once a week considering you are young, healthy with a great digestion.
In case you choose to eat the above food –
- Make sure that you temper the dish with digestive herbs and spices
- Don’t eat the above-mentioned food items at night
- Don’t eat them cold
- Don’t eat them in large quantity
Digestion is the Key
It is important to note that the food passes through the digestive tract (stomach and intestines) and is kept there for a specific period or until reaching a specific condition, whichever parameter is reached first. For example, the food is kept in the stomach until the ph. reaches a certain point or ideally for 1-2 hours. Similarly, there is a time range of digestion in the intestines also.
Sometimes because of wrong food choices, the body is not able to digest the food in this stipulated time. It can be because of heavy food or a large amount of food or both. So the food is held in the body for a longer duration. Normally, acid and bases in the alimentary canal save the food from getting decayed and turning in to poison. The flip side is that food putrefaction or decay starts if the food is held in the body for a longer time or the amount or quality of digestive juices is not enough to cover the digestion requirements. The undigested or under digested food creates toxins, gas, bloating etc. Also, the body energy is distracted and wasted in fighting any infection or discomfort arising out of this condition.
If this happens regularly, the person becomes more prone to diseases and faster aging. Therefore, it is crucial to see that the right food in the right amount goes inside your body and to avoid anything that is not compatible with normal human digestion.