We all have a notion that eating three times a day is essential. But it is not so. I am not saying that we should eat once a day. But the best approach is to be aware of your body and your hunger. Most of us have a basic rule of three times meal, and we follow it blindly. I have seen many people following the same diet habits that they developed when they were children or youth. You must realize that your body is no longer in the growing mode. And we are not trees! So, according to Ayurveda, the food requirements of the body change over time. They are different for kids, youth, and older adults. Here, I will discuss the basics ideal dietary habit applicable for all. And surprisingly, the perfect diet is minimalistic in nature. It is precise and does not overburden the body with unnecessary digestion.
Digestion – Seat of Agni
Let’s understand that digestion is like the general maintenance of a house. It provides essential nutrition, grows and maintains body tissues, etc. Now imagine if you have to spend all your time and resources to maintaining the house. You will have no time for anything else. Some people have a huge house, big cars, properties, etc. and their whole time and money are sucked in maintaining THINGS. They might realize in the end that they gained nothing at all.
The human body is a tool for enlightenment. However, we spend all our energy on earning and eating food. Worse, we have junk food that adds an extra expense of medicines in later life. How is it any better than animals who live in a forest? Probably they are better off as they don’t have to pay EMI or mortgage.
Besides, even the blast furnace is cooled off for some time after burning. It helps in repair and maintenance. However, today, our digestive system has no respite. We keep pouring food in it day in and day out. Most of the people are not even hungry when they eat.
What happens when you eat without hunger?
Now, let me tell you what happens when you eat without hunger. When Your blood sugar drops, the brain senses the low availability of sugar and trigger hunger. It sends signals to the stomach to secrete digestive enzymes. And these digestive enzymes irritate the stomach lining. That’s how we feel hungry. In the same time, all other organs like liver, pancreas, salivary glands all prepare themselves for best digestion and absorption.
But imagine what will happen if you are eating without hunger. Your blood sugar is already normal. The blood does not need any more sugar. There is no signal from the brain to secrete digestive enzymes. So your stomach is also not ready for digestion. But still, you pour unrequired food in your system.
Under-digested food rots inside us!
Have you ever tried frying something without heating the oil properly? If you do, you will realize that the food put in low-temperature oil absorbs more oil than required and yet does not gets adequately cooked. A similar phenomenon happens to the food that enters the digestive tract without hunger invitation.
Not properly digested food is not a big problem. The bigger question is what happens after that. A proper amount of digestive juices prevent rapid food decay in the warm internal environment. However, because of no hunger, food does not get an adequate amount of these juices. It starts to rot inside the alimentary canal. According to Ayurveda, such food produces toxins by rotting in the body. Worse are the effects if you have chronic constipation. Imagine the number of toxins released in the system because of undigested food.
The sugar tsunami
And still a bigger problem is the unnecessary sugar release. Now, this food is reluctantly absorbed by the intestines, and the sugar consumed is released into the blood. Blood sugar is already at a normal level. But the extra intake causes a sugar tsunami in the blood. An overworked pancreas tries to control the blood sugar. But how many times can it control such sudden surges? All secretory organs, including pancreas, need some time to prepare good quality digestive juices as well as insulin.
And this problem further snowballs when we snack frequently, and the worst products to consume are sweets, chocolates, etc. With frequent sugar surges in the body, the tissues get acclimatized to high sugar levels. A dissatisfied Pancreas resigns to the status-quo and insulin secretions steadily declines.
The high sugar levels are also related to hypertension. According to Ayurveda, madhura or sweet rasa vitiates kapha dosha. Kapha dosha is the causal factor for blockages. According to recent researches, low glycemic load (GL) naturally results in low BP as well. Therefore we can link abnormal high or frequent food intake with hypertension.
Feeding Cancer Cells
Worse is still to come! High sugar levels are associated with cancer formation. Cancer cells feed on the high sugar content, where the healthy cells lose their vitality. So, if you are not happy with diabetes, hypertension, etc., you might get cancer. Cancer cells are present in all creatures, but the internal body environment is not conducive for them to thrive. However, with abnormal eating habits, we make an inviting environment for all kinds of diseases.
Consider a corrupt society. As society corrodes in its moral values, all kinds of evil find it easy to thrive. The educational institutes, healthcare, judiciary everything will get corrupted. And good people will find it hard to survive. However, the decision lies in our hands, we need to decide what we want to invite inside consciously.
So, it comes out that if you eat less, eat only when you are correctly hungry, you will need less food, fewer medicines. You will have a more productive and satisfying life.
Now, in the next blog, we will see how much exactly we need to eat. I won’t tell you some specific quantity. But I can guide you about the parameters that you must follow to assess the amount of food you need.