General Body Detox

Now, as we know no about how migraine happens according to Ayurveda, we can look at the Ayurvedic treatment of migraine.

This migraine self-healing protocol is derived from following classical Ayurvedic text – Charak Samhita, Ashtang Hridya, Bhaishajya Ratnavali, and Yogaratnakara. The treatment methods like nasal drops, ear drops, etc. have been used in the Indian traditional healthcare regimen for many centuries. They are safe and tested. However, I do not have a scientific data-based support this claim right now. Therefore, kindly use this information after consulting your physician.

Ayurveda considers prakrati or body type as one of the fundamental factors for any treatment. Your body is unique, and it may have individual requirements. This treatment provides suitable options for various body types. However, most of the practices are safe and effective for all. The medicines suggested are classical preparations and have a significant effect on all prakrati.

Ayurvedic migraine treatment is a two-pronged as it works on two dimensions mental and physical. Ideally, the migraine treatment must start with counseling and mindfulness training. However, I won’t expect you to meditate when you are reeling with pain. So let’s start with the easiest, practical, and effective procedures that you can follow at home. I assume that after a few weeks, you would in a better position to handle a post on Ayurvedic manas chikitsa (mind treatment) for migraine. Meanwhile, you might like to check some posts on mindfulness.

So, let’s kick-start the migraine self-healing protocol. I will cover the following parts in each blog with sufficient details.

  • General Detox
  • Diet Change
  • Lifestyle Change
  • Ayurvedic Nasal Drops
  • Ayurvedic Ear Drops
  • Ayurvedic Smoking
  • Ayurvedic Head Massage
  • Ayurvedic Mouth Filling
  • Neti Kriya
  • Ayurvedic Mini-Panchkarma
  • Ayurvedic general medicines and home remedies

Now food is the basic input that decides the output in the form of health or disease. And migraine needs a careful selection of foodstuff.

First of all, it is crucial to know what not to eat –
Please more details in these links –

Toxic food according to Ayurveda

Food to avoid

Food not to be eaten regularly

Food to eat very rarely

Food to be eaten in small quantities

And what to eat –

Best Food according to Ayurveda

All the above recommendations work for migraine patients as well as for healthy people. However, I would like to stress the idea of “Satmya.” You are the best judge of what suits you and what does not. Listen to your body, and it will help you to make the best choices.

Migraine Special Diet

With the above indications, let’s dive deep into a diet that will help you to balance your dosha. Vata dosha vitiation is the fundamental cause of migraines and all similar disorders. Therefore, a comprehensive treatment of migraines is based on achieving a vata balance. And vata balancing diet is the first step towards an effective and permanent migraine relief.

Week 1 – Basic Detox

I assume that you have reasonable stamina to follow the essential detox. Also, I assume that you are not suffering from severe lifestyle disorders like diabetes, Hypertension, etc. In case of any severe disease, kindly consult for a personalized regimen.

The most crucial sutra for a migraine patient is to eat only when hungry (unless you are extremely weak).

Option 1

Basic Fruit Detox –

Fruit detox is applicable for summer, and spring only. It is best for the obese, people suffering from compulsive eating disorders, excessive hunger, anorexia, and depression.

One of the best food for migraine patients is fruits (plant products that can be consumed raw, without any cooking). Try to stay on fruits for this week, if possible. You can boil, bake, fry, or simply eat them raw. Local, seasonal, and organic fruits are the best for consumption. In case you are not able to get fresh fruits; you can also try dry fruits like raisins, dates, cashew, almond, dried berries, etc.

Recommended fruits (naturally ripened and organic) – mango, spondias, banana, coconut water, fresh coconut, watermelon, melon, cucumber, elephant Apple, jujube, emblica, pomegranate, apple, pears etc

All the foods must be consumed; you must ensure that the food that you eat s adequately ripened. Consumption of raw fruits can aggravate the migraine problem. Also, do not make them into juices, shakes, etc. Eat them along with their fiber content for the best results. Avoid making milk shakes. Keep your diet strictly limited to fruits.

The use of Almonds is very beneficial for migraine patients. You must soak the elements overnight, peel their coat in the morning and eat with Rock Candy for the best benefit. You can also similarly use walnut and raisins.

Alternatives to Fresh Fruits: Some people have kapha problems like cold, stuffy nose, congestion, etc. if they consume fruits at night or early morning. However, this is abnormal metabolism, and one should try to correct the same. But before you fix it, the alternatives for dinner are – warm milk (A2 organic milk, preferably), dry fruits, boiled potatoes/sweet potatoes/beetroots, tapioca, carrots, etc. Also, these options might be useful to people who have meager availability of edible fruits.

Fruits to avoid – raw (unripe) or artificially ripened fruits, non-seasonal, exotic fruits, inorganic fruits, Artocarpus lacucha, (also known as monkey fruit, or Monkey Jack or barhar), water caltrop, grapes,and tamarind

Fruit Detox Routine
Day 1 – Normal breakfast and lunch, change in dinner
Day 2 – Change breakfast and dinner, Normal Lunch
Day 3 – Change all three meals
Day 4 – Only fruit/boiled vegetable meals
Day 5 – Only fruit/boiled vegetable meals
Day 6 – Normal Lunch, Fruit-based breakfast and dinner
Day 7 – Normal Lunch, breakfast, fruit-based dinner

I would suggest that you follow this detox once a week after the first week, throughout the migraine treatment protocol.

Option 2:

Basic Ghee Detox

Ghee is Indian Clarified butter than helps to normalize all the body functions. It is THE BEST GENERAL SOLUTION for migraine pain in Ayurveda. It is especially applicable for winter and autumn. However, it can be safely used in all seasons and body types. Ghee detox is best for weak, underweight, recuperating(from physical trauma), people with low stamina, and high hunger.

Ghee: Ghee is Deepan, pachan(appetizer, digestive) in nature. It helps to balance all three dosha in the body. Ghee is one of the best anti-toxin in Ayurveda. Ghee detox will ensure that that dryness in your intestine and overall body is reduced, and your nerves are less hyper excited.

Consumption of ghee at esp. at night time helps to balance Prana vayu, a subtype of vata dosha, which is primarily involved in migraines. For more information on how the timing of a medicine affects performance, please visit How to use Ayurvedic Supplements

Ghee Detox Routine
Day 1 – Normal breakfast and lunch, 10-20 ml Ghee in dinner
Day 2 – 20-40 ml Ghee in breakfast/dinner, Normal Lunch
Day 3 – Change all three meals (20-50 ml depending on the hunger, e.g you might be hungrier in winter than in summer)
Day 4 – Only Ghee meals
Day 5 – Only Ghee meals
Day 6 – Normal Lunch, Ghee-based breakfast and dinner
Day 7 – Normal Lunch, breakfast, Ghee-based dinner

Ghee intake is such a reliable and powerful procedure that it can eliminate migraine in the long run, without any other effort or medication.
People with obesity can also practice this method. However, they must ensure to eat only when truly hungry and consume only 1-2 tsp of ghee at a time. Consider this Ghee detox as a mini keto diet that will help to rejuvenate your body.

Later, as you heal, you can also use Ghee for cooking purposes.
Please ensure that it is A2 organic ghee for the best results. If not, then go for whatever ghee is available. Salted Indian butter available online also produces reasonable cleansing effects.

You can also consume good quality medicated ghee or Ayurvedic oils. Some good options are Baladi thailam, Mahanarayan tail, Brahmi ghrita, kalyanaka ghrita, Ashwagandhadi ghrita, puran ghrita et cetera. However, consult your physician before trying any of these.

These two detoxes can help to make a good foundation for further treatment. However, please make sure that you choose the detox according to the season, and your body condition. Also, it is important to avoid eating anything else during this detox. If you find it very tough, keep the lunch intact and change breakfast and dinner for 30 days to achieve the same result.

Also, you can choose to go for fruit detox and then try ghee detox as well. However, ghee detox is superior to fruit detox.

It is vital to ensure that you have the right amount of appetizers and digestive herbs to digest and absorb the oily food/Ghee recommended in migraine treatment. Also, mild yoga exercises will help the lubrication from Ghee to spread throughout the body and relieve dryness.

Some good classical digestives are –

  • Hinguvadi/Hinguashtaka churna (powder/tablet form)
  • Dadimashtaka Churna
  • 1/2 tsp Ajwain (carom seeds) with a pinch of black salt (esp. for bloating)
  • 1 tsp roasted cumin seeds powder + 1/2 tsp ajwain seeds (whole and raw) + 1 pinch of black salt, rock salt, roasted asafoetida each

There is a possibility that you neither like fruits or ghee. But fear not, there are so many ways to detox the body, depending on your health conditions. Kindly contact for more details.

In my next blog, I will specify on the kind of general diet you should follow to prevent migraine aggravation.

Hope this information helps all people in need!

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

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How much do you need to eat?

Various factors decide how much food you need, two of them are the most important – Quality of food, and quality of digestive system. And it is not about calories. You see, a sea shell contains an incredible amount of calcium, but I cannot eat it, except for Ayurvedic kapardaka bhasma. Likewise, calories are the amount of energy that a food substance can release. It does not promise the amount that can be actually digested and absorbed. It differs from person to person. So, a food that contains 100 calories might release 90 or 50 or even 2 calories after digestion.

Ayurveda also considers the energy required to digest and absorb the food. Therefore, if your food releases 90 calories after digestion, but consumes 70 calories for the entire process, then it brings little profit to the body. And what if it releases 2 calories after the whole process. It is a massive loss for the body.

And you will find many people who eat a lot of food but always feel short of energy. They feel weak and lethargic. However, a poor person eating half the amount might have more vitality. 

So, the first thing, food is not about calories, neither about the amount of nutrition it might contain. Nutrition is about how much you can absorb from it. Rest is waste.

Quality of food

This is an important factor. Let us take the example of a hybrid car that can run on petrol and electricity. Electricity is a more efficient fuel, it produces no unnecessary heat or combustion , therefore wear and tear is much less when the car runs on electricity. On the other hand, petrol produces energy through combustion and heat and the rate of deterioration in petrol mode will be much higher.

For a perfect metabolic balance, we need to eat food that produces more energy with less effort. Food that contributes to health and not to diseases.

Step 1- Increase the Prana

According to Ayurveda, every food that you eat has prana or the life force. And this prana is absorbed via food. So basically food is like a fuel for the body. According to Ayurveda, hunger, thirst and sleep are three natural diseases that can be cured and  probably we don’t even need to eat, however that another topic.

We should eat food that has prana or the life force. And accordingly, your food can be full of prana or completely devoid of it. How you earn and the way you procure your food also makes a difference.

In short, your food should be procured with benevolence, hard work and through non- violent means.

Increase Bioavailability

There are many ways to do it. But the best always through the nature. Organivally grown and naturally ripened fruits are the best because they have the best digestibility in the body. Besides, fruits have minimum fire element or agni tatva, because they are not cooked. They are more stable and bring their stability to the body also.

Other means is cooking. In terms of cooking, food should ideally be cooked slowly. I always prefer solar cooked food. Its aroma and taste is incredible too.

Larger surface area

This is a very important factor in Ayurved. That’s why most of the medicines are ground to a very fine powder or paste. Larger surface area provides bigger opportunity for enzymes to act.

Therefore, my grandma used to tell me to chew the almonds for a long time. I guess the persistent action of saliva makes the nutrients more bio-available.
Besides, traditionally in India, almonds are soaked in water overnight for better absorption. Also, soaked almonds are made into a very fine paste to ensure more surface area for absorption. And that’s the key to the amount of food that we need. I know a master who can survive on one meal(lunch) in 24 hours, and he never stuffs himself! I assume that his body can absorb more than 90% of the food he eats.

Typically, if we have low absorption capacity, we won’t absorb much from the food we eat, no matter how nutritious it is. Sometimes, nothing at all. The modern treatment approach focuses on multiplying nutrition, for example, we have fortified milk, butter, bread, in fact, everything. But does it solves the problem?

There is a child who is just not interested in studying. How will it help if you fortify his resources by adding graduation textbooks? And what we do to the body by fortifying food is worse than this.

Ayurveda says that intake of heavy food or difficult to digest food is akin to pouring massive logs of wood on a small fire. And guess what happens! When we expose more fortified food to a weakened digestive system, we tax it to digest something heavier than average food. And gradually, the fire gives up. This may lead to a host of digestive problems – chronic indigestion, constipation, burping, bloating, and so on.

If you have lousy digestion or absorption, then the solution is not in giving more fortified food. Now if a child is not interested in studies, the answer is not in getting him more books, but to inspire him to learn. When someone is willing to learn, he can create his own resources. So, the solution is in making the body hungry and ready for food, instead of supplying heavy doses of indigestible food.

Precaution for anorexia
Here, the recommendation to eat only when hungry does not apply to people with anorexia. Instead, they can try eating Ayurvedic digestives that can help to remove the toxins from the system and bring back healthy hunger.

How to kindle real hunger?
Hunger varies according to the climatic conditions, age, physical activity, and state of mind.
If you stay in a cold climate, your body will require more heat-producing activity. And the most prominent heat-producing event is digestion. Therefore all people living in cold weather usually have good digestion, unless they stretch their physiology with wrong food and lifestyle. 

And if you can, you can shift to a colder location for some time to improve your overall metabolism.

Hunger typically diminishes with age. It is a natural phenomenon. We can assist the body by reducing the load of digestion. Therefore, we must modify our food according to our age, and this is esp very important after 35 or 40 years of age. Ideally, a person beyond 60 years should stop eating oily, heavy, and spicy food.

Ideally, such a person should try to consume mostly fruits and vegetables. Vegetables can be roasted, baked, or boiled. Elderly people should refrain from grain consumption after the sunset. However, due to rapid degradation in community health, we should follow these rules right after we turn 40. In fact, I have practically started living solely on fruits and vegetables, and it does make you feel more alive, try it!!!

One of the surprising facts is that you do not gain weight if you are physically inactive, and also you do not lose weight by exercise. These are just market making concepts, they help in selling weight loss products and gym memberships. The only thing that can make you fat is eating more than required food, nothing else. If you are sensitive towards your body, it will tell you when it is enough or when food is not needed. However, unfortunately, these recommendations are overruled in favor of taste sensations.

State of mind seriously affects hunger. Sadness, anxiety, stress, anger, hatred, etc. can kill the natural appetite. You can have the best hunger and effortless digestion when you are neither too happy or too sad, but at peace with yourself.

In fact, a peaceful mind is the most fundamental requirement for healthy digestion. A tranquil state of mind does not interfere with the regular hormonal system. Peace in mind stimulates the parasympathetic system and ensures the best digestion.

That’s why Ayurveda recommends that if you are not peaceful, skip the meal but do not eat. The food consumed with an imbalanced state of mind is no less than toxin for the body.

So, the essential requirement of healthy digestion is –
peaceful mind

Fruits (fruits grow on trees and do not require any human effort except planting, sometimes not even that)

Eating less

If you don’t have fruits, eat very less amount of whatever you have. The great sage and Ayurveda pioneer Vagbhatt said: “eat healthy, eat less and eat according to the season.”
And that’s the reason why poor are the blessed ones. They are in the hands of God, and God does not allow them to ruin their health by eating useless fancy food.
Let us be in God’s hands and have a great, healthy, and fulfilling life!

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Eat Healthy, Eat Less!

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.

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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.

Hypertension Trigger

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.

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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.

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Back to nature!

Importance of organic, local and seasonal food

Today we have surplus food production, all kinds of fruits and vegetables are available throughout the year, and everywhere. For example, dragon fruit a native to china is available in the US, and strawberries are available in the Middle East. But, are you sure that this is real progress?

Now people have more than enough to eat, but they are falling sick from eating this food. Today we have more diabetes, hypertension, hormonal imbalances, and cancers than ever before, and there is an urgent need to look at some of the possible reasons.

GM food – Changing the core, is it worth the cost?

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Genetic engineering of seeds has helped us to have crops that are most resistant to pests, seasonal changes, diseases, etc. But there is almost no long term research on the food safety of this produce. Let me give you one typical example – now strawberry grows around the year, even in the frosty weather and never gets spoilt. This achievement is a result of genetic engineering. Strawberry genes are modified by adding a gene from a fish that survives in chilling water. So, now strawberries are as resistant as the fish against the cold.

Another example is corn. Corn is genetically modified to kill a pest. When this pest ingests the corn, the modified grains cause internal bleeding and hemorrhage in pest’s intestines. And let’s observe that there is a growing problem of leaky gut and irritable bowel syndrome, where the intestines get inflamed and sometimes perforated!

Now people are more allergic to a wide variety of food, and it can be anything from peanuts to fresh coriander! One of the hypotheses is that genetically modified food is not natural. Our body recognizes all-natural genetic structures, like natural grains, meat, milk, etc.  But when a genetically modified food enters the body, it appears like unidentified foreign elements. Body tags it as a dangerous substance and triggers an autoimmune reaction as a protective response. And this logic completely fits in the health puzzle. Since we have so many genetically modified foods, anything can trigger an allergic reaction in the body. So, now can you guess why so many people have milk allergies today?

A few decades back, the natural genes of the cow were mixed with buffalo enhance the milk production. The milk these cow-like animals produce is not identifiable by the body, it is not natural, it does not fit anywhere, just like an anomaly! Sadly, there have been cases where people have been through near-death experiences due to severe milk allergies.

We are losing our food. Soon there will be lesser food and more food-like substances that are not edible at all! Can you call this progress? We are becoming weaker and more and more vulnerable as a race! This is serious.

Why seasonal food is the best?

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It is high time for us to retrace our steps back to organic food. And interestingly organic food is naturally seasonal. You will never find a natural crop of mango in winter, it is a summer fruit, and lo! It helps to combat harsh heat waves in the tropical climate. Seasonal produce is the only food. Rest is genetically modified poison.

Similarly, all hydrating fruits like water melon, litchi, melon etc naturally grow in summer, when we rapidly lose water to summer heat. On the other hand, there is a huge variety of fruits and vegetables found in the winter season, when the digestive system is considered to be at its best.

According to Ayurveda, cabbage, cauliflower, green peas all cause vata aggravation in the body. However, they grow in winter and can be well digested by the strong  winter digestion. But if you were to eat the same vegetables in rainy season, they might lead to severe vata vitiation in the body. And therefore, these vegetables are unavailable in the

Why local food is the best?

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Everything is available everywhere. This is the result of another human intrusion in the natural scheme of nature.  Cardamom naturally grows in a hot climate, for example in south India and according to Indian traditional science Ayurveda, it is cooling in nature. Cardamom is also an excellent remedy for all kinds of inflammatory disorders. The produce suits the weather! Cardamom is excellent for people living in a hot climate.

Let’s take another example, saffron naturally grows in a frigid climate, and it is hot in temperament. Now the frosty state of Kashmir in India is the largest producer of saffron. And look at the level of perfection in nature. Saffron is excellent for people in cold climate. However, hot food for hot weather is not a great combination. But since saffron is readily available now in middle east, may God save the natives there! Dates are a better option for them.

Content is the key

When God said, “Be content with what you have,” I think that it was also a piece of health advice. Let’s not run after Italian oregano, or California almonds, or Quinoa from Peru. Local food is the best. If we be content , we will be healthy!

Let’s choose our food, consciously. Let’s not have more but good food. Let’s stop poking our finger at the fine balance of nature. Let’s use human intelligence for the betterment and not for the destruction of our race and our planet.

Best wishes!

WHY FOOD IS THE BEST CURE?

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Dosha in Simpler Terms

Nature works on the base of different systems. Everything happens systematically, whether it is blooming of a bud, or death of a living being.
According to Ayurveda, the body also runs according to a set of systems. Different systems are working in deep synchrony inside the body, for example, excretory system, reproduction system, digestive system, nervous system, etc. There must be something that unites these systems, probably the nervous system.

In our system, we have two parts of the nervous system autonomic and somatic. The autonomic nervous system handles the involuntary functions of the body where is somatic nervous system processes the voluntary functions.

The autonomic nervous system is further divided into two parts-sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. These two systems are opposite to each other and help the body in different conditions.

The parasympathetic nervous system is dominant where the body is in a resting position, whereas the sympathetic nervous system prepares the body for Fright-fight-flight response.

One single mode cannot help the body to survive in all the conditions, as it’s not complete. But a combination of these two systems works in perfect harmony and makes us ready for all possible situations.
Autonomic nervous system – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomic_nervous_system

Ayurveda proposes three kinds of control systems that govern the body while balancing each other – vata, pitta, and kapha. They have different characteristics and lead the body successfully in different conditions.
For example, vata dosha is mobile, light, and is comparable to the presence of air in the physical world. All kinds of movements, whether it is bating of the eyelids or running, is coordinated by vata dosha.

Pitta dosha is hot and sharp nature. Naturally, it presides over all the digestive processes chemical reactions or any transformational process across the body.

Kapha Dosha offers stability and coolness to the body. It initiates and supervises any creation, formation, or incubation in the body. Kapha dosha provides shape, protection, and structure to the body. For example, the formation of all the body tissues, including bones and fats deposits that form a protective layer around the abdominal organs is a part of kapha metabolism.

Dosha

Qualities of Dosha

Another way we can understand it in the light of political systems. A country or a nation is also a body, and it can run under different systems – democracy, communism, aristocracy, etc. Now, these systems have physical manifestations, functions, and effects, but they are not physical entities themselves. We can see whatever happens in or because of the aristocracy. But we cannot see aristocracy itself as a physical entity.

Dosha in terms of admistrative systems
Similarly, we can see the brain, spinal cord, and nerves, but we cannot see the nervous system as a physical entity.

Let us take the example of an organization. There are some essential functions in all organizations, like sales, finance, and HR. These are also systems. One single function is not adequate can or can have an independent existence. For example, you cannot go selling something without an investment unless you are in a job. So, for a function like sales to exist, there has to be manufacturing/service and some investment (finance). All these functions exist as essential parts of a system and complement each other.

In Ayurveda, doshas are systems that run the body. They are comparable to different systems in an organization like marketing, HR, finance, operations, etc. These systems are not physical entities; however, no profit-making organization can function without them.

Similarly, vata, pitta and kapha are three systems that work in perfect harmony to produce a precise balance in body metabolism. These systems become dominant one by one in a natural cycle and run the metabolism. For example, while walking one foot goes ahead, whereas the other seems to go back, but the body as a whole, moves forward.

No human survival can live without air, water, and food. One single resource is not adequate for survival. Similarly, an individual dosha or system cannot run the body in all conditions.

The Contaminators
Vata, pitta, and kapha are called dosha – something that maligns the body. All these three systems have a natural tendency to go wrong and produce adverse effects if left to themselves. This tendency is the defining characteristic of dosha.

The effect of these systems is visible everywhere. Consider the example of a bike. The bike runs on the right track because there is a control over it. But if you leave the handles, then the natural tenancy of the bike will be – to fall. And no matter how good the bike is, it will fall. Similarly, in the case of dosha, there is a natural tendency to get vitiated or imbalanced.

Dosha action is apparent on an inanimate object like a bike, on a stationary living creature like a plant, an animal as well as a human being.

According to Vedic sutra यथा पिंडे तथा ब्रह्मांडे (universe resembles the particle), principles of nature apply to all the objects entities in existence, whether living or nonliving. For example, a natural cycle of creation, life, aging, and death is applicable for a vehicle, house as well as any living person, even the planets.

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Vata Dosha
Let us extend the example of the bike. The system that causes forward movement of the bike, and the internal movement of the parts in the bike, can be termed as the vata system.

As it is natural for a dosha to create imbalance, the bike can get imbalanced if you lose control of the handles. Also, the parts of the bike face wear and tear as it runs more and more. This over-activity is the effect of excess vata.

The primary quality of vata is dryness. Dryness causes necrosis(death of cells), friction, and deterioration. In the case of a bike, long term use without oiling, constant friction, excess wear, and tear and aging.
According to Ayurveda, oil is the best substance that can be used for all kinds of vata disorders, as oil prevents dryness and friction.
Therefore regular oiling the bike is imperative to prevent rapid wear and tear.

Image parDaniel Kirsch de Pixabay 

If we try to replicate this concept in the case of the human body, the primary organs of movement in a person are the Limbs. Let us take the example of joints. According to Ayurveda, joints are considered to be a site of vata dosha, because their primary function is movement.

Now dryness in Synovial sacs and resulting friction is the primary cause of all diseases that happen in joints, whether it is knee joint pain.

Image parPaweł Szpiler de Pixabay 

Pitta Dosha
Now all doshas work together in all entities to produce a life-sustaining environment in the body. The engine of a bike processes petrol or any other fuel into the form of energy. This energy is the fundamental basis for all kinds of movement. Pitta Dosha governs this kind of chemical transformation and heat production that helps the bike as a system to run.

Fire or heat is the primary characteristic of pitta dosha. If pitta dosha is in excess, the bike will get overheated and might even catch fire.

In the context of the human body, stomach or amashaya is a site of pitta dosha. If the system for pitta gets vitiated, then acidity is one of the primary symptoms. General inflammation, redness, swelling, et cetera are some of the essential heat-borne features of imbalanced pitta dosha.

Cold and mild substances alleviate the fiery effect of pitta dosha and help in pitta imbalance.
Earlier many cars had carburetors with water that used to help in cooling the engine and prevent overheating.

Image parMateusz Dietrich de Pixabay

Kapha Dosha The primary characteristics of kapha dosha are coolness and stability. A lack of activity or transformational heat produces inertia that is naturally cooling in nature. For example, if the bike is stationary, then it will not get heated due to combustion in the engine or change in its position continuously.

However, if the bike remains stationary for a very long time, especially in chilling weather, you might experience a lot of trouble while starting trying to start the engine. This difficulty in starting the engine is a result of excess kapha dosha, where probably the oil in the engine freezes.

In the context of the human body, a lazy(kapha)person has a higher tendency to develop obesity (mass). This happens due to lack of activity (vata) and heat (sweating, energy conversion, etc.) the fat consumed by the body is not used entirely. Obesity is a result of excess kapha.

However, regular exercise (vata increase) and fat to glucose metabolism (pitta increase) can help to remove excess fat (kapha decrease).

Dosha and Body metabolism
Kapha dosha is made of earth and water element. We can make anything when earth and water are mixed. Therefore, any formation or creation of stability in the body is related to Kapha dosha. Formation, nutrition, management and protection(stability) of tissues comes under kapha dosha.

Image parLubos Houska de Pixabay

Pitta dosha governs any heat-based transformation, chemical reactions, or digestive processes. Digestive processes are the main center of pitta activity.

Agni is a term used for fire. Pitta dosha is fire dominant. This term reflects the digestive/transformative capacity of pitta dosha. Autophagy or cell suicide is also a process lead by pitta dosha, where a cell digests itself. This process is called dhatu paka (dhatu – tissue, paka – digestion/destruction). Autoimmune disorders are examples of dhatu paka, vividly described in all classical Ayurvedic texts.

Vata dosha emerges from the space and air element. Any movement, small or big happens with the help of vata dosha.

General Functions of Dosha

Dosha and Prakrati or body types
If we come to the concept of body types, there are primarily three kinds of body types vat, pitta, and kapha dominant.

Let us revert to the example of an organization with three functions sales finance and HR.

All the organizations have all these three essential functions. The organization is Bank; then the finance will be the primary feature of the organization. Financial activities will dominate this organization.

if this organization is an advertising firm, then the dominant function of the organization will be marketing.

If this organization is an HR consultancy, the dominant feature of the organization will be HR based activities.

All three types of organizations have all three functions. However, one feature dominates all the others. This dominating function gives a unique organizational culture and characteristics to the organization.

Similarly, prakriti or body constitution is formed by tridosha. Three dosha are present in all the human body’s. However, one of them becomes the dominating feature of the metabolism. This dominant dosha defines the prakriti or body type of the individual.

Everything, living or non-living has a prakrati or character.
For example, we can say that.

bike or any vehicle is vata dominant(major characteristics, design, and function is movement),

Oven or a blast furnace is pitta dominant(primary nature, design, and purpose is around chemical transformation and heat) and

The lake is kapha dominant (primary features, design function is stability and coolness).
For detailed qualities of dosha

There are 3 basic types of prakrati – vata, pitta and kapha. Vata, pitta and kapha dominant people are similar to respectively; a vehicle(always on the move), an oven (high processing capacity), and lake(cool and stable).

Prakriti

Daily Dosha Cycle

The time of the day is also divided according to the dosha dominant in that part of the day. For example, kapha dosha controls first one-third part of the day. Another one-third of the day comes under the control of pitta dosha, and the last one-third of the day comes under vata dosha.

Similarly, the night also has 3 phases.

For this reason, Ayurveda considers morning to be the best time for studies as kapha is the factor for strong memory (stability).
The best time to have the biggest meal of the day is noon (pitta period) as the digestion at this time is at its best.
And you must avoid excess labor or heavy food in the evening, as vata dosha is the factor for tiredness and indigestion.

Also, you will find that most of the breathing and mucous related disorders, numbness, stiffness, etc. occur during the morning time.

Whereas acidity, inflammation, and other pitta related disorders flare-up during the midday.

And vata related disorders like joint pain, muscle cramps, headache, tiredness, etc. happen during the end of the day.

Dinacharya sutra according to daily dosha rhythm

Seasonal Dosha Cycle

Dosha has natural cyclic vitiation throughout the year. For example, kapha Dosha vitiation occurs during the spring. You will find that spring is the season where we can see maximum mucus related disorders.

Sharad or early winter is the time of pitta prakop or vitiation. Therefore early winter is the time where you will see aggravation in pitta related disorders like pimples, acidity, inflammatory diseases like psoriasis, etc.

Varsha or rainy season is the time dominated by vata dosha vitiation. Therefore in the rainy season, we all can observe that all kinds of body pain, headache, migraine, joint pains et cetera get aggravated in this season.

Seasonal Dosha Cycle

Dosha and Lifecycle
Dosha are everywhere in the body. According to Ayurveda, Lifespan of an individual has three parts – kapha-childhood, pitta-youth, and vata -old age.

Childhood is all about growing up. For any growth, you need nutrition, stability, and peace. Kapha dosha is the spring of all these qualities. Link qualities of kapha dosha. The period of kapha is the time of body formation and growth. Kapha is also the time when all mucus related problems like cough, cold etc. are very common. Therefore, children are more prone to all kinds of kapha related disorders like cough and cold.

Vitiation of kapha dosha in childhood is the primary reason for malnutrition or any kind of malformation in the body.

Pitta Dosha governs the young age. Youth is the transformational stage of life. The young person is called Vardhaman in Ayurveda. The word Vardhaman means the one who is growing or advancing. A young person is not growing anymore in structure, but he improves every day in his experience and knowledge. Medha or intellect is a quality bestowed by Pitta dosha. This intellectual growth is the real advancement for a human being.

Young people have excellent digestion, lots of energy and best immunity, thanks to dominating pitta dosha. However, youth are more prone to pitta related disorders like acne, acidity, inflammatory disorders. Most of the inflammatory autoimmune disorders are more likely to express themselves during this phase of life.

Vata dosha governs the last stage of the life old age. A mature person is called vriddha in Ayurveda. This word means the one who has reached complete advancement or growth. An older adult is like a ripened fruit that naturally dries up and breaks away from the branch. In this stage, the physical structure starts deterioration; however, the intellectual level has reached its zenith.

During the period of vata, the body undergoes rapid degeneration, like a withering leaf. The abode of vata – bones, joints etc are severely affected. For this reason, old people face maximum joint related disorders. They also have weakened digestion.

Vata phase is the time for diseases like dementia, arthritis, hypertension, and all kinds of pain related disorders to incubate or flare-up.

These three dosha are the Trinity of the body, they are like Brahma(creator), Vishnu (sustainer), and Shiva (destroyer)!

Dosha and Disease Susceptibility
According to the above dosha sequence in the lifecycle, you will find that most of the kapha related disorders like cough cold, etc. occur during childhood. Children are highly susceptible to mucus are respiratory system associated disorders as compared to youth or older adults.

Similarly, youth are most susceptible to pitta related disorders like pimples, hyperacidity, inflammation.

And in the end, the elderly are most susceptible to vata related disorders like dementia, hair fall, and all kinds of body pains.

Dryness is the primary quality of vata dosha. For this reason, we find that older people have excessively dry and wrinkled skin, dryness related problems like body pain joint pain. They also have weak digestion because of recessive pitta dosha.

Dosha and Body Parts
Dosha have specific regions, specially designated to their activity. For example, kapha dosha governs the area from head to the diaphragm.
Pitta dosha governs the region from the diaphragm to the pelvic region.
Vata dosha is dominant in part in the pelvic region and the limbs.

Qualities of Dosha

Dosha and Metabolism

Entire body metabolism follows the same dosha sequence. Let us take the example of digestion –

Carbs/sugars are the primary sources of energy and nutrition for the body.
Kapha Dosha governs the first part of digestion – sugar metabolism, as the sweetness is one of its central features. Sugar release in the blood creates a cooling effect and stimulate the satiety centers in the brain. Also, it causes drowsiness(stability-sleep) after meals.

The middle part of the digestive procedure focuses on digestion of proteins that are reduced to amino acids. Acidity or sourness is one of the primary features of Pitta dosha. Therefore this phase of digestion is governed by pitta dosha.

The last part of digestion focuses on fat digestion. Fat digestion produces bitter or katu rasa(fatty acids and glycerol are bitter) the effect of vata dosha in the body. And the digestion of fatty acids comes under vata dosha.

Digestion is just one example. All the metabolic Processes happen under the same sequence of dosha cycle. Even disease incubation and spread in the body occurs in the same dosha cycle, according to the range of imbalanced dosha.

Ayurveda focuses on the tridosha concept for body formation, structure, physiology, and pathology. Some classical Ayurvedic texts say that there is nothing else in the body metabolism except dosha. Everything that happens in the body is a function of the cyclic effect of the dosha accumulation, vitiation, and stabilization.

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Best Foods in Ayurveda

Food is the most elaborate topic in almost all classical text of Ayurveda.
According to sage Atreya beneficial food is the only factor in the reinforcement of health and harmful food reinforces only diseases. Unfortunately today people eat whatever they want and whenever they want to. No wonder that they fall sick and have to undergo a recurrent treatment. Even a machine crashes if exposed to frequent repairs; our body is much more delicate than that. Therefore prevention is the only way towards a long and healthy life.

Food is classified in many ways in Ayurveda. According to Charaka Samhita food is mainly of two types of Sthavara and Jangam. The word Sthavara means stable. Sthavara food is detonated to plants and other immobile things. The word Jangam refers to highly mobile animals.

Ayurveda classifies food into four types according to its usage –

  • Paan (drinkable)
  • Aashan (soft,edible food like rice)
  • Bhakshya (hard and chewy food like meat)
  • Lehya (semi-solid like chutney)

Ayurveda classifies all the edible food material primary into two parts: medicinal Herbs and edible stuff.

Charak Samhita further divides food into following classifications.

  • Suka Dhanya (wheat, rice, etc.)
  • Shami Dhanya (pulses)
  • Mans Varg (meat)
  • Shaak Varg (vegetables)
  • Phala Varg (fruits)
  • Harit Varg (herbs)
  • Madya Varg (alcohol)
  • Jal Varg (water)
  • Goras Varg (milk)
  • Ikshu Varg (sweeteners)
  • Krittaan Varg (prepared/cooked with a combination of different ingredients, example porridge, bread, soup, etc.)
  • Aahar Upyogi Varg (useful for food preparations)

Thanks to nature, we have a massive variety of food items to choose from.

Ideally, the food should change according to the Prakriti, time of the day health status of the individual. However, some food items can be consumed every day by the people of all Prakriti without any harmful effect. These food products are beneficial even for disease people. However, it is essential to always go by the advice of your physician.

Food that should be used every day 

  • Rice
  • Moong Dal (Green gram)
  • Crystalized rock salt (Saindhava lavana)
  • Indian Gooseberry (Amla)
  • Jowar (Sorghum or white millet)
  • Evaporated and condensed water(pure water)
  • Milk
  • Ghee
  • Meat of land animals found in plains or forests
  • Honey
Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

All these food items are easily digested with minimum production of toxins and contribute to the fueling of digestive fire. Like the way oiled, dry wood that catches fire instantaneously and burns without smoke, giving the vital heat and light to the surrounding; similarly these foods provide adequate ABSORBABLE nutrition to the body, without creating any friction in the normal metabolism. This means that the body doesn’t have to fight with them for nutrition. They are like willing friends, ready to share the good things. Also check Concept of Nutrition In Ayurveda  

However, it is important to know the right way of cooking, proper combinations and appropriate amount of eating the best of the foods. If the above factors are not proper, even the best food will ruin the health. In the coming blogs, we will also discuss the proper method of cooking and consumption of above edibles. 

  • Rakta Shali is the finest in rice.
  • Among pulses, Mung Dal causes the least dryness.
  • Distilled water is most potable in drinkables.
  • Saindhava Lavana is most fitting among salts.
  • Jivanti is best in leafy vegetables.
  • Cow ghee is matchless in Ghee category.
  • Cow milk is the healthiest of all kinds of milk.
  • Sesame oil is the most preferred among oils.
  • Ginger is the best among roots.
  • Black currant is the best among fruits
  • Natural brown sugar candy is the best among sugarcane/sweet products.

Some of important links are –

Food that should be consumed in small quantities
Food that should be consumed today rarely
Food that should not be consumed
Causes of constipation

Another important factor is the quality of food. Now if the above food items are genetically modified(GMO) and strewn with pesticides and insecticides, they will not be healthy at all. In that case, it is far healthier to eat organic oats than inorganic rice. For more information, please check Toxic Food According to Ayurveda

Food affects not only the body but also the mind. Food procured with hard earned money, through fair means is satvic or pious. It bring nutrition to the body and peace to the mind.

Ayurveda says that food also has a soul and corruption in food production, hoarding or profiteering taints the soul of the food. Such food can bring no peace or health! The one who consumes it contributes to the evil. Such activity is called Pragya Aparadha (crime against wisdom) in Ayurveda. It is crucial to be aware that Ayurveda considers Pragya Aparadh, or crime against wisdom to be the first cause of any disorder. So, let’s ensure whatever food we eat is grown organically and procured at a fair price.

Another factor to Pragya Aparadha is righteous consumption of meat. Having described the best of the non-vegetarian food, I would like to stress that what is beneficial for all is profitable for all. Today we have more population of human beings than any of the animals.

Most of us are aware of the terrible conditions meat producing animals are reared in. They are treated with antibiotics and hormones to increase the amount of meat in their body. Anyone who eats meat procured from such animals, consciously or unconsciously, is commits Pragya Aparadha. He/she is liable to fall sick in the long run.

Therefore it is very very important that, even if you choose to consume meat, you must ensure that it is free of antibiotics, hormones and other chemicals. You must also ensure that these animals have a free-range, natural life and are not caged in terrible conditions, like prisoners. If you do not, you will contribute to their unfortunate fate.

Emotions like anger, fear, sorrow play a decisive role in the health of the body, even in an animal. Animal kept in unhealthy conditions will have a higher level of stress hormones in its metabolic system. Its digestion, tissue fluid, blood, muscles, and all the systems will be severely affected. If you consume meat from such animals, all these toxins will be transferred your body as well. Therefore, Ayurveda believes that what is good for all is good for one. If you, as a consumer choose meat which is free from animal maltreatment and use of unnatural chemicals, you embrace their good as well as yours.

The way an animal is killed for meat makes a huge difference. There is a fascinating concept of Bali in ancient Vedic culture. Bali means sacrifice. The Vedic culture believes that life is sacred everywhere, even in plants and animals. If I am taking something that belongs to another person, I must have willing permission of the owner. The concept of Bali projects the need to seek permission from the creator. It is said that all food should first be offered to the higher energy. This concept of reduces the attitude of hapless consumerism and take only what is required, example the concept of halal in Islam. If practiced properly, it can rid us from the threat of Pragya Aparadha!

All living things have souls even the cells in our body. And All religions believe that life force or the soul never dies. It gets transformed from one form to the other just like electricity. The concept of Bali signifies a mystical factor of internal evolution. For example, if a person working in a small company get a job in multinational, he gets exposed to finer trade practices and grows as a professional.

It is believed that when we eat an animal, we internalize its sanskaras(karma backlog) as well. Consciously or unconsciously, we become responsible for the spiritual upliftment of that creature. We must suffer his karma backlog and contribute to the spiritual evolution of that soul. Probably, this is the reason that the intellectual class in India preferred vegetarian food, as non-vegetarian food might retard their spiritual growth.  

Therefore vegan is the best and the most spiritual diet for the present times.

I hope this information helps you in making the right food choices for physical mental and spiritual growth.

Jeevem sharadh shatam (let’s live a 100 autumn!)

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Good Food and Bad Food According to Ayurveda – Food that should be consumed in miniscule quantities

There is some food that can be consumed regularly but only in small quantities or after a short break. Salt is the best example of such food. Too little salt or too much salt, both will spoil the dish. But just the appropriate amount can do wonders to both the taste and the health.

3 such food items are described in Charak Samhita, that might or might not be taken every day, but should be consumed only in a very small quantity.

  • Pippali (Long pepper)
  • Acids
  • Salt

Piper_longumPippali (Long pepper)

Ayurvedic properties of Pippali

Pippali or long pepper is light to digest, unctuous, sharp (rapid action), bitter with sweet vipaka and anushnasheet virya (not too hot or cold temperament).

Appropriate Use of Pippali

Looking at the qualities, it looks good for everyday use. Pippali is also used in many ayurvedic medicines. But, according to Acharya Charak, it should not be used every day because, after a long use, it has a tendency of increasing phlegm formation.

Excessive Use of Pippali

Regular consumption of Pippali is said to vitiate both Kapha and pitta. It does not pacify Vata also. It is beneficial to use Pippali only for a short duration and in small quantity, as prescribed by a trained Ayurveda physician.

sliced of citrus lemons
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Acid

Ayurvedic properties of Acids (Charak Samhita)

Acid or Amla( Sanskrit) stimulates the taste buds, fuels the digestion, causes weight gain, increases the mental alertness, strengthens the sense organs, increases strength, balances the Vata, satisfies the heart, stimulates salivation, extracts the ingested food towards stomach( as a result of salivation) or extracts from the ingested food, lubricates/moistens the alimentary canal, nourishes the body. Acid is light, hot temperament and unctuous in nature.

Appropriate Use of Acid

Acidic food products such as aerated drinks, canned food, Tamarind, Vinegar, soya sauce, citric acid, lemon juice etc. should not be used in large quantity every day. They as be used as flavoring or seasoning agent in minimum required quantity. Also, elderly people should refrain from using such sour tasting edibles because these food items vitiate Vata and can cause joint pain, general body pain, and swelling. Too much of acid consumption should be strictly avoided during autumn, summer, and springtime for a healthy long life because these are the seasons where the body is the weakest. (Effect of Ritu (seasons) on Dosha)

According to the ideal food habits, the acidic food should be consumed in the middle of the meal as it will stimulate the digestion of the sweet food eaten earlier, it will kill the satiety generated by the sweet food, reheat the digestive tract and promote lubrication in the alimentary canal.

According to Ayurveda, a complete meal contains all 6 kinds of tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent). Therefore, some acid should be there in the diet every day in very small quantities. But in order to ensure that we do not need to add extremely sour food items like tamarind, vinegar, raw mango etc. to our meals. Some good sources of acids that can be used every day are Awla (Indian gooseberry), Orange, Sweet lemon, Citron, Pomegranate (slightly sour) etc.

Excessive Use of Acid 

It is important to note that all these symptoms are caused only due to excessive use of acid. Slight use of acidic substances by a healthy person will not cause the following symptoms. However, if the person already has vitiated pitta or is suffering from some disease, even a small amount of acid might cause significant damage, just like a small push to anyone standing on the brink of a pond might make him fall in the water.

Excessive use of acidic substances in daily food intake can cause a lot of problems –

  • It can affect dental health. An acidic environment in the mouth can promote dental cavity.
  • Acidic food over-excites the muscles in the eyes and causes them to shut. Such overstimulation might cause eye disorders.
  • Acidic food overstimulates the nerves in the skin and causes goosebumps.
  • Acidic food increases Pitta Dosha. Along with it, it creates all kinds of pitta problems like inflammation, swelling, balding etc.
  • Acidic food can cause blood disorders.
  • Acidic food causes inflammations in the muscular tissue
  • Acidic food slows down the metabolism
  • Acidic food causes swelling in the body of the degenerated, injured, thin and weak.

Apart from the above-stated disorders, excessive use of acids causes early hair fall, damage to eyesight and impotence. It is interesting that Charak Samhita specifically mentions that people in eastern countries (China, Thailand etc.) use too much acid in the food. This the reason for the specific facial features(chinky eyes) found in them (Charak Samhita: Viman Sthana – 17). However, earlier even the oriental people did not use vinegar and soya sauce every day. Their traditional daily diet was mainly rice and vegetables only. According to Confucius “Although there are plenty of meats, they should not be cooked more than the staple food.” Staple food here is the rice and the vegetables.

baked basil bio bread

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Salt

Ayurvedic properties of Salt

Salt is a good digestive. It serves as a great humidifying agent. It stimulates the hunger. It helps to remove the Kapha . It helps in the formation of feces in the intestines. It is fast acting, spreads quickly in the body. It promotes the expulsion of the feces. It is a declogging agent. It eliminates vata too. It prevents the accumulation of Dosha. It can overpower all other tastes. It stimulates the saliva secretion. It is not heavy to digest, but unctuous and hot temperament.

Appropriate Use of Salt 

Salt should be used in minimum possible quantities. It can be used in almost all the dishes, but its amount should be minuscule. One should never consume excess salt.

man standing beside black steel frame
Photo by Ayu Shakya on Pexels.com

Excessive Use of Salt

Excessive use of salt can cause serious disorders in the body –

  • pollutes the pitta dosha and blood tissue. It can cause all kinds of blood and skin related disorders.
  • increases the heat and thirst in the body. Excess salt can even cause fainting.
  • can cause wasting in the muscles and promotes accumulation of poisonous substances in the body.
  • can cause loosening of the gums.
  • can cause impotence.
  • reduces the capability of sense organs.

According to Charak, excessive use of salt causes weakness and low stamina in the body, baldness, early hair whitening and wrinkled skin.

Basically, salt induces and stimulates the chemical or digestive processes that can turn destructive if uncontrolled. According to Ayurveda, salt is considered to the nutritive factor majorly responsible for accelerated aging.

Toxic Food According to Ayurveda

One famous Ayurvedic proverb states –
“The one who eats proper food does not need any medicine
The one who eats improper food will not benefit from any medicine”

According to Ayurveda, digestion is the key to strong immunity and healthy metabolism. When we eat improper food, it first affects the most important pillar of our health – our digestion.
Therefore good food is the basis of all health. Ayurveda states that food in its most natural form is the most nutritious, but food which is environmentally incompatible is toxic for the human body too. According to the above rule, the modern Ayurvedic standards for non-consumable food are defined as follows –

biotechnology bright chemical chemistry
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Non-Organic Food

Vedas state that the food and water available to all human beings should be the same. Today this statement is so relevant in terms of non-organic food. Non-organic grains and vegetables are grown with the help of a bulk of pesticides and insecticides. These food items are hardly suitable for consumption. They can cause a variety of health issues, including multiple types of cancers. Therefore the new mantra for the Ayurvedic life is the organic food.
Most of the people are unaware that some of the pesticides and insecticides are designed to disrupt the physiological functions of the insects/pests. For example, an insecticide called “Roundup” acts on the intestines of the insects and tear the internal linings of their intestines. The insect population soon dies and the crops are thus saved. However, imagine what will happen when such food is ingested by the human. When we eat food that is sprayed with such pesticides, it affects our intestines in a similar way it affects the pests. Now it is scientifically proven that these chemicals cause severe damage to the intestines. They can make the intestines leaky after regular use for a long term. When the undigested food material oozes out of the leaky intestines into the abdominal cavity, it can cause severe allergies. Interestingly, a few decades back very few people would be suffering from allergies but nowadays people can develop an allergy to almost anything, right from peanuts to pollen, thanks to the non-organic food.

5325814723_5e935906c4_b (1)

Genetically Modified Food

The newest and the most overlooked health threat is the Genetically modified food. This is a more serious threat than the use of pesticides and insecticides. In case of genetically modified food, the genes of one organism are planted in the DNA of another organism, for example, genes of fish are planted in the DNA of rice so that the genetically modified rice crops will not rot in the case of floods. But this is good only for the farmers and more so for the seed manufacturing companies. It is neither good for the consumers or for the environment.

The Myth of GM Food

For a long time, it was propagated that genetically modified food is crucial to bring an end to the food security in the poor populations of the world. Therefore for decades, there was no open opposition against GM food, but Gm food does not solve any problem of the world. In fact it has added many severe problems that are more complicated than the food crises. What good is the food but that causes diseases when consumed?
The body has the natural potential to determine foreign objects and expel or kill them. Genetically modified food is not natural in its constitution. When it is consumed, the body fails to identify it as a nutritional substance. Genetically modified food is different in constitution than its natural counterpart. For example, if you see a person who has 3 eyes and 2 noses, you would definitely be scared and would run for protection. The body produces a similar response when it sees an unidentifiable object, which is basically a genetically modified food item. The body tends to attack the GM food and get it out of the body, instead of trying to absorb nutrition from it. Just imagine what will be the state of your health if your body is trying to kill your food!

The list of diseases that genetically modified food can produce is very long. The health problems caused by genetically modified food are –

  • Cancer
  • Allergies
  • Obesity
  • Hypertension
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Intestinal Infections
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Auto-immune disorders (Rheumatoid Arthritis, type 1 diabetes, autoimmune hepatitis, scleroderma, celiac disease and many more)
  • Inflammatory disorders (asthma, peptic ulcers, tuberculosis, sinusitis, Crohn’s disease etc.)
  • Dementia
  • Autism
  • Developmental delay

For more information, please visit the link – Genetically Modified Food – The New Poison

2000px-Dharma_Wheel.svg.pngUnhealthy Karma

According to Ayurveda, the source of the food is very important. If the source of food is corrupt and evil, the food will bring the consequences in terms of karma. Because of this reason, in earlier times people refrained from eating in the house of anyone who is evil and corrupt.

In case of genetically modified, non-organic food, the farmers who buy the genetically modified seeds are forced to buy them again and again because genetically modified crops fail to produce seeds with similar qualities, as their parents. These genetically modified seeds not only require more fertilizers and other chemicals, they also consume more water than the natural seeds. Thus after a few years, the fields under farming for genetically modified food become infertile and the region faces the drought problem. Therefore we must stay reminded that if we are buying non-organic food, we are contributing to the problems of large-scale farmer suicide in our country.
It is important that all ardent supporters of Ayurveda should say no to non-organic and genetically modified for the sake of their health as well as for nature. What is Evil, is evil for all. It does not bring good to anyone. Let’s save ourselves and our environment from the evil GM food, generated out the greed of few people.

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Non Seasonal Food

Today we find almost all vegetables and fruits in almost all the seasons; we find greens around the year, which were naturally available only in winter. However, according to Ayurveda, this is a completely unhealthy trend. Ayurveda strictly prohibits one from consuming non-seasonal food. Non-seasonal food is considered to be unnatural and devoid of its original nutritional value. But unfortunately, because of the use of chemicals and genetical modification, many original and naturally occurring species of edible plants have become extinct. What we eat today might not exactly be food, it is “FOOD LIKE SUBSTANCE”.
Let us take the example of green leafy vegetables. Greens, unlike general knowledge, are hard to digest and cause a lot of digestive problems if not digested properly. The greens are naturally produced in winter, and winter is the season when the digestion is at its best. Therefore, the greens are full of their best nutritional qualities and also, the body is able to extract the best nutrition from them. Thus the perfect match of digestive power and nourishment is naturally achieved. On the other hand, digestive power if the weakest in the rainy season and thus not many food options are available in terms of vegetables and also fruits which can be consumed raw.  Watermelons are naturally produced in summer and help to prevent dehydration. Coconuts grow in hot and humid weather and are cool in temperament. Nature has a perfect match for all our nutritional requirements. Therefore, let’s follow nature for a perfect health.

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Global Food

According to Ayurveda, locally grown fruits, vegetables, and grains are best suitable for the native people. For example, Kesar (saffron) is a spice that is abundantly found in the cold regions of Kashmir. Kesar is a hot temperament herb according to Ayurveda and is naturally good for the local people. Dates are naturally found in the desert area and they are sweet and provide instant energy to the local people, where other kinds of vegetation might be scare. Therefore, according to the law of nature, everything grows naturally in the place where it is most required. Ssomething that is grown in a different climate than that of the place where you live, is not naturally compatible with your health. Therefore, if you do not have the money to buy exotic vegetables like zucchini or squash in India, or Quinoa in the USA, or Basmati rice in Canada’ consider yourself lucky! Local food is the best for you.

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Packaged/Junk Food

The packaged food contains dried vegetables, preservatives, acidity regulators, stabilizers, and a host of other chemicals apart from the real food substance. Packaged fast food also contains a lot of excess fat, sugar, and unwanted chemicals.

If we can avoid all of the above food items, then there is a huge possibility of our staying alive and active for a minimum of 100 years. Besides, we will save a lot of pollution caused by unnecessary transportation.


Jivem Shardah Shatam!
(May we live a 100 years)

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.

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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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