Ayurvedic Principles Of Food Consumption

1. अध्यशन​ (Adhyashana)

- Adhyashana simply implies consuming meals over meals. Eating (big) meals every few hours, without prioritizing the digestion of the previous one is what we call adhyashana.

- Maintaining a gap of 2.5 to 3 hours between meals is a healthy approach to well being.

- Sipping on room temperature water in between is acceptable, however, effort should be made to keep food, including tea, coffee, soda pop, juices at bay.

- Our digestive system behaves just like an ordinary employee. An overload of work, files on top files, tasks mounting up on the desk only adds to stress, resulting in headache, poor concentration, stress, blood pressure, and what not! Similarly, our digestive system gets stressed by adhyashana and affects metabolism, adrenals, thyroid, etc. Then comes poor assimilation of food, constipation, and slowly other ill effects follow.

2. अत्यशन​ (Atyashana)

- Atyashana means overeating or gulping down larger portions at once.

- Hectic work life and busy schedules leave us with very little to no time for ourselves. Eating has become a necessity and no longer a priority.

- People usually skip breakfast because a) no time or b) do not feel hungry or c) feel sick to the stomach in the morning (not morning sickness). This is Pitta. What you ate last night was not admissible to your body. Either the meal was heavy, or was eaten later or was not compatible with our body type.

- After skipping breakfast, we are 'hangry' by lunch and cram our system with anything that seems appealing, uncomplicated, and instant! Sandwich, soup, fried rice, noodles, street food etc are the most common lunch options.

- Big portions again disturb our system. Stomach with digestive juices in it rumbled for over 12 hours while we 'fasted'. And now we ambushed it with all this food. This later degenerates into indigestion, fatigue, tiredness, insomnia, or anxiety.

-Therefore, it is important to start our day with refreshing food, fruits, nuts, hot homemade breakfast, enough hydration, and a smile! It promises a focused, alert, and active mind throughout the day.

3. विषमाशन (Untimely eating)

- Untimely eating is the latest trend in metropolitan societies.

"Man sacrifices health to make money. Then sacrifices money to recuperate his health." - The Dalai Lama

- The secret behind eating right lies within timely eating. Eating at regular intervals will enable optimal metabolism.

- Ideally, breakfast should be consumed in an hour after getting up.

- Lunch around noon is the best. Staying hydrated in between meals is equally important.

- Ideal dinner time is around sunset, not much later than that.

- This is a very general guideline that will, of course, alter based on age, gender, health conditions, etc.

- Lastly, staying connected with our bodies will solve 90% of our food-related queries.

4. अल्पाशन​ (Eating too little)

- Starving or fasting is not the solution to quick or effortless weightloss. It might seem more feasible than other options presented to us, however, shortcuts are often wrong-cuts.

- They say an unsatisfied stomach is a partner in crime to an unfocused, irritable mind.

- Eat what feels right and how much feels right.

5. विरुद्धाशन​ (Eating wrong food combinations)

- Ayurveda specifies various food combos that are not compatible with each other and should not be consumed together in one meal. It is recommended to keep them 2 or more meals apart.

- Here are a few examples:

1. Milk + Fish

2. Milk + Meat

3. Milk + Sour fruits

4. Melon + Grains

5. Garlic + Dairy

- Not just these food combinations, but eating irrespective of the weather, area, season or climate also can be the determinant.

1.देशविरुद्ध​ ( Eating against the geological specs)

>अनूप​ Anoop ( cold regions: avoid dairy)

> जांगल Jangal ( dry regions: avoid beans, frozen fruits, vegetables )

> साधरण Sadharan (Sadharan loosely translates to normal, meaning average humidity and temperatures around 25 degC, like Hawaii: avoid fatty, oily, greasy food)

2.कालविरुद्ध​ (Eating against seasons)

> Summertime eat fresh salads, lots of water, lemonade

> Fall time avoid beans, dry roasted meats, dry veggies or salads

> Winter/ Springtime, avoid dairy- milk, cheese, yogurt (ghee is okay)

3. दोशविरूद्ध​ ( Eating against your dosha)

> Being mindful of our dosha can do wonders for the overall functioning of our body.

> Kapha person eating a lot of dairy in every meal will congest lungs, cause allergies, fever, cough, etc.

> Pitta person eating hot spicy foods like peppers, chillies, garlic will suffer from heartburn, or acid reflux, or indigestion.

> Vata person eating kidney beans, chickpeas, salads for every meal will be constipated with excessive gas and a bloated tummy.

I would like to conclude this article stating that none of the days is alike. Some days are busier than others. Some days are humid while some are dry. Our needs and temperament change with the changing behaviour of nature. Staying in tune with nature is the ultimate keystone of a healthy body and a happy self. Start with implementing at least three of the above principles and build up from there, week after week. Take care, and stay healthy.

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