Ayurveda is a vast and ancient medical science. Unlike other medical sciences, instead of focusing on treatment of any particular disease, Ayurveda focuses more on the healthy living and well being of the patient. For healthy living, Ayurveda emphasizes on consuming right kind of diet which is healthy and nutritious. According to Ayurveda, there are positive and negative attributes of diet. Since, Ayurveda deals with a holistic approach to healing, it covers the diet factor in depth. In Ayurveda, food is considered not only as mixture of the basic ingredients like proteins, vitamins, fats and carbohydrates, but it directs to avoid those food articles which are having opposite attributes to be used at same time as per Ayurveda. These sort of food may induce the accumulation of toxins in the body which may end up in chronic and grave diseases like cancer, immune disorders.
Diet is considered to be vital for a human body as it provides the basic nutrients, which are necessary to carry out the basic activities of digestion and metabolism. Ayurveda has categorized food into three types based on its basic quality-the Satvic or spiritual quality, Rajasic or active quality, and Tamasic or material quality. It is said that whatever food we eat affects our mind in accordance with its basic quality. Satvic food is enriching and elevating the level of energy for mind and soul, while Rajasic food has a basic tendency to provoke man to a materialistic and selfish way of living. Tamasic food is one, which leads to a devilish streak in a person.
Attributes of Food:
1. VARNA ( Color and complex)
2. PRASADA (Pleasure )
3. SUKHAM (Comfort and Health )
4. THUSTI (Satisfaction)
5. SAUSVARYAM ( Tone)
6. PUSTI ( Nourishment)
7. PRATIBHA (Skill )
8. MEDHA (intellect )
9. BALA ( strength and immunity)
Balanced Diet In Ayurveda - The diet, which maintains the balance among body elements/ homeostasis, is called Balancing diet / Wholesome diet . The proper food when taken in proper method nourishes the person both physically and mentally and it is the food through which person attains positive health.
When the diet is not balanced, that is, when it does not contain all six tastes, it can lead to experiences like feeling hungry after finishing a large meal, feeling weak and tired in the late afternoon, or developing cravings for certain foods.
Ayurveda recommends that we eat a balanced diet (with all six tastes) regularly. A balanced diet means balance of doshas. Each taste contains nutritional factors that the body needs for proper functioning. However, only the presences of six tastes is also not sufficient , the factors like avoiding a rush during eating, use of type of utensils, sequence of different food, season, period of day are also important. These are explained in detail in this issue.
Unbalanced Diet: Virudh Ahara
The diet, which disturbs the balance among the body elements is called unbalanced diet. Many times a physically balanced diet can also disturb the homeostasis. Unbalanced diet causes diseases on continued indulgence.
Some other factors also lead to diseases -
- After consuming green leafy vegetables, drinking of milk should be avoided.
- Meat of animals of marshy regions is incompatible with masa (black gram), honey, milk, germinated grains, jaggery.
- Sour substances are incompatible with milk.
- Honey should never be cooked.
- One should not take fish along with milk because this combination is Abhishyandi (great obstructer for channels), it vitiates blood.
- Consuming Curd at night.
- Consuming cold water immediately after having hot tea or coffee.
- Ghee kept for more than ten days in a bronze vessel heat again should be avoided.
- Mixture of equal quantities of honey, ghee, muscle fat, oil, and mixture in their combination of any two, three or all of them together is incompatible with each other.
- Combination of fruit salad, milk, banana should be avoided.
If above said virudh ahara are not followed many diseases are produced in the body-
Some of the immediate consequences of bad food combinations are digestive un-ease, gas, bloating, stomach ache, nausea, fatigue, and problems with elimination. While short-term effects can clear up within a day or two, long-term food combining can lead to more severe problems like bad breath, dry skin, rashes, chronic inflammation, poor sleep, low energy, and chronic digestion issues. Allergic disorders, Chronic digestive impairment, Skin disorders, Infertility, Epilepsy,
Insanity, Ascities, IBS, Psychosomatic disorders !
Here are some popular items on the average American menu that present a big challenge to our body and can wreak havoc on your health:
1. Fruit after a meal. Natural Hygienists have known for a long time that fruit doesn’t combine well with other foods. The reason is that fruit contains simple sugars that require no digestion. Thus, they will not stay for a long time in the stomach. Other foods, such as foods rich in fat, protein and starch, will stay in the stomach for a longer period of time because they require more digestion. So if you eat fruit after a meal, the fruit sugar will stay for too long in the stomach and ferment.
2. Lasagna or Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Protein-starch combos inhibit salivary digestion of starch. Protein and starches need different enzymes and different levels of acidity to be digested. When eaten together, your body is forced to make a choice to digest protein but not starches. According to Dr Herbert Shelton, the champion of original Natural hygiene ideas, undigested starchy food undergoes fermentation and decomposition and overtime leads to poisonous end-products. Supposedly, adding greens to hard-to-digest cheesy dishes makes them easier for the stomach. Arugula salad, please!
3. Cheese and meat omelet. In general protein/protein combinations are not recommended. One single concentrated protein per meal is easier to digest and won’t require as much energy. Go for veggie omelet instead.
4. Tomato and cheese pasta sauce. Tomatoes are considered acidic and are not advised to be mixed with starchy carbs such as pasta. Food combining theory recommends to avoid mixing carbohydrates with acids. Adding dairy to this already difficult combo turns it into a recipe for digestive problems and after-meal fatigue since your body will require a ton of energy to digest this meal. Have pasta with pesto and grilled veggies instead!
5. Cereal or oatmeal with milk and orange juice. Acids in orange juice or any acid fruits destroy the enzyme that is responsible for digesting starches present in cereal. Also, acidic fruits or juices can curdle milk and turn it into a heavy mucus-forming substance. To keep your breakfast healthy, try having fruit or orange juice 30 min before the oatmeal.
6. Beans and cheese. Dairy protein and beans is a common combo in any Mexican restaurant. Eaten with a hearty serving of guacamole and hot sauce, it is almost guaranteed to lead to gas and bloating. It is not the beans on their own that cause it, but the combination as a whole. Try skipping cheese and tomatoes if you have a weak digestion or working on detoxifying your body.
7. Melon and Prosciutto. Melons should be eaten alone or left alone. The same rule goes for all high sugar fruits. In general, it is preferred to eat fruits separately from proteins or starches, especially if you are looking for a quick energy boost from a fruit.
8. Bananas and milk. Ayurveda lists this combination as one of the heaviest and toxin-forming. It is said to create heaviness in the body and slow down the mind. If you are a fan of milk-based banana smoothies make sure that banana is very ripe and add cardamom and nutmeg to stimulate digestion.
9. Yogurt with fruit. Ayurveda and food combining theory, don’t advise mixing any sour fruits with dairy as it can diminish digestive fire, change the intestinal flora, produce toxins and cause sinus congestion, cold, cough and allergies. Ayurveda suggests avoiding congestive and digestive fire dampening foods like cold yogurt mixed with fruits. However, if you can’t resist the temptation of a yogurt parfait, there are ways to make it more digestion friendly. First of all, go for a room temperature natural unflavored yogurt. Secondly, mix a little bit of honey, cinnamon, and raisins instead of sour berries.
10. Lemon Dressing on Cucumber and Tomato Salad - Nightshades such as potatoes, chillies, eggplant, and tomatoes are not supposed to be combined with cucumbers. While lemon does not go well with either.
Of course, everyone has a different body and will experience various levels of sensitivity to bad food combinations. Many people attribute digestive problems and allergies to particular foods while in reality it is the combination of foods that is to blame. Also, many of us are so used to digestive discomfort that we don't know what it feels like not to experience it. Everything becomes clear in comparison. If you follow simple food combination rules for 2 weeks and let your digestive system rest, your digestion will be a lot more efficient and stronger before the holidays. Cravings will subside, there will be more energy, and a flatter belly.
Have you or anyone that you know tried following food combining? How did it work out for you?
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