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    Moderator Crown R.Varadarajan's Avatar
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    Dear friends,

    Food,Bhojanam,Aahaar, call it by any name. It is the most important or the first thing for a healthy body. A healthy body means a healthy mind.
    Ahar or diet is a very important part of living a healthy lifestyle. It is one of the four pillars that can lead one on the road to well-being. When to eat, how to eat, what to eat and what not to eat are the four major aspects that make a person healthy, and is unfortunately a concept that most people don’t know about. Here is a basic understanding of this.It is the key to eating right.

    Yogic principles of healthy eating

    yoga diet?
    When to eat?

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    Ancient literature says one should break one’s night long fast at the time of sunrise and end one’s last main meal at the time of sunset. Here’s how you can breakdown your day’s meals.

    Breakfast like a King: Our biological rhythm is such that whatever we eat in the morning is absorbed and assimilated to the maximum. So morning food should be full of nutrition, be low-fat, bland and have a large portion of fruits is recommended.

    Lunch like a Prince: Food eaten during lunch should be easily digestible and low fat. As an evening snack you can have food of any taste – whatever one likes can be eaten at this time.

    Dinner like a Pauper: Dinner should be the lightest meal of the day – bland and low-fat.

    Apart from eating 4 times a day one should drink water every two hours, but mid-meal snacks should be strictly restricted to fruits, salads, soups, and juices (preferably lime juice). If you are not hungry at meal times due to stress, etc. then have something liquid like soup, buttermilk etc., or fruits or salads. Some discipline and regularity regarding food must be maintained at all times.

    How to eat?

    A young man, eager to be enlightened, went to a Yogi and asked him to show him the path. ‘I want to know Brahman’, he said to the Yogi. The Yogi agreed and asked him to fast for a day. The next day the Yogi told him to fast for one more day.

    The man obeyed. This went on until the young man was unable to bear the hunger anymore. Enlightenment did not interest him. It was food that he wanted. ‘Annam Brahman‘- Food is Brahman, the young man told the Yogi which is exactly what the Yogi was trying to teach him. The ancients knew this long ago – they equated food with God. Thus, were developed rituals and practices like praying before meals, eating with full concentration, relishing the meal, etc. Therefore while eating, one should attend to the way food is being chewed, the subtle tastes of the different food items, the way it goes down the oesophagus to the stomach, etc.

    When food is eaten thus, with one -pointedness, the assimilation and absorption of food is at its best. This is the ideal way to eat food. Alternatively, one could also indulge in polite conversations bringing joy and happiness. Avoid watching television while eating. One should also try to go beyond likes and dislikes and not have a negative opinion about food. The old literature tells us that there are two entities, the ‘Food’ and the ‘Eater’ and they carry on all our life. Most physical ailments are caused due to unhealthy food habits. Moderation is the key word. Eat food as a duty, eat only as much as will make you feel hungry after 4 hours. Remember that food we eat is only to sustain us and our body’s proper functioning, avoid overeating just because you like the taste of the food. Instead eat what you love slowly, relishing every part of the meal; that way you will feel fuller faster and not crave for more food.

    The stomach gets distended due to overeating and always demands food in excess. So the stomach should be half filled with food and with water. The remaining should be left empty for the proper movement of food and for the formation of gases. Water should be avoided during meals, but must be taken half an hour before meals and one hour after meals.

    What to eat?

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    According to Yoga, the type of food you eat determines the type of mind , you have. As the food, so the mind; As the mind, so the man. Therefore, eat easily digestible food or Sattvic food which includes: Milk and milk products fresh fruits and dry fruits seasonal vegetables, cereals (like wheat, unpolished rice, jowar, bajra, corn), pulses (like moong dal – green with skin and yellow), sprouted cereals and pulses. A little ginger, turmeric powder (haldi), cumin seeds (jeera), coriander powder (dhania). Honey, jaggery, crystal sugar (misry), raw sugar (gud shakkar), ghee or rice bran oil and filtered oil (groundnut or till oil). Eating this food brings relaxation and a feeling of peace.

    What not to eat?

    Only little of rajasic food may be eaten. This food is difficult to digest and leaves one in a disturbed state of mind. All non-vegetarian foods, hot spices, onions, garlic, non-seasonal vegetables and salt fall in this category. Tamasic food is unnatural and stale. All refined, processed, artificially coloured, flavoured and deep frozen foods are Tamasic in nature. Also, tea, cocoa, wine, liquor are known to make a person feel dull, inert, lazy and lethargic.

    Tips to eat right from dawn to dusk

    While lying in bed on your back inhale 5 seconds and exhale deeply 5 seconds. While going for a walk inhale for 2 steps, exhale for 2 steps. Follow this pattern for about hundred steps. This will help you wake up feeling happy and relaxed.
    Appreciate whatever there is on your plate. In case some taste is unpleasant for you, instead of becoming critical, enjoy every morsel of food and be happy that you have some food to eat, unlike others who do not. Our likes and dislikes have to be tempered by what is good for us. Remember to chew your food thoroughly. Make sure you do not have another morsel ready as you chew, this will tend to rush your meal. Wait till you have swallowed the food in your moth before you pick up the next morsel.
    If your job is a sedentary one, get up every half an hour and walk a few steps.
    Change the position of your legs often, this helps prevent swelling in the legs and keeps your blood circulation in order. Whenever possible close the eyes and think. Listen more and speak less.

    Last edited by R.Varadarajan; 10-05-2015 at 02:53 PM.

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