PART 2 CHAPTERS 8 TO 11
DIET & LIFESTYLE FOR HEALTH AND HARMONY
CHAPTER 8 SECTION 8.8
PATHWAY TO HARMONY PART I - DIET
8.8.1 WHAT TO REMOVE FROM THE DIET
We begin by giving you a list of what to remove from the diet followed by a brief write-up on the reasons. This is a brief note on diet - not a treatise. What is given here is generally applicable. Whilst what is positively good for each person may differ, what is harmful for almost each one of us is being listed here with very brief reasons.
Remove Meats, chicken, fish, eggs (all non-veg.)
Minimize Refined sugar, sweets, chocolates, bottled drinks, aerated waters, packet juices.
Minimize All Packaged foods like chips, soups, cornflakes, sauces.
Minimize Milk, processed cheese, icecreams, mithais (Indian sweets), desserts, puddings.
Minimize Refined foods including refined oil, refined salt, white flour (maida), polished white rice. Cooked tomatoes.
Remove Alcohol, smoking, tobacco products, drugs.
Minimize Usage of medicinal drugs - give the body a chance to heal itself.
8.8.2 WHY WE MUST REMOVE (AT LEAST MINIMISE) ALL NON-VEG FOODS INCLUDING MEAT, CHICKEN, FISH AND EGGS.
1. This food putrifies within a few hours and since we are by nature not equipped to pass out excreta in less than 24 hours, the putrefaction takes place within us. We are carrying around decaying corpses within us (we cannot be more graphic) and the delicate lining of the intestines and the colon absorb the resulting toxins. This is the reason that countries where meat is consumed in large quantities have the highest rates of colon cancer.
2 .If we wish to live long and be strong and hardworking let's learn from nature. The elephant, the bull, the horse (we measure power as horse power) are all vegetarians. The elephant lives 100 years and more. The lion and all other carnivores on the other hand live only 15 years. The lion is vicious and violent and works hard only to kill for food. The rest of the time it spends sleeping (20 hours per day).
When Shaw turned vegetarian at 25, his doctors warned that his diet would kill him. When an old man, he was asked why he didn't go back and show them what good it had done him. He replied, "I would, but they all passed away years ago".
3. Our stomach has to produce a lot more acid to digest these foods. They themselves are very acidic (producing large quantities of uric acid), so anyone suffering from ulcers, arthritis, psoriasis and other skin problems, renal failure, you often don't have to look far for the cause.
4. The adrenal glands or stress glands become very active in the animal during captivityand during the butchering process. The adrenal so produced is recycled to humans
5. Thus causing unnecessary panic, stress and fears (many present day psychiatric problems may be attributed to this).
6. Further, the animals are fed all sorts of hormones and drugs to fatten them up - these are also recycled to humans and result in severe hormonal disturbances in men and women. Antibiotics are a routine part of their diet. Ingesting these will make us immune to their action should we ever need to use them.
7. Besides, it makes no sense from the economics and world food shortage point of view. It takes anywhere between 12 to 20 pounds of vegetable products (as animal feed) to produce one pound of meat (enough only to feed 2 humans).
8. The water resources on our planet are running out. It takes 60 litres of water to grow 1 kilo of wheat, 200 litres to grow I kilo of green beans, 3000 litres to produce 1 kilo of eggs, 8200 litres to produce 1 kilo of chicken 16400 litres to produce 1 kilo of pork and 50,000 litres to produce 1 kilo of beef (Source : Higher Taste - see"Recommended Reading").
The Ogalala Water Resource in North America, probably the world's largest underground reservoir of water, was a gift to mankind from the Ice Ages. In a few years it will be completely dry. The rain forests of Africa and South America have been "cleared" to make place for growing grain for cattle for producing hamburgers for the meat eating population of the world.
We did not inherit this planet from our forefathers - WE HAVE BORROWED IT FROM OUR FUTURE GENERATIONS! Remember, everytime you eat meat, you are permanently destroying this planet.
It is indeed horrifying that thousands of gallons of blood and other waste matter from abattoirs are being poured EVERY DAY into rivers all over India.
Could this be one reason for the high incidence of gall stones in young people in India today?
9. Morally and spiritually, how can we justify killing another animal to satisfy our tongue. There is only one God. He created the animal too and it is to Him that we pray for compassion when we are sick or in trouble. How can we possibly expect compassion from Him when we so ruthlessly and needlessly kill and harm HIS Creation. Think about it!
"We pray on Sundays that we may have light to guide our footsteps on the path we tread. We are sick of war, we don't want to fight, and yet we gorge ourselves upon the dead”.
- George Bernard Shaw
“For long centuries man has exploited brother birds and animals for entertainment and sport and food and clothing. Alas! man has forgotten that the one life which flows through him, - and to which he clings as to his most precious possession, - also, flows through the animals. Like man, the animal experiences pain and pleasure. Like man, the animal depends on food and air and water for his sustenance. Like man, the animal loves his young and protects them, in times of danger, with a courage and devotion no human can surpass.”
- Dada J.P. Vaswani
10. As for eggs - they rot as fast as meat and fish. Eggs provide the largest quantity of cholestrol. Besides, the unfertilized eggs are virtual chemical factories. The hens are kept in the most shocking conditions - never allowed to roam free in the sun, always sitting in one position to produce "assembly line" eggs. They are fed hormones (for better produce) and artificial yellow colour (which is one of the worst offenders in children's behavioural disorders) to make the eggs look more appetising. Unfertilized eggs are nothing but the waste matter of the hen.
That eggs are "nuggets of concentrated nutrition" is a myth that we have swallowed for too long. One egg contains almost zero iron, 1200 IU of Vitamin A, a large quantity of Vitamin D and is loaded with Cholestrol! Compare that to 6000 IU of Vitamin A in a small bunch of drumstick leaves and 10,000 IU in an even smaller bunch of coriander leaves. Both these are also very rich sources of iron (as are all green leafy vegetables). Vitamin D is available from the sun - it is formed directly on the skin by the action of the sun. AND vegetable products do not contain any cholestrol!
Most worms, ulcer, arthritis, eczema, asthma, psychiatric, heart, blood pressure, cancer, and kidney cases respond quite dramatically when all non-vegetarian foods are eliminated from the diet.
8.8.3 WHY WE MUST MINIMISE REFINED SUGAR, SWEETS, CHOCOLATES, BOTTLED DRINKS, AERATED WATERS AND SO CALLED JUICES.
All these items have zero nutritional value. They are "empty calories" which the body must burn up. The so-called "juices" and "fresh juices" in packets are made from concentrate and/or pure chemicals - they contain water, sugar, artificial flavour citric acid, preservative and ZERO NUTRITION.
The level of awareness however, is so low - even in professional circles - that this kind juice is being administered as food to seriously ill patients in "modern" hospitals.
1. Sugar is ACID. It wears down our tissues and leaves us open to all sorts of scourges. The process of refining requires several corroding chemicals to be added to the sugar. The number of diseases which are caused/aggravated by sugar would fill a book. (In fact there is an excellent book on the subject - Sugar Blues). We will list only a few of the common ones - all behavioural problems in children (hyperactivity, tantrums, poor concentration, lagging behind in studies, lack of interest in studies , insomnia, frequent mood changes), ulcers, skin problems, arthritis, kidney problems.
2. Sugar unbalances us and can cause brainstorms. People suffering from psychiatric disorders, depression, phobias, fears, paranoia, compulsive behaviour and epilepsy must omit refined sugar and other products containing sugar from their diet.
3. We have seen many people refrain from adding sugar to their tea (and of course it's an achievement), but they undo the whole thing in the next instant by eating sweets and chocolates, gulping down colas and other bottled "soft" drinks. An eight ounce "soft" drink contains 8 teaspoons of sugar; one square inch of chocolate can containupto 20 teaspoons of sugar. A "soft" drink is anything but soft on your system. Besides sugar it contains phosphoric acid which is corrosive and prevents calcium from being utilized in the body. It makes mush out of children's teeth and can actually retard their physical and mental growth. Drinks containing caffiene (all colas) are addictive and can ruin our kidneys. Those drinks that are labelled "Diet ..." and contain no sugar, add other sweeteners which are so dangerous that they require a statutory warning in some countries (like cigarettes).
4. We have seen children being asked to leave schools because the school can no longer cope with them. Some schools label them “retarded". The irony is it's usually what the parent is feeding the child which has created the problem and most often sugar is to blame.
We earnestly appeal to parents and teachers not to give a chocolate or other junk food to a child as reward for being good. That's a contradiction. You cannot reward a child for being good with a substance that will prove harmful for him or her.
8.8.4 WHY WE MUST MINIMISE ALL PACKAGED FOODS - CHIPS, SOUPS, SAUCES, CORNFLAKES.
- Beware of additives in these commercial goods. Most additives are well known carcinogens (cancer promoting). Nutritionally, these packaged "goodies" cannot be classified as "food" by any stretch of imagination. MSG (monosodium glutamate or ajinomoto), which is added to most of these foods is responsible for nerve impairment and can and does retard mental growth of children. It is responsible for hyperactivity, loss of concentration, headaches and neck pains.
- Contrary to popular belief, cornflakes are not as nutritious as they are made out to be. They contain 80% sugar and refined flour (nutritionally zero) and the remaining 20% are chemicals with fancy names. "Vitamins added" is another gimmick in actual fact these are in a form which is impossible for our bodies to assimilate and end up being treated as toxins by our system which of course means that our liver and kidneys take a beating.
- We have seen perfectly good and healthy children deteriorate into sleepless, cranky, obstinate kids who cannot be managed - at home or school. The trauma these children and parents suffer must be seen to be believed. But the truth is - it is of their own making.
8.8.5 WHY WE MUST MINIMISE MILK, PROCESSED CHEESE, MILK BASED SWEETS.
Although awareness in the West is growing, in India and other developing countries it is not yet understood what a damaging "food" milk can be for most of human population. We give below some reasons for not drinking milk or atleast minimizing the consumption. We do recommend that you further educate yourself by reading books on the subject (refer to Appendix - "Recommended Reading").There is a lot of information you can get on the Internet on this. Make your own informed choice after looking at the positives and negative of consuming milk.
Here are a few reasons”
1. Let us look at it using our common sense - is there any other animal in nature that drinks another animal's milk after it has been weaned away from the mother's milk? Even a calf, once weaned will not drink cow's milk - so why do humans? Domestic pets (dogs and cats) drink milk because we have corrupted them into doing this.
2...The calcium in milk is bound up in casein. Casein and lactose are broken down in our body by rennin and lactase respectively. Both these enzymes are all but missing from the human body by the age of 3, in most human beings. (There is 300 times more casein in cow's milk than in human milk). Casein, incidentally, is the substance from which wood glue (Fevicol!) is made! This gluey substance in milk often remains undigested in our body where it sticks to the mucous membrane of the intestines. The intestines react by secreting more mucous to wash it off. Soon it begins to degenerate and putrify due to the bacteria feeding on it. This putrid matter is then pushed around in the body - never able to leave and causing more and more mucous to be produced which the body endeavours to throw out through its orifices. If you suffer from tonsilitis, bronchitis, sinusitis, ear infections, asthma, discharging eyes, vaginal discharges, amoebiasis, migraine, colitis, try and see the difference by stopping the milk for 3 to 4 weeks. It may be the main answer.
3. The calcium in the milk is in fact a red herring - we go after it and acquire all sorts of diseases. The truth is - the more milk we drink, the more we are likely to suffer from calcium deficiency! The high phosphorus content in milk upsets the delicate balance which the blood maintains betweeen phosphorus and calcium. Due to the high phosphorus content, the blood is forced to DRAW calcium from healthy bones and teeth - so drinking milk can actually cause osteoporosis (brittle bones) and can cause teeth to decay. Which are the countries with maximum osteoporosis? The milk guzzling countries - Sweden, USA, Finland and UK have the highest rates of osteoporosis.
4. The excess calcium so carried by the blood is then deposited in soft tissues causing tumours, cataracts, kidney and gall stones, spurs and bony growths, spondylitis, sciatica, thyroid problems, prostate problems, atherosclerosis (deposits in arteries) many more diseases.
5. What is the first thing the body does when the milk is ingested? The body produces acidic enzymes in order to curdle the milk so that it can stay longer in the stomach for digestion.
So how do we (please let's use common sense here) expect ulcer patients to get well with milk when its direct action is to instantly produce more acid in the body? And of course you must have heard that "cold milk" must be taken. Why? Why cold milk? Why not hot milk? Again let's use our common sense - because it is the "cold" that is working to give you temporary relief - not the milk. Cold water would be a better bet.
The things that you are told not to have are sour things. In fact lemon water and tamarind water are both powerful antacids. (This may sound peculiar when doctors keep telling us that these two items are acidic). What we view under the "microscope" in the laboratory is not necessarily how the inside of our body views it.
Inside the body both these remove acid. Take a cue from traditional Indian eating patterns - our chutneys, chaats, sambars, rasams - which are "hot and spicy" - always use tamarind in the recipes to antidote the ulcer causing chillies.
Another thing that antidotes the chillies is pure desi ghee (clarified butter). Again let us take a cue from South Indian food - Every serving of rice is liberally "garnished" with desi ghee to antidote the chillies in the "hot" sambars and rasams. People with operable peptic and duodenal ulcers have been saved from the surgeon's knife by simply changing these two things :
- giving up all non-vegetarian foods, eggs and minimizing dairy products EXCEPT ghee (cooking everything in ghee - no oil), butter and homemade yoghurt (curds).
- introducing fresh lemon and water into their early morning regimen on waking (honey may be added but no salt or sugar).
Try it - don't take our word for it ! Within 10-15 days you will see the difference if not sooner. You may get what looks like an aggravation of cold symptoms for a few days, but that will pass - it's nothing but the body cashing in on the unexpected break to throw out accumulated garbage. Joints may also pain as the uric acid begins to come away from the joints. In a month you will fee like a new person.
There may be a little weight loss. This causes a lot of people to panic that they are getting "weak" Unfortunately, in India people associate "health" with being fat. Again, the awareness level is so low - very few in the medical world pay any attention to educating their patients that "fat" is not healthy. Many people are aware that at the age of 40 being overweight is not good - but few are able to comprehend that the foundation of "fat" is laid in childhood - that the foundation of all diseases starts with wrong eating patterns acquired through childhood conditioning.
8.8.6 WHY IS MILK DIFFICULT TO DIGEST NOW?
We call the cow "mother cow" (Gau Mata) because like the mother she gives her milk to us. In fact she is more than mother because she feeds us at the cost of her own babies.
How have we treated this mother?
Go to any modern dairy and see how the cow is treated. Over fattened with drugs, this gentle herbivore is fed chicken bones in its feed. She is not gently milked by a loving cowherd - instead her udder is hooked to a machine. She stands long hours parting with milk in this crude way all the year round. Her milk is produced at the behest of hormones.
In India, this great land of ahimsa, the conditions are even more shocking! "Oxytocin" is a hormone which is meant to be used by obstetricians during childbirth in women where the contractions of the uterus are insufficient. Oxytocin produces contractions in the uterus.
Indian milkmen inject the cows and buffalos with oxytocin TWICE a day - causing "labour pains" in the animal TWICE A DAY. They do this because this causes the milk to flow faster. Oxytocin is a "banned" drug worldwide for animals, but is available at a throw-away cost in India and almost every milkman uses it. Besides the fact that this hormone causes several disorders in humans when they drink this milk, it causes acute torture to the animal.
As if this is not enough, Indian milkmen push an iron rod into the uterus of the cow and crudely shake it about to cause pain, which they believe will make the milk flow faster. Dear sisters, can you imagine what this must feel like? What kind of milk do you think a cow that goes through this kind of torture, will "gift" us? Nutritious? Imagine you are that cow. What kind of sentiments would you have towards man? Would you bless man that he thrives on the milk or would you "CURSE" him that he suffers? As we sow so shall we reap. Perhaps we are suffering from the collective curse of the cows of the world!
Please read Maneka Gandhi's "Heads and Tails". It chronicles horror stories about the cattle pounds (where stray cattle are kept), about what happens to male calfs when they are born (they are starved to death) about thousands of healthy buffalos and cows being killed every year in Bombay ALONE due to mistaken economic reasons. You will then understand why milk is causing so many diseases!
8.8.7 WHY WE MUST MINIMISE ALL REFINED FOODS INCLUDING REFINED OIL, REFINED SALT, REFINED FLOUR (maida) , POLISHED WHITE RICE
When the word "refined" is used, it usually means that the natural state of the product as provided by Nature, has been tampered with by removing the nutrients and adding several chemicals which will ensure longer shelf life for the product.
The product "looks" better, it probably even "tastes" better BUT is it "good" for our health?
We know in some places it can be a challenge to find alternatives to these refined foods. In which case, you can atleast start by minimising consumption and see the changes in your health conditions.
(a) refined oil - do you know that a law exists in America against the advertising of refined oil as "better for health". Why? Because studies have shown beyond doubt that the chemicals added to the oil during refining are producing cancer and that refined oil is NOT in any way better than butter and ghee in preventing heart disease.In India our media blares out advertisements declaring refined oil to be better. The conditioning has become so strong that even the medical profession has been taken for a ride and you now find doctors passing on the information provided in the advertisements, to their hapless patients. Unrefined oil is a much better bet - different geographic regions have their own typical oils - mustard oil, coconut oil, sesame (til) oil, olive oil etc.
(b) refined salt - sea salt and rock salt were provided by nature and that is the way they must be had. India fought and won the battle of independence over "salt"- do we have to fight another battle over it - a battle of disease? Under the pretext of adding "iodine" to salt, which God has provided in its most natural and subtle way in the sea salt, commerce has snatched the right from the common man of having salt as God intended him to. Is it not a shame that we now find it almost impossible to find natural sea salt?"Scientists" (who are funded by commerce!) have convinced our government that thyroid problems are a result of a lack of iodine. But, did we ever see so many thyroid cases as we do now? Ask all these thyroid patients which salt they have been using and the answer will almost always be "refined salt". Iodine is a deadly chemical. How on earth can it be added across the board to all salt? Some people eat less salt, while others consume a larger quantity. Indian pickles, for example, are loaded with it. Surely, if it is an essential "chemical", it must be provided in a controlled way!
No, brothers and sisters, because that would not suit commercial interests - what would they then package, advertise and sell at an exorbitant price? In European countries people have the right to choose - natural sea weed, sea salt or refined salt. In India, the Government has assumed the right to choose for all of us!
Refined salt is ACID. The body which has an intelligence of its own, retains water to neutralise this acid. The water retention causes your tissues to become clogged (not unlike slushy slums in the rains) which in turn causes capillaries and arteries and veins to get choked causing pressure to build up in these channels - leading to high blood pressure. Add to this the residue left behind by the undigested casein from milk, cholestrol from meat, eggs and cheese (which is carried by the blood and deposited at random in the arteries) and you have a perfect case for by-pass surgery or stroke.
High blood pressure patients are given di-uretics - drugs that encourage the water to leave the body. Unfortunately, the acid is left behind! That is the reason that those high B.P. patients who are on di-uretics, invariably get severe skin irritation. This is the acid trying to excrete itself through the skin. Many high BP patients also end up damaging the Kidneys with this acid.
(c) refined flour (maida) - Wheat is a wonderful food, very nutritious and wholesome.
When it is "refined" all the goodness is removed - the "germ", and the "fibre" have been stripped from it so that it can last longer on the supermarket shelf. Buying flour with "vitamins" and "amino acids" added is no use because these are not natural and cannot be absorbed by our body. Stay with the whole-wheat. In India there are flour mills (using stone crushing method), where unpolished whole wheat is available and the mills grind it into flour in your presence.
Do not fall into the trap of buying "brown" bread - it is usually only colour added.
What you want to buy is "whole-wheat" bread. Request your local bakery to make your bread with whole wheat flour, without preservatives, eggs, colour, milk. The bakery usually requires an order of about 10 loaves which 2 or 3 families can order together and share (until the entire neighbourhood switches to the healthy bread!)
Note : there are people who are allergic to wheat and others who convert every grain of wheat they eat into mucous which causes several disorders like chronic sinusitis, pus in the ears (leading to Meniere's disease and Tinnitus), bronchitis etc. If you are in tune with your body it will be a lot easier for you to identify any foods that you may be allergic to.
(d) white polished rice (all varieties of it) - As in the case of flour, in white rice too the goodness has been removed. Brown, unpolished rice is nutritionally very sound. You might have to try different varieties of brown rice and see which one suits you best.
8.8.8 WHY WE MUST MINIMISE COOKED TOMATOES FROM OUR DIET:
Tomatoes, when cooked, turn very acidic. Since it is our endeavour to remove "acid-causing" foods from our diet (a number of diseases have their root in acid or are made worse by acidic foods) it makes sense to use tomatoes, if we have to, only in their uncooked, but ripe, form.
Besides, they have entered into our diet very recently (a couple of hundred years ago in India) and replaced tamarind. Tamarind has a very unique quality of binding Flouride and removing it from our body thus preventing flourosis in populations which receive drinking water which is high in flouride content.
A number of villages in Andhra Pradesh have very high rates of flourosis. The reason could be these villages have en masse switched over to tomatoes and discontinued the usage of tamarind.
8.8.9 WHY WE MUST REMOVE CIGARETTES, ALCOHOL, DRUGS, TOBACCO PRODUCTS:
The awareness level of the ill effects of these substances is very high - what non-smokers have to be aware of is that they are subject constantly to passive smoking. Please do not hesitate to speak up when you feel that your child or you are being deprived of your fundamental right to smoke-free air. If someone in your home is a compulsive smoker or drinker, we suggest you try the Addictions Sanjeevini on them (see Addictions combination under "Selected Sanjeevini Combinations). This Sanjeevini, given with compassion and understanding has helped many people to give up their addictions including smoking and drinking.
Smoking damages your lungs, arteries and bones; alcohol damages your liver; together they destroy your life. Drugs destroy our mind and intelligence and through these, our body and soul.
What we have to resist is the "first time" for tobacco, for alcohol, for cigarettes, for drugs. Peer pressure is responsible, but let us remember - we live our lives for ourselves and not for our peers. If we pay undue importance to what others think of us we are no better than puppets on a string - living our lives as others want us to live.
8.8.10 WHAT TO ADD TO THE DIET
ADD Plenty of Water, fresh seasonal fruits, fresh seasonal vegetables, gur(jaggery), butter, pure ghee, home-made curds (yoghurt), butter milk.
Whole grains (according to season) eg.wheat, jawar, bajra, barley, parboiled and/or unpolished rice.
Lentils, dals, beans, grams. (add tamarind always) Nuts & seeds - sesame (til), sunflower, almonds, walnuts, pistas and coconut.
Dry fruits (in winter)
Fresh lemon water (preferably without sugar)
Tamarind - to our lentils (to prevent flourosis and acidity).
Sprouted or living foods.
Wheatgrass and Rejuvelac (see separate chapter)
* Note : If you have to have fried food, try to use only unrefined oil. If you are on the wrong side of 30 - minimise fried food.
ADD - For growing children - milk made from sesame seeds (til), sweet melon seeds. soya beans, wheat, coconut, almonds, peanuts combining with dates and honey, flavouring with cardommom (ilaichi), saffron (natural kesar - not artificial flavour), kewra, natural vanilla etc. These can be given to new born children also (diluted) where mother's milk is not available for some reason. Recipes are given in the Chapter 10 Recipes.
8.8.11 SOME COMMON DOUBTS
Where do we get our protein, calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, Iron?
- Protein comes from amino acids - you can never ever be short of these - everything that grows from the earth has amino acids. Where does the elephant, the cow, the horse, the bull get its amino acids from? From grains and grasses!
- All grains, lentils (daals), ALL vegetables are rich in proteins.
- Calcium - nature abounds with it and in readily assimilable form with phosphorus and magnesium in the correct ratios - in all green leafy vegetables and nuts especially sesame (til) seeds and almonds. Even tiny babies can be given milk made from sesame seeds, coconut, wheat, almonds, soya bean, if for some reason mother's milk is not available.
- Vitamin A - green leafy vegetables and naturally yellow fruits - mangoes, papayas, carrots, peaches - are rich in Vitamin A. The drumstick plant - its leaves, flowers and fruit, coriander leaves, fresh mint - all these are the richest sources of Vitamin A on this planet.
- Vitamin B12 - we are told this comes from animal sources only - true - from animal's residing in our intestinal tract - the friendly bacteria, provided you have not killed them off with antibiotics. If you have - please take homemade yoghurt freely (never after sunset) and Rejuvelac. Normally, if you are into natural healing and antibiotics are not part of your regimen directly or indirectly - you don't have to worry. Your body knows how to balance itself.
- Iron - All green leafy vegetables are full of iron as are dry fruits and most fruits (especially the ones that turn brown if left exposed after cutting or pealing). That milk or meat or eggs are essential to fulfill our iron requirement is a story fed to us by vested commercial interests. One humble bowl of spinach (palak) contains as much iron as 60 gallons of milk. In eggs, iron is almost non-existent.
8.8.12 HOW SHOULD WE EAT OUR FOOD?
We must eat with awareness. Not only awareness of what we eat but with acute awareness of how grateful we have to be for our food. If there is one guideline that everyone should remember whilst eating, it is to eat in full awareness of the food before us. Any one who follows this guideline sincerely will get all the other guidelines from within. All wisdom flows from our pure awareness.
Here are a few simple guidelines:
- Try to eat in silence. Always start by saying a small "thank you" prayer to God - just visualise how many hundreds, if not thousands, of pieces of a jig-saw puzzle have come together to bring this plate of food to you. Try not to eat with your mind on the TV or the newspaper. The mind should be calm, free from all excitement to fully relish the meal in hand.
- Internalise your awareness before partaking the food for a few seconds. Before you start eating your food, spend 20 to 30 seconds internalising your awareness, with your eyes closed, on the digestive system. Become aware of the Pranic energy, the digestive fire (Jatharagni) in your abdominal area. This helps in relaxing all the organs in the digestive system and enlivens the digestive fire. The system thus becomes ready to receive the food and the most efficient digestion and assimilation will take place. It also begins to communicate with you.
Be alert to listen to this communication from the silence within on how much to eat and what to eat during your meal for deriving the maximum nourishment and for avoiding disease.
This practice can be done at all places and at all times. Whether you are at home, or at a party or in a restaurant or traveling, this habit of tuning in within your body will help you immensely to always stay in good health. After a month or so of this practice it becomes a part of your nature
- Eat your food in moderation. Eat only ½ stomach full at every meal. Leave the remaining space for the "cooking" of food with digestive juices. You must never rise after a meal with a feeling of heaviness or of having overeaten. This is an ancient Yogic guideline for preserving health and keeping disease away. How much is overeating? It would be different for different people and different for the same person at different points in time. Internalise your awareness to check from within on how much you should eat.
- Chew your food properly - there is a saying that we must "eat" our liquids and "drink" our solids. Which is to say, juices, buttermilk etc. must be had very slowly and moved around in our mouth so that they combine well with the saliva and then swallowed. Solids, on the other hand, must first be liquefied by chewing well, and then drunk. A great deal of digestion, especially of starches, takes place in our mouth.
- Minimize eating in between meals. This will ensure that your digestive system is not getting overtaxed and is instead getting periodic rest. The habit of munching something or the other all the time is an addiction which takes its toll on the digestive system sooner or later.
- Eat foods which will nourish various organs and body systems and not just satisfy your palate. If my tongue is craving for a chocolate I need to pause, become aware and think about what the chocolate is going to do to other organs like my gums and teeth, the pancreas, the liver. If I have internalized my awareness well, the response from within will be very clear.
I will either deny myself this indulgence in the interest of the well being of the whole body or I will eat the chocolate with full awareness of its potential damage and therefore eat only a small amount.
All addictions - tobacco, liquor, drugs or any other toxic substances take hold of us on account of a lack of awareness. Sharpening our awareness is the simplest way of giving up our addictions. The Addiction (all) Sanjevini DS 2 is a prayer to God for awakening our awareness to give up all addictions not only of harmful foods or substances but also of negative emotions which destroy our peace of mind and prevent us from experiencing the inner peace and bliss.
- Fasting for physical, mental and spiritual health: Fasting is a wonderful practice for purifying the body and mind. When done with awareness the practice can keep the body disease free and the mind calm. A calm mind is most conducive for contemplation and meditation. Both these are vital for delving deeper into the spiritual dimension for experiencing the core of our being , our pure consciousness which is of the nature of Bliss ( Sat Chit Ananda)
Whenever you feel you have shown a lack of awareness and have indulged in overeating and /or eating heavy food which is still sitting in your stomach or in the intestines, miss the next meal or two This will help you bring your digestive organs back into normalcy. Ignoring this warning and continuing to overload your system will invariably result in dis-ease.
If we want to feel the benefits of regular fasting we can start with a partial fast every week. Miss a meal or two once a week, say breakfast and/or lunch, on a specific day of the week, as a matter of discipline, to give the digestive system a preventive maintenance break. On such days one can have fruit or fruit juice only. One can also have adequate amount of water, preferably with a dash of life.
IMPORTANT: If you are suffering from a disease for which fasting is contra-indicated, please refrain from fasting without the approval of your doctor.
“It is a fact that most of our diseases, whether they are physical or mental, are caused by overeating. Nobody dies on account of fasting, but many people die on account of overeating.”
Swami Satyananda Saraswati
- When you are ill or down - Eat minimal amount of very light food, or eat only fruits (fruits are better than juices because we chew them) and drink only lemon and water with honey added. Food uses up energy for digestion - valuable energy which we need for recovering and recouping.
Eat only Sathwic (that which promotes health and harmony) foods :
Eat food which is wholesome, natural and free from harmful additives. Eliminate or minimize packaged foods or bottled drinks.
Eat foods which are free from violence. Eliminate or minimize non-vegetarian food which includes all meats, fish, chicken and eggs.
PLEASE NOTE : What has been given in this chapter is A VIEW POINT. Please accept it only if it appeals to your common sense - otherwise reject it. It is not a treatise on Natural Healing - it is only a beginning in your quest for being in tune with Nature. Your health is in your hands. How far you go from here depends entirely on you. We also encourage you to understand your Personal Constitution (Prakruti) - please refer to "Recommended Reading". An understanding of the Tridoshas will result in perfect "tuning in" to your OWN dietary requirements.
“An intake of too much food is also harmful. Simply because tasty food is available and is being offered, one is tempted to overeat. We have air all around us but we do not breathe in more than we need. The lake is full but we drink only as much as the thirst craves for. But overeating has become a social evil, fashionable habit. The stomach cries out, 'Enough,' but the tongue insists on more, and man becomes the helpless target of disease.”
-Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
“If you talk while taking food, the digestive system will be spoiled. Once the digestive system is spoiled, several diseases will confront you. Before partaking your food, pray to God silently keeping your eyes closed. Take your food in silence in a calm environment. Do not howl, talk and chit chat while taking food. Do not cry or laugh too. Do not entertain worry before or while taking food. These are some of the precautions to be taken to lead a happy life.”
-Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba