TIPS ON GOOD EATING
One should eat with due regards to ones constitution. It is important to have your meal include all six rasas (tastes, viz: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, astringent) in proportionate quantity to keep Vata(wind), Pitta(body fire) and Kapha(phlegm) in a balanced state.
1] One should start one’s meals with sweet food, in order to stimulate Vata and Pitta, because that will win over the Vata dosha, in the seat or place of digested food.
2] The sour and salty tastes should be taken in the middle of the meal because they excite the jatharagni.
3] Then the bitter, pungent and astringent taste should be taken to win over the kapha dosha.
Eat meals of your particular taste according to the season.
The proper time to eat food is when the last meal is well digested, because eating after the proper digestion of the previous meal balances the three doshas(subtle elements viz: vata, pitta, kapha), the respective Agni(body fire), cleanses the srotas(channels), allows free flow of respective dhatus, thereby regulating the VATA(Wind), evacuation of urine, faeces and flatus normally. This food does not vitiate any of the body elements and thereby promotes good health and increases the life-span.
If a person eats when the last meal is undigested, the previous unfinished chyme mixes with the chyme resulting from the later meal and provokes all kinds of vitiations and diseases.
Diet should be changed according to the season. For example, in winter the power of digestion is strong, so the heavy food substances are good, while in summer and the rainy season light food substances are generally advised, as digestive power is compromised. Furthermore, in a diseased condition, articles of food have to be selected according to the Dosha involved in disease and the stage of the disease. Ghee, for example, is contraindicated in the first seven days of fever, but, if the fever runs a chronic course, then ghee is prescribed to increase the strength of the patient, as well as to alleviate the dryness caused by the heat of fever.
We should eat keeping in mind the benefits rather than what food pleases us. Wholesome food is that which is homologous to our body constitution, season, time of the day, etc. Unwholesome combinations of food may have a noxious effect on our body and mind. Such combinations should thereforebe avoided.
Quantity of food depends on the individual's digestive power. The quantity of food ingested will also affect digestion.
One should eat a measured amount(matra) of food, the quantity of food should neither be too little, nor too much. Consumption of meagre quantity of food is not beneficial for increasing strength, bulk, immunity and energy. Food consumed in excess quantities results in provocation of doshas, thereby causing serious illnesses. Food eaten in right proportions easily passes through the gastrointestinal tract and at the same time does not upset the gastric fire(agni), thus getting assimilated and serving the purpose of promoting strength, vitality and long life.
This meal awakens the taste buds and the food is relished by the consumer. The unctuous meal not only activates the inner gastric fire(jatharagni) which is normal at its seat, but also excites the less active or even inactive jatharagni and gets digested immediately and quickly. The food nourishes the body, strengthens all the senses, increases energy levels and makes the complexion brighter.
Warm meals excite the jatharagni(type of body fire), get digested promptly, and stimulate the peristaltic movements right from the oesophagus to the entire gastrointestinal tract. Vata(wind), Kapha(phlegm) remains in a balanced state because when the warm meal is over, kapha is not produced in excess, and at the same time mucus in the gastric secretions breaks up.
A meal eaten in a congenial environment, served and eaten in good, clean utensils, and in the company of good people, makes one feel relaxed, which gives a happy feeling and does not give rise to any tension or mental disturbances.
The time taken to eat a meal should not be too long, since it becomes difficult to assess the quantity of food consumed and you may end up eating too much or too little. Such a meal does not get digested well because it gets cold and unhealthy. Similarly, eating in a hurry is also considered very bad, as the food doesn’t get broken down properly, leading to non-assimilation of vital nutrients.
Eat without talking, laughing or allowing your mind to be preoccupied with other activities.