Ayurveda = Ayus + Veda = Life + Knowledge
Body is a microcosmic universe made up of the five primordial elements or panchmahabhutas
The field from which everything is manifested and into which everything returns; the space in which events occur. Space has no physical existence; it exists only as distances which separate matter.
The gaseous state of matter, whose characteristic attribute is mobility or dynamism. Air is existence without form.
The power which can convert a substance from solid to liquid to gas, and vice versa, increasing or decreasing the relative order in the substance. Fire’s characteristic attribute is transformation. Fire is form without substance.
The liquid state of matter, whose characteristic attribute is flux. Water is substance without stability.
The solid state of matter, whose characteristic attribute is stability, fixity or rigidity. Earth is stable substance.
Vata is the principle of kinetic energy
Pitta controls the body’s balance of kinetic and potential energies.
Kapha is the principle of potential energy
There are not dosha siet plans like what is sold in Western Ayurveda. To follow those will lead someone into imbalance. Deeper knowledge is Ayurveda. A little knowledge or superficial knowledge is a dangerous thing.
Lifestyle according to bodytype
Seasonal variations (Rtu Parinama)
What is health:
Sushruta Samhita Sutrasthana 15/41
Samadosha samaagnishch samadhautu malakriya|
Prasannaatmendriyamana swastha itiabhidhiyate||
Asatamya indriyartha samyoga
Pragyaparadha – Misuse of intellect
Health is “prasanna” – exhalted state of the body, mind, soul and senses.
Rasa has the property of nourishing (prinana)
Rakta translates to the red blood cells but serves the purpose of providing life and oxygenating. (jivana)
Mansa has the responsibility of covering, gives shape, movement and plastering. (lepana)
Meda has the action of lubrication and providing unctuousness, gives bulk and smoothness. (snehana)
Asthi has the responsibility of support and protection. (dharana)
Majja is that which fills space. (puranam)
Shukra is the expression of creation, reproduction. (prijanam)
Rasa (6 Tastes)
Three pillars of health
Importance of Aahar
Based on rasa (taste):
Based on properties:
Hitaahaar: (beneficial food)
Rules for the one eating:
(Su. SS. 46/471, 489)
Rules for the one eating: Do not eat –
(Su. SS. 46/477-481)
Rule for order of rasas while eating:
(Su. SS. 46/466)
Rule for optimum serving:
(Ch. SS. 5/1-4)
– One must evaluate whether the food is guru (heavy) (milk products like curd, cream, etc., red meat, meat of animals of marshy or wetlands, sesame seeds, etc.) in terms of digestion,
– Or laghu (light) – mung dahl (green gram), red rice, bird meat, deer meat, etc.
– A shadrasa (6 tastes)diet is highly advocated.
(Ch. SS. 5/5-6)
(Ch. SS. 5/7)(Ch. VS. 2/4)(As. Hr. SS. 8/46)
(Su. SS. 46/468-470)
(Su. SS. 46/468-470)
Avoid after meals:
(Su. SS. 46/495-496)
– kindles digestive fire
– easily digested
– is carminative
– dissolves excess kapha
– kindles digestive fire
– easily digested
– is carminative
– acts as a building block of the body
– increases strength and is good for complexion
(Ch. VS. 1/24)
– does not cause dosha imbalance
– conducive to long life
– does not become cold
– does not become uninteresting
– does not cause indigestion
(means eating with knowledge of what is good and beneficial to one self)
– health and longevity (Ch. VS. 1/25)
Beneficial foods for regular consumption:
(Ch. SS. 5/12)
Foods not recommended for regular consumption:
Vairodhik aahar (diet which is harmful due to processing, combination or other factors):
– Heated honey
– Milk with sour things
– Milk with fish
– Curd taken at night
– Ghee and honey mixed in equal amounts (Ch. SS. 26/80-111)
Properties of diet are dependant on 8 factors (ashtvidh aahaar ayatan) namely:
– Prakruti (Natural Qualities)
– Karana (Preparation)
– Sanyoga (Combination)
– Raashi (Quantity)
– Desha (Habitat)
– Kala (Time)
– Upyoga sanstha (Rules of use)
– Upyokta (User) (Ch. VS. 1/21-22)
In the Ayurvedic literature there are five types of nutritional disorders:
1. Quantitative dietary deficiency – includes under-nutrition due to insufficient food and even starvation.
2. Qualitative dietary deficiency – resulting in malnutrition, toxic conditions and lack of essential nutrients. Certain food combinations disturb the normal functioning of the gastric fire and interfere with the state of our vata, pitta and kapha. This disturbance may create a toxic substance called ama, which is the root cause of many ailments.
3. Qualitative and quantitative over-nutrition – includes emotional overeating which can result in obesity and/or high cholesterol which can lead to hypertension, heart attack or paralysis.
4. Toxins in food – certain foods can cause toxemia and lead to digestive disorders.
5. Foods unsuitable to one’s constitution – may affect natural resistance and cause disease.
These five factors are closely connected to the strength of agni (gastric fire). There are four types of agni:
1. Vishama Agni. Gastric fire is vitiated, causing irregular appetite, indigestion and gases. Emotionally this can result in anxiety, insecurity, fear, and neurological or mental problems.
2. Tikshna Agni. It may cause hyper-metabolism, hyperacidity, heartburn and hypoglycemia leading to inflammatory diseases.
3. Manda Agni. slow metabolism, overweight, allergies and congestive diseases.
4. Sama Agni. A person having this type of agni can eat almost any type of food without difficulty. Digestion, absorption and elimination are all normal.
The nutritionist should give consideration to these types of agni when making suggestions concerning diet. According to Ayurveda, every food has its own taste (rasa), a heating or cooling energy (virya) and a post-digestive effect (vipaka). Some also possess prabhava, an unexplained effect. So while it is true that an individual’s agni largely determines how well or poorly food is digested, food combinations are also of great importance. When two or more foods having different taste, energy and post-digestive effect are combined, agni can become overloaded, inhibiting the enzyme system and resulting in the production of toxins. Yet these same foods, if eaten separately, might well stimulate agni, be digested more quickly and even help to burn ama.
Poor combining can produce indigestion, fermentation, putrefaction and gas formation and, if prolonged, can lead to toxemia and disease. For example, eating bananas with milk can diminish agni, change the intestinal flora, produce toxins and may cause sinus congestion, cold, cough and allergies. Although both of these foods have a sweet taste and a cooling energy, their post-digestive effect is very different – bananas are sour while milk is sweet. This causes confusion to our digestive system and may result in toxins, allergies and other imbalances. Similarly, milk and melons should not be eaten together. Both are cooling, but milk is laxative and melon diuretic. Milk requires more time for digestion. Moreover the stomach acid required to digest the melon causes the milk to curdle, so Ayurveda advises against taking milk with sour foods.
These incompatible food combinations not only disturb the digestion but also cause confusion in the intelligence of our cells, which can lead to many different diseases. Before you say “This is MUCH too complicated, how will I ever figure it out?”, there are some useful guidelines to introduce you to these concepts. And remember that Ayurveda is a strong proponent of the “go slowly” school of thought. You might want to introduce yourself to food combining by eating fruit by itself, as many fruits create a sour and indigestible “wine” in the stomach when mixed with other food. Once you have adopted this change into your eating habits, try other suggestions from the list below. As a general principal, avoid eating lots of raw and cooked foods together or fresh foods with leftovers.
♦ A strong digestive fire can be the most powerful tool of all to deal with “bad” food combinations.
♦ Different quantities of each food involved in a combination can sometimes help significantly. For instance equal quantities by weight of ghee and honey are a bad combination—ghee is cooling, but honey is heating—whereas mixing a 2:1 ratio is not toxic. The reason? Prahbav, the unexplainable.
♦ Very often spices and herbs are added in Ayurvedic cooking to help make foods compatible or to ease a powerful effect, e.g. cooling cilantro in very spicy food.
♦ If our bodies have become accustomed to a certain food combination through many years of use, such as eating cheese with apples, then it is likely that our body has made some adaptation or become accustomed to this. Which is not to say that we should continue this practice, but to explain why the newcomer to apples and cheese may experience a strong case of indigestion whilst the “oldtimer” digests it adequately.
Definition of Antagonism of Foods:
The substances which are contrary to “deha-dhatus” (the body tissues) behave with “virodha” (antagonism) to the tissues. This antagonism may be in terms of properties of the substances themselves, combination, processing, place, time, dose etc. or natural composition.
For An Example of Antagonism of Foods:
One should not take fish with milk. Combination of both of them is madhura
(sweet); madhura vipaka, “mahabhisyandi” (creates great moisture in the tissues when the tissues are being created and it obstructs the channels), because milk has sita (cold) virya and fish has usna (hot) virya the result is “viruddhavirya” (antagonistic in terms of potency), due to conflicting viryas; it vitiates blood and due to being mahabhisyandi, creates obstruction in channels.
Results of taking antagonistic foods:
impotency, blindness, erysipelas, ascites, pustules, insanity, fistula-inano,
fainting, narcosis, tympanitis, spasm in throat, anaemia, ama visa, leucoderma,
skin diseases, grahaniroga, oedema, acid gastritis, fever, rhinitis, genetic disorders and even death.
Measures to counteract disorders caused by antagonistic foods:
Emesis, purgation, use of medicines for pacification, and prior conditioning of the body with similar substances.
Purgation, emesis, pacification or prior use of wholesome substances alleviates the disorders caused by antagonistic food. Antagonism becomes inert due to: suitability, small quantity, strong digestive power, in young age, in persons having: unction, physical exercise, and strength.
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