The aim of eating and drinking should be to produce enough blood, produce sufficient heat and energy in the body and satisfy the taste. There are six types of tastes:
4) Hot (Chilly)
It has been observed that we are avoiding more and more the last two types of taste with the result that it upsets the digestive system and balance in our blood, thereby leading to a number of diseases, including cancer. These tastes nullify the effect of sweets and purify the blood. These two tastes increase the digestive power - the fire- and are like a starter in a car and therefore should be included in our diet.
We take great care about the quality and quantity of coal or wood we put in the cooking furnace or fireplace. We should also give it enough air to burn properly. This enables the fire to give maximum of heat and reduce smoke and ashes to a minimum.
We should not forget that there is a similar fireplace in our stomach. We must think of the after-effects of the food and drink we take. The difference in the proportion of three basic elements of water, fire and wood in our body depends upon the food we eat.
As laymen, we should see that the fire in the stomach is well maintained and should be knowledgeable on the type of food that does not agree with us. We should, therefore, avoid such unsuitable foods. We must know that a particular food which may be good for certain people may not be suitable to others e.g, curd/yoghurt, buttermilk, suitable to people having them.
Recent experiments by nutrition experts in the U.S.A. have confirmed the findings of the Indian philosophy, that eating late and taking heavy foods after sunset, tends to slow down digestion and produces more fat and problems of stomach.
In Ayurveda, the Indian medical system, a detailed description of the after-effects of the different types of cereals, vegetables, spices, fruits, milk, curd, buttermilk, herbs, minerals, etc. is given.
This shows a deep study and research over hundreds of years. Ayurveda describes minutely what food to eat, how to eat and when to eat.
To maintain a good digestive system we should see that:
1) The food is well-cooked and eaten warm/hot.
2) The use of whole wheat and rice is adequate.
3) Reduce or avoid use of fine flour and polished rice.
4) Use of fried things should be reduced.
5) Enough buttermilk and curd should be included in the diet.
6) Enough vegetables, raw and cooked and seasonal fruits should be taken.
7) The food should be properly chewed.
8) A time gap of 5 to 7 hours must be kept between two meals.
9) The habit of eating or drinking liquids except water or buttermilk between the meals should be stringently controlled.
10) The stomach is also a machine and so it should be given rest of at least one or two meals a week. At that time, only fruits or fruit juices or boiled water may be taken.
To satisfy our palate is one of the greatest enjoyments of life. Eat anything you like once in a while, but respect nature’s signal, which is given in the form of belching. That’s nature’s way of saying “I’m full.”
You should stop eating further at that point. It is an yellow signal like the one at the traffic lights. If that cannot be done, you must stop at the second signal, which is like a red light. If you continue eating even after the second signal, please note that you are inviting trouble.
Necessary changes in the food, diet, should be made according to the changes in seasons. Please observe the motto that the fire in the stomach should be well preserved and should remain capable of digesting the food you eat.
A liberal use of ginger, pepper, eatables of bitter taste, Sunbath, regular exercise etc. helps this fire. While cold water, cold drinks, ice cream etc. reduce the fire and increase the burden on the digestive system. Please note that Heat is Life while Cold is Death. Eat or drink accordingly.
Sprouted Pulses: This may be taken by all people uncooked, but mixed with sesame, groundnut, raw, cabbage, dates, dried grapes or a little jaggery are also good for them. Sprouted pulses are also very good for reducing weight. In that case the use of dates, dried grapes or jaggery should be avoided as far as possible.
Test of proper digestive power and proper eating: After the meals, you should feel energetic, light in body and capable of work - even running if necessary. If you feel heavy, sleepy or dull, it indicates overeating or fast eating or a weakened digestive system.