The human body is said to be the most evolved state or product in the universe. This physical body along with the living conscious is the most beautiful and advanced of all creation of the universe. According to Ayurveda creation of the human body from the food. Initially the fundamental entity of space evolves, from space evolves air. Air gives birth to fire– the fire, which in turn creates water. The earth is evolved from this water, and the flora is created from this earth. These flora, form the food of the human beings and hence it is said that the human body evolves from the food it intakes.
Food is the Prana or the essence of life for the living beings, which is why all the living beings aspire for food. Food material includes the attributes of imparting a good complexion, pleasant voice, intelligence, life or real, joy, satisfaction, health, strength and a good grasping power. But one should not devour this food with greed or ignorance. This food material should be properly inspected and only the nutritious part be feasted upon. This is so because the body is created from food and hence to acquire a healthy body one should eat only that food material which is nutritious and beneficial to the body. This is explained by the law, Samanyam ekatvakaram ‘or like increases like’. Diet is the basis through which the entire body and its energy are restored. To restore the Dosha, Dhatu and Mala one should feed on food material which nourishes these bodily elements and help them develop or thrive. A diet with the opposite attributes would lead to the washing of the bodily tissues and hence be harmful for the growth and health of the body.
One should eat food which is hot, unctuous and non-antagonistic in potency and in due measure, after full digestion of the previous meal, in a congenial place, provided with all the accessories, neither too hurriedly, nor too leisurely, without talking or laughing, with full concentration and having proper regard to oneself. We shall indicate the benefits accruing from each of these conditions. Fundamental rules for healthy eating include:-
- One should eat hot. It is the food eaten hot, that is relished and which on being consumed excites the gastric fire, which is soon digested and stimulates the peristaltic movement and breaks up the mucus in the gastric secretion. Therefore, one should eat food that is hot.
- Eat unctuous. The unctuous food, being eaten, gives relish and on being consumed, excites the inactive gastric fire, is rapidly digested stimulates the peristaltic movement makes the body plump, strengthens the sense-organs, increases the vigor and brightens the complexion. Therefore one should eat unctuous food.
- Eat in measure. The food eaten in measure does not disturb the balance of Vita, Pitta and Kapha, but exclusively promotes life, is easily passed down to the rectum, does not disturb the gastric fire and is easily assimilated. Therefore one must eat in measure.
- Eat after the digestion of the previous meal. The food that is eaten while the previous meal is lying undigested in the stomach, getting mixed with the semi-digested chime of the previous meal, immediately provokes all the humors. The food taken when the previous meal has been fully digested, the humors have returned to their normal places, the gastric fire is kindled, hunger is born, the channels are clear and open, the eructation from the mouth is healthy, the stomach is clear, the peristaltic movement is normal and when the urges for evacuation of flatus, urine and feces are well attended to – that food, not vitiating any of the body elements, serves the sole purpose of promoting life. Therefore, one should eat on an empty stomach after the digestion of the previous meal.
- Eat what is not antagonistic in potency. Eating the food that is not antagonistic in potency, one is not afflicted with disorders born of incompatible dietary. Therefore one should eat what is not antagonistic in potency.
- Eat in a congenial place provided with all the necessary appurtenances. One eating in a congenial place does not get depressed in the mind by the depressing emotions produced in unpleasant environment. Similarly with the appurtenances. Therefore, one should eat in a congenial place and circumstance.
- Do not eat hurriedly. By eating hurriedly the food is liable to go the wrong way, or injure the health or it is not properly placed; and there is no appreciation of either the good or bad qualities of the food taken. Therefore one should not eat hurriedly.
- Do not eat too leisurely. One, eating too leisurely, is not satisfied even if he eats much. The food gets cold and is digested irregularly. Therefore one should not eat too leisurely.
- Do not talk or laugh while eating. One who talks and laughs and is preoccupied while eating, is liable to suffer the some disorders as the one who eats too hastily. Therefore, one should not talk or laugh while eating, but should eat with due attention to oneself.
Eat right, considering your constitution. This food will agree with me, this food will not agree with me’, such knowledge makes for the determination of what is whole some for each individual. Therefore, one should eat rightly, considering one’s individual constitution.