In the pre-finale post of this series on Ayurvedic Food Nitin Sawant talks about the long term benefits of breaking down the resistance to adopting healthy eating habits.
Over the last few weeks, we touched base with a diet plan based on our heritage – our legacy, so to say. We cooked some amazing stuff for breakfast, lunch and dinner and we did it all by staying within the ambit of Ayurveda. Mind you, a diet plan based on Ayurvedic recommendations is going to be perfect for you, not just because it’s healthy, but also because it has evolved over the centuries, factoring in our climatic conditions, physiques and our terrain!
RETURN TO ROOTS
It took us barely fifty-odd years to uproot our evolved food wisdom and get subsumed by junk food; however, it’s never really too late to return to our roots. You can wake up to this fact now or be prepared to get rudely woken up, whenever a disease threatens your lifestyle and your very existence.
The roadmap towards health food does have some huge roadblocks. The most obvious one is that of the costs involved. With the rapid advent of industrialization, the food industry chose to invest in only those value chains and ecosystems that could be easily mechanized, and are predictable and cost-effective. Meaning, you can easily find stuff like potatoes, tomatoes, tobacco or a packet of white bread or namkeens, in all the seasons of the year and in every nook and cranny of the country. However, the same cannot be said about millets, gourds, leafy greens etc. So naturally what’s healthy is available at a higher cost than what’s unhealthy. And you are invariably forced to do some monkey balancing with your budget and health priorities. What’s the best approach here? Actually, you should simply do what’s right for your body.
THE COST OF HEALTHY LIVING
But let me put it this way to you: there are two sides to this cost narrative. There’s an upfront cost and then there’s a long-term cost. If you keep consuming those breads, samosas, burgers etc, you might save some money today, but in the long run, these unhealthy foods might end up ravaging your body and you may have to pay through your nose in medication. You may also have to forever compromise on the quality of your life (For example, a diabetic at 50 could still enjoy a long and fruitful life, but he’ll be forever condemned to monitor his diet and sugar levels on a daily basis – with a razor sharp focus, restricting his activities severely).
Then there’s this argument about time. If you insist on eating healthy nourishing food, then you must make time for it, and that’s exactly what’s in short-supply nowadays. Corporate Executives live and profit by the hour. So do they really want to take time off for a healthy meal? Can’t they just take some quick pill and go back to their desk? Actually, if you’re the star of your office lineup and if your company depends heavily on you to make their targets, then you must absolutely make time to eat healthy. Without the right nourishing food, your mental skills will simply collapse and your brightness will wither away in a matter of months.
THE ANATOMY OF AYURVEDA
According to Ayurveda, your body is comprised of seven dhatus or minerals that are responsible for your health, immunity and intelligence. From a human anatomy point of view, they are better described sequentially as plasma, blood, muscle, fat or adipose tissue, bone, bone-marrow and seminal fluid. So, your food is gets transformed into plasma, which further gets refined into blood, which further nurtures the muscle and so on. Each dhatu is the refined product of all the preceding ones and when all the dhatus are refined, it gives you Ojas, which is one of the vital essences that sustain our physical vitality, mental clarity, and overall health.
As you can see, it all starts with the right food. If you’re eating unhealthy today, your mental and physical energy levels are bound to go down in the near future, and you’ll be in a danger of getting burned out.
THE AYURVEDIC PARENT
Many busy parents tend to shoo away their kids to school by giving them money to buy something to eat on the way. We’re using money not only as proxy for food, but also for hygiene and absence of nutrients.
When a child comes to school undernourished, it usually affects his ability to stay focused, resulting in failure to absorb information. His/Her thinking and reasoning skills are also at risk. Worse still, they may suffer from mood swings, resulting in either passive or aggressive behaviour. In such cases, the child’s academic progress can get severely stunted. And, mind you, all this would have originated from poor meal planning.
Indeed, the situation is grim and the time for course correction is now. If you want to enjoy your life and career, then you have to take responsibility of what you put into your dining plate. You have to budget for it, plan for it and have the necessary discipline to follow the path. And on this path, your senses will get repeatedly assaulted by all the enticing advertisements and shiny packaging of unhealthy food. Big money is being poured into making packaged food attractive and addictive. You have to constantly remind yourself that all this sugar and salt, besan and maida are the new versions of nicotine. Real food always came out of farms, and never out of sealed packs. What’s cheap now could cost you a bomb tomorrow.
***Choose fresh, choose health***
With this, we’ve come to the end of this healthy conversation and this is the time to fire away all those queries you have. You can write in to me at email@example.com before 8th June 2017 with any questions about Ayurvedic living and eating and I will be happy to answer them for you in my next column.