Diet & Lifestyle Management
“Diet” plays a pivotal role both in healthy and diseased conditions. Healthy Life starts with healthy food. The strength and complexion of a person will enhance if he practices suitable diet and regimen as per the season.
A quotation of Mahabharatha “Aharat Sarva Bhutani Sambhavanti Mahipatae, Aharena Vivardhantetena Jivanti Jantavaha”emphasizes the importance of diet/proper food for the existence of individual. Ayurveda specifically expresses the importance of food in maintaining and promoting good health as well as curing diseases.
Healthy living requires conducive and balanced diet which can be achieved by adopting the Ayurveda dietary advocacies, healthy eating behavior and attitude through an Ayurveda way of living. Ayurveda strongly emphasizes on promotive and preventive aspects of health giving prime importance to "Ahara" (wholesome diet) or "Anna" (wholesome food) as a means to good life, health and wellness. It advocates basic dietary guidelines in terms of appropriate food, incompatible food combinations, methods of cooking, storage, dining atmosphere, hygiene and etiquette for maintenance of health.
The modern dieticians have described that carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals, vitamins etc., are the basic components of food and the balanced diet is said to be composed of all these. The imbalance in the quantity of these constituents leads to loss of immunity and health.
But practically we observe many individuals suffering from deficiency diseases and metabolic diseases like Hypothyroidism, Diabetes, Osteoarthritis, Vit B12 deficiency, Vit D deficiency etc., even after the consumption of so called balanced diet.
So, this clearly indicates that an ideal diet means just not only the consumption of carbohydrates, fats, proteins etc. The diet should have the qualities like congeniality, compatibility, not causing any untoward effects and having all the six rasas (Sweet, Sour, Salt, Pungent, Bitter, Astringent) etc.
Unlike many other diets, the Ayurvedic diet provides personalized recommendations about which foods to eat and avoid based on your body type. An Ayurvedic diet provides guidelines that encourage mindful eating and consuming foods that are appropriate for your dosha, or constitutional type. The diet pattern changes according to each dosha. The energy of each dosha helps determine what to eat to boost health, prevent or manage diseases, and maintain overall health and wellness. Ayurvedic medicine seeks to create a healthy strong body through a series of diet, exercise, and lifestyle practices, including sleep, intuitive eating, and mindful living.
In Ayurveda, it is believed that each and every disease is caused due to the imbalance in the doshas and the normal healthy state is achieved by the balanced state of doshas. So according to each disease, individual diet pattern and suitable diet are advised to the patient for quick recovery.
A famous Ayurvedic saying is, “When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use; when diet is correct, medicine is of no need”. So Ayurveda gives importance of food equivalent to the medicine.
Ayurveda follows all these principles during food intake
The Right Time
One should inculcate the habit of having meal on time (Kale bhojana) only on feeling of hunger and after digestion of previous meal.
The Right Quantity
One should consume the optimum quantity of food based on signs of fullness to avoid overeating/ under eating.
The Right Quality
One should have easy to digest, pleasant to mind and freshly cooked food.
The Right Methods
One should consume food with due respect. One should consume food with concentration (Avoid watching T.V. & Talking while eating). Ingest food calmly, neither too slow nor too fast.
The Right Place
One should maintain proper hygiene at the culinary place. One should prefer regional fruits, vegetables, food articles in daily diet regimen. One should practice traditional food processing techniques.
In Maitri Ayurveda Diet management is provided only after considering all these factors:-
1. Dosha Type (Based on individual Constitution) – Constitution of the person is assessed as whether is Vata / Pitta / Kapha and the diet is prescribed accordingly. If the person is suffering from any kind of disease, the dosha afflicted is concentrated and diet is advised accordingly.
2. Digestive Power – Digestion plays an important role in the metabolism of the body. Digestive condition of the person is assessed based on the level of appetite and time taken for the digestion of each meal. Considering this factor, diet and the quantity for each individual is decided. Liquid, semisolid, solid diet is advised respectively as per the status of digestive fire.
3. Quantity of food for good digestion – In Ayurveda it is considered that stomach is divided into 4 parts. 2 parts for solid food, 2 parts for liquid and one part for the digestion. Quantity of food for each individual is customized as per the diet plan.
4. Sleeping Pattern– Sleep of the individual plays a major role in the health. Day sleep is considered as one of the prominent causative factors for metabolic diseases like diabetes, obesity etc. diseases. Hence the exact sleep schedule suitable for the individual body is assessed in accordance with their occupation.
5. Physical Activity – Ayurveda gives much importance to exercise and considers it to be one of important activity in daily life. Based on the constitution, different types of yoga asana, pranayama, walking, cardio etc., are suggested depending upon the health status along with the specified duration and number of days per week.
6. Stress Factor – Now-a-days stress has become one of the important part in everyone’s life, because of which we are witnessing various kinds of health problems from children to old age people. Ayurveda believes that mental health play a very important role in the overall wellbeing of the person. Hence psychological counselling of the patients are done, lifestyle and diet are suggested considering the mental status of the person.
Note: For each and every individual, diet chart is customized and planned accordingly considering his/her status of health and other factors.
In Ayurveda, the term ‘lifestyle’ incorporates ahara (food habits) and vihara (do’s and dont’s in lifestyle). Lifestyle-related disorders occur only because the individual is not following or adopting a way of life, according to the self-constitution of the body. Ayurveda classics have clearly emphasized the role of faulty lifestyle and inappropriate dietary habits in the causation and pathogenesis of diseases.
Along with Diet and Diet related preparations, lifestyle is a given major significance. Ayurveda treatises and scriptures has very much stressed on the importance of Dinacharya (Daily Regimen) as well as Ritucharya (Seasonal Regimen) to increase the immunity of the body as well as to prevent from the development of any kinds of diseases. Few lifestyle activities suggested in Ayurveda are enlisted below:-
- Wake up early in the morning:
Ayurveda advises to wake up in “Brahmi Muhurtha”, which is about 45 minutes before sunrise. The period of Brahma Muhurta is an intermittent duration between respiration and photosynthesis in the plant kingdom. There will be an abundance of nascent oxygen, which easily mixes with hemoglobin to form oxyhemoglobin, which reaches even the most remote
tissues and also boosts the immune system.
- Periodic cleansing of your gut:
Evacuation is one of the most important pillars of health according to Ayurveda. Daily elimination of waste from the body is important for good digestion. If this does not occur regularly, or is delayed, it slows down digestion and causes constipation.
- Doing Exercise:
Exercise plays an integral part of healthy routine. Ayurveda advises to practice exercise daily for the maintenance of health and prevention of disease. Ayurveda suggests that a daily routine of proper physical activity, affects not only your body, but has a positive influence on your mind, emotions, senses and spirit. The benefits of Vyayama are achieved as you focus on your chosen activity in awareness of your breathing, physical responses, and sense of wellbeing. Person has to practice any kinds of any kinds of excercise only upto his/her half strength (Ardhashakthi).
- Have freshly prepared food:
Hot food increases the agni or metabolic fire on entering the belly (stomach). This in turn sets right the metabolism, enhances appetite and capacity to digest food. It also expels the vitiated vayu and reduces or destroys the vitiated kapha, and keeps it under balance. Avoid bread, biscuits, and all other packaged food items. Freshly cooked food and freshly collected vegetables, meat, fruits etc food items are always advised. According to Ayurveda, eating seasonal fruits and vegetables has a more positive effect on our body.
- Don’t mix cooked and uncooked foods:
As per Ayurveda, it is considered as Viruddha Ahara in mixing cooked and raw foods, cold and hot iems, sour and sweet items together which makes the digestion process complicated. It is easy for our digestive tract to break down cooked food, as the enzymes become activated.
- Digestion works in accordance with the sun:
Ayurveda explains the digestion strength as agni (fire). All the factors involved with digestion – enzymes, hydrochloric acid, etc are collectively termed as agni. The pitta period of the day is when the sun rises to its highest point in the sky (mostly during afternoon). Pitta dosha is the one that helps to do this process smoothly. Hence the heaviest meal is to be taken during this time which gets digested and absorbed quickly.
- Eat the meal only when previous meal is digested:
One should consume the food only when his previous meal is digested and body feels light. One should not consume food within one yama (3 hours) of consumption of food. If taken, it leads to rasodvega or indigestion. Improperly digested food, if put into circulation, is dangerous for health and becomes life-threatening. One should eat any food only when hungry.
- Proper Sleep:
There are many factors to decide the time to go to bed. As per Ayurveda, sleep is influenced by kapha dosha. Those with kapha body type sleep more. Those with pitta or vata body type, usually sleep a little less. If you divide the night into three parts, the first part of the night, – about 6 pm – 10 pm is dominated by kapha. So, irrespective of your dosha body type, you will
have some sort of kapha dominance during this period. Hence, if you sleep within this time, the chances of you getting good night’s sleep are very high.
Ayurvedic medicine encourages whole-body healing, which includes physical, mental, and emotional health. This can include practices like yoga, meditation, mindful eating, sleep hygiene, spending time by yourself and with others, and managing your work-life balance. In particular, it’s recommended to have a daily routine that encompasses these healthy lifestyle practices. In Ayurveda, a regular routine is believed to keep you in sync with the elements and promote good health