In today's health-conscious society, we are constantly being bombarded with ideas of ‘perfect’ health, and the ‘tools’ to achieve it in the form of an overwhelming number of diet options. Low fat, no fat, low carb, no carb, high carb, high protein, low protein, Atkins, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, South Beach … the list is never ending!
In the midst of this mind-boggling array, one must consider alternative solutions, including the traditional therapies inculcated in Ayurvedic medicine. The focus of Ayurveda is to create balance and harmony by altering the method by which food is prepared and consumed.
What is an Ayurvedic Diet?
Ayurvedic diet is not really a ‘diet’ in the typical sense of the word. It does not offer quick fixes, neither does it have long lists of ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’. Instead, Ayurveda suggests that an individual changes his relationship with food which helps to achieve a healthier lifestyle.
Ayurveda considers eating to be a divine act. Eating is akin to doing a ‘yagna’ (oblation to fire). The digestive fire, ‘Jataragni’, is the Lord Krishna himself and while eating we should feel that we are feeding the internal divine within our selves.
Lord Krishna in ‘Bhagavad-Gita’ says:
"Aham vaishvanaro bhutva praaninaam dehamaashritah|
Pranaapana samaayuktah pachaamyannam chturvidham."
( I stay in all living beings as ‘vaishvanaragni’ or Digestive fire and digest all four types of food i.e., eatables, chewable, drinkables and likable).
Another mantra chanted prior to eating:
"Om brhmarpanam brhma havih brmagnou brhmanahutam|
Brhmiva tena gantavyam brhmakarma samadhina."
It means the eater, eatable, the act of eating and the aim of eating- every thing is God.
The ‘Vedas’ proclaim that,
“Annam brahmeti vyajanat”|
Meaning, food is ‘Brahman’ or the Lord of creation. It is from food that living beings are born. It is with the help of food that living beings are nurtured and stay alive.