FACTORS FOR HEALTHY DIET
ASHTA AHARA VIDHI VISHESHAYATAN
“Matravad aaharasyaaushdhsy ch yat falam” (Chakrapani)
When Food is taken in Proper sufficient quantity and according to balance diet, it is as fruitful as the Drugs or Medicines itself. So, Various factors govern the food habits of people. Basically, There are eight specific and characteristic factors of method of dieting which are described in a renowned ayurvedic text i.e. charaka Samhita.
“Tatra khalvimanyashtaaharavidhivisheshayatanani bhavanti; tadyatha—prakriti karanasanyogarashideshkalopyogasansthopyokrashtmani (Bhavanti)”
These eight factors are :
- Rules for the user
- Use of Consumer
Chakrapani says “Aaharasy Vidhi prakaro vidhanam va ity Ahhar vidhi” i.e. The process of taking food according to proper method is known as Aahar-Vidhi (Methodology for food intake) with special reference to wholesomeness or otherwise of the type or ,method of food regarding Beneficial or Non-Beneficial diet. This is coined as Aahar Vidhi Visheshaaytan, those are 8 as per consideration.
- Nature of the food (Prakriti)— Here the Nature of any substance refers to its Temperament, which basically refers to the characteristic property of the matter (Food Material). The Prakriti or nature is the temperamental basic characteristic property of Food and Medicine. The natural existence of properties like guru (heavy) or laghu (light) in substances used as food and drug. There are two types of food- the one which is easily digestible is known as light food and that which take time to digest is known as heavy food; such as black gram (heavy) and green gram (light), pork (heavy) and meat of deer (light).
- Method of processing (karana)— It is the making or refinement of the natural products which means imparting other properties. Processing is nothing but transformation of food to various forms. These properties are infused by contact of water and fire, cleaning, churning, storing, maturing, flavoring etc.
“Sansakaro hi gunantraadhyanam uchyte” i.e. Some characteristic properties can be created, modified or superimposed in some specific food material or any Drug is known as Sanskaar.
- Jal Sanyog : The matter of hard properties turn soft due to combination of water. Example : Cold Infusion, Soaking of Rice in water.
- Agni Sanyog : Though Rice is heavy by nature but turns light after heating. Example : Parched Grain (Kheel).
- Shauch (Purification) : Generally the poison has the nature to kill but if treated and purified according to ayurvedic method it turns to healer of diseases. Bhaat-Kalpana is the best example termed by Chakrapaani according to the above said methods given by.
- Manthan (Churning) : Generally, Curd if used in excess or in an inappropriate manner can cause edema and swelling. At the same time when it is churned with ghee(clarified Butter) it removes the same edema or swelling caused by the inappropriate affect of the same.
- Desh(Locality) : The characteristics and features of the food material and drug/medicines changes according to the locality.
- Time-Period : Fresh Grains are heavy in nature, these grains get light after one year and more. Ayurveda recommends the light turned grain consumption i.e. After one year or more. Although the weight shows only negligible change.
- Bhawna (Trituration) : Some species of Aconitum are poisonous. When it is titrated with cow urine for 3 days the species gets purified and can be significantly used in small doses forms.
- Combination (samyoga)—It is the aggregation of two or more substances. This exhibits peculiarities which are not seen in case of individual substances. Every food entity have some kind of particular action. When they are combined with two or more entities, sometime they become poison and sometimes the action gets enhanced. For example: honey and ghee are very beneficial for the body individually but when they are consumed together in equal proportion, they become poison and can leads to death. The same is true for fish and milk also.
- Quantity (Rasi)—Rasi consists of sarvagraha (total amount) and parigraha (individual amount) which ascertain the results of the food taken in proper and improper quantity. Quantity of food is very important because it bestows the power of digestion. If the food is heavy to digest, then half of the quantity must be taken from that is required. For the easily digestible food, quantity should not be more than that is required. This is because, 1/3 part of our stomach should be filled with food, next 1/3 part with liquid and remaining 1/3 should be left empty. This makes the digestion easy.
- Habitat (Desh) – Desh denotes place relating to growth as well as distribution of the substances and also the suitability in respect of place. The food produced in desert area increases the Vata and that which grows in marshy land increases Kapha. And the food which is grown in moderate climate is good for health. The area in which we dwell also has to be considered and suitable food has to be consumed. Desh also refers to our body, hence age and nature of body also has to be considered under this.
- Time (kala) – kala is eternally moving as well as conditional. The conditional one is related to disorder while the eternally moving one to seasonal suitability. Also time (kala) refers to both time and the age. Some food should not be taken during night, egg curd.
- Dietic rules (Upayogasamstha) – There are certain rules for dieting. Like, one should not take food before proper digestion of previously taken food. Should not speak while taking food, neither should take very slowly nor in a hurry etc.
- Person taking food (Upayokta) – Upayokta is that who consumes the food. One should take the food only which is compatible for him. It depends on ‘Oka-satmya’ i.e. suitability developed by practice.
The characters of these factors having good or bad results are mutually beneficial. One should try to understand them and thereafter desire for the wholesome only. Food or any other thing which is pleasant but is unwholesome and with bad consequences should not be used with ignorance or carelessness.