Thursday, 17 July 2014

Nature and Nutrition







Man is a part of nature. The vital energies of nature- air, light, food, water and space influence his physical and emotional wellbeing.

There is a mention in the Atharvaveda and Ayurveda that these vital energies facilitate self-healing in man.

Our ancestors Rishis and Yogis lived completely immersed in the forces of nature and respected them as divine.
They believed-
·         Vaidhyo Narayano Hari: - Sun is the greatest physician. He is the protector of all life.
·         Aushadhi Jhanavi Toyam: The water of Ganga is the true medicine.
·         Landhanam Paramoushadham:  Fasting is best treatment.


The Rishis and Yogis lived nearby the river, subsisted on seasonal fruits and roots, maintained peace of mind by prayer and meditation and maintained a healthy body by fasting once in a while. Hence they lived in equilibrium and harmony with nature.

|| Mahabhootanyahankaro Budhisyakat Mevacha
Indriyani Dashakancha Panchendriyagochara ||

In the physical body, there are five sense organs to hear, feel, see, taste and smell and five motor organs of action to speak, grasp, move procreate and excrete. The subjective world comprises of the subtle body which is the mind and Ahamkara- the awareness of the self.

            Everything in this nature is composed of five great elements known as ether (space), air, fire, water and earth and so is man. Therefore there is a great inter relationship between nature and the man. With this awareness, man can maintain good health and in case of ill health, he can maintain himself with a natural healing regimen – nature cure.

            Small things matter much. When one has the knowledge of small things in life one can achieve great with insight and the future will be safe. For example the expectant mother should eat plenty of seasonal fruits and vegetables with balanced food in order to get natural vitamins and calcium for the baby in the womb. Hence the couple will be rewarded with a healthy baby without any deformation in the body.

            Change in inevitable in nature and so it is in the human body.
           
            Water is one of the five elements in the body and is called ‘Sanjeevan’ which gives life, the life itself. Our body is mainly made up of the earth element, but there is 70% water in our body. If there is any decrease of water element in our body we become restless. In nature, too there are 2/3 of water on the surface of earth in form of lakes, rivers, sea and ocean. There is constant change in water because of its quality of flowing.

            The earth’s surface visible is only 1/3. The earth’s surface is also changing because of wind, water, and sunlight. Similarly air, water, and food ingested in the body from external world caused changes in the body. After digestion food is changed into nourishment, which is utilised by body tissues. The waste material which remains is expelled out of the body.

            The digestive powers in the body is fire. Fire encompasses the changes and causes refinements in the body and mind from the gross to subtle. Such change includes the digestion and absorption of food in the gastro intestinal tract and in cellular transformation, as well as assimilation of sensory perceptions, mental and emotional experiences.
           
            Air is another great element in the body whose special quality is its mobility. The earthquake caused in the interiors of earth and the enormous waves caused on the seas and oceans are due to mobility of air. In the same manner, air is mobile even in the body. Though one seems to be sleeping, there is constant activity of respiration and water metabolism going on caused by air. The nutrition reached every nook and corner of the body through the mobility of air. It also transports the waste material to particular organ and expels it with force.
            Space assumes the highest importance of all these activities in the body to function. If the space is clogged or closed nutrition cannot reach certain parts of the body because the blood cannot circulate. This causes diseases. So space has to be maintained in balance. Giving place for various activities to be carried out in the body.

            As it is in the nature, so it is in the body. All the five elements work in coordination and they facilitate to keep up in good health. This awareness helps us to realize the relationship of the five elements within the body.
           
            The proper nutrition of the body and the elimination of waste material keeps the body fit, if the wastes are not eliminated on time then it results in creating disease. Therefore detoxifying the body assumes great importance.

            All the five elements in the body are equally important and are interdependent. But as far as digestion are concerned, space assumes great importance. If required space is made available in the stomach wherein the food gets mixed well with enzymes. The digestion process takes place for about three hours. The space works as a strainer. The nutrients and the waste materials are separated and the space helps the movement of nutrients to reach all parts of the body as well as elimination of waste materials. Thus creating space for the next feed. Therefore we need to give extra time for digestion. Some people eat without rhyme and reason enough for proper digestion of the previous meal. Hence the food remains undigested and starts fermenting, leading to problems like acidity, pain, feeling of fullness, etc. therefore nutrients do not reach every part of the body, hence the body feels inert and dull.

Improper dietary habits: - Our ancestors lived on a very simple diet it was precisely because of this that they enjoyed long life. On the other hand today our food is spicy, fried and full of preservatives and chemicals, which produces large amounts of acidic and poisonous end products in the body.
            Poisons accumulate faster in the body and people who eat meat and large amounts of pulses and it is these poison that are the roots of all disorders.

            Life begets life, but when we take meat, it is a dead matter which can’t enliven in the body. Eating dead matter in the form of meat is very unfortunate. The toxins gathered in the meat are not favourable for the body system. Uric acid deposited in the limbs of the animal is harmful for human consumption. There are greater risks of contamination in animal meat than in vegetarian food. There is no guarantee of a healthy meat therefore non veg foods are prone to terrible disease.

            All disease originate in the accumulation of poisons in the body. All disease are fundamentally the same. This principle has to be accepted as the corner stone of nature cure
            The first thing to do is to remove the toxins from the body to provide space in the body by fasting. For a while not to eat or drink anything as long as we feel real hunger. Thus elimination becomes easy. If the person feels hungry that is the testimony of proper digestion. In this way nature get rid of all impurities through its healing power.

            Nature can begin its healing from the minute cells. When the body is wounded nature starts the healing process at once. New cells are formed to replace the ones destroyed.

            When there is fever the hunger gets diminished or when we attend marriage we tend to eat a lot, again there is absolutely no hunger felt later in the evening.  We have to understand that these minute indications of the body and give a chance to nature’s way of acting, that’s fasting. The health automatically improved because of the space available for proper digestion and elimination. It never matters if we eat a little less. That is why it is said:
             
|| Hith Bhookh, Meeth Bhookh, Aashak Bhook ||

Eat healthy, eat in moderation and eat raw food as far as possible.

            Cooking- Cooked food is an old addiction of mankind. But cooking our food thus rendering it lifeless has become and established convention.  The human body is subjected to constant wear and tear. The process of regeneration of the body requires vitamins, minerals, salts, and enzymes. Vitamins and enzymes are also necessary for the digestion and assimilation of protein, carbohydrates and fats.

            These enzymes and some of the vitamins are destroyed by heat.

            As a consequence they are not available in adequate amounts in cooked foods. Cooking makes the proteins and carbohydrates hard to digest. Hence they are not absorbed completely in the intestines. Thus the cooked food is almost valueless. The process of roasting, adding colours and flavours, frying and freezing makes the food difficult to digest and may even cause harm.

            Carbohydrates are digested either in the mouth on in small intestine. If carbohydrates are masticated properly, the enzymes in the saliva carry out partial digestion of carbohydrates. But if the food is swallowed, no mastication takes place, so no digestion takes place with saliva and the carbohydrates will remain in the stomach and decay and produce toxic materials.

            Quantity of food: The ideal quantity of the food can be explained as –

  “Half the food, double the drinks, triple the exercises, four fold the laughter

On has to eat half the capacity of the stomach with enough of fluids. Then digestion will be perfect. Today people do not take discretion in the amount of food they take. Food these days is so spicy and savoury that the temptation to eat more and just a little more cannot be resisted. Excessive amounts of food is a burden on the digestive system and disrupts the process of digestion. Over eating spoils the blood composition and less eating leads to emancipation. So one has to remember to keep healthy one must remain a little hungry.

Lack of Exercise: Modern industrialisation has set man against all kinds of physical exertion. Intellectuals leading sedentary lives enjoy great prestige in society. The importance of physical exercise has salutary benefits to the body. Physical exercise speeds up the circulation of blood, enhances digestive power, increases perspiration and helps to remove poisons from the body.

Irregular life styles: Modern man is constantly under pressure of business and thus has irregular life style like taking food, drinks and rest as and when he finds time. The biological rhythm is consequently disrupted and toxic wastes increase in the body inviting various diseases.

            These days’ people accord high priority to sensual pleasures and therefore becomes easy prey to harmful habits such as smoking, alcohol drugs etc. these dangerous habits promote the formation and accumulation of toic  substances in the body and invite dreadful diseases like cancer by keeping the mouth stuffed with Pan and tobacco.

Tea coffee and Cocoa: these beverage do not possess any nutritive value. These are called stimulants.
Tea contains tannin which is a harmful substance.
Coffee contains caffeine which is another harmful substance.
            Cocoa- Chocolate are prepared by this seed. These seeds contain ‘Alkalide’ a harmful substance.

If any of these are taken in large quantities then it can cause constipation, insomnia, nervous tension, quickening breathing and other internal disorders. Coffee increases proportion of fat in the blood. If this condition persists for a long time the fat gets deposited on the walls of the blood vessels which get hardened. Gradually the blood pressure rises, the heart is overburdened and the risk of heart attack increases.



      Alcoholic Drinks: - All alcoholic drinks are regarded as vitamin robbers. They steal and destroy the nutrients of the system. They weaken the individual physically and mentally. Hard liquors are very harmful. They have deleterious effects on the nerves and the heart. Their effect on the digestive system is extremely bad. Alcohol burns hunger, causes irritation and swelling of the lining of the stomach and impairs the functions of the liver. So one must avoid these drinks and never offer them in parties.

Smoking: there is a direct relation between smoking and heart disease. Tobacco contains nicotine which is explicitly described in medical dictionaries as a powerful and active poison. Smoking introduces this poison as well as the highly poisonous gas carbon monoxide into the lungs.



            Experiments have shown that the nicotine causes increased secretion of adrenaline and nonadrenaline into the blood stream, resulting in high proportion of fats in the blood. So smoking accelerates the process of hardening of the blood vessels. The arteries providing nutrients to the heart muscles also become congested, hardened and brittle with consequences ranging from palpitations and hypertension to angina pectoris, heart attacks and also cancer.

Indiscriminate use of Medicines: It is a cause of concern today that people depend on drugs as if they are modern panacea for all ailments.




            A large number of medicine are toxic in nature and their use results in the accumulation of poisons in the body. Attempts to destroy germs by the use of antibiotics are futile because the antibiotics do not remove the cause of disease they may harm the cells of the body and weaken the vital force.
           
            Pain killers disturb the water content in the body and disturb the digestion power. The main problem with Allopath is that proper diet is not prescribed with medication. Hence the body becomes weak and loses its vital force.

            The following disorders are found in the person:-

·         One becomes fearful and tense.
·         Gets headache.
·         Feels weak.
·         Suffers sleeplessness.
·         May develop sinusitis.
·         May develop burning sensation in the body parts.
·         Feel tingling sensation in the body parts.

Hence one has to try and nature cure like exercises, fasts, juice diet etc. rather than going for medicines.

Television and computers are part of modern life. This has affected the community greatly especially students. Watching T.V continuously increases air element in the body because of passive watching. The subject matter watched may also affect the mind, therefore selective watching is good and so is the case with computers.



Therefore one should take frequent breaks, preferably in fresh air, move, stretch the body, fingers, hands, arms shoulders and spend a few minutes resting the eyes covering them with palms to ease the strain.
           
            Processed foods also pose a great danger. Their flavour, colour and taste attract children very much. Junk food contains high salts and fat. Obesity is on the rise in the developed countries. The deciding factor is relationship between food intake and total energy expenditure is neglected. Children nowadays are consuming a great amount of chocolates, fried foods, ice creams, carbonated drinks and cakes. They are high in salts, sugar and fats, low in vitamins and mineral contents and on top of it, they spend lesser time on physical activities, sports and games. They spend time watching television and playing Video games making them couch potatoes.

            Coupled with this is excessive emphasis in studying school curriculum for scholastic achievements, this further compels the child to forego physical activities games and sports. This is why the dietary management of obesity and physical exercises assumes greater importance. Therefore awareness about healthy eating habit and nutrition along with appropriate physical exercise is crucial to keeping obesity at bay.

            One has to have an awareness of natural laws. The knowledgeable can prevent misgivings and have good future.

            Action reaction is a law of nature, food also shows the same. Virtue brings its own reward and vice brings its own punishment. This is law of nature operating everywhere with unceasing precision and scientific accuracy, both on the physical and mental plane.

            Every wrong action brings its own punishment in accordance with the law of retribution.

            Things do not happen in this nature by accident or chance, they happen in an orderly manner.


Even though science has made tremendous progress in all directions, the environment is getting polluted day by day. The increase in number of factories and vehicles are also fostering the problems of world health in a big way. Major and minor scientific experiments with atomic explosions change and distort organic and inorganic materials.



            In 1934, artificial radioactive isotopes called radio nucleus were produced in nuclear reactors and have been utilized for the benefit of the society, in medicine, industry agriculture and research. In spite of the numerous benefits derived from these radio nuclides, many people are afraid of the effect of radiation exposure has built up over the years by the mass destruction caused by atomic bomb and experiments of nuclear bombs. So there is always a fear of the risk of radiation being an environmental pollutant.

            Nowadays ecology speaks of how to reduce the greenhouse effects and global warming and how to neutralise carbon monoxide, Yajna the sacrificial fire is the answer.

            I Vedic culture, systems of personal, global and universal healing were practiced. The sages devised certain methods which influenced personality and the environment.

            In ancient India, “Agnihotra- the fire place in the middle part of the temple or house was propagated to maintain balance of clean environment. Agnihotra means the fire that protects. Agnihotra was carried out in every house and temple to cleanse the surrounding environment”



            Yajna in a bigger scale purifies the planetary atmosphere. It also purifies the internal atmosphere. It removes external pollution and mental pollution.

            Handful of herbs in Yajna can purify the atmosphere herbs and woods properties are contained in the ash and smoke and this affects the environment and balance the atmospheric condition. Some removes the toxins from the body upon inhalation, some uplifts the mind, some bring about balance, in the motor and sensory nerve systems, and some help to destroy the pollutants that we breathe in.

            It is possible to induce a change in the mental pattern and attitude to heal the disease of the body by using certain combination of wood and herbs in Yajna.

            Smoke of the Yajna rises and combats all air pollutants.

            The devastation through deforestation happen around the world at all levels is to be recognized in a humane humanitarian manner by saving nature and revitalizing it.



Living with nature is nature cure, nature provides radiant health to man with its natural forces. They are clean air, water, fresh and natural food, fasting, exercise and calm mind.

            We can take care of ourselves by knowing these secrets of wellbeing:

·         By clean air we get enough oxygen. Oxygen is power which gives energy to cells of our body.
·         Clean water cleans the body internally and externally.
·         Nutritious food provides quality blood and rejuvenates the body.
·         Fasting helps flush out all accumulated toxins from the body and keep disease at bay.
·         When we exercise our body muscles will work with flexibility and alacrity.
·         A sound mind in a sound body and vice-versa is also true that is ‘A sound body with a sound mind’. So it is always been said that
Food is making blood
Exercising is distribution of blood
Breathing is purifying blood
                        And also is mind!


                        Nutrition

            A nutritious diet occupies an important and dominant place in our life.

            Nature with its natural forces restores the natural defences of the body

            It is body that effects the cure not the physician- says nature cure.

            Natural qualities in food are very important factor in the diet. The wholemeal wheat flour, manually de husked unpolished rise and such other cereals from the region, a lot of green vegetables, leafy vegetables, moderate use of pulses, milk and milk products, intake of fresh fruits, water intake of around 8-10 glasses a day, salads with germinated grains and vegetables compromise and ideal diet. Cooking should be mild and satwik with less of seasoning and spices.

            Germination of grains and pulses result in a vast increase in the nutritive value. Therefore consumption of germinated grains or pulses in raw form is called ‘Amrit Ahar’. One should consume half a cup of raw germinated seeds, pulses or grains daily either plain or with raw vegetables as salad in breakfast. There is an increase of 600 % in the amounts of Vitamin B1, thiamine, pantothenic acid, niacin in natural and live form.

            Lactation in nursing mothers increases considerably by the consumption of germinated cereals and pulses. This naturally leads to the proper and quicker development of the child as well.


            On no account the brain should be separated from wheat flour. Manually de husked rice or at least brown rice with red coat to be used. Minimum amount of salt is to be used. Sweets and fried items are not to be consumed every day. Non Veg foods should be stopped completely as they have more proteins and acids which is an invitation to diseases.