AT CGH EARTH KALARI RASAYANA AYURVEDA HOSPITAL, THE JOURNEY TO HEALING IS FILLED WITH MANY DISCOVERIES. ZUZANA ZWIEBEL IN HER TALK WITH DR.POORNIMA SREELAL TRIED TO UNRAVEL THE PATH TO HEALTHY EATING HABITS.
PART 1: HOLISTIC APPROCH TO AYURVEDA DIET
I’m an ayurveda doctor with specialization on clinical nutrition. In Kalari Rasayana I am in charge of the diet, which is part of holistic approach to ayurveda and it does not mean only the culinary aspect, but treatment of the diseases with the food.
Yes, in a way, kitchen can be a pharmacy. Food can be medicine. If you treat disease with the ideal drug, you can cure it. But, if you are eating a proper food, you don't need the medicine.
"The food prepared with love is medicine. Women are creators, they have ‘shakti power’ in their hormones and blood. That is why we give importance to mother. If there is a God, there is a Mother for the God."
We use to say Annam Brahma, which means Food is God. Annam is the first form of the god, so we should definitely give importance to the food. But our vital energy comes not only from the eating the food itself, but also from environment, breathing techniques or way of thinking. For example, when we are practicing yoga, meditating or chanting mantras, we are giving also food to our body. It's a prana for our body. You can feel it through all the sense organs, not only on your tongue. If you're seeing the pleasant things in the environment, it is a good food for your body. Or nice smell, relaxing music – all can be considered the food for your body. This is the awareness which we are giving to our patients: Don't listen to the internet or do not read too many books. Just listen to your body itself.
In Ashtanga Hridhaya Sutrasthan, the ancient book written by Acharya, the first thing, which is mentioned, is how to live properly, how to practice your routine life, how to change your diet or how lifestyle according to the climatic changes. Only after he explains what is the benefit of each and every food ingredient and how to eat them properly. Only then he describes the disease conditions. If you're doing your ritucharya (prevention of diseaases) or dinacharya (daily routines) properly and if you are eating in a proper way, you don't need a medicine.
Even if you read Upanishads, the first importance is given to the person, who is cooking the food. It says, that the person with a pleasant mind will give pleasant energy to the food. That's why we believe in our mothers. The food should be prepared with love, then it become medicine. Mother is always preparing food with the love. Women are creators, they have a Shakti power (female energy) in their hormones. If there is a God, there is a mother for the God.
There is a deep connection between divine power of god and rest of the world. Not only goddesses, but also for example Ganesh, one of the most favorite gods of India, which brings good luck, is associated with sweet taste. He is usually depicted bit obese and the archanas which we are doing for him is normally anti-diabetic. We give him for example kavita, jumbo or karuga.
Note: Archana is a special, personal, abbreviated puja done by temple priests in which the name, birth star and family lineage of a devotee are recited to invoke individual guidance and blessings.
Very famous is Ekadashi fasting during the 11th day of the full moon or the new moon phase. In 2016, the Nobel Prize for the physiology is based on the autophagia. Autophagia is the capacity of your body to destruct the bad cells in your body itself during the fasting process. In our culture, we are doing the Ekadashi fasting from childhood itself because we believe, if we are fasting in one day, any particular day of the month, your body will be more trained. Your body will know tomorrow is my fasting day. That fasting day your body will get some time to clean your internal organs properly.
Yes, but you should understand these connections properly and take it into the consideration as a holistic system, which must be adopted for certain conditions. When you're thinking about Ayurveda, you should not study only Ayurveda, but the Veda concept itself, where all parts of the system are connected.
You should not believe everything blindly what is told. But on the other side, one should be openminded and see also an interesting symbolism in it. For example, in Astro-Ayurveda concept, position of the Rahu (north lunar node) in the astrology chart can indicate skin disease. According to the tradition, if you have a skin disease, you should worship Snake (as a god concept) to get rid of the bad effects of Rahu.
Explanation is simple - for example Snake gourd is a vegetable with bitter taste, which helps to purify the blood and reducethe pitta in the body. So, with bitter taste of some vegetables we can correct the pitta imbalance in the body and treat skin diseases.
And for example, in Vastu Shastra (art to construct buildings based on energy flow), we have to take into the consideration geographical differences and changes. Especially Vastu Shastra practiced in Kerala will not be correct for you or for Chinese person, because of different environment and climate position of your country. The same we can say about yoga or other traditional arts and science systems.
My advice: Don't try the Indian local delicatessen the next day you arrive to India. Follow your own diet at least for one or two days, then slowly introduce the Indian food in the lunchtime, and have continental food at the dinner time. Next days, you can eat local food for early dinner. Only after your body will be in a balanced state.
The main reason is, that in your country, your akhni (fire - pita element) is very powerful. That's why you are eating spice less food but here we need a little bit more spices with our food. That is the main change in your existing diet. Our body is like a machine. If we are treating the machine properly, if we are running on correct program, it works.
Listen to your body! Do not read too many books or browse on internet for answers, because your body knows what is the best for yourself, but usually we are not aware about it. Our body, mind and soul give us answers for everything. We have to learn, how to listen to our needs.
IN NEXT TALK WITH DR.POORNIMA SREELAL - we will ask more practical questions about ayurveda diet in Kalari Rasayana >>
"The food prepared with love is medicine. Women are creators, they have ‘shakti power’ in their hormones and blood. That is why we give importance to mother. If there is a God, there is a mother for the God."
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