I’m not going to talk about the food groups here and the calories you need to consume. In general (I hate to use this phrase after all the uniqueness we have established throughout the post), what should you correct?
- Meal timings (breakfast before 8 am, lunch before 2 pm, dinner before 7:30 pm)
- Type of food that agrees with you (For eg: If you are prone to flatulence from the consumption of lentils, either soak and cook them well with appropriate spices or reduce the quantity or find alternatives)
- Well-cooked and balanced food (no raw foods or salads – I know, very, VERY debatable. But it is that way in Ayurveda). Soak the lentils and seeds before cooking them. Even fruits like Apples are cooked/steamed or altered in a way to digest them well!
- No processed and packaged food. The farther the food has been processed from the stage of harvest, the farther the potential creation of imbalance in the body
- Food rich in prana i.e., as fresh as possible (so no frozen foods, no ready-to eats, no leftovers from days, no takeaways, no order-ins)
- 3 meals are more than enough on a day-to-day basis. If you get too hungry, have a very small snack at 4 pm but otherwise focus on getting the most nutrients through fulfilling and satisfying 3 meals in a day
- Lunch must be the biggest meal of the day owing to the fact that 10 am to 2 pm is the Pitta time of the day (Yes, even day times and seasons are classified) which is very conducive to digest large meals. Having said that, “large” does not equal to overeat. Eat only until you are about 80% full
- Most importantly the way you eat food (not in front of the TV, not while talking, not while working, and also not gulping it down in a hurry)
Let me put it this way, the more problems or illnesses you have in your body, the stricter you HAVE to be about the above pointers.
Food recommendations as per individual doshas and their combinations are out of the scope of this article. I’ll try to cover that in further posts. Drop a comment below if you would like me to cover the dosha-specific diet in my future posts. My whole idea was to let you know that not all foods are created equal, just like how we are not created equally. So, certain body types go well with certain food types.
If you’d really like to know your dominant dosha, as I mentioned above, do not rely on the random dosha tests online. Go to an experienced Ayurveda doctor and get a Nadi pariksha done. And also ask for food recommendations while you are there.
Sleep – the elusive activity that has us in a tight hold since the time we were born. We may not be aware of what happens within us when we are deep in sleep, but some of the major bodily functions occur during sleep and is much needed for us to function well in the day-time.
What should you correct?
- Sleep early, wake up early
- No gadgets 2 hours before sleep. So no TV or laptop in the bedroom. No checking phone before sleeping (and worse, soon after waking up). Do journaling or listen to peaceful instrumental music
- Sleep and wake up with a positive thought or gratitude
- Dedicate at least a few minutes to yourself before sleeping and after waking up
- Do not consume negative content such as horror/crime/thriller shows/novels before sleep. This also includes life-discussions with spouse/family. Those should be reserved for mornings, always.
Again, these tips may sound very stringent, but I’d like to repeat that the FARTHER you are from health (especially mental health in this case), the STRICTER you have to be about following these suggestions.
Dear parents, begin adapting these tips in your life and see how your kids follow your path effortlessly. You don’t have to then grill them to follow the “early bedtime” policy or anything for that matter. In fact, they’ll remind you if you falter on a day or two.
Brahmacharya – Everything in moderation
The last pillar, Moderation.
FYI, these three pillars are called as Tryosthambha in Ayurveda.
What should you correct?
- Balanced thoughts, balanced mind. The external stimuli keep coming at you every day. It is your job to sort them out with utmost clarity without impulsiveness or giving control over to your regular “first responders” within your body and mind. Thoughts bring emotions and emotions make you act. Very important to correct the roots again. Consuming non-extremist content and in moderation, truly helps here.
- Balanced activities. No binging in anything. Sure, you may be an adrenaline junkie and seek after adventurous activities, late-night horror movies, passionate relationships, and jobs, but all those take you down more in the long run than lift you up.
- Balanced food. Do not eliminate food groups because someone categorized them into good and bad. For example, if you categorize Fat as bad, you are a potential customer for a low-fat product. Which is nothing but a stripped off product.
- Balanced consumption of intoxicants. Especially if you do not want to quit at all. Did you know it is easier to quit than find a balance there? It is similar to a bottle full of candy or sugar. Better to not buy it than look it at each hour and wonder how much you are allowed to consume.
- Balanced sexual life. Again, the idea is to not get addicted to something. Right? Addiction to anything weakens your will. As per Ayurveda, frequent sexual activities can reduce Ojas, the essence of immunity, in the body.