Note: This is a project under development. The articles on this wiki are just being initiated and broadly incomplete. You can Help creating new pages.
Nature and Nutrition
Man is a part of nature. The vital energies of nature – air, light, food,water and space influencehis physical and emotional well being.There is a mention in atharvaveda and ayurveda that these vital energies facilitate self healing in man. Our ancestors, the rishis and yogies lived completely immersed in the forces of nature and respected them as divine.
They believed :-
- Sun is the greastest physician. He is the protector of all life.
- The water of river gangas is true medicine.
- Fasting is the best treatment.
The rishis and yogis lived near rivers, subsisted in 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 eqilibrium and harmony with nature.
In the physical body, there are 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.
Every things 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 heeling 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 fruit and vegetables with balalnced 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 determination in the body.
Change is inevitable in nature and so it is in the human body.
Water is one of the five elements in the body and is called 'San-jeevan' – 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 decreases of water element in our body we becomes restless. In nature, too, there is 2/3 of water in the surface of the earth in the form of lakes, seas and oceans. 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 mind, water and sunlight. Similarly air, water and food ingested in the body from the external world, cause changes in the body. After digestion, food is changed into nourishment, which is utilised by the body tissues. The wastes material which remains is expelled out of the body.
The digestive power in the body is fire. Fire encompasses 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 transmission, as well as assimilation of sensory preceptions, mental and emotional experiences.
Air is another great element in the body. The special quality of the air is mobility. The earthquacks caused on the seas and oceans are due to the 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 the body through the mobility of air. It also transports the waste material to the particular organ and expels it with its force.
Space assumes the highest importance for all these activities in the body to function. If the space is clogged or closed nutririon 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.
The proper nutrition of the body and elimination of the waste materials keep the body fit. If the waste material is not eliminated on time, it accumulates in the body resulting ultimately in a diseased condition. 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 is concerned, space assumes greater importance. If required space is made available in the stomach, the food gets well mixed with enzymes. The digestion process takes place for about three hours. The space works as a strainer. The nutrients and the waste material are separated and the space helps the movement of nutrients to reach all parts of the body, as well as elimination of waste waste materials. Thus creating place for the next feed. Therefore we have to give enough time for digestion. Some people eat without rhyme and reason although there is no real hunger. Then the space will not be enough for proper digestion of the previous meal. Hence the food remains undigested and starts fermenting, leading to problems like gases, pain, feeling of fullness, etc. Therefore nutrients do not reach every part of the body. Hence 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 lives.
On the other hand, our food today abounds in spicy, fried preparations, cold dishes and sweets. The use of refined, processed and frozen foods is spreading like wild fire. These foods produce large amounts of acidic and poisonous end products in the body.
Poisons accumulate even faster in the bodies of people who eat meat or large amounts of pulses and it is these poisons that are the roots of all disorders.
Life begets life, but when we take meat, it is a dead matter which can't enliven the body. Eating dead matter in the form of meat is very unfortunate. The toxins gathered in dead meat are disagreeable to the human system. Uric acid deposited in the limbs of the animals is the harmful for humans consumption. There are greater risks of contamination in animal meat than in vegetarian articles of food. There is no guarantee of absolutely healthy meat. Therefore non-vegetarians are prone to terrible diseases.
“all diseases originate in the accumulation of poisons in the body, all diseases are fundamentally the same” - says Louis Kuhne. This principle has come to be accepted as the corner stone of nature cure.
The first thing to remove the toxins from the body is to provide 'space' in the body-that is fasting. For a while not to eat or drink any thing as long as we feel the real hunger. Thus elimination becomes easy. If the person feels hungry that is the testimony of proper digestion. In this way nature tries to get rid of all impurities through its healing power.
Nature cure begins its healing from 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 marriages we tend to eat a lot, again, there is absolutely no hunger felt later in the evening. We have to understand these minute indication of the body and give a chance to nature's way of acting, that is fasting. The health automatically improves 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 – 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 and thus rendering it lifeless has become an 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 also results in degradation of their nutritive values. 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 or in the small intestine. If carbohydrates are masticated properly, the enzymes in the saliva in the mouth carry out partial digestion of the 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, Tripple the exercises, Four fold the laughter”
One has to eat half the capacity of the stomach with enough of fluids. Then the digestion will be perfect.
Today the people do not practice 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 easily 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 emaciation. So one has to remember – 'to keep healthy one must always 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 style :- Modern man is constantly under pressure of business and thus 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.
Dr.J.H. Tilden of U.S.A says:- “good health is inevitable if one gives up harmful habits and erroneous ways of life, and adopts a proper life style.”
These days people accord high priority to sensual pleasures and therefore become easy preys to objectionable and harmful habits such as addiction to tobacco, alcohol, and drugs. These dangerous habits promote the formation and accumulation of toxic substances in the body and invite dreadful diseases like cancer by keeping the mouths stuffed with betel leaves laced with tobacco.
Tea, Coffee and Cocoa:- These beverages do not posses any nutritive value. These are called stimulants. Tea contains tannin which is a harful substance.
If these beverages are taken in large quantities, they cause constipation, insomnia, nervous tension, quickened breathing and other internal disorders. Coffee increases the proportion of fats 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 and constricted. Gradually the blood pressure rises, the heart is overburdened and the risk of heart attack increases.
Therefore not more than two cups of coffee or tea should be taken in a day.
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 blunts 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 :- All packets of cigarettes bear the warning that cigarette smoking is injurious to health. Inspite of this warning, not only illiterate but literates find it impossible to give up smoking. Once they have formed the habit. They become slaves of the habit.
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, which results in a higher 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 medicines 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 the disease, they may harm the cells of the body and weaken the vital force.
Pain killers distrub the water balance in the body and distrub the digestion power (Dr. Gala – 'Nature cure')
The main problem with allopathy medication is the proper diet is not prescribed with the medication.
The gollowing 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 limbs.
Hence one has to try nature cure like exercises, fasts, juice diet etc. rather than going for medicines.
Television and computers are part of modren life. This has affected the community greatly, especially the student community.
Watching T.V continuously increases the air element in the body because of passive watching. The subject matter watched may also affect the mind, therefore, select watching is good.
Computer – The speed of information flickering on the screen and repetition of sensory and motor stimulation distrub the health. Eyes are strained, and the sedentary nature of work may also disturb the digestion.
Therefore one should take frequent breaks, preferabely 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 salt and fat. Obesity is on the rise in the developed countries. The deciding factor is relationship between food intake and total energy expenditure which is neglected. Children nowadays are consuming a great amount of chocolates, fried fast foods,cakes, ice-creams and carbonated drinks. They are high in salts, sugar ans 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 into cough potatoes.
Coupled with this is excessive emphasis in studying school curriculumn for scholastic achievements, this further comples the child to forgro physical activities, games and sports. That is why the dietary management of obesity and physical exercises assume 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 a good future.
Action reaction is the law of nature, food also shows the same. Virtue brings its own reward and vice brings its own punishment. This law of the nature operates 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 through science has made tremendous progress in all directions, the environment is getting polluted day by day. The increasing number of mills and factories and vehicles are also fostering the problem of the world health in a big way. Major and distort organic and inorganic materials.
In 1934, artificial radio active isotopes called radio nuclides were produced in nuclear reactors and have been utilized for the benefit of society, in medicine, industry, agriculture and research. Inspite of the numerous benfits derived from these radio nuclides, many people are afraid of its effect on health. Public preparation about the effect of radiation exposure has builtup over the years by the mass destruction caused by the atomaic bomb and now the experiments of nuclear bombs. So there is always fear of the risk of radiation being an environment pollutant.
Nowadays ecology speaks of how to reduce the 'green house efect' and global warming, and how to neutralise carbon monoxide. Yajna, the sacrificial fire is the answer.
In vedic culture, system of personal, global and universal healing were practised. The sages devised certain methods which influenced personality and the environment.
In ancient India, 'Agnihotra' – the fireplace in the middle part of the temple or house was propogated to maintain the balance of clean environment. Agnihotra means 'the fire that saves'. The 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 tn the ash and somoke and this affects the environment and balances the atmospheric condition. Some remove the toxins from the body upon inhalation, some uplift the mind, some bring about balance in the motor and sensory nerve system, 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 diseases of the body by using certain combination of wood and herbs in yajna .
The devastation through deforestation happening around the world at all levels is to be recognised in a humane humanitarian manner by saving nature and revitalicing it.
Living in tune with nature is nature cure. Nature provides radiant health to man with its natural forces. They are clean air, clean water, fresh and natural food,fasting, exercise and 'calm mind'.
We can take care of ourselves by knowing these secrets of well being -
- By clean air we get enough oxygen. Oxygen is power which gives energy to the 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 diseases at bay.
- When we exercise our body muscles will work with flexibility and alacrity.
- A sound mind in a sound body an dvice-versa is also true – that is 'A sound body with a sound mind'. So it is always been said
- Food is making blood
Exercising is distribution of blood
Breathing is purifying blood
And also mind!
The above mentioned information is added from the book called "MUDRAS & HEALTH PERSPECTIVES" by "SUMAN.K.CHIPLUNKAR".