Ayurveda places special emphasis on 'Ahara' and believes that healthy food (Ahara) nourishes the Body, Mind, and Soul. In Ayurveda classics emphasis has been laid on the right way to eat food. Food consumed in the right manner serves as nectar to rejuvenate the body and maintain health.
Ayurveda offers some basic dietary guidelines that include choosing appropriate food, combinations of food, cooking methods, quality & quantity of food, nature of consumer, geographical and environmental conditions, etc. Ayurveda classics describe all these aspects in a very systematic and scientific manner which is called (Ashta Ahara Vidhi Visheshayatana).
These 8 aspects of Dietetics (Ashta Ahara Vidhi Visheshayatana) include the factors responsible for the wholesome and unwholesome effect of the 'Ahara' (Diet) and methods of 'Ahara Sevana' (Special rule for diet intake).
Ayurvedic diet plans are based on these factors:-
"Ashta Ahara Vidhi Visheshayatana"
It means the natural quality of food, and drugs i.e. inherent attributes like Guru, and Laghu. These are the innate properties of substances. For Example based on nature Green Gram is Laghu (Light) while Black Gram is Guru (Heavy to digest).
It means the processing of substances which leads to alteration in the inherent properties of substances. This modification is brought about by dilution, application of heat (Vaporization, distillation, and sublimation), clarification, emulsification, storing, maturing, flavoring, impregnation, preservation, etc. For example, by processing, Vrihi which is heavy to digest becomes light when transformed into Laja after roasting.
Samyoga means combining together of two or more substances. For example -the combination of Honey and Ghee, Honey and Ghee took alone is wholesome to the body but combined together in equal quantity is toxic.
A person should have his diet in proper amounts; it means that a person should have a diet according to his digestive power (Agni). The 'Lakshana' of the appropriate amount of food is that it should be digested in proper time without causing any problem in the natural 'Prakriti' of the person. As per 'Vagbhatta' half of the stomach is to be filled with solid food, one quarter with liquids, and another quarter should be kept vacant for the free movement of Vata.
The diet which is excessive in measure (Ati Matra) is considered as 'Sarvadosha Prakopka', it aggravates all the Doshas.
It is a geographic region. It indicates variation in the type of food due to differences in the Soil, Use, and Climate. One can be acclimatized to the different types of localities by using opposite qualities of substances e.g. use of hot substances in marshy land and cold substances in deserts.
It is used in two senses, time in the general sense (in the state of well-being) and time in the sense of the stage of the disease. In 'Swastha-Avastha', 'Kala' is considered as 'Nitayaga'. In this condition, 'Ahara' should be taken according to 'Dincharya' and 'Ritucharya', which helps the body function to acclimatize with the external environment. In 'Rugnavastha' (Diseased state), 'Avasthika Kala' is considered by 'Vyadhi Avastha' (Stage of Disease). E.g. in 'Naveen Jwara', 'Langhana' should be done for 7 days, but if 'Jwara' is 'Jeerna Ghritapana' is indicated.
It simply means the dietetic rules. It contains everything related to diet, how to eat, when to eat, and what to eat.
- Ushnam Ashneeyaat – Eat hot and fresh food.
- Snigdham Ashneeyat – Eat unctuous food.
- Matravad Ashneeyaat – Eat according to proper quantity.
- Jeerne Ashneeyaat – Eat after feeling hungry, after the digestion of previously consumed food.
- Veerya Aviruddham Ashneeyaat – Eat food that is not contradictory in potency.
- Ishta Deshe, Ishta Sarva Upakaranam Cha Ashneeyaat – Eat in a desired place with desired articles.
- Na Ati Dhrutam Ashneeyaat – Do not eat in a hurry.
- Na Ati Vilambitam Ashneeyaat – Do not eat very slowly.
- Ajalpan, Ahasan, Tanmanaa Bhunjeeta – Eat with utmost concentration without talking or laughing.
- Aaatmanam Abhisameekshya Bhunjeeta Samyak – Eat after self-analysis.
As per this Prakriti (Vata-Pitta-Kapha) of a person who is consuming the food has to be considered.
A thorough understanding of these fundamentals will help in reducing digestive distress due to lifestyle disorders and achieving the noble goal of maintaining health.
At NutriAyurCare, we try to amalgamate these ayurvedic concepts with modern concepts of nutrition to bring sustainable, doable, palatable, healthy diet plans which are helpful in health, weight, and disease management.