Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Healthy and Natural Way of Eating

There is an ancient proverb “Health is Wealth”. How many of us really understand what a true health is? We feel healthy as long as we are eating all sorts of food and our body is digesting and excreting the remains. When people like Dr. Mantena Satyanarayana Raju teaches not to eat harmful tastes like salt, sugar, oil, ghee, red chilly powder and spices that leads to diseases ‘we say this man is crazy. He says not to eat anything. One cannot survive if he follows his teachings’. It is true that he sounds crazy when he teaches you not to eat the ingredients that are regularly used in the households. But once you succumb to lifestyle disorders like diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, thyroid, hormonal imbalances, obesity etc then you realize the essence of his teachings. If I am not wrong majority of his followers are people who are suffering from one or the other kind of diseases or disorders.

Everyone wants to remain healthy but remaining healthy is not easy. You need to develop consciousness about health, needs lot of dedication, disciple and determination to remain healthy, needs to sacrifice some of your favorite foods, allot some time for physical exercises etc.

I heard from many obese people saying that they eat very little (say 2 idlis in the breakfast, little rice in lunch and the dinner). Some people say I am eating very healthy food, in spite of that I got this disease as if the disease has come from somewhere out. This is the result of unconscious lifestyle. You are counting what you are eating consciously during your breakfast, lunch and dinner but what about the things you munch rest of the time? You are not even conscious that you are eating plenty of things in between your breakfast, lunch and dinner. The body is built by your food. It is not an accident. Whatsoever you are putting in the body, the body reflects it. Unconscious eating makes the body lazy and your consciousness dull. What will you do when the fitting of your clothes become tight? You buy new clothes and stitch them with bigger size. Moreover you ask the tailor to leave 2 inches more with future expectation of your body growing big. Women in India have no problem at all as they can buy a saree of any length to cover their huge bodies under it. It may sound harsh but it is absolutely true in case of Indian women who are married in particular. I have come across many women saying that their body grew up like this after giving birth to a baby child. They think it is their fate and they have to live with all sorts of problems after delivering a baby. Only a handful of women who are health conscious come forward and join the activities like yoga, aerobic, gym and other physical exercises. There are also people who have spoiled their health and many lactating women have suffered in the name of diet with improper knowledge and guidance. In both the cases ignorance and negligence of the body is responsible for the problems. A crime is a crime whether we do it knowingly or unknowingly. The punishment is more for the crime committed knowingly. When we don’t care for our body how an outsider can, a doctor, come to our rescue? Only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches. Any number of doctors, medicines and modern equipments cannot drive out the diseases totally. No matter how advanced we are scientifically, we are still lacking in health. It is because the fault lies in us, not in technology. Every man is the architect of his own future. He is also the architect of his own health. Therefore every individual seeking health must become alert and awakened before it is too late. This blog is an attempt to teach you some healthy habits of eating that leads to a good health. Let us discuss in detail how one must plan his eating habits to remain healthy and happy.

Every living being on this earth eats food only when it is hungry. But humans eat even when they are not hungry. It is mainly because human is a conscious mind and unconscious mind with a huge body. This only difference makes human a superior being among all beings on the Earth. Only a human maintains a timetable for eating food in the name of breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner etc. Earlier even the human used to eat only when he is hungry. Then he started eating twice a day, once in the morning and in the evening. Thereafter he began to eat thrice and even four times a day. With the development of civilization, science and technology, vast availability of resources and comforts, he began to eat at will. This has led to the downfall of a mankind. He invited all sorts of trouble to his health by eating food at will. Let us go into the details of human timetable for eating food and try our best to change the lifestyle for better health in a humble way.


Now let’s look at our breakfast. It is called so because we are breaking the fast of the night. The body is put to rest throughout the night during our sleep. The body tries to clear itself of the waste in its own way during this period of fasting. Putting an end to the six to seven hours of fasting in the night with light food is called breakfast. Please mark the work light food. A Light food means a food that is low in calories and easy to digest. It must contain required vitamins, minerals and natural enzymes and that can be digested with less quantity of acids produced in the stomach and intestines. One should eat the breakfast like a pauper as the entire digestive system of stomach, intestines, pancreas and Liver should relish the food. A glass of honey and water, lime juice, fruit juice, vegetable juices, fruits, sprouts, raw coconut and dates are ideal for breakfast. This kind of food not only gets digested easily but also helps in the excretion of the waste remained in the body quickly.


Instead of raw and natural food as mentioned above, we start our breakfast with heavy processed and cooked food like Idli sambar, dosa sambar, upma, puri, vada etc with plenty of oil, salt, red chilly powder, masala and spices. This kind of food puts extra burden on the digestive system which results in serious disorders in the long run. It may lead to gas disorders, duodenal and intestinal ulcers, fishers, piles, hemorrhoids, diabetes, hyper tension, high cholesterol etc. Can we directly see the light as soon as we open our eyes after 7 hours of sleep at night? In the same way, our stomach and intestines cannot take up heavy food immediately after a rest of 7 hours. They have to get ready slowly for the breakfast.

There is a deep relationship between the sun and the food. Jatharaagni the digestive fire in our body is highly influenced by the rays of the sun. The sun’s heat is less early in the morning and so is the digestive fire in our body. Likewise, the appetite in our intestines too starts slowly in the morning. Since the acids will be less in the morning, our breakfast should be such which can increase the acids but not to kill them and should easily be digested with less quantity of acids.


The sun’s heat is at the peak in the mid afternoon and so is the jatharaagni the digestive fire in your abdomen. It’s good to have lunch by 12 noon. We will be hungry by that time. It is better to provide solid food when you are hungry. Solid food means the food that provides energy to the body. Such a food consists of unpolished rice, greens, vegetables, pulses, yogurt, tubers etc. Since the jatharaagni is at peak, it is advisable to eat as much as you can in lunch. If you delay your lunch (say beyond 1 p.m.) your hunger starts to subside and you don’t feel much hungry by evening as the jatharaagni or the gastric juices produced in the intestines is reduced. You can notice this from the fact that you feel relatively less hungry at night than in the noon.


Our ancestors told that one must eat the Lunch like a King. But are we doing that? We are eating more like a pauper in the afternoon fearing that a heavy food in the afternoon makes a person dull and lazy for work. And eating like a king at night in dinner with complete vengeance causing all sorts of trouble to health.

Some people especially the housewives develop a habit of sleeping in the afternoons immediately after food. It is better to have some physical activity after lunch. It enables the food move easily into the intestines and lower parts. If you sleep immediately after eating food, the food remains in the stomach and intestines for a long time and that is the reason for you to feel heaviness in stomach. Fifteen minutes nap will serve the purpose, but not the deep sleep. Deep sleep after food results in the formation of belly fat.


Eating snacks is a habit and it is a very bad habit. People especially in the cities have developed a habit of eating snacks in the evening which is an additional burden on the body. Usually breakfast, lunch and dinner are eaten out of hunger but eating snacks is out of choice. Thanks to the liberalization of the economy many fast food centers have been set up in the metro cities to attract people with vast varieties of junk food. Children easily get attracted to these fast foods and spoil their health. Therefore stop this habit of eating snacks completely and remain healthy.


Now let us discuss all about the dinner. People are used to munch something or the other all through the wakeful hours from dawn to dusk. Heart, Lungs and Kidneys can work incessantly without rest. They are built thus. But our stomach is not created like that. After a few hours of rest it works for some time. This applies not only to humans but also to all the creatures on Earth.

The duty of the body is to digest the food eaten during the day, to carry the digested food to the rest of the parts and to provide the energy required for work. The body has to repair the affected parts during the rest period, has to create new cells, and has to drive out the waste material. For all that, necessary rest is to be provided to the body. If not, all the activities come to a stand still and body becomes stagnant and decayed internally which in turn causes diseases.

Those who eat oily and non-vegetarian food late in the night, it takes 8-10 hours to digest their food. It will be dawn by the time digestion process is completed without any rest to the intestines. If your intestines work round the clock without rest then it loses the energy and unable to clear the waste inside the body. Great diseases are born from little ailments that rise of the stagnated waste.

It is said that one has to eat food like a poor man at dinner. Therefore have a light dinner before sunset as the jatharagni-the digestive fire is low during sunset. The digestive gases are extremely mild during the night and therefore one should not eat food during night hours. Fruits and bread made up of wheat, maize, corn, bajra etc with vegetables are ideal for dinner. Due to the effects of Globalization and change in the nature of work and working hours, people in the metro cities are eating more food in dinner than their lunch as they find ample time to sit along with family members and eat for long hours. Moreover people have developed a bad habit of eating foods at restaurants or ordering foods from restaurants to their homes. This is causing all sorts of havoc to their health. After having a heavy dinner people immediately fall on bed and sleep. This is the main reason for the formation of famous Indian tummies irrespective of age and sexes.


Every human being commits some mistakes but he has the intelligence to correct or not to repeat the mistake again. Let us correct ourselves by changing our lifestyle by following some of the golden tips given by our ancestors as mentioned above. Let us maintain a time table as mentioned above and eat only thrice without bothering our body much. I know it is not easy for many of us due to various reasons. Everyone has a separate reason for that. But one has to take his first step towards his health before it’s too late. So my dear friends awaken before it’s too late and start moving into the path of natural way of living by stepping your first foot forward now. The second foot and many other foots follow you thereafter automatically.

This is the end of it for today. Keep watching the space for more updates.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Making Every Morning Joyful

Friends, I have been going on and off in the path of Dr. Mantena Satyanarayana Raju’s ‘Natural way of Living’ these days due to my nature of work and travel. To remain in the path one needs inspiration. Earlier I used to watch programs of Dr. Raju on TV every day and get inspired; which I am missing now. Whenever I get an opportunity I refer to his books and journals for motivation.

It is Dr. Raju who inspired to change my lifestyle and that changeover lead me to the path of yoga and ever since I adopted Iyengar Yoga in my life there is no looking back. It has transformed me completely in health as well as spiritual aspects of life. Yoga taught me self understanding of the body, its constitution, importance and well being in a better way. I began to understand the beauty of my body better than ever before.

While referring to one of Dr. Raju’s books, a few beautiful lines strike my mind. Here they are:

“We wish to have a beautiful home for this living body with a soul to live. We plan meticulously and take every care during construction of the house. We choose nice tiles, expensive carpet and good color combination for interiors, proper ventilation and attractive wood work to make our home attractive from inside and outside. Once we are in the house we clean and mop the floor regularly. At the door of every room we have door mats, dustbins etc. We spend hours to keep bathtubs and toilets clean.

When we provide so much care to provide comforts and facilities to our home, should our body with its soul inside not deserve a better attention? Irony is that we ignore the body, the abode of the soul and pay more attention to the house that this body lives in.”

So true! Isn’t it? We are seeking material, external and mortal luxury leaving the true self ignored within. By the time we realize the mistake we have committed it is already to too late. Some where I read that “life is a race. You race your entire childhood in schools learning material objects; you race your teenage in college for ranks and thereby for better jobs and you race your entire middle life in making a family, looking after kids, their education and finally their marriage. When you look back you are left with nothing but the diseases and disorders. Then you realize you have wasted the whole life after things that are very useless.” Only then people turn towards spirituality and yoga practices but just think to what extent it can help? Had you given your body the prime importance from the very beginning the scenario would have been different? The great example ever is our Guruji Yogacharya Shri. B.K.S. Iyengar. He at the age of 95 still practices yoga for 3 hours. He suffered from Influenza, Tuberculosis, Typhoid and many other diseases in his childhood. Doctors declared his death in his teenage itself. But he fought and fought really hard to survive these many years. It is not that you become immortal. One has to die some day. But at least you live in peace. As Guruji says, “it is not essential how many years I survived; it is essential how I lived every moment of my life. I don’t want to depend upon others during my last days. I want to do all my work on my own till the last breath of my life. That is the reason why I practice even now and I do till the last moment.”

Diseases are not always bad. We feel sad when we are succumbed to the diseases. In fact, it is a way of dragging your attention inwards. If you are not diseased then why will you think of any part of your body inside? Very few people listen to this call of nature and follow the path that leads to health. Guruji began yoga practice at the very early age of 18; he conquered his body, mind, senses and finally the self over a long illustrious career of his. He inspired millions like me in following the path of health, happiness and spirituality. Had I not suffered a heart problem and other complementary disorders along with it, I would not have come into this path of Yoga. I was undergone an open heart surgery called ASD Closure at the age of 19. My body sought my attention since childhood but it took me 30 years to drag my attention inwards as I was also running after all the material objects mentioned above. Nevertheless, you are never late to wakeup. There is a popular proverb in Hindi, “jab Jago tab Savera” which means “It’s a dawn anytime you wake up.” So let us try to understand the festival of dawn and make every morning a festive and joyful morning.

It is good to get up early and enjoy the pleasures of dawn. Our body is engaged in the excretory action in our sleep and it continues even after we wake up. The energy of the nerves is centered on the large intestines as soon as we wake up, since the entire waste material of our body is stored up there. Therefore the mind does not rest until it sends out the waste that reached the intestines throughout the night. The waste material and fecal matter is sent from small intestines and stomach to rectum. The nerves holding the fecal matter will be ready to release it once you wake up. If you do not engage yourself mentally and physically in other things, your energy will help you have a free motion of the bowels.

In India it is always taught to wake up early in the morning. The time between 4 a.m. to 5-30 a.m. is considered to be the best time for health as it contains the fresh and best prana in air. I still remember how my father used to wake up early at 4 a.m. and awaken us since our childhood. I always considered it as a trouble and never understood the importance of getting up early. Today he is into his mid 70’s, very healthy and still working. It took me very long to understand the secret of his health. People in villages are still waking up early and enjoying the pleasures of dawn and remaining healthy. They drink 1 tumbler of water as soon as they wake up and cleanse their bowels, finishes their breakfast before sunrise and leave for their work early. Similarly finishes their work and return home and end up with dinner before sunset and sleep early.

Things are different in the metro cities and towns. People need bed coffee before cleaning the bowels. The energy that has to be used for motion of the bowels will be diverted to digest the coffee, keeping aside its duty of sending out the fecal matter. The excretory action will go on till you eat some breakfast. This action of sending out the waste slackens as the sun rays become warmer and you start feeling hungry. To satisfy the hunger you will start eating. If you wake up at 8 a.m. you have no time left for excretory action. You feel it’s too late and so you hurry up your activities in getting ready for the work. You brush your teeth and have your breakfast immediately after that.

Due to liberalization and the growth of outsourcing jobs in big cities and towns of India, people have messed up their lives completely. People are working in the time to sleep and trying to sleep during the time to remain awake. This is creating all sorts of problems with regards to health. Many people working in BPO and software industries are suffering from sleeplessness and insomnia. Today hospitals have come up with treatment methods to make them sleep. They are charging a ransom amount of Rs. 2000 to 5000 per day for making you sleep. We have messed up with our lives so badly that we need to admit in a hospital to get a sleep which is a beautiful natural phenomenon by paying huge ransoms.

If you wake up at 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. your stomach will be free for 2-3 hours. Drink 1 to 1.5 liters of water as soon as you wake up and cleanse your bowels. With free motion of your bowels immediately after you wake up feel relaxed. These 1 to 1.5 liters of water helps in the excretion of the waste reached in the blood and intestines in the form of sweat, urine and motion. Half an hour later, do some exercises or practice yogasanas for 1 to 1.5 hours or go for a jog or long walk in the parks. These physical activities help further in sending out the waste matter churned out in the night. Again drink another liter of water to enable the body to clear itself of its waste material. In this way just supply the water in the above mentioned manner and do some exercises then the body will fulfill its duty of excretion completely. Follow these simple steps and experience the difference. These simple steps every day makes your morning pleasant and happy. I have not introduced these methods myself neither by Dr. Raju. These are the age old practices followed by our ancestors; unfortunately we have forgotten them. This is a small attempt to remind those valuable teachings of our ancestors to bring awareness among the people seeking good health.

I hope you enjoyed this update. Keep watching the space for more updates.

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