1. Favour Foods that Grow Locally:
Doctor Raju explained that just as each one of us had certain individual laws of nature that structure our mind, body and emotions, Mother Nature’s foods also have specific laws of nature that determine where and how they grow. In the Ayurvedic scheme of things, different plant foods grow in certain areas according to what the people living in that area need for their health and healing. I remember a story I heard years ago about an Indian Ayurvedic Doctor going to America and being driven through an outlying suburb. He commented to the driver that asthma was obviously a big problem in this area (which it was) to which the driver exclaimed, “How on earth did you know that?” The doctor said it was because a certain type of plant – that was excellent for helping treat asthma – was growing in all the gaps in the sidewalk.
The point is, if you are an eskimo, a high fish diet is in harmony with the laws of nature that have structured your physiology over hundreds of years. If you live in the Himalayas, then eating Himalayan goji berries, makes sense. If you live in Asia, then more regular intakes of soy products, is probably suitable. If you live in Australia or America however, what grows near you, should make up the bulk of your diet. While many people spend thousands of dollars a year on supposedly ‘miraculous’ supplements such as Himalayan goji berries, the reason that they grow where they do, is because that’s where they are most needed – possibly, as there are far less antioxidant rich foods in general in these areas, maybe Mother Nature has made them even more dense with antioxidants, to give a similar effect to what we would consider a normal balanced intake of fruits and vegetables. Coconuts grow in the tropics, because that’s where their cooling effects are most needed. Basically, don’t get so caught up with ‘miracle foods’ from other parts of the world. Focus on eating a good variety of locally produced foods (especially what Mother Nature is growing in abundance), and save your money on expensive imports.
* Note; this is similar to why you should try to eat fruit and vegetables ‘in season’. Mother Nature grows them in certain seasons, because that’s when they are most needed by our bodies. Mangoes and the herb basil for example, only grow at certain times of the year. If you see them in something on a menu somewhere in the middle of winter, think twice.
2. Don’t Mix Milk (Dairy) with ‘Incompatible’ Things (Bananas, Citrus fruit, Salt)
In Ayurveda and much of Indian culture, they understand the quality of foods on a far deeper level than just calories or fats. One key area is what’s known as ‘food compatibility’. Food compatibility is basically the understanding that certain foods go well with each other (complement), and other foods create problems (a bit like people!). One of the most common examples of the improper combining of foods, is mixing dairy products with certain fruits. Mixing bananas with milk for example, is considered a big no-no. The reason is that although bananas are generally sweet to taste, they have what is known as a sour aftertaste (what’s called the ‘vipaka’). So once in the stomach, the bananas react negatively with milk (think of curdled milk and you get the idea of what happens in when the sourness of the banana mixes with the milk). Doctor Raju pointed out that combining bananas and milk is known to directly lead to skin diseases such as rashes and vitiligo, stomach ulceration and acid problems.
Milk cereal and orange juice – Arrrrrggghh!!!!
Another classic Western food combination no-no is our habit of having a milky cereal, and two minutes later downing a glass of orange juice! Just stop for a minute, and check in with your intuitive gut feeling – milk and orange juice agghh!!! In Ayurveda, such a practice is also known to lead to skin and acidity problems as well as many possible digestive problems. The best thing to combine with milk are things like fresh dates, figs, raisins and sultanas.
3. Drink Early-Morning Water Room Temperature (not Hot)
If you have been to one of my talks, or been reading these newsletters for a while, you will know that I (Ayurveda) generally recommend drinking warm or slightly hot water throughout the day.
For the purposes of stimulating the/ bowel motion early in the morning (in tune with the natural cycle of elimination), Doctor Raju pointed out that Fluids (water) taken first thing in the early morning should be at room temperature. This also allows you to drink a greater quantity of water, and thus assist the flushing out of impurities from the previous day. So on waking up, get in the habit of having a glass or two of room temperature water. If you want to do the morning cleansing drink, you can certainly add lemon juice and aloe vera to this.
* My deepest thanks to Dr Raju for his wonderful wisdom.
For more of Dr Raju’s tips see the link for Pt 2 of this blog.
Laughter Medicine – In Keeping with Our Indian Theme:
NASA was interviewing professionals to be sent to Mars. Only one person could go, and he will not return to Earth.
The first applicant, an American engineer, was asked how much he wanted to be paid for going. “A million dollars”, he answered, “because I wish to donate it to M.I.T.”
The next applicant, a Russian doctor, was asked the same question. He asked for two million dollars. “I wish to give a million to my family”, he explained, “and leave the other million for the advancement of medical research.”
The last applicant was an Indian Engineer. When asked how much money he wanted, he whispered in the interviewers ear, “Three million dollars.” “Why so much more than the others?” the interviewer asked.
He Replied, “$1 million is for you, I will keep $1million, and we’ll give the American engineer $1million and send him to Mars”.
*** For more of Dr Raju’s Ayurvedic wisdom tips see Pt 2 of this blog here.