The Art of Proper Eating

6 Jul
We all basically know WHAT to eat, but we rarely hear about HOW to eat.  So, I’ve come up with a few fun Questions and Answers based on Ayurveda Nutrition to see how much we all know about HOW to properly eat.  Here it is!
Our Son lovingly handpicks our tomatoes, will it make a difference to our digestive system?

We all love our nutritionally rich raw green smoothies, but which would better feed our bodies?  A raw green smoothie prepared by:

a. a loving child on Mother’s Day
b. a mother who woke up in a bad mood and was upset we had spilled the first smoothie she made
c. either a or b because it doesn’t make a difference – the smoothie will feed our bodies the same way.

Answer is (a). The act of ENJOYING as we prepare and eat our food is essential in the process of eating.  A raw green smoothie prepared in a loving manner will feed not only our body nutritionally, but also feed us with love which affects how we digest and metabolize the food. Dr. Emoto has successfully shown how emotions affect water (and therefore everything that contains water) through his photographs of water crystals.  Being loving, being grateful toward, saying thank you to water creates beautiful crystals, but saying “I hate you”, and worse, ignoring creates ugly images in the water crystals.  What would our bodies feel when beautiful crystals entered our digestive system?  And how would our bodies feel when we consume foods full of negative energy? The energy of the food would affect us differently.  Prepare food with love and care.  Be grateful at mealtimes.  Love does make a difference!

Does it really matter where and with whom you have a meal?
a. yes
b. no
Answer is (a).  The Environment and the Company we keep certainly determines our state of mind and our state of health.  Our digestive system works well when calm and in enjoyment.  Eating in the car while running errands, while watching a suspense thriller, while in intense negotiation are not optimum times to have a meal.  Stress prevents proper digestion: instead of assimilating nutrients efficiently and effectively, toxins are produced in the body – even if the best kinds foods are eaten.  Being at ease and eating with people you love does make a difference!

We didn’t bless our food with prayer growing up, but my mother taught me to thank the food on my plate for nourishing me – to thank the meat for giving up its life for me, to thank the vegetables for the same.  Do you think prayer or being grateful for our meal makes a difference in their digestibility?

a. yes
b. no
c. it doesn’t make a difference.

Answer is (a).  Giving our full focus and attention to our food helps enhance proper digestion and assimilation of nutrients in the body.  Our thoughts, although sometimes subtle and sometimes unconscious, impact our physical bodies greatly.

Which food is best eaten on a daily basis to boost your immune system:

a. local in-season foods
b. organic foods.
This may come as a surprise, but the answer is (a).  It is true that we need to avoid anything processed and we need to eat more foods that are organic, high in greens and free of chemicals.  We need organic foods because they are pure, natural and unadulterated foods that contain higher levels of fiber, vitamins and minerals than conventional ones.  Organic foods also do not contain chemicals that inhibit natural cellular processes and they do not create toxic matter in the body that cause imbalance, disorders and diseases.
A South Carolina Farmer’s Sign
But what about local foods?  We always hear about local foods lessening our carbon footprint.  But we never really hear about the health benefits.  Local and in-season foods are in fact best for our immune system and enzyme function.  Just like local honey is best for people with pollen allergies, local food is  also best for our health.  If we are healthy, we can eat a small amount of foods from other locations.  However, if our diet is based solely on foods from elsewhere, it can cause disease: weak immune systems, allergies, digestive problems and weight issues.  Our bodies change depending on seasons and therefore so do our digestive enzymes.  Foods from other regions do not provide our bodies with the nutrients  appropriate for our own climate and season.   Local foods, on the other hand, provide us with the nutrients we naturally need to live well where we live.
What is the best solution?  Buy from local farmers who choose to grow organically. Find them on Local Harvest.  If you miss the diversity in your food, at least choose to eat foods in their correct seasons. 

Vegetables are the bes
t foods and need to form the majority of our diet.  True.  But do some vegetables cause disturbances in the body?
a. yes
b. no.


This too may come as a surprise.  The answer is (a).  It is important to listen to how your own body responds to certain foods.  In the West, people assume if a certain food is full of wonderful nutritional properties, it must be a good food for everyone.  In the East, this is not the case.  Nutrition and diet is more individualistic because foods have different properties and therefore affect people differently.  If there is a lot of ‘air’ in one’s system, cabbage will cause bloating and gas.  If there is an excess of ‘fire’, then garlic can exacerbate skin inflammation, ulcers and burning sensations.  If there is an excess of ‘water’, then fruits with high water content like watermelon, will aid in weight gain. 


According to Ayurveda, raw food requires more energy to digest than cooked food.
a. true
b. false. 

The answer is (a).  However, there is such a thing as ‘antidotes’ for foods to help make them more digestible.  For raw foods, the antidotes are juicing, pureeing, using spices and oil.
Raw Mushroom Soup
If I eat a raw foods diet, I can eat as much food as I want.  I can stuff myself with healthy food whenever I want.
a. true
b. false
Recommended Quantity of Food Stomach
Red = solid food, Yellow = liquids, purple = empty

The answer is (b).  Indeed, stuffing oneself with raw foods is healthier than stuffing oneself with processed foods.  However, according to Ayurveda, a complete and effective digestion cannot be possible on a full stomach.  It is best to train our stomach to be satisfied in thirds: 1/3 solid food, 1/3 liquid, and 1/3 empty.  An easier way to start is to fill the stomach with 1/2 solids, 1/4 liquid, and 1/4 empty.

How many times does food need to be chewed before swallowing?
a. 5 times
b. 15 times
c. 32 times
The answer is (c)!  Chewing that much allows us to taste our food, begin the digestion process in our mouth and prepare our stomach for the meal to come. 

How to mix Ayurveda Principles with a Raw Foods Diet?

Gabriel Cousens is the founder of Tree of Life and he uses Ayurvedic principles in explaining a raw foods diet. His 2 books are very interesting reads: Conscious Eating and Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine.  In the latter, he cites the 10 worst foods to eat.

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