We eat our food, but can our food eat us too? If we do not know how and what to eat, we can end up being the victim of the food that we eat so tastefully. Read on for details.
We start eating food even before we are born. Our body is made of food, first in the mother's womb, and then after birth. Food is an integral part of what we visibly are - our body and also our mind, which manifests through our body. An age-old Hindi saying is "Jaisa ann, vaisa mann." And a Chinese saying is "A healthy mind resides in a healthy body." By combining these ancient pearls of wisdom, we can conclude that food defines the health of our body, which in turn determines the health of our mind.
Modern Food Culture
In today's lifestyle, our eating habits are largely influenced by advertising and the promotion of commercial foods. Though we continue to consume traditional food, the way we prepare them has totally changed. The cooking material we use is mostly ready-made. On top of it, our dependence on packed food and ready-to-eat food made by others has increased substantially.
Technology has enabled food ordering from the comfort of our homes, and working people find it convenient to order than to prepare at home. Some years back, eating out was for a change, now home-cooking is done for a change. Changed priorities of earning a living score over leading a healthy life and fading understanding of the right food items have wreaked havoc on our health. Today's literate minds have become mechanical and find it challenging to relate food with health, which used to be a common understanding a few decades back.
Food has just become a filler in our busy lifestyle, and an occasional means of entertainment and socializing. Food choices are largely driven by taste, presentation, and convenience. It is further leveraged by the food industry, which is fuelling these choices by their innovative food products, offering an array of instant foods, most with unsubstantiated health claims. The availability of mouthwatering instant food products that save time has led to a massive variety of instant packed foods on grocery stores' shelves, a large number of quick-serving restaurants, and glitzy advertisements.
Information explosion through omnipresent digital media has led to the spread of vague understandings about good and healthy food. This has left many perplexed about what to eat and what not to eat.
Impact on Health
Murky understanding of the right food has led to eating wrong foods with health claims and avoiding good foods. Changed lifestyle with very low physical efforts and a long time spent indoors is causing an unprecedented rise in lifestyle-related disorders. Diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, hypothyroidism, heart diseases, liver disorders, kidney failure, low immunity, infectious diseases, and cancer, which were rare a few decades ago, have become household names.
The Relation Between Food and Diseases
In the above-mentioned food environment, it is becoming extremely difficult to understand the right connection between food and diseases. The cause of bad health is attributed to environmental and hereditary reasons. But the reality is, our body is the outcome of all the foods that we have eaten all our lives. Heredity factors for disease do play a role, but just as a risk factor, and do not necessarily have to manifest as a disease. We can think about it like this - there has to be the first person among our ancestors who got this disease, how did that person get affected? Obviously, there was no role of heredity in that person.
What is Wrong Food?
Defining wrong food is simple. It is a food that does not help in the natural repair and maintenance of our body. On the contrary, it causes damage leading to diseases. It does not normally occur to us that eating food can also cause diseases and weaknesses. We often compel sick persons to eat more to make them feel better and to fight sickness. What if the same food is the cause of the disease or making it worse? This fact is difficult to digest, but this is a reality for most modern diseases. We eat food, but what if the same food is eating us? After all, our food choices are based on taste, presentation, and convenience, not on what it will do to our body.
The very thought that a mouthwatering and beautiful looking serving of food can make us sick seems weird to many of us. Though weight gain is easily associated with eating more, the diseases are not generally associated with wrong eating.
Hows and Whats of Eating Right
Since our body is nothing but an extension of nature, it's growth, repair, and maintenance also needs the elements of nature. As in our house, to repair any damaged thing we need the same substance of which it is made of, our body needs the same material of which it is made, for its proper maintenance. Our body is made up of five natural elements - earth, water, air, fire (heat), and sky. We need to provide all these elements as food, in the right quality and quantity, to keep our body disease-free. Let us look at each one-by-one.
Edible food is grown on earth, and it bears all the properties of the earth. So we need to pay the utmost importance to its quality and quantity. Some important points to take care of in our food are:
Water must be taken first thing in the morning on waking up. One can drink 500 to 1000 ml of water immediately on getting up, sipping slowly. One should avoid cold water. Lukewarm water is best, as it helps in cleansing the digestive tract. One should not drink water 30 minutes before and up to 30 minutes after eating a meal. Water dilutes digestive juices and will not let food digest properly.
Fresh air is equally important; hence we must go out in fresh air for at least 30 minutes daily. It helps in inhaling more oxygen and sufficiently oxygenating our blood and body cells.
Sunlight is the best source of the fire element. As we know, all plants, including plants grown on earth, need sunlight for growth. Our body also needs direct sunlight to form Vitamin D, which, along with calcium, helps maintain our bones. One must take at least 15 minutes of sunlight daily in the first half of the day.
This element is nothing but empty space. It means we need to keep our digestive system empty also at times for its rest and repair. And when we eat, we must eat only 3/4th to our hunger, keeping 1/4th empty space for the mixing and churning of gastric juices with our food.
With these strategies, we can avoid being eaten by our food and can enjoy our food and good health at the same time.
Last reviewed at:
25 Jul 2020 - 5 min read
Diploma in Holistic Nutrition, Diploma in Sport & Exercise Nutrition
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