Dr. Shobha Kaul shares with you five fundamental points to keep in mind in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle through Nutrition- Not just nutrition to the Body, but the mind, emotions and psyche.
1. Animal v/s Human; Any difference?
Animals have food. So do humans. If we also start having food as animals do: living for food; working, slogging, fighting, etc. just so as to have a peaceful meal at the end of the day - then where’s the difference? Humans are potentially divine. We have the mind and psyche to realize we are conscious beings, capable of making conscious choices. We must exercise that faculty with undeterred will and minimal deviations to establish it firmly as an acquired habit.
This brings us to point #2
2. Why do we need food?
Food is one of the factors for life sustenance; one of the reasons why we are called ‘pranis’ in Sanskrit- i.e. those bearing ‘prana’ – the energy principle. Food gives us energy, prana. So have enough to refuel your depleted stores. That’s the only reason why you have food. Food was never meant to suit the taste buds or any cravings. It was to provide the necessary fuel for this body to function optimally.
We need to remember that we eat to live and not live to eat. Once understood, all is taken care of- quantity, quality, type, frequency of meals etc. The next thing that comes up is, what IS food?
3. What is food?
Food is what we feed the body. But irrespective of taking a lot of measures on hygiene, calories, nutrition, quite a few of us still aren’t healthy- going by the WHO definition. We need to realize, for healthy living, we must consider food not just for the physical body, but for the mental, social, psychological, intellectual, emotional health as well. Health is a dynamic state- beyond disease, so is the body- beyond the tangible. SO, whatever you feed yourself with is food. What about its nutritive value? What nutritive value will a movie on rage, violence, wars etc give you? Negative. It would rather take away your stores. how many calories will you gain by being amongst people who just have loads to tell you about how depressed, burdened they are with their lives work relationships etc, and you come to realize the same is true even in your case. And you leave with a heavy heart and mind. What about hygiene? With the kind of muck we store for years, unclean, decayed as our feelings and thoughts for everything around us at times including us as well.. Feelings of jealousy, hatred, angst, egoistic tendencies, thoughts of how to overpower others etc.
We do memorize the WHO definition of health, but don’t realize it; for if we did, then we would know that our bodies are an integrated whole. There’s a common saying that what you eat is what you become. That’s not limited to physicality. The kind of emotions, thoughts you feed yourself with, also becomes a part of you.
Talking of thoughts and feelings, we come to point 4
4. How should we have food?
“Maa ke khaane ka svaad hi alag hota hai” – is not just a saying.
You might be having the best diet for healthy living, but the one who prepares it prepares with such angst, envy, negativity for you wishing you were almost dead, the food actually becomes poisonous.
Indigestion occurs. If not immediately, over time, it impacts the way food is processed inside greatly.
Food prepared and served with love and as an offering and not a favor or an obligation changes the energy that food contains and provides.
Also, be watchful of your own thoughts while consuming the food, better is to have your attention on the food and not on distractions to savor the food and gain maximum prana from it. There are greater reasons for chewing food well and not gulping down water than what we know.
Talking of energy, the main reason why we eat, my point number 5:
5. Why we eat?
About processed food: all food has prana: life force; that we’ve spoken about above.
Food that is already dead by over processing and refining, stale, reheated, dry, over fried what energy will it have and what can it give?
Since we are all potentially divine, the one who prepares should have the bhavana of an offering to the divine being served, who should consume food with the feeling of prasaadam for the divine manifesting through him.
We never choose prasada or take 20 handfuls of prasadanam. We don’t find 20 faults in the taste
which always is fabulous for it is made with a pure perception.
The bhavana behind all actions decides the fate of its result.
While this talk is on food and nutrition for healthy living, all I want to conclude is that, for us as humans, we MUST, MUST broaden our perspectives to facts that might not have been proved and published under the US, UK etc journals, but our Indian vaigyaniks – the rishis have time and again spoken about. They answer problems that otherwise have only trial and error as probable prescriptions.
- A talk by Dr. Shobha Kaul, at the Women Economic Forum, New Delhi 2017