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We are what we Digest

If we are what we eat, then those who can afford would not suffer from any deficiency!

It is important to note that nourishment is directly proportional to metabolism and as mentioned in my previous article, for proper metabolism, tranquility of mind is very essential while eating. Everybody knows that food cannot be digested or assimilated in the presence of emotions and emotions impact our diet and digestion in a big way. Now the food mood connection has a lot of scientific back up; Candace Pert, an eminent neuroscientist, states that our gastrointestinal tract is densely lined with peptides and receptors which busily process information rife with emotional content.

Interestingly, the Sanskrit word “rasa” means taste as well as emotions!

So, the good news is that, we can treat emotional imbalances with wholesome diet (Pathya in Ayurveda) and treat digestive issues with emotional process or mind training techniques!

If we look around in nature, every creature knows what to eat, when to eat or when not to eat. Even though we are part of the same nature, we have lost this fine art. My “gut feeling” is that we could probably regain some of that innate wisdom if we start eating mindfully.

Other than mindful eating, Ayurveda, in the name of “pathya” mentions a whole lot of thingthat help in digestion and proper nourishment. The word “pathya” can be loosely correlated to “wholesome diet” even though it does not convey the exact intent.

What is pathya?

Pathya is defined as that which promotes health and brings happiness to bodymind. It is also defined as that which does not obstruct channels and simultaneously corrects the constitution.

It is very clear from these definitions that pathya or wholesome diet is more than just food! In the name of pathya, Ayurveda describes eight factors that affect the nutritional aspect:

Nature of food.

• Processing - Processing method can change the properties of food.

• Combination – Incompatible combination can have detrimental effect

• Quantity of food

• Influence of region on nutrition.

• Influence of time on nutrition.

• Rules governing the intake of food.

• Individual

If one takes a careful look on the above factors, the latter supersedes the previous and it finally boils down to the individual!

For example, the nature of food alters by processing – rice processed in one way is heavy for digestion and the same rice processed in another way is easy to digest! Unfortunately, in the present approach, nutrition is completely attributed to food, you eat this food you get this nutrition. But it is very common to find one member in a family of 4 or 5 having some deficiency even though all other members are eating the same type of food.

It is not the insufficiency of food that causes deficiency but deficiency of assimilation and metabolism that causes insufficiency.

Also, currently, diet is just palliative and taking medicine is curative. Äyurveda differs, as no treatment is complete without pathya and in some diseases it is – THE TREATMENT!

This is beautifully summed up by the following verse:

Without proper pathya (wholesome diet) medicine is of no use

With proper pathya (wholesome diet) medicine is of no use

AyurYoga- Dr. Dhanraj Shetty