Culinary Medicine Ayurvedic Perspective


By Dr Pooja Kohli 14-Mar-2022

Culinary Medicine Ayurvedic Perspective

Culinary medicine is not gourmet cooking, it’s a food preparation & science of medicine . It is a practice of helping patients to use nutrition & cooking to restore and maintain health. It is about teaching why & how to prepare health promoting and delicious home cooked meals & healthy eating patterns.

Culinary medicine offers a simple approach to understand how food and cooking relate to personal health, behaviour & healthcare goals. But this concept is not new for Ayurveda as  in ayurveda texts it's already mentioned that food is our medicine.

Ayurveda places special emphasis on food & believes that a healthy meal nourishes not only the body but also mind & soul. No other science has described the unique effect of diet as methodically, as Ayurveda described thousand years ago.

According to Ayurveda diseases in our body are the result of the food we take & food is an important pillar of life . In today’s world of modernization we have alerted our food consumption habits which may lead to diseases . Ayurveda has given detailed discipline and process to take the food.

This discipline is titled as Ahara vidhi vidhan, where all the  laws about the  diet and drinks are given. In Ayurveda, food as well as the method of it’s intake both have equal importance. Food which is consumed according to the  prescribed  methods (in  the scriptures)  are  the seat  for satisfaction for life. 

Healthy diet is a main cause for the growth and development of the body, where as  unhealthy diet is cause of several diseases, So in ayurveda diet is having a very important place, but to be a complete healthy diet does not means only the food items, but it includes other factors too, which are the law of do’s and don’ts about the diet.

A healthy diet requires a lot more than just having nutrients and ancient Ayurvedic texts have emphasised on all aspects of food and Special rule for diet intake.

These eight factors need to considered before taking food: 

1. Prakriti (Natural Qualities) 
It means natural quality of food, drugs i.e. inherently attributed like Guru (heavy ) , Laghu (light). These are the natural properties of substances. On the basis of nature , Green Gram and Grey Partridge are Laghu which digest easily .  While Black Gram, Meat of Pig, Buffalos are Guru & takes time to digest.

2. Karana  (Processing of Substances)
Karana is also known as Sanskara. It means processing of substances which leads to alteration in the inherent properties of substances. This modification is brought about by dilution, application of heat , preservation etc.

3. Samyoga (Combination)
Samyoga means combining together two or more substances. For example -the combination of Honey and Ghee, Honey and Ghee taken alone is healthy for the body but combined together, they become toxic. So we can say that though Samyoga is very useful it may be harmful too. A few examples of its usefulness are Guda and Curd in combination are more useful. Milk with Ghee used regularly is the best Rasayana.
4. Rashi, (Quantity)
Rasi is the measure of the total mass and of each constituent in order to determine the effects of the right and wrong doses. A person should have his diet in proper amounts; it means that a person should have a diet according to his digestive power. 

5. Desha, (Habitat)
Habitat is a geographic region. It indicates variation in the quantities of substances, due to difference in the soil, use and climate. One can acclimatize to the different types of localities by using opposite qualities.

The wholesomeness of diet also depends on the Desha, like the food which a person of Kashmir can digest, cannot be digested by a person of Kerala. 

6. Kala (Time)
Time is used in two senses, time in the general sense means season and time in the sense of stage of disease.

7. Upyoga- Sansatha, (Dietetic Rules)
It simply means the dietetic rules. It contains everything related to Diet, how to eat, when to eat, what to eat.

8. Upyokta (The User)
The user is he who makes use of food, habituation depends on him. Creating wholesomeness by habitual intake of things comes under Upyokta and known as Satmya which differs person to person.

After describing these eight factors, there are some other rules which are described in Ayurveda, which indicates the method of taking food.

1. The first requisite regarding prepared meals is that it should be taken hot. If one’s taking hot food, feel of proper taste, Stimulate the digestive fire.

2. The meal taken should be Unctuous to have a proper taste, facilitate early digestion and It makes the body Plump, Strengthens the sense organs, increases in the brightens the complexion.

3. Eat in an adequate amount. Signs by which a person can decide that this is adequate amount are freedom from distress in the stomach, Absence of any cardiac discomfort, The non-distension of sides, Freedom from the excessive heaviness of the stomach, Sense of ease in standing, sitting, lying down, walking, inhaling, exhaling, talking. Easeful digestion and assimilation of food in the evening and the morning, the imparting of strength & complexion.

4. Eat after digestion of the previous meal. If one takes food before the digestion of the previous meal, the digestive product of the previous food, i.e. undigested food gets mixed up with the food taken afterwards, it provokes all the toxins  & leads to diseases.

5. Eat those food articles which are not antagonistic in potency. Eating food that is not antagonistic in potency one will not afflict with disorders born of incompatible dietary.

6. Eat in a congenial place provided with all the necessary appurtenances. One eating at a congenial place does not get depressed in the mind by the depressing emotions produced in an unpleasant environment, similarly with appurtenances. Therefore one should eat in a congenial place and circumstances.

7. Do not eat hurriedly. One should not take food too hurriedly. If food is taken to hurriedly it enters into a wrong way or it is not properly placed, as food taken in hurry can obviously affect the power of digestion by increasing the Vata.

8. Do not eat too leisurely. One who eats too leisurely is not satisfied even if he eats much. The food would become cold and there will indigestion.

9. Do not talk or laugh while eating, one who talks and laughs while eating is liable to suffer the same disorders as the one who eats too hastily. The most important one is that the food should be eaten with concentration. Talking and laughing divert the attention from the meals and the food is eaten too slowly or too hastily

10. Eat rightly, considering your constitution.
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Disclaimer - The aim of the article is just to convey information to you. Use any medicine, therapy, herb or fruit please do it under the guidance of a qualified Ayurveda doctor.