While Yoga is the art of doing work, Diet is an art to maintain a healthy body. The reason why I call diet an art because it is specific to an individual and it requires careful supervision. The balance of a healthy diet is truly achieved by an artful approach depending on a person’s schedule. The inner consciousness of a person is affected by the diet. In that way, diet is also a science. Diet requires careful selection of ingredients to accentuate life and keep body disease free. Ingredients must match the nutritional needs of an individual’s body. Spices are extremely important in preserving important bodily functions. In the ancient vedic culture, every meal was also a medicine. Which diet is good for me? Should I be a vegetarian or should I be a vegan? What is a vegetarian? What is vegan? These are some of the existential questions that are usually on everyone’s mind. Let’s analyze.
A carnivore animal’s intestines are much shorter as compared to herbivore animals. Because of small intestines the non-vegetarian food stays for a shorter duration in the body of a carnivore as compared to herbivore. Human small intestine length is usually 6 meter or 20 ft, while the big intestine is 1.5 m or 5 ft. By design the human body is suited for a plant based diet. Many cultures across the world advise a healthier plant based diet. In fact the majority of carbon emissions on the planet are due to the organized meat industry. If just the meat consumption is reduced by 10%, the greenhouse carbon emissions will drop by more than 30%. A vegetarian plant based diet is extremely eco-friendly for our planet.
Vegetarianism is a growing movement today. More and more people are turning to a plant based diet. Vedic culture promotes vegetarianism for a healthy body, mind and karma free existence.
Veganism was coined by Donald Watson in 1944. The original premise of veganism according to him was to shun all types of meat or products from animals out of kindness. There is a growing movement on veganism across the world. In fact, Tel Aviv is now officially the vegan capital of the world. Both vegetarianism and veganism movements are best for our planet Earth. Milk is considered essential for the human body because of specific nutrients which are derived from other animal bodies. The same nutrients can be derived from reinforced plant based milks such as Soya, Almond, and others. Even the plant based proteins are becoming popular day by day. Veganism and Vegetarianism are very popular concepts in western society today.
It is estimated that every year around 1% of the population gets added to the Vegetarianism and Veganism movement. More sports persons are also turning vegetarian. Anthony Joshua (British Boxer), Joe Namath, Carl Lewis, Mike Tyson, Venus Williams and many others are famous vegetarians.
Ayurveda, the science of increasing duration of life, advises us to maintain balance. Balanced Body, Mind and a healthy spirit comes from a long practice and intelligent choices. Balanced body comes from exercise and diet. Balanced mind comes from Yoga and detachment.
Balanced spirit comes from meditation. For a healthy body, all foods must be eaten fresh, within 2 hours after they are cooked. Usually foods lose nutritional value upon being reheated, microwaved or kept frozen. Generally for a healthy mind, warm foods are the best. Vedic scriptures inform us three types of diet. Foods are classified into three broad categories – Foods in Sattva Guna (mode of goodness), Foods in Rajas Guna (mode of passion) and Foods in Tamas Guna (mode of ignorance). Foods in Sattva Guna increase life, decrease stress and make one happy. Foods in Rajas Guna decrease life, increase stress and keep people angry. While, Foods in Tamas Guna decrease life duration most by inviting diseases.
Generally, one should eat two major meals a day, one after sunrise and another before sunset. Ayurveda advises us to avoid meals after sunset.
Your diet helps you build a healthy personality. A healthy Sattvic vegetarian or vegan diet brings kindness into your personality. Rajasic food brings stress into your personality. Tamasic food brings disease. Careful selection of diet, will assist you to lead a healthy life. I would be keen to know more about your vegetarian or vegan experiences. Happy eco-friendly diet is good for our planet. We can preserve our planet, by changing our diet. The positive change in climate begins with our diet.