Back to nature for natural health

We are a hygiene and health conscious society, increasingly depending on packaged foods, mineral water and aerated drinks. Well, what of it? Is health by our side now?

Juices in tetrapak, water treated by reverse osmosis, and the rest of our health conscious choices mean zilch if we keep away from nature's wisdom, and basic eating etiquette.

It is time to understand our body: We are one with nature, or should align our lifestyle so that we regain our harmony with nature… Right? On the contrary we are fighting with it. It is a dangerous fight; in which if we win we still lose! Loss of health and vitality.

Avoid chilled drinks along with meals. This weakens the digestive fire

Chemical Overload!

To put it simply, chemical additives to food that add to its shelf life and taste, strip the food of its natural nutrition, while burdening the content with chemicals which the body is not optimized to use for our good. No thank you, says our body to such 'artificial' food.

Geography defines best food for the locals

Nature provides food to us in accordance with regional and climatic differences. Geography changes food choices for people resident in the area. Fresh, organic, seasonal, locally grown food is considered the best for the people living there. For instance, they say in North East India, "You will never get malaria, if you eat what we do." Local wisdom does go a long way in preserving health.

Other than the packaged food itself, it is unwholesome habits that destabilize our health in the daily run of life.

Helping nature heal ourselves

According to Ayurveda, we become sick when not in harmony with nature's elements. Ayurvedic treatment for any illness focuses on bringing balance to the body vis a vis nature. The right mix of food, herbal medicines/supplements, yoga asana, meditation, and other physical exercise helps us revive.

Choosing Health

Health practitioners step in to help when we let go of basic tenets for health, such as the following:

*Food should be fresh and nutritious.
*Food should be according to the season. Try and remember traditional food that your family included seasonally.
*Eat only when hungry.
*Do not panic or hurry while eating.
*Always take small morsels of food, and chew each morsel properly. Chew your food well, else the digestive process is strained and gets weak over continuous abuse.
*Do not eat while watching T.V. or reading.
*There must be a fixed time for meals.
*Meals should be balanced: protein, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fat and fibre.
*Every meal should contain some liquid apart from water for example, soups, mattha (lightly spiced and salted yogurt drink), etc.
*Dinner should be light and taken two hours before you go to bed. This helps in proper digestion. When the body goes to sleep, the rate of all metabolic activities drops, including digestion.
*There must be a time gap of three to four hours between two meals.
*If possible observe a fast for a day in the week. If not, then keep the meals lighter.
*If there is a sweet dish eat it in the middle of your meal, not after.
*Avoid oily, fried food.
*Avoid excess of salt and refined white sugar, as both salt and sugar are best when consumed from natural sources.
*Let the meal get digest itself and avoid digestive medicines and tangy powdered solutions as much as possible.
*Avoid chilled drinks along with meals. This weakens the digestive fire.

Traditional tips for health

You can always go back to your family traditions and cultural wisdom for more insight of staying healthy, naturally...

To keep healthy, do stay with healthy habits and reconnect with nature. Chemicals can only do so much, then what? It is nature that heals. Ayurveda says that the body heals itself, medication is only outside help. We cannot live without going back to nature. And it is time that we gave our bodies more respect, recognizing nature's role in keeping us fit :-)

Varsha Prakash
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