Vaidya Vilas Nanal
It is true that it has become a consumer-oriented world today. We see very aggressive marketing of everything, everywhere. The industry takes care not to let the customer think about the need of the product he is buying. They generate the most attractive manner. The things considered luxurious once upon a time have become the basic needs of todays life. The stands are full of variety of similar products giving an illusion of buying freedom to the consumer when actually he is being manipulated into the predetermined corner and compelled to buy without even a chance to think. Various lucrative offers dazzling wrappers, carefully targeted audience and unbelievable variety make a combination that is well nigh impossible to resist.
The tendency to avoid physical work as far as possible, leads to increased mechanization in life. The common example being battery operated tooth brush, razors etc. the day begins with a toothbrush that is operated by a battery, the person is not ready even to take the minimum effort required to brush his/her own teeth with his/her hands, the person is reluctant to even lather his shave and cut by his manual razor, this leads to a lethargy, lack of exercise which leads to a chain of events culminating into various disease states.
Ayurveda believes that most of the disease status result from malfunctioning Agni / digestive fire loosely translated as individual digestive capacity barring a few where external factors like trauma are present. It is not enough to eat proper food but is more important to digest what one has eaten. The chronic indigestion lies at the root of most of the disease states. The properly digested food yields the nutrient fluid Aahaara Rasa that is capable of nourishing the body constituents and thus ensures continuation of life process. If and when the digestion is not complete or improper the result is a highly contaminating and toxic metabolite called Aama. Since it is produced in place of Aahaara Rasa it has access to all the body constituents and thus it results in malnourishment. Depending upon the length of time and severity of malnourishment various complex disease processes manifest in the body. It is absolutely essential that one consume food that is wholesome, at proper time, in adequate amount, in a sequence prescribed and not too fast or too slow. One should refrain from trying out newer things. Experiments with food articles or cuisine should normally be avoided. One should concentrate on food while eating. It is true that a person is what he eats and digests. Junk food is going to make junkyard of life in the long run.
Ayurveda has laid great emphasis on food and considered it to be one of three supports of life. Most of us have experienced that quality of food consumed affects us in a sense that the quality and quantity of stool and urine is immediately altered depending upon the food articles consumed in the previous meal. Pungent and spicy substance would cause hyperacidity, piles, pain in the abdomen, ulcers in the mouth, burning Micturationetc. while starchy products may cause either diarrhea or constipation and lot of gas formation.
Some substances are wholesome and good for health singly but when combined with other wholesome the result may not be more beneficial but may be contrary. Combination of lime with turmeric gives rise to a red color that was not present in either of the parents. Similarly on combining, the resultant product may exhibit properties that are not good for health. This concept is called as Viruddha Aahaara by Ayurveda. This is a potential source for majority of internal diseases like Herpes (Visarpa), sensory motor disorders like spontaneous loss of vision, hearing etc. Ascites(Jalodara), sexual disorders like low count, motility libido etc. anemia (Paand`u), food poisoning, Swelling (S`hotha), acid peptic disease (Amlapitta), skin diseases (Kushtha), fever (Jvara), common cold and other respiratory afflictions, hereditary / genetic disorders (Santaana Dosha) and finally even premature death.
Nowadays it has become a common practice to feed the children cut fruits mixed with milk and is considered healthy as it supplies the most essential proteins and minerals from diet itself, thereby eliminating the need for expensive daily supplements.
Consuming fruit that is not ripe or ripened by using chemicals or which is overripe and is going bad is to be strictly avoided. Fruit should be generally chewed instead of consuming juice. Similarly with growing influence of western life style we find practice of sauna followed by ice cold shower on the increase in the higher income group people.
- Using curds / Yogurtto marinate or cook chicken is not advisable
- Consuming milk products with alcohol is not conducive to good health
- Cooking fish with milk is also harmful to health
- Consumption of milk following garlic, radish, basil etc is to be avoided.
- Repeated heating of the ready food is unhealthy as is reusing oil for frying.
- Consumption of hot tea on a cold glass of water which is a common practice in the merchant / trader class is not healthy.
- Consumption of heavy, greasy food by persons having a sedentary life style is also detrimental to health.
- Feeding kids with bakery products like salted biscuits with milk are not very prudent.
- Honey in summer, to a person suffering from heat or with other hot substances like black pepper etc should be avoided.
- Honey and hot water, honey, limejuice and water are not to be consumed.
- Consumption of honey and ghee in equal parts is to be avoided always.
- Sprouts should not be a part of daily diet.
These are some examples about advice by Ayurvedaof incompatible food combinations, which recently have become an essential part of daily diet due to ignorance. The various factors that render a combination incompatible are as follows:
- Substances having opposite properties together,
- Mixing two substances can render it incompatible
- Geographical distribution consuming wheat in south India area known for rice and derivatives in their staple diet,
- Time consuming hot substances in summer and cold substances in winter
- Time leaving ghee in bronze vessel for ten days or more
- Amount consumption of honey and ghee in equal parts,
- Sequence of consumption consumption of alcohol first, followed by soup, greasy, heavy substances and finishing by strong coffee / brandy / ice cream / fruit salad late in the night, is not a healthy diet sequence. Alternately heavy lunch followed by a long siesta is also not very healthy.
These are some examples, which are commonly encountered in practice by a Vaidya, they are indicative of the magnitude of the incompatibility of food combinations. As seen before, the food yields a nutrient fluid after digestion in the alimentary canal that is further acted upon by the various secondary Agni components of the tissues. If this conversion is adequate then the nutritional status is maintained but if the nutritional fluid suffers quantitatively, qualitatively or functionally then the result is a toxic metabolite called Aama. Depending upon the irregularity of Agni function the intensity of Aama varies as also its extent in the tissues. If it is quantitatively insignificant it tends to accumulate in its harbored tissue till such time that it can flare and cause disease like most of the skin lesions or chronic acid peptic disease, but if it is significant then it can manifest as an attack of grave magnitude and consequence that might result in incapacitation or even death. Since Aama has access to all the paths and constituents of the body it can harbor itself at any one or more of them depending upon the nature of incompatible combination consumed by the person. If the Aama harbors itself to a vital point / Marma like heart, brain the result is disastrous but if it attaches itself to a tissue in a localized manner then the result can be like an abscess that need incision and draining after that it heals without significant residual damage but if is it of an insidious type and is consumed repeatedly over a period of time the result is chronic skin conditions called Kusht`ha.
Since the diseases are of occluding nature, the principle of management is first to get rid of the accumulated occluding matter Aama from its harbor. These purifcatorymeasures are called as Pancha Karma in Ayurveda. They include a three-stage operation in which the body internal environment is prepared to precipitate and liberate the harboring Dosha from its harborer, then the procedure proper of eradicating the vitiated and contaminating Dosha as Vamana / emesis, Virechana / Purging, Basti / medicated enema, Nasya / nasal instillations and Rakta Moksha / blood letting and finally the dietary regimen following the procedure / Samsarjana Krama. Then to strengthen the harboring and vitiated body constituent by improving the Agni function (thus reducing the possibility of Aama formation), to such an extent that it would be able to withstand an assault of similar nature in future this is called as S`hamana or Pallilativemeasures and finally the rejuvenation aspect called Rasaayana.
Sages have advised yearly cyclical Panchakarma as preventive measure and to enhance resistance and maintain a state of positive health and promote a state of equilibrium of all the body constituents. In practice we find lot of persons consuming the incompatible combinations but not suffering to the extent expected. The reasons are as under: –
- If consumed in a small amount
- If consumed sporadically
- If a person is young
- If Agni function is good to optimum
- If a person does regular exercise and
- If he has got used to incompatibility like tobacco, alcohol etc.
This is true in a sense that incompatibility does not affect in these situations immediately but later in life as the age advances the insidious damage caused by it finally surfaces and the person suffers from various diseases that have obscure etiology. Thus it is in the best interest of everyone to watch for quality, quantity, and attributes of the food that one consumes as to the compatibility of the food with oneself. It may be not very pleasant to say no for a while but it is distinctly unpleasant to suffer from a disease as result of weakness of flesh. All the 18 contexts by which otherwise nourishing food becomes non-nutritive, but cause for triggering / potentiatingdiseases. Because of avoiding repeatedly consumed loved tasty items by advise of professional, initially reluctantly, has given results, and the significance of the (strange) concept therefore need be considered by every health desirous person.
The Sanyog–Viruddha (non-nutritious by being combined together) can be elaborated as the combinations lead to changes in taste, color and solid-liquid homogenous ness within the span of 15 to 30 minutes. This is never observed in traditional cooking. Food intake is for contributing to new tissues or for compensation of wear and tear of tissues. By association of certain aspects this purpose is not served. Here the food items as such are reputed for nutrition by their components. But due to context of other factors, the useful nourishing food is not nutritive. It becomes detrimental to be the cause of disease.
To make the professional alert on this aspect, seers have documented a list of diseases, which appears to be irrational for an inexperienced person. But Sus`hruta and Vaagbhat`a incorporate the non-nutritive food by the association of 18 contexts in the class of slow poisons. Charaka initiates this topic by detrimental effect of certain raw and processed items. A professional therefore, should start considering this as the cause of disease, which is not giving relief with usual management. The average patient may tell that he is opting that association for many years. But discontinuing enhances the efficacy of management and therefore the concept has weightage.
Food components not carrying the usual nutritive role on one side and damaging the tissues as the effect of poison, make the name-Viruddha; a thing against the expected properties. Following 18 aspects when associated revert the nutritive benefits of usual food intake.
- Wrong season
- Individuals digesting variation
- Quantity + or
- Tolerance of the individual
- The pattern of Vaayu in GIT movement
- Processing on the raw
- Moist or dry pattern of consumers alimentary canal
- Opposing efficacies of combined
- Phase of digestion when consumed
- Sequence of items in meal
- Environment for intake of food
- Social fellowship while taking food
- Appropriate nature of cooking
- Favorite/otherwise items for the individual
- Nourish able status of items
- The method of service and cherishing of food
- Combinations of different items resulting in loss of homogeneity.
As an example one of 18 is now illustrated. Many combinations create a very loving taste or flavor. A person seeking change than usual is attracted to it. This crave for the novel cherishing comfort should not sacrifice the very purpose of nutrition. A pleasing entity is not essentially always beneficial. Banana and milk are nutritive and both maintain their homogenous nature for stipulated period. When the two individually nutritive food items are mixed together by crushing bananas the combination quickly exhibits change in appearance, taste, and homogenous nature. With passage of time span of 30-45 minutes the color darkens, taste modifies, and separation of water component from the mix is seen. Ordinarily cooked items stand for longer period without showing any tendency to dissociate. If the prepared food shows separation of earlier homogenized nature one avoids offering such food to guests, family members.
The separation of liquid from solid is observed in the body in pathological conditions. The body as such never exhibits this in health or growth. The combination shifting in color, taste, consistency will imbibe the same qualities to the consumer. Therefore substances that change very quickly are not applauded, but categorically disregarded. The curd is also such substance that separates its liquid from solid component. The sprout is a substance wherein transient components are constantly changing. They are not as stable as the original grain or legume. The seeds have a lasting nature but the sprout is in interim phase of changing materials inside.
Fruit cut and mixed with milk by combining variation make a range of lovable tastes. But the combine has no stability. The advise of Ayurvedic seers is based upon the progressiveexpression by the combination in the interest of proper building of tissues; rather than alone comfort of taste and new strange flavor. The food rendered prone for dissociation due to combination is indicated as the slow acting poison, and risk to the cycle of resistant tissues. In present day catering number of such combinations are in vogue, as special of that eating-place. The conscious person can apply the test of stability of characters and nutritive potential and respond to aggressive canvassing in the interest of his tissues. Analyses of ingredients alone or merits of non-combined constituents are not helpful. Avoiding such combinations by patients has totally changed the long experienced resistance to management both Ayurvedic and non-Ayurvedic too.
The association of other factors is also evidenced as one proceeds to look in this way.
Vaidya Vilas Nanal
Sr. Scientist AyuSoft. Pune
Last updated on February 9th, 2021 at 06:10 am