Directions of eating (Aahaara upayoga sanstha )

Some things are originally healthy. But, the upayogasansthaa affects the quality of food. In Ayurveda text it is mentioned that the satmya or healthy food may be unhealthy according to the directions of use. So, they should be religiously observed for appropriate digestion of food resulting better health. Rules of such kind, which should be observed while taking food, are

  • One should eat hot:

Warm food is pleasant to eat i.e. tastes good; it increases appetite and secretion of digestive juices. Such food gets digested fast; it induces flatus and decreases Doshas kapha.

  • Unctuous food should be taken:

It enhances weak Agni. It digests food fast. It helps to pass flatus. It replenishes or nourishes body. It strengthens special senses. It increases body strength.

  • In proper amount suitable for individual eating it:

One should eat calculated amount of food. It shouldn’t be eaten in excess or in fewer amounts. Such food maintains physiological level of dosaah. It passes excreta smoothly. Agni is by no way harassed. Digestion is perfect.

  • One should eat only when previous meal is digested:

If eaten before digestion of previous meal, food to be digested gets mixed with food which is half digested. This leads to instant vitiation of three dosaah. but if eaten when previous food is ingested, all three dosaah remain in physiological limits, agni is enhanced, belching is without any smell, no pressure of heart is realized, excreta is smoothly expelled, all building blocks are well maintained and there by span of life is increased.

  •   Food stuffs with opposite virya should not be eaten together:

Two opposite strong qualities should be avoided to eat together. Such kind of eating generates disease for e.g., to eat hot and cold together.

  • Should eat in pleasant place:

One should not eat where one does not like to eat in bad places or in hideous places. One should not eat in cutlery. Psychological effect of things is emphasized here.

  • One should not eat very fast:

If one eats very fast, he chokes, vomits, insults food and develops disliking towards food.

  • One should not eat very slow:

If one eats very slowly, he doesn’t get satiety hence he eats more. Food gets cold. It for this reason does not digest appropriately.

  • One shouldn’t eat while talking or laugh while eating,

This vitiates dosha,

  • One should eat for himself with appropriate manner:

This is suitable for me – one should think while eating. This make him eats properly.

One who takes food observing the above ten rules gets satiety of food, health and proper digestion. This is also compulsory for proper nutrition accoeding to Ayurveda.

Direction for ingestion of food

According to Ayurveda, the food should be ingested considering – Prakriti, karana, samyoga, raashi, desha, kaala, upayogasamsthaa and upayoktaa. The directions of eating as stated by Caraka are:

  • Prakriti is the original qualities of food and medicines. For e.g. Black gram is heavy to digest whereas green gram is light to digest.
  • Karana is alreration made while cooking of food. These alterations and applications of various methods like – soaking, churning, cooking, roasting, washing, etc-change the quality of food stuff. For e.g. raw rice is heavier than roasted rice. A curd obstructs conveying channels; yet if churned, buttermilk enhances Agni.
  • Samyoga means combination of two or many items together. Single item may be good for health; combination may be harmful. For e.g., fish is good for health. Milk is good for health. Both are good for health if consumed separately. If they both are eaten in combination, it is worst for health, as this combination acts like poison in body and is responsible for generation of many diseases. so the change in quality of food after mixing should be considered while taking food as the healthy food may convert to poison after mixing with other.
  • Raashi is the amount of ingestion of food. This is observed in two ways- one way is to calculate total amount of food eaten and another way is to calculate each entity of food item consumed. If the Maatra or raashi of food is not considered it may give rise to various digestive problems and may cause incurable( asaadhya) aama( digestive) disease including Visuchikaa, alasaka, ajeerna and dandaalasaka
  • Desha denotes place of origin of food stuff whether it is offspring of cool country or warm country; it also denotes body, which consumes it. It means habit of body to eat certain type of food. As the quality of food and nature of consumer changes according to desha or dwelling places.
  • Kaala denotes condition of body, whether the consumer is in healthy condition or he is sick. Also kaala means the time of consuming food.
  • Upayogasamathaa indicate when to eat and not to eat. It is expected that one should eat only when previous diet is digested. Not observing this rule may prove dangerous to Agni efficiency.
  • Upauoktaa is one who eats. He should think of his own constitution, habit and then eat accordingly

If the above stated factors are not considered while taking food, the food may not do good to health because the quality of food varies according to the above which alter their actions in the body. The same food may be healthful for someone whereas it may degrade the health in other.

Ultimate fate of eaten food (Aaharaparinamkara Bhaava)

According to Ayurveda Aharaparinamkara bhava is the ultimate fate of eaten food in living body. If eaten food is as per requisites of body entities, ‘ultimate fate of food’ facilitates health. Otherwise eaten food could be problematic to health.

Ingested food is bio-transformed into body entities. If food bears qualities facilitating body entities, it is able to nourish and replenish these body entities. If food bears qualities opposite to body entities, such food is capable of killing these body entities. Hence ‘ultimate fate of food’ is to either facilitate or opposes body entities. Factors which make food to undergo ‘ultimate fate’ are called ‘Aharaparinamkara bhava’.

In other words we can say that taking food only do not nourish the body, but rather it should be digested properly or biotransformation of food should be appropriate within the body. There are many factors which affect the process of digestion which is called Aharaparinamkara bhava. The factors responsible for bio-transformation of food are:

1.   Ushma:

Ushma is parallel to Agni in word. Just as fire boils rice from raw grains, this ushma digests ingested boiled rice to absorbable products. This is the action of Agni or pacakaagni, as far as digestive system is concerned.

Similar thought is read in modern physiology of digestion. Maintenance of temperature (ushma) in digestive tract is extremely important for digestion. Digestive enzymes need typical temperature and appropriate pH in GI tract, without which digestion becomes impossible. Hence, this factor is directly responsible for digestion.

2.    Vaayu:

Vaayu or movements and stimulation of various kinds is supplementary in digestion

Other factors like vaayu are helpful in biochemical reactions of digestion of food. Vaayu drags food to proper place where Agni actually exists. Not only this but Samaana Vaayu also adds to stimulate Agni. This Agni is another help to digestion of food.

Supplementary functions of vaayu are-to induce secretion of enzymes in GI tract.

Similar thought is read in modern physiology of digestion. Movements of stomach, small intestine are in accordance to presence or absence of food; in presence of food, they are in accordance to facilitate and smoothen sown digestive functions.

3.    Kleda:

Kleda is again necessary supplementary factor as it helps in disintegrating coarse food material into finer particles. Kleda is moisture. In digestion this moisture is provided by ‘Kledaka kapha’ in stomach or aamaasaya. Kledaka kapha soaks all food material whether taken with fluid or dry and makes a fine paste of chewed food in stomach.

Similar thought is read in modern physiology of digestion. Food coming from stomach is already in fine state. This is due to churningt movements of stomach as well as mucus in stomach. Duodenum sphincture does not allow coarse food to enter.

4.    Sneha:

Sneha is in context to softness brought to food.

Similarly mucus in GI tract functions in the same fashion as read in modern physiology.

5.    Kaala:

Kaala is considered in this context as time required for digestion. However efficient enzymes are, however effective movements are, food must get certain period to get digested

Similar thought is read in modern physiology of digestion. Retention of food for the purpose of admixture with enzymes and allied appropriate movements of GI tract are described in modern physiology.

6.    Samyoga:

Samyoga is healthy combination of food items. If food items are mixed in wrong way or in wrong proportion or are cooked in wrong blending; food becomes unhealthy for human GI tract.Similarly, for proper digestion other factors should also be taken into consideration such as; when to eat (time to eat), how much to eat (quantity of food), how to eat (process of eating), etc


सप्ताहार,(Saptahar) seven consideration for food intake in Ayurveda

According to Ayurveda the factors that depends upon food are  energy, long life, health, immunity, happiness and prana (life) . The food that we input in this natural engine helps to fire the Jatharagni (digestive fire) as a result output energy is expressed. Here are the thoughts of 7 consideration of food intake according to Vagbhat.

  1. Swabhav (स्वभाव) (Nature)- Food we take varies in nature. For instance, rain water, Oriza sativa  (रक्तचावल and साठी चावल), Phaseolus mungo, meat of Turvix sp. are laghu लघु (light) in nature whereas milk, Saccharum officinale, and Phaseolus radiates are heavy in nature. In this way dravya or any food have varieties of nature like, laghu-guru (light-heavy), snighDha-rukshya (oleaginous-dry), Sheeta-Ushna(Cold-hot) etc, which must be considered while taking a food.
  2. Samyog (संयोग) (Combination)Mixing of two or more food is a combination or samyog. The food may not retain the same properties when combined with the other foods. For example although ghee and honey are benifitial for health, it may take away the life if combined in same proportion by weight. So one should always keep in mind the effect of combination of any two foods. Food poisionig is due to wrong combination.
  3. Sanskar (संस्कार) (Purification)To get the best result of food that we take purification is essential. Purification of food or any medicinal drugs in Ayurveda is done through the materials and process like water, heating in fire, centrifugation, storage for long time, with aromatic matters and storage. Sanskar is not just purification, but it can also be helpful to change the properties of foods and drugs.
  4. Matra (मात्रा) (Quantity/Dose) Quantity or dose (esp. for drugs) is important factor. Good food that we take is beneficial only if we take in proper quantity, else it is going to be toxic.
  5. Desh (देश) (Region) Ayurveda has its unique thought in regional food behavior. The food that grow in one region is most beneficial for the living organism living in the same region or area. If the consumer consumes the food grown in the same region it will be most suitable according to Ayurveda.
  6. Kaal (काल) (Period of Time)The nature of food and the nature of environment should be matching. Like we don’t want ice-cream in cold winter, similarly our body donot accept the ushna(Hot nature food)(*hot nature food may be cold while touching, hot here refers to internal nature) food in hot summer season and cold in winter. Also Period of time refers that one should not take heavy food before the digestion of earlier food. One must understand is it the right time for me to eat right food?
  7. Upayog (उपयोग) (Consumption Procedure)- In simple while taking food one must clean hand and be hygienic. However In Ayurveda whole the procedure is described as follows:
    a. First take bath
    b. Pray the god through Mantra and puja
    c. Dedicate to god, agni, earth, water…
    d. Get the food only from Elder or teacher.
    e. Never have too hot or too cold food.
    f. Never intake food that contains flies, hair, nail etc.
    g. Always have meal with happy and jolly mind facing East.

In this way these are the consideration According to Ayurveda one should keep in mind before having food.

Pathya Ahara digestable food in Ayurveda

According to Ayurveda foods that we eat are basically categorized as Pathya (Which is digestable) and Apathya (that is not digestable). A pathya (digestable) diet for one individual may be apathy(undigestable ) for other and vice versa. Two types of diet are categorized  as pathya and apathy. However, daily inake or habitual dieting may alter pathya and apathy in indivisual. For example, a person have a glass of milk everyday can digest it easily and is Pathya for him, but one who had never had milk drank suddenly after long time cannot digest milk. So milk here is now apathy.

Now lets talk about general diet according to Ayurveda

And he knew that food was Brahman
From food all beings are born
by food they live and into food they return
Upanishad 3.2

Ahara/ Food has been worshipped since ancient times as the giver and sustainer of life
A statement by Charaka ”the self controlled man can life for a hundred years free from disease through the intake of hita ahara/ wholesome diet.
In Ayurveda the physical body is called Kaya. The sanskrit word Kaya can be translated that the body is a build up of food.
Already 5000 years ago Ayurveda has recognised that the body is the result or an outcome of the food we eat.

Food can be the cause (nidana) of a disease
Food can be the treatment (chikitsa) of a disease

Wholesome food and drinks have good colour, smell, taste and are pleasing to the senses and conducive to health, if taken in accordance with the ayurvedic rules.
According to Ayurveda – complexion, clarity, good voice, longevity, happiness, satisfaction, nourishment, mental/ physical strength and intellect are all conditioned by food.

Ayurveda recognises six different tastes

1.Madhura/ sweet
4.Katu/ hot
6.Kasaya/ astringent

The six different taste are important and should be present in the daily diet. The different rasa/ taste can be used to bring equilibrium to the doshas (Vata, Pitta, Kapha).

Some of the Ayurvedic rules for food intake:
1. Intake of food should be warm
2. Food should be unctuous
3. Food should be in proper quantity
4. Intake of food should only be after digestion of the previous meal
5. The food should not have contradictory potencies e.g sour and sweet food such as fruit and milk
6. Intake of food should be in a proper place and seated
7. Intake of food should be without hurry or worry
8. Intake of food should not be too fast or too slow
9. One should take the food while not talking or laughing

Want to know your body constitution and see what foods and taste is most beneficial for you.
You are welcome for a consultation at Lakshmi Ayurveda
Consultation price: 90 minutes ($85)
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For bookings call Karin 0406810547

Food Prayer

Brahmaapanam Brahmahavir Brahmaagnau Brahmanaahutam
Brahmaivatena Gantavyam Brahmakarma Samaadhinaa

Aham Vaishvanaro Bhootvaa Praaninaam Dehamaashritah
Praanapaana Samaayuktah Pachaamyannam Chaturvidham

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti
Bhagavad Gita Ch. 4 verse 24

The act of offering is Brahman. The offering itself is Brahman. The offering is done by Brahman in the sacred fire which is Brahman. He alone attains Brahman who, in all actions, is fully absorbed in Brahman.

“I am Vaishnavara, existing as fire God in the bodies of living beings. Being associated with ingoing and outgoing life breaths, I will digest all the four different types of food
and purify them.”

Vata balancing diet in Ayurveda

Earlie posts were about vata . Now I am going to list of the diets that balance the vata.

• Favour warm, hearty, nourishing foods with added butter/oil – favour salty, sour and sweet tastes.

• Try and reduce light, dry, cold foods and pungent, bitter and astringent tastes

• Hot, milky, creamy cereals (wheat, oatmeal or rice), soups and stews are all very good for pacifying Vata.

• All dairy products are good (ideally organic and unpasturised) – milk should always be boiled first.

• Oils are good but favour ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, Udo’s oil, flax/pumpkin oil and sesame oil.

• Reduce your intake of light, dry, cold foods such as crackers, nuts, seeds and salads.

• Take nuts and seeds in small quantities only – they are best freshly ground with oil added.

• Reduce the intake of all bean products except tofu, mung beans, mung dhal and red lentils.

• The best grains are rice and wheat but you can take barley, corn, millet, buckwheat, rye and oats in moderation.

• Favour stewed and well ripened, sweet or sour fruits but reduce the intake of dry or light fruits such as apples, pears, pomegranates, cranberries, and dried fruits (if uncooked). Dried fruits are good if they are cooked after soaking overnight.

• Sweeteners are good (in moderation), especially jaggary, honey, maple syrup and algarve.

• Vegetables should be cooked and not raw. Peas, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, zucchini and potatoes are acceptable in moderate quantities if they are cooked, especially with Ghee or oil and Vata reducing spices but it is best to avoid sprouts and cabbage.

• Hot, nourishing desserts such as apple pie help pacify Vata.

• Eat a substantial breakfast to help improve energy levels throughout the day.

• Herbal teas (camomile, fennel, basil) with a few digestive biscuits are good for Vata energy slumps.

• Avoid stimulants such as coffee and alcohol.

• Sip hot water throughout the day to flush out impurities and balance Vata.

• Warm milk flavoured with ghee, cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg is excellent before bed.

Now here are some lists that increase and decrease the Vata in the body

Vegetables that increase and decrease vata

Asparagus Leeks Artichoke Okra Beetroot Parsnip Olives Corn Butternut squash Green beans Peppers Radishes Carrots Courgettes Cucumber Green beans Leeks Pumpkin Sweet potatoes Turnip Broccoli Brussels sprouts Cabbage Cauliflower Celery Mushrooms Peas Peppers Tomatoes


Fruits that increase and reduce vata

Apricots Avocados Bananas Berries Cherries Raisins Pineapple Rhubarb Plums Peaches Oranges Lemons Grapes Kiwi Dates Figs Mangoes Melons Papayas Peaches Plums Dried fruit Un-ripened fruit Apples Pears Pomegranates Prunes Watermelon


Herbs increase and reduce vata

Basil Black pepper Cardamom Cinnamon Clove Cumin Fennel Ginger Liquorice Marjoram Mustard seeds Nutmeg Oregano Sage Thyme Coriander seed Fenugreek Parsley Saffron Turmeric