IMPORTANCE OF INDIAN TRADITIONAL VEGETARIAN DIET

Diet plays very important role in our physical and mental health status. Many common health problems can be prevented or treated by consumption of a good diet.
Traditional Indian vegetarian diet mainly consists of legumes, vegetables, milk, curd/yoghurt & clarified butter (ghee). Apart from the ingredients used in cooking the different masalas used aids in digestion. Moreover the utensils used in cooking also plays a very important role which in turn has immense health benefits. In ancient times, people cooked in earthern pots which is still practised in temples in India. The porosity and natural insulating properties of clay helps heat and moisture to circulate throughout the clay pots. This causes the moisture and nutrient loss while cooking in clay pots to be much lower compared to cooking in metal or enamel lined utensils.

ABOUT THE INGREDIENTS USED IN FOOD :

1. Clarified Butter (Ghee) : Ghee can be stored for a long time without refrigeration. It is considered as purifier that absorbs and expels toxins from the body. It is far superior in properties & digestibility than any vegetable oil.

2. Dals (Pulses) : The main source of protein is dal in Indian diet. Therefore they accompany meals. There are many ways to prepare dal which varies from state to state. The diversity in cooking style is due to the difference in climatic conditions. The most popular and simple way to make dal in India is by simply boiling it in water adding salt and turmeric powder.

3. Flour : These are the cheapest source of calories. It contributes as much as 70 to 80 percent of the calories in the Indian diet. Flours are also good binding material and enhance the flavour. But refined flour should not be used in the diet as it sticks to the intestine and causes constipation.

4. Nuts & Seeds : Nuts & seeds are popularly used in Indian sweets and drinks. Nuts are excellent source of protein, fat & certain carbohydrates; they contain vitamins A,B,C and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and iron. The protein in nuts of high quality are even higher than that in milk, meat and eggs. This protein in easily digestible by the system as milk.

Spices : Spices makes dals easy to digest and removes the gas producing quality. Masala means any number of spice combinations. Cumin, black peppercorn, cardamom (black or green) are the frequently used spices. Garam masala means “spicy mixture”. It is used with other spices or in recipes which are oily and heavy.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE : WHEN TO EAT AND HOW MUCH TO EAT ?

This is the most common question for which most of the people are looking for the right answer. The concept of breakfast, lunch and dinner is taken from the west. Though it is important to consume 3 meals a day to maintain good health, but the question of the quantity to eaten remains unanswered. As per Ayurveda, the Jatharagni (digestive fire) is at its peak after sunrise and continues till 3 hours. So the best time to eat the first meal is before 9:30 am. One can eat as much as he wants including all his favourite food items because the food eaten before 9:30 am will be digested very easily, no matter how much quantity you have consumed. Also the properly digested and assimilated food will supply all the required nutrients to each cell of the body. The second meal should be taken between 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm and the quantity should be less compared to what was consumed in the morning. This is the time when the “Jatharagni” is slow and the digestion power is weak. Hence one should not over eat and burden the digestion process. The undigested food will start turning into toxins thereby giving rise to different health problems. Hence the afternoon food should be lesser than the morning food. Again the “Jatharagni” is at its peak during sunset. So it is advisable to eat dinner before sunset or maximum half an hour after sunset. Before going to bed one glass of milk should be taken.

If this principle of eating food is followed along with some physical exercise and breathing exercise then one can maintain a good health.

Remember “Health is an Investment” . So “Let’s Make Life Healthier And Happier”.