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Healthy Habits,How to derive pleasurefrom healthy staple food

"The following is the excerpt from personal diary of a naturopathy practioner who is impressed with"

The very words “natural food” dishearten many at once. They  think it is tasteless and completely unappealing because it  lacks salt, oil, seasoning, chilies or spiciness. Innocently ask -  How one can eat just boiled vegetables? Is it worth living with  such food? Were humans not born to enjoy delicious foods? Of  course you can’t be blamed for that. All along you have  followed the credo, “Variety is the spice of life” and enjoyed  food of various types and flavors.  Consider this crucial fact: if you get sick, your body faces  problems. It cannot accept the spicy food as before, but the  heart longs for spicy food (with salt, oil, ghee, spices) and   demands foods with much more salt. If you fulfill the desires of  your heart, slowly all the parts of your body will decay and this  body vehicle of yours will go beyond use. Finally it will be made  only of various lifeless parts. At this stage you go to doctors;  they treat you only your various parts and tell you to give up  many tastes and to take medicines forever. If you don’t give up  tastes, neither the treatment nor the medicines are useful. As a  result you will be in very bad shape. You follow treatment on  one side and the restricted diet on the other. You can neither  be happy nor unhappy; you are neither very healthy nor very  seriously ill. And, you can neither live peacefully nor die  peacefully. You pass your problems to others and make others’  lives miserable. You will ultimately arrive at the conclusion that  living is the real hell and long for heaven after death.

You know why all these problems crop up in your life? For one  simple reason: you are unable to control your urges. If you go  to the doctor, you should follow his diet restrictions as well as  take his medicines. But are you really cured of your diseases?  No. The doctor benefits from your sickness.  So with Allopathy, no matter what you do, you are never  assured of good health. On the other hand, with Naturopathy  you follow only diet restrictions; you don’t take a single  medicine but are completely assured of good health. It  promises a cure from chronic diseases. Decide for yourself!  The food here may be tasteless, but it aims at perfect health.  Chronic patients, who go to nature cure hospitals, follow the  diet restrictions strictly and get relief from disease. After some  time, few of them go back to their earlier habits. Consequently,  their diseases also come back to them at once.  Day by day the number of patients, diseases, medicines,  doctors, and hospitals are increasing. Such a rapid parasitic  growth is not good for any country. From such diseases, our  family, our society, our nation and finally we suffer gravely. If  we so desire, we could concentrate on a food that gives us both  good taste and good health. We should pray to God for that. If  we genuinely pray, God is always eager and ready to help. He  will send somebody to help us. It is the Dharma.

Whatever  desire we may have, if it is a good desire, it will be fulfilled. After you are settled for natural food, there may be a moment  when you feel like having tasty food for a change. You will  suggest the lady of the house to add a pinch of salt, and she  will add a bit more and make a normal curry. Taking only a  pinch of salt, a little bit of spice, or two drops of oil will not end  with that day. Before you know it, you’ll be back on your  normal diet. For instance, you were once a chain smoker and  gave it up forever. But if you are tempted to have a smoke for a  day or two, you know how it works. You will end up smoking  regularly. The dividing line disappears without your knowledge.  Our desire is for good health. If we really want it, we should  completely give up salt, oil and spices and bring about a  revolution in our eating habit. The natural food we eat should  be easy to make and tasty to relish.

 At the same time, it should  help curing the sick and benefit the healthy that believe in  prevention than a cure. I experimented making curries with  that aim in mind. It worked out, and my wish is fulfilled.  The new curries smell pleasant, attractive to look at, good to  eat, and easy to cook! In addition to curries, you can prepare  quite a variety of foods in less time and with less expenditure.  They give you extra time and energy in your busy day. They  don’t give birth to new diseases; on the contrary, they act as  preventive medicines. Eating them won’t bother you, and they  will brighten your mind. They are useful for all age groups,  helpful even to manual workers and last but not least, make  you perform better at work. 

Are you surprised at this long list? Do you think I am  exaggerating? No. If you really taste this new menu, you will  discover for yourself more important information I missed. See,  it is a chain reaction. If you wish to understand it, you should  experience it; if you have to experience it, you should begin it.  If you want to begin it, you should develop the desire to follow  it. To have the desire, you should first know all about it. So  come on! Learn about this new way to prepare your food.  There are seven flavorings. They are salt, oil, ghee, sweet,  sour, hot and spices. Any variety of food preparation springs  out of these seven basic flavors. Without these seven there is   no taste, but without these seven there are no diseases either.  From these seven flavorings spring an infinite number of  diseases.

To please our taste buds, we distort the natural food provided  by God. The diseases in our body are directly proportionate to  the quantity of these seven tastes. When you give up these  seven, you have conquered the whole world. You can eat  happily. You can live and let others around you live happily.  Now let us look at the substitutes to the harmful seven tastes:  Salt: Every edible item created by God has some pinch of salt  in it. In fact, our bodies need only a small quantity of salt and  every item that we eat contains inherently more than the  required quantity. The creator of our body, God, knows very  well what we need, so He has taken care that we should not  miss any of them. That’s why He has provided natural salt in  every food and that’s why we don’t need to add further salt  through our food.

Then you may ask why your tongue does not taste this salt in  our natural food. It is because your tongue has become so used  to salt that it no longer tastes the lesser quantity. If you are  accustomed to drinking strong coffee, can’t you tell the  difference at once if the brew is weak? The same principle is  applicable here also.  If you don’t add salt to your food for three or four months, your  tongue will be able to identify the salt in vegetables and fruits.  In place of salt, you can add any of these to make your food  tasty – milk, curds, coconut, tomato, leafy vegetables, or sour  items.  Chili Powder: So far you have used red chilies or red chili  powder in your cooking. Now substitute it with green chilies.  Sour: Till now you have been using tamarind for sour taste.  Now use raw tamarind, mangoes, lemon, or amla as much as  you want.  Sweet: Sugar is well known. Stop using it. You can use  harmless honey in its place. You can also use dates.  Ghee: You can replace this with the required amount of thick  milk or curd.  Oil: You can use the seeds that provide oil. For instance, in the  place of groundnut oil, you can grind groundnut seeds and use  the powder. Similarly, you can use coconut. They are not  harmful.

Spices: Black cumin, ginger, coriander seeds, mustard seeds,  etc., are prohibited. Replace them with pulses. Replace garlic  with onion. Onion also gives a good flavor to the curry.  So this is the secret to our success. In the place of seven  harmful tastes, you can use many more helpful tastes and give  your food new dressing. In such a way you can prepare  anything and everything--chutney, soup, fry, snacks, sweets,  and what not.  Where there is a will, there is a way. You can still enjoy all  types of tastes and be rid of your diseases. Of course, the first  few days of this new routine may inconvenience you. You may  feel disappointed. Let me suggest some methods to help you  fight against this disappointment. 

A few tips for happy eating:

1. Silent eating: You need the services of your tongue while  eating. You also require the services of the same tongue while  talking. The poor tongue can’t do two things at the same time!  That’s why you should eat when you are supposed to eat and  talk when you are supposed to talk. If you talk while you eat,  the food gets stuck. But you don’t care. So it’s high time you  realize you are sitting before the food for a purpose and so  concentrate on that one task.  You have two-fold advantage if you chew your food properly   while eating. First, food begins being digested in the mouth  itself. So a healthy practice is to chew solid food until it  becomes liquid. At that time, if you try to talk, the tongue has  to free itself to do so. It drives out the food into the esophagus  before it is completely chewed. The mind, which has to decide  whether the food is turned into liquid or not, and whether it is  digested or not, is otherwise busy, so the tongue escapes its  duty.  Our elders did not tell us for no reason that we should chew  our food 32 times. Food is digested 30% in the mouth, but a for  talkative, only 10% gets digested. If you can eat the food in  small morsels and chew it properly, then the digestion in the  stomach will be quick and effective.  The digestion in the mouth is equivalent to the primary  education from kindergarten to fifth grade. Just as the primary  education lays a strong foundation for higher education, the  digestion in the mouth lays a strong foundation for the  digestion in the stomach. Follow a simple logic. God hasn’t  given us teeth in the stomach. This means each thing has it  own place and has its own duty to perform. We should not  neglect this duty. We are not born as animals to gulp food in a  hurry and ruminate later.

We are different from them and so let  us eat differently.  Food that isn’t chewed enough in the mouth consequently  cannot be digested properly. As a result, it stays long in the  stomach and creates new problems. It becomes sour and  produces gas, bloated ness, belching, breathlessness, etc.  Another problem is, however much you eat half of it goes out in  your stool undigested. That’s why though you eat a lot, you still  feel weak.  The second advantage is, if you eat silently, the saliva glands in  the mouth, from contact with food, produce more saliva. As a  result, the food in its first stage gets mixed up thoroughly with  the saliva and digestive juices. Moreover, since you chew it  more, it touches the upper part of the mouth more and so fills  you with the pleasure of eating. So only those who chew their  food well get the full pleasure from it.  You won’t get hiccups if your food is mixed well with saliva  when it enters the esophagus. If you do get hiccups, it means  your body is sending you a warning signal that you are not  chewing properly. Instead of realizing this, you drink water and  continue to gulp food. That’s wrong. Man alone is given the  ability to reason, but he does not use his reasoning ability  properly.

Your food should get mixed up with saliva, not with water,  mind you. After all, you talk the whole day. Can’t you keep  quiet for the few minutes while you eat? Haven’t you learned,  “Speech is silver, silence is gold”? Practice silence, especially  while eating. It helps you in so many ways. 

2. Concentrate on your tongue: The tongue conveys taste,  but it is the mind that decides the taste. When the mind is  distracted, it cannot sense the taste in food, so you taste  nothing and you will not be satisfied.  Today, man is surrounded by TV’s., CD players, magazines and  newspapers, etc. But he is so busy working that he hardly finds  time to watch them. So he tries to save time by watching them  while eating. Then the tongue does its work like a lifeless  machine. For some, the only chance they get to see their  families is during mealtimes. So they all talk and laugh while  eating.  You wish to eat tasty food, but you don’t concentrate on the  taste. Isn’t it funny? How can you pay attention to what the  tongue tastes if your mind is elsewhere? One may argue that  we eat without knowing the real taste of food? The food you  eat with your mind on something else doesn’t give you more  than 50% of the potential pleasure it could provide. You can  accept this only if you test it with 100% concentration.  Let me give you an example. I once served a sweet made out of  honey to four people.

They were talking to me while eating the  sweet dish. After they were halfway through, I asked them how  it tasted. They unanimously answered it was good, it was  sweet, and it didn’t look different though it was made out of  honey. Now I asked them to chew the second half of it silently  without talking. Then they were able to realize the salty taste  more than the sweet. They could make out the presence of  honey, and they thought it was much better than sugar. So,  their first opinion was a biased opinion. They took for granted  that it would be sweet, and so could experience no other taste.  If you concentrate, you may even discern the taste of milk and  coconut in it.  The same is true with all fruits and vegetables. If you  concentrate while eating, you can taste salt in them and find  pleasure in it. If you eat dates and papayas this way, you will  at once realize they are saltier than other vegetables or fruits.  When you eat salt-free food, pay close attention and you will  have the real flavor and pleasure of it.

The mind is the sole cause of everything. If you realize this and  concentrate on what you eat, you can eat more with  satisfaction. Then you will be benefited more through natural  food and your health will improve.

3. Mix rice in vegetable curries or eat curries with chapattis  (breads). Till now the practice has been to mix curry in rice.  With that you eat less curry and more rice. Even that little curry  is full of oil, salt, chili powder, etc. Since you are eating only a  small quantity of curries, you are not getting enough protein  that your body needs. With that you will not have free bowel  movements and you will become prone to new diseases.  But in our natural lifestyle, you should mix rice in curry instead  of the other way around, so you will be eating more curry than  rice. If you re involved in physical work, you can eat more rice,  but it should be in equal proportion to the curry.  The curries will not taste completely bland if you mix rice with  them. Of course, in the beginning you may not like them with  rice. If so, eat them with chapattis (breads). This way, you can  consume more curry, and you will be healthy very soon. You  will have free bowel movement. But if you eat only a small  amount of this type of curry, you will be weak and face some  problems. So don’t forget. Don’t eat too little curry.

4. Squeeze a lemon over food: The curries that you eat may  not be tasty in the early stages. Some people don’t want to eat  this kind of salt-free food. If you want to relish this food, even  if you are not used to it, you better a squeeze lemon on the  curries. It tastes sour and drives out the uneasiness caused by  the salt-free food. The sour taste of lemon minimizes the saltfree  flavor.  There is another advantage too. Salt-free food doesn’t  stimulate saliva quickly in the mouth, so you can’t taste it right  away. On the other hand, the very idea of the lemon’s taste  inspires saliva to spring out as a stream. As this sour taste hits  the mouth, it gives a new dimension to curry’s taste. So you  can eat more of the curry.  Anyone can use one or two lemons every day. You won’t  develop ulcers or gas if you use only this much lemon. So don’t  entertain such strange fears. Lemon never does any harm. In  fact, it provides vitamin C, which helps the intestines to absorb  the iron from vegetables and rice. Lemon can also help lessen  your cravings. Once you eat lemon you don’t long to eat  anything for some time. 

5. Add curd to tasteless food: You can eat some curries and  really enjoy them. But some of them you may not. You get up  from the table still hungry. This isn’t necessary. Instead, you  can add some thick, creamy curd to curries you don’t like as  much and see if it makes a difference. Curd has its own salt  content and so helps substitute for the lack of salt.

6. Use more green chilies: Those who taste natural food for  the first time complains of its spiciness. In fact, some people  feel dry chilies or chili powder is bad for health and so avoid  them. They are bad, there is no doubt, but green chilies are  good for the body. Green chilies have nutritious value that is  not found in anything else.  Now you understand that you can eat as many green chilies as  you can bear. As you eat this spicy food, the tongue enjoys its  spicy taste and forgets the lack of salt. So it diverts the mind. Isn’t it enough?  There is yet another advantage. This spicy taste also creates  more saliva, which makes the food tasty. Of course, once the  chili goes into your stomach, it causes no harm. Eat them along  with curries and see for yourself. You will discover a new  flavor.

7. Round pieces of onions all along: You can cut onions into  round pieces, squeeze lemon over them, and have a bite of it  every now and then while eating and see. Once you taste it,  you yourself will wonder how you have missed such a tasty  food all along.  The raw onion can replace the salt in making food. Any amount  of onion will not harm you.  I want you to be far away from the clutches of diseases,  medicines, doctors and hospitals.  Health is happiness. No amount of wealth can give you the  happiness of sound health.  If you can stay free from salt for four months that is the  foundation for your good health. In these four months, your  age-old stores of salt will dissolve slowly in the water you drink  and come out over the time in the form of sweat and urine.  The new food--healthy and salt-free food--you eat for these  four months will help get the salt out of your blood, so you will  not crave for it again.


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