We were taught in medical school that the body needs proteins, carbohydrates, fats, amino-acids, fat soluble and water soluble vitamins, minerals, trace elements and so on and that too in a particular proportion. When we actually see the variety of normal diets in a country like India, one wonders how all of them could possibly be getting all the essential nutrition and that too in the right proportion. There are communities who for generations have eaten no meat or even eggs; they have grown up on vegetables! There are communities living in deserts who rarely get to even see vegetables. And yet in all these regions, we see a lot of fairly healthy senior citizens who have been brought up on a traditional diet.
How do we reconcile what we have been taught with what we have observed?
It is said that the capacity of the human body to adapt to any geo-climatic conditions is second only to that of a cockroach. Human beings thrive almost anywhere on earth and find enough food to survive in the most unlikely places.
The digestive system of a child learns to derive the essential nutritional elements from whatever it is fed. What it cannot get directly from the food, the body converts from what it gets; the body is capable of almost impossible chemical conversions. The body generally learns to derive enough for survival.
Besides, the traditional diet of any culture has evolved over centuries and has stood the test of time. In India, the traditional diet of each region has developed organically along with the geo-climatic conditions, the flora and fauna. The traditional diet includes things that grow in that region in every season. Even the special foods to be cooked for each festival are well-thought-out and naturally woven into the tradition, season and region.
Ayurved takes the science of diet and nutrition a step further. It has defined and classified?? the foods that are suitable and the foods to be avoided for six types of prakruti. All individuals can be categorised under one of the six dosha-based prakrutis. Ayurved has also laid down the dietary changes to be made at every change of season.
To sum up—
- Since childhood, the body has learnt to derive all the necessary nutrients from the traditional diet.
- The traditional diet includes food items that grow in that region and in that season and are good for that geo-climatic environment.
- Ayurved has prescribed the dos, don’ts and the seasonal changes for each prakruti.
You can create the best diet plan for yourself
- Identify your prakruti.
- Know the traditional diet that you have grown up with.
- Make a record of everyday diet. Take a deeper look at what you’ve had in the last fifteen days.
- Make a note of any digestive disorders that you may have had during this period and identify the food item that did not agree with your Prakruti.
- Take care to include food items that are recommended for your prakruti and avoid those that are unsuitable. This will take care of the qualitative aspect of your diet.
- Know your BMI (Body/Mass Index) to help you increase or decrease the portions that you serve yourself; this is the only significance of the calorie counter.
The advantages in this diet plan are:
- It has been qualitatively personalised to your Prakruti, tradition, cooking style, region and season.
- It is quantitatively customised to your BMI.
- You do not have to make any dramatic changes to your grocery list, normal diet and cooking style.
- This diet can be continued for long periods and it will not give you the feeling that you are making great sacrifices.
- Weight loss/gain happens naturally and gradually without showing unnatural signs of aging or wrinkling of the skin.
- Digestive disorders are taken care of with food best suited to your prakruti.
- You are advised on seasonal changes in diet at every change in season.
If you find this tiresome to do all this by yourself, just download the HPS diet plan.
By – Dr. Chandrashekhar Desai. Co-founder, HPS Wellness