11 June 2018

VIRUDHAHARA (INCOMPATIBLE FOOD ) – A UNIQUE CONCEPT OF AYURVEDA

Ayurveda has been guiding mankind since time immemorial for positive physical, mental and emotional health status. This science recommends good eating habits and right lifestyle as a key to good health. As Ayurveda is a holistic science, it puts forth the theory of ‘Loka purusha saamya’or, the theory of similarity between the body and universe. It is said that, a human body/a living body, is a miniature form of the world around us. Now, reflecting about this concept, helps us decide the food what a person is supposed to take. This is particularly because, “We are what we eat”. This concept tells us that the food what we consume is a part of universe and what we eat is directly related to our health status. Many diseases may be either prevented or cured by just eating right and correcting our wrong food habits. Sooner we see food beyond just ‘calories’ or nutrition’, the better. There are many things told in Ayurveda by our sages, as being unhealthy. One such concept is ‘virudha ahara’ or incompatible foods and unwholesome foods. The explanations in the classics make us realize that the food what we take today, mostly the newer inventions and recipes contain a lot of such unwholesome or ‘virudha’ food stuffs.
Here, in this article, I have made a small attempt to shed light on the gross mistakes in our food. Some important ones are as follows-
1. Heating honey, either directly or indirectly, must never be done. Some people are under the assumption that drinking a teaspoon full of honey along with warm water early in the morning is Ayurveda. This notion is completely wrong. Infact Ayurveda never recommends heating honey in any form.
2. Radish must never be taken along with honey or milk. Both these combinations are said to be antagonistic. Here the phrase “along with” refers to even, taking milk after having a meal with radish in it or having a dessert [with honey in it] after having a meal with radish.
3 . Pigeon meat is told to be very unhealthy particularly so when fried with mustard oil. This practice is rampant in many places. Irony being, people not familiar with the mistakes they are committing in day to day cooking.
4. Milk and salt are not advisable when taken simultaneously. Some people have this wrong habit of consuming rice with milk along with salt or pickle. This is certainly not advisable. Infact, even having milk soon after meals is itself isn’t a great idea.
5. Milk must not be taken when a person has consumed fish, specially the chilichima type of fish ( some authors consider this to be prawn)
6. Honey with ghee (clarified butter) when taken in equal quantity is told to be antagonistic. Here stress is given on equal quantity and not otherwise.
7. In general, milk with fruits can be antagonistic especially fruits which are sour in taste even slightly is not a good idea. Eg- mango milkshakes.
8. Heating takra or curd. There are many recipes which involve heating of curd. But classics say that heating it is not acceptable and may lead to disorders.
9. Taking cold water after having food with ghee. The reason behind this is very clear. Cold water can cause agnimandya and may cause poor digestion of food especially with fat / ghee and might give rise to digestion related issues or even dyslipidemia eventually.
10. Panasa (Atrocarpus integrifolia/jackfruit) and Nikucha ( Atrocarpus Lakoocha ) when taken with milk is virudha. Main reason being that both of these things are heavy for digestion and may occlude the srotas ( channels) .

Some categories of incompatibility are told as,.
1. Desha virudha ( not compatible to the place where we are staying )
kaala virudha ( not compatible to the season)
2. agni virudha ( not compatible to the digestive capacity of oneself)
3. satmya virudha ( not compatible due to lack of exposure before)
4. samskara virudha ( making a food incompatible by faulty cooking)
virya virudha ( taking 2 substances which are opposite and incompatible in potencies)
5. koshta virudha ( not compatible for the condition of one’s GIT and may alter the bowel)
6. avastha virudha ( taking food which is incompatible for individual’s condition at that particular time )
7.paaka virudha ( taking half boiled food or even charred and over boiled food ) are other examples of unhealthy choices .

However … As per ayurveda it is always sensible to follow these guidelines as far as possible to lead a disease free life.

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